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posted by n1 on Monday June 19, @09:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the i'd-buy-that-for-a-dollar dept.

After the last of the Dirty Harry films, The Dead Pool, was released in 1988, libertarians began to discuss the potential for crypto-currency prediction markets to become crowdfunded assassination markets. Many schemes were proposed and many were unworkable. The main complication is an assassin using zero-knowledge proof to claim a bounty without implicating any other party. This arrangement ignores betting exchanges where anyone can lay or back bets and no-one on a given exchange may be involved in assassination. Discussion has been sparse regarding secondary markets for fake death followed by new identity.

Whether or not a dead pool is bloodless, ire has been most often directed at government officials and the actual use of lethal force. When a BitCoin dead pool launched in 2013, Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, became subject of the biggest bounty. Perhaps it was obvious with hindsight that libertarian capitalists in possession of digital currency would focus on the person directly responsible for managing the world's largest, centralized, debt-based, nation-state, fiat currency.

Anyhow, given that a real assassination market has supposedly been running for four years, where are the high-profile deaths? Or disappearances? Is digital currency too complicated for soldiers of fortune? Too risky? Too ephemeral? Are the rewards too small? Will digital currency's increased value and flight to safety encourage libertarianism not previously seen? Or are people wimps?


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BitCoin, Ethereum and Gold 46 comments

Something odd is going on in finance this week. One unit of BitCoin briefly exceeded the value of a troy ounce of gold before it fell back. However, this occurred during Ethereum rallying to its current peak above US$100. Perhaps this is like comparing apples, oranges, and dog-biscuits but — as of this week — we now have a situation where Ethereum is well above the US$1 credibility threshold of most alternative digital currencies and, to a simpleton, BitCoin was more valuable than gold.

What changed? Nothing obvious. Banks have teams of shirking resume builders working on trendy projects and they've been working on digital currencies for years. Likewise, tranches of investments funds have been going into technology for decades. However, after puffing and bursting a housing bubble and educational bubble, is this the next place to jub other people's money? Is it Charles Stross' Accelerando coming to life? I don't know but I'll be very concerned if there is a financial wobble within the next month.

(External hyperlinks via Vinay Gupta, an Ethereum contributor, Ethereum evangelist and all-around great guy who helps the homeless.)


[Ed Note: Asking what is Ethereum? Me too. Additional information on the above topic can be found at the IB Times]

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  • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Monday June 19, @10:01PM (7 children)

    by Lagg (105) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @10:01PM (#528176) Homepage Journal

    So have you been in a position where you know you could hurt someone but the actual idea of it turns you off? The same is going to apply if you think about killing them, except you'll probably get sick or something. I have never had to do a contract kill before but I would assume people that do are pretty desperate. But that level of desperate isn't something you go and find in a black market. It's the guy you have blackmail on for example.

    I don't think it's ever been any kind of currency problem. Just have to find the right currency. Unfortunately that currency isn't something anyone should be able to trade in comfortably. But it's easy for someone to post a bounty if it's out of rage and they know it'll never be cashed in.

    Also to be honest there are probably better ways of making money. Drug dealing is less vastly illegal but can have more of a return than a contract kill does. Also you don't have to deal with your clients dying all the time. So that's nice.

    I guess I'm a fuckin' idealist but I think it's a safe bet that people don't want to hurt other people in a general sense.

    Also if you reach the point where you're someone with enough connections to get someone like this. You're probably beyond money. If a dollar amount wasn't good enough for the guy you're trying to kill. Seems like it won't be for the guy doing the killing. If someone asked me to kill a man the first question I'd think to ask is "why didn't you give this to the man you want dead"? I mean can there be an answer that makes you want that job :/

    If the person doesn't actually have a personal reason for hiring an assassin, it's a cop or loser playing revenge. So not a lot of people willing to take the risk even as an exploratory option.

    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
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    • (Score: 2) by KiloByte on Monday June 19, @10:10PM (1 child)

      by KiloByte (375) on Monday June 19, @10:10PM (#528179)

      I have never had to do a contract kill before but I would assume people that do are pretty desperate.

      You assume that 1. monetary payout is the only motivation, and 2. those who are in it purely for money make a rational calculation of reward-vs-risk compared to other ways to get money.

      --
      Ceterum censeo systemd esse delendam.
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday June 20, @01:09AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @01:09AM (#528271) Journal

        True - as far as the motive goes, but not so true when it comes to method.

        And its not like there have been a shortage of "high-profile deaths". Including some "untimely" ones.

        There is enough non-monetary incentives around to start a hit.

        The problem is there are few hit-men that are interested in anything BUT money.
        So there is going to be some form of money involved anyway.

        But with a dead-pool concept and bitcoin there would be enough churn of small transactions to make that very hard to trace.

        --
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    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday June 19, @11:27PM (3 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday June 19, @11:27PM (#528204)

      > I have never had to do a contract kill before but I would assume people that do are pretty desperate.

      Ordinary people volunteer for firing squads.
      I believe that cops/military do the job.

      Neither gets paid for it.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:42PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:42PM (#528215)

        Ordinary people volunteer for firing squads.
        I believe that cops/military do the job.

        Neither gets paid for it.

        Context is everything.

        People demolish buildings all the time under contract. I doubt they'd bomb a building without a government approved permit.

        People slaughter animals for meat all the time. I doubt they'd butcher a neighbor's dog.

        A state executioner would (probably) have compunctions of illegally murdering somebody in cold blood.

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday June 20, @07:32AM

          by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday June 20, @07:32AM (#528364)

          I guess you're not cynical enough to acknowledge that quite a few people just need an excuse to do something that itches them, and that they would do without the excuse if they thought they could get away with.

      • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Tuesday June 20, @12:37AM

        by Lagg (105) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @12:37AM (#528249) Homepage Journal

        I think it's unfair at best to say what any of those 3 things do is contract killing. I mean I would normally be all for the trolltrain but I'm riding like 3 already. I'm sure you understand. Also in those 3 you generally get comforted instead of jail celled. Little bit of a discouragement.

        --
        http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
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    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @06:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @06:19AM (#528352)

      ..I have never had to do a contract kill before but I would assume people that do are pretty desperate.

      No, not really. There are true psychopaths out there who'll kill someone for their own 'twisted' reasons at the behest of others, and not all of them are in the employ of the state. There was a televised discussion about Ireland many years ago here in Britain featuring a couple of 'ex' IRA guys, one of them came out with a statement along the lines of 'just because the IRA uses psychopaths, don't make the mistake of thinking they're all psychopaths, psychopaths have their uses...' Almost every criminal organisation has at least one of these characters 'on their books' they can call on to do their dirty work.

      And then there's the 'ex-military' types who get a 'taste' for killing...

      Also to be honest there are probably better ways of making money. Drug dealing is less vastly illegal but can have more of a return than a contract kill does. Also you don't have to deal with your clients dying all the time. So that's nice.

      Money doesn't drive everything, thing is, psychopaths don't care about money.

      I guess I'm a fuckin' idealist but I think it's a safe bet that people don't want to hurt other people in a general sense.

      I used to be one, and believed something similar...30 years of dealing with a wide range of people from a number of countries and backgrounds knocked that right out of me. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good people out there of every race and creed, it's a pity they're in an apparently increasing minority.
      (For the record here, I don't regard myself as being in that minority though I can and do appreciate them and their position(s), however, they're not mine.)

      Also if you reach the point where you're someone with enough connections to get someone like this. You're probably beyond money.

      You'd think that, wouldn't you?, care to hear the story about the psychopath who'd do any job for anyone especially if it was a place he'd never visited before?
        (he liked to travel, visit new places, kill a few people...)
      No 'connections' required, other than drinking in the same establishment he frequented..money?, for the tickets to-fro area target lived alone.
      (Really pleasant chap to talk to BTW, you just had to be very careful what you said..)

      If a dollar amount wasn't good enough for the guy you're trying to kill. Seems like it won't be for the guy doing the killing. If someone asked me to kill a man the first question I'd think to ask is "why didn't you give this to the man you want dead"? I mean can there be an answer that makes you want that job :/

      I repeat, despite apparent evidence to the contrary, not everything revolves around money.

      If the person doesn't actually have a personal reason for hiring an assassin, it's a cop or loser playing revenge. So not a lot of people willing to take the risk even as an exploratory option.

      As evinced by the rest of the interwebz, like being attracted to like and all that, if such a marketplace attracted a critical number of psychopaths and ex-military nutjobs as 'contractors' it could possibly work, the major worry is that 'Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre' might not be their motto. If you want a horrible scenario, just think about a board where people put the jobs up, and the 'contractors' bid for them, maybe for bitcoins, maybe for a.n.other cryptocurrency, maybe doing the jobs 'for free' as the 'mark' don't like cats, dogs, peas or the 'mark' likes chocolate ice-cream, or is called Kevin...

      Sure, the police will know it's a murder, but the only connection between victim and murderer is a posting on a BBS system on a tor site.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @10:19PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @10:19PM (#528182)

    List of people I want dead:

    https://wiki.soylentnews.org/wiki/WhosWho [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:31PM (#528207)

      ^ Just a revenge fantasy

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:10PM (#528197)

    DIE COCKFUCKERS DIE

  • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Monday June 19, @11:13PM (2 children)

    by Hartree (195) on Monday June 19, @11:13PM (#528200)

    Maybe someone would go after a crypto contracted high profile US government official and succeed. Anything's possible.
    But, succeeding would be one of the fastest ways I can think of for an overwhelmingly intrusive move toward the government moving to cripple/escrow all allowed encryption and to begin major prosecutions/milltary operations against anyone who was using it without the backdoors. Just start putting contracts out on senators and representatives. If they start getting fulfilled, the majorities voting in favor of truly draconian things would be overwhelming.
    Just imagine. Start up an actually secure cryptocurrency or try to continue an existing one in a place where it's hard for the police to get to, and get a visit from your friendly neighborhood Reaper drone and lamentations about the collateral casualties if they miss four or five times before they get the right person. Your friends will miss you terribly.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by c0lo on Tuesday June 20, @03:21AM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @03:21AM (#528314)

      and get a visit from your friendly neighborhood Reaper drone and lamentations about the collateral casualties if they miss four or five times before they get the right person. Your friends will miss you terribly.

      Suddenly, for reasons I can't fathom, I developed this compulsion to make really-really good friends with that "friendly neighborhood Reaper drone"; collateral casualties or not, I simply love the idea to have it missing me terribly.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Hartree on Tuesday June 20, @11:37PM

        by Hartree (195) on Tuesday June 20, @11:37PM (#528788)

        "Oh why did I launch that Maverick missile at c0lo. *sob* I know I'm supposed to, but don't I have a choice? Doesn't a crypto-abuser have the right to live too? I'll carry his memory with me until they scrap me at the China Lake aircraft site."

  • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Monday June 19, @11:27PM (5 children)

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday June 19, @11:27PM (#528203) Journal

    The pay is good. The hours are good. It's therapeutic.

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:30PM (#528206)

      *jassasin

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:41PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @11:41PM (#528214)

      I met a kid recently when he was home on leave. He enlisted in the Marines out of high school and I guess had a talent for shooting, They invited him to join one of their elite squads with special training -- now he's an official scout sniper. I don't have a clue what he will do after he leaves the service, but you can bet that he's a damn good shot and probably will need money (because these elites don't get paid very well). I'm sure he's not the only one with all this training...

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday June 20, @12:27AM (2 children)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday June 20, @12:27AM (#528238) Journal

        And that's why welfare (GI Bill, etc.), health care (fix the VA!), and societal support (free food/movies/etc. on military holidays) for vets is a good thing. Don't need a real life Rambo on our hands.

        --
        [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday June 20, @01:53AM

          by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @01:53AM (#528285)

          Yeah, but you forgot something important about Rambo.

          They drew first blood.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by jdavidb on Tuesday June 20, @04:38PM

          by jdavidb (5690) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @04:38PM (#528569) Homepage Journal
          Another good help would be to stop sending the military into situations that cause PTSD, depression, suicide, etc.
          --
          ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Tuesday June 20, @12:31AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Tuesday June 20, @12:31AM (#528239)

    I call horse hockey. From what I've heard Seals are pretty fricken smart (I rented a house to one 20 years ago, little fucker was halla smarter than me). I assume anyone who can get into similar services are just as smart.

    So, I'm gonna say if you can set yourself up to kill people for money, you're smart enough to use bitcoin.

    / yeah, little fucker
    // guy was maybe 5'8", 170 lbs
    /// he proved he was a Seal after I rented the house to him, he was a hellava guy.
    //// Live in San Diego, we have almost as many Seals as illegal Mexicans.

  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Tuesday June 20, @12:54AM (1 child)

    by aristarchus (2645) on Tuesday June 20, @12:54AM (#528263) Journal

    n/t

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday June 20, @03:11PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @03:11PM (#528480) Journal

      I believe in relativism. Assassinations are relatively more moral than waging war on a populace. Further, assassinations aren't exactly unconstitutional. The founding fathers didn't ban them, after all. Only their wimpy grandsons and great-how-ever-many-great grandchildren have outlawed assassination.

      --
      This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Tuesday June 20, @03:18PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Tuesday June 20, @03:18PM (#528490)

    Sure, you *might* be able to create an anonymized currency that could be used for that.... If Silk Road could do drug transactions, you could do assassinations, in theory. But buying such is different from bountying such in one very important aspect: How does the assassin collect his money and prove he was the killah in a way that gets him the money from the thousand other schmoes who want to claim credit? (Look at mideast terrorism of the 80s and beyond - multiple groups would claim credit for a single action. It got to be that authorized representatives would give the media a very slightly advanced warning with codewords to prove it was their group making the claim. I'd suspect that any scheme that tries to ensure that would create security complications that would bring the whole operation down. Or, put another way, just because it's Teh Internets does not change the fundamental requirements of the business practice. (And why in the real world you need to hire a hitman with cash-in-advance, no escrows, and thank god the vast majority of them are caught in an undercover sting.)

    Plus, I can kill you with my brain.

  • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday June 20, @06:56PM (1 child)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @06:56PM (#528651) Journal

    ... libertarians began to discuss the potential for crypto-currency prediction markets to become crowdfunded assassination markets

    How is this about libertarianism? Libertarians are pro-assassination?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @09:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @09:47PM (#528740)

      From http://cryptome.org/ap.htm [cryptome.org], Part 1:-

      It was not my intention to provide such a "tough nut to crack" by arguing the general case, claiming that a person who hires a hit man is not guilty of murder under libertarian principles. Obviously, the problem with the general case is that the victim may be totally innocent under libertarian principles, which would make the killing a crime, leading to the question of whether the person offering the money was himself guilty.

      On the contrary; my speculation assumed that the "victim" is a government employee, presumably one who is not merely taking a paycheck of stolen tax dollars, but also is guilty of extra violations of rights beyond this. (Government agents responsible for the Ruby Ridge incident and Waco come to mind.) In receiving such money and in his various acts, he violates the "Non-aggression Principle" (NAP) and thus, presumably, any acts against him are not the initiation of force under libertarian principles.

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