The Dow plunged 1190.95, or 4.42%, to 25766.64, the Nasdaq lost 414.30, or 4.61%, to 8566.48, and the S&P 500 dropped 137.63, or 4.42%, to 2978.76.
It was a frenetic day of trading action on /thewallstreet. The stock market extended its recent sell-off by more than 4% on Thursday in a volatile session, as the widening spread of the coronavirus heightened pessimism among investors. The S&P 500 dropped as much as 3.5% shortly after the open, then cut its losses to 0.6% by midday, but ultimately closed at session lows with a 4.4% decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-4.4%), Nasdaq Composite (-4.6%), and Russell 2000 (-3.5%) experienced similar price action. Each of the major indices fell into correction territory, which is often defined as a decline of at least 10% from a recent high, and today's drop sent the S&P 500 well below its 200-day moving average (3046.58) amid heavy selling into the close. From a sector perspective, all 11 S&P 500 sectors fell between 3.3% (health care) and 5.6% (real estate). Other notable moves included WTI crude falling 3.0% to 47.24/bbl to extend its weekly decline to 12.1% and the CBOE Volatility Index surging 42.1% to 39.16 in a protection trade against further equity weakness. Regarding COVID-19, the CDC acknowledged the first coronavirus case of "unknown origin" in the U.S., which raised concerns about a community spread of the virus. California's governor fueled concerns by saying 28 people have tested positive and another 8,400 people are being monitored because of their travel. The impact to global supply chains or consumer spending remains uncertain, but Goldman Sachs warned there could be no U.S. earnings growth in 2020 if the virus becomes widespread. MSFT -7.1%, meanwhile, was the latest high-profile company to issue a quarterly revenue warning, specifically for its More Personal Computing segment. Current, and past, Fed officials offered their views on the matter. In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh argued that the Fed and other central banks should cut rates due to the coronavirus, while Chicago Fed President Evans reiterated the Fed's stance that it's still premature to provide guidance without more data. Besides the coronavirus news, equity investors appeared to be taking cues from the Treasury market. For instance, the S&P 500's early morning low coincided with the high in the Treasury market. At session's end, the 2-yr yield declined five basis points to 1.10%, and the 10-yr yield declined basis points to 1.30%. Not all stocks closed lower, though. Face mask company (MMM) +0.8% and Bleach company (CLX) +0.4% managed to eke out small gains amid speculation that demand for some of their products will increase due to the coronavirus. Among the noteworthy gainers were VIR and NVAX, which surged 50% and 18%, respectively, as coronavirus fears mount. Both companies are working on coronavirus vaccines. Also higher were ETSY and SQ, which gained a respective 16% and 11% after reporting quarterly results. Among the notable losers was TSLA, which slid 8% after Bloomberg reported registrations of new Teslas in China plunged 46% last month as the coronavirus outbreak adds to a slump in the country's car market. SPCE fell 17% after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas downgraded the shares to Equal Weight and Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn also downgraded the stock to Neutral following with the shares up 185% year-to-date. In earnings news, BBY reported better than expected sales and earnings for the fourth quarter and raised its quarterly dividend by 10%. Last night, BKNG reported "strong" Q4 results, but also cited a significant impact from the coronavirus on its forward outlook, stating that its wider than typical guidance ranges are due to "the high level of uncertainty in forecasting the coronavirus and its associated impact on the company and the travel industry generally." In its own more optimistic coronavirus update,SBUX said it is "seeing the early signs of a recovery" in China. In a letter to employees posted on its corporate blog, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson reported that the coffee giant now has 85% of stores open across China as it continues to assess the ongoing impact of the disease outbreak. Elsewhere in Europe, Stoxx 600 closed 3.6% lower provisionally, officially entering correction territory as it was off more than 10% from its record high notched on Feb. 19 last year.
The U.S. Dollar Index slid 0.5% to 98.51, widening this week's loss to 0.8%.
EUUSD: +1.0% to 1.0986
GBP/USD: UNCH at 1.2892
USD/CNH: -0.2% to 7.0051
USD/JPY: -0.4% to 109.99
The Treasury market has been the epicenter of concerns about the global growth outlook, as well as the frayed psychology pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak. The 10-yr note yield is down four basis points this morning to 1.27%, leaving it down 19 basis points on the week and 65 basis points on the year. Today, the fed funds futures market expects that a rate cut will happen as soon as the March 18 meeting, followed by another cut in June. Treasuries briefly turned negative in midday trade but returned toward their opening levels after California Governor Gavin Newsom said that 28 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus while more than 8,000 other people are being monitored.
2-yr: -5 bps to 1.10%
3-yr: -3 bps to 1.09%
5-yr: -3 bps to 1.11%
10-yr: -1 bp to 1.30%
30-yr: -1 bp to 1.78%
Oil prices continued their steep decline on Thursday, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude falling more than 5% at the low to $45.88 per barrel — a price not seen since Jan. 2019 — as fears of the coronavirus outbreak, and what it could mean for crude demand, continue to batter prices.
WTI crude: -4.88% to $46.35/bbl
Gold: -0.4 at $1640.70/ozt
Copper: -0.52% to $2.55/lb
Bitcoin was fighting to keep support at a key level on Feb. 27 as markets worldwide continued to suffer from fears over coronavirus.
Bitcoin: $8,873.19 (24hr: +0.77%)
Ethereum: $231.34 (24hr: +1.52%)
Ripple: $0.24 (24hr: 3.09%)
FAAMG + some penny stocks -4.5% YTD
Spoos -7.8% YTD
Old man -9.7% YTD
Russy -9.8% YTD
BYND reports EBITDA: $9.5M (est $5.76M), Net Rev: $98.5M (est $79.8M).Sees 2020 Net Revenue: $490M To $510M (est $485.7M)
Thoughts on Corona
It is becoming abundantly clear that the spread of the coronavirus is not going to be stopped. What is not clear is the extent of the economic damage that is going to be done by its spread before the world gets comfortable with the notion that the coronavirus is debilitating, but not necessarily deadly for most sufferers. The latter is the accepted perspective when dealing with the flu, but because COVID-19 is so new and won't reportedly have a vaccine to guard against it for some time, there is some understandable fear about contracting the virus that is prompting some extreme measures to contain it. Those measures have been detrimental to the world economy in a number of respects, which include but are not limited to shutting down supply chains, restricting travel, and preventing people from going to work. At the same time, some considerable psychological damage is being done with the understanding that governments around the globe are scrambling to deal with COVID-19 in a way that hasn't been seen in a really long time. China locked down entire cities. Japan announced today that it will be closing elementary, middle, and high schools nationwide until late March. President Trump last night announced that Vice President Pence is being put in charge of the U.S. response to COVID-19. The stock market, therefore, has been getting punched by a left-right combination of growth concerns and frayed investor psychology. That combination has led to some rapid-fire selling for a market that was already stretched and counting on stronger earnings growth in 2020, which now seems unlikely to pull through as expected. The uncertainty surrounding the earnings outlook is a major headwind for the market at the moment. Summaryscrapedfromtheinterweb.Took2.30seconds.
Weekly Update: Jason starts #discussionThursday, $COTI on Binance, WibsonTree, Harmony + IBC Media... – 21 Feb - 27 Feb'20
Hiya folks! With this update we will finally be 100% caught up with the latest. Let’s go! Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (21 Feb - 27 Feb'20): As mentioned 2 weeks back, Alexis announced the start of a new style of raffle from this week. 300k $PAR in the pot to be won! Bose hosted a Friday Quiz in TTR on movies with a 10k $PAR prize pool. Cap shared a unique bit of trivia from the tipbotverse: ChangeTip, a bitcoin tipbot launched 7 years back, was acquired by Airbnb in 2016 that led to its closure. A crypto pioneer that was way ahead of its time. The usual suspects continue to be on top of the Fantasy Premier Leagure (#FPL) leaderboard – LordHades, Alexis and Novelcloud as per the latest update shared by LH. Alejandro hosted a gun-mode CoD game in the Parachute War Zone followed by a free-for-all for $PAR prizes. Tavo announced another CoD Battle Royale in the Parachute War Zone to be held next week. Afful’s TTR trivia was fun as always. Charlotte hosted another trivia in TTR as well for a 10k $PAR prize pool. Victor held one in TTR with another 10k $PAR pot as well. GamerBoy’s trivia in TTR this week was based on Kindergarten Geography. Haha! Belated Birthday wishes to Victor. Two-for-Tuesdays by Gian for this week had the theme rap/reggae/reggaeton. Like last week, Sebastian set up a YouTube playlist to compile all the entries. For #wholesomewed, Parachuters put on their creative hats as they made some epic artwork based on a primary shape shared by Jason. So much talent! There’s $PAR to be won! In the latest project update shared by Cap, ParJar is in final stages of testing with Transak, ParJar integrated coin-swaps are being worked on at the moment and $PAR-based Dex to be launched in the coming weeks in partnership with Switch. Jason launched a new event for Thursdays called #discussionThursday from this week. The first discussion series revolved around "something you don't understand". The goal is "hopefully someone that does understand it can explain it". Good conversations and altruism gets $PAR tips. TTR crew hosted a fun “guess the admin” contest based on the Parachute Christmas artwork. Lmao Victor! Happy Carnival to you too Rene Just a sampling from all the #wholesomewed entries 20k $AXPR was burned as part of the weekly aXpire burn event. aXpire COO Matthew Markham wrote about how technological differentiators give PEs an edge over public markets. The latest Bilr blog post talks about disruptive technologies in the legal industry. 2gether CEO Ramon Ferraz appeared in an IEB podcast to talk about Neobanks. YouTuber FunOntheRide’s latest video covers collaborative economy and how 2gether plays a role in it. Head of Marketing, Laura Braulio explained must-do’s in marketing strategies for fintechs in her article which was published on ClickZ. The XIO DApp went into the final stages of unit testing this week. Beta tests should start soon. For #XIOSocial chatter, Citizens discussed the semantics of the term “crowdstaking”. Ethos’ parent company Voyager released the full Android version of its app this week. Switch-backed McAfeeDex is slated for some updates soon. Read about what’s coming up from John McAfee’s tweet. Plus, a new privacy coin “ghost” is on the horizon. $ESH holders are expected to get a taste of it on launch. For the latest update on Switch, click here. Fantom’s $FTM was one of the winners of a public vote to get listed on ZelCore. As an update to the fantom.rocks tool released last week by GoFantom (a Fantom validator), this week a dApp named Supercharge was released on top of it. Supercharge allows users to send 20 test transactions to demonstrate the speed of consensus. The DAO Maker shared a compilation of Fantom’s 2019 updates. For the 2020 project plan, click here. This was followed by a detailed 2020 roadmap. Too long? No sweat! This graphical representation of the roadmap by Generation Crypto is here to rescue you. Or, if you would rather watch a video, CMO Michael Chen made one. For notes, click here. The first version of Uptrennd’s mobile redesign is here. Congratulations to TREOS for winning the Round 1 of the Uptrennd free advertising package contest that launched last week. Voting for Round 2 started this week with Fantom included in this round. Banano ended up winning the second round and going head to head with TREOS in the finals. The first 2UP Tuesday kicked off this week with every upvote counting for twice the normal points (with the same rules applying for downvotes). Sweet! Uptrennd founder Jeff Kirdeikis was invited to speak at the EntrepreneurShip cruise event. Don’t forget the epic giveaway mentioned. First sneak peek of Uptrennd’s new mobile design Catch up on Distric0x’s Weekly update here. If you missed the DappDigest, the crew’s got your back. Their video walkthrough of ETHDenver covers snippets from the event along with Brady’s on-stage performance and an interview of Dmitry Buterin (Vitalik Buterin’s father). Read about how the recent fintech M&A deals will influence markets in this article by Hydrogen. The team sat down for an AMA with Crypto Cabital this week and also hosted a 150k $HYDRO giveaway. Fintech nerds, check out Hydro’s explainer blog post on open banking and WSO2. Is the project ticking off its roadmap items on time? Click here to find out. As a 2020 cohort member of the MassChallenge Fintech accelerator, Hydro’s Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships, Ken Kavanaugh travelled to Boston to talk about “platformication in fintech” at their meetup. If you are attending the Milwaukee Blockchain Conference in March, don’t forget to say Hi to Biz Dev Lead Mark Anstead where he will be a featured speaker. If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, there’s a 50% discount coupon available for you. $HYDRO got listed on DeFi aggregator Totle this week. How does Sentivate aim to solve HTTP / TCP bottlenecks? Click here to find out. For a primer on UDSP, click here. The Mycro Hunter landing page went live this week. OST’s Pepo is the official community app and partner of Europe-based Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) where it will also be collaborating with Epicenter podcast for the event. The first browser version of Pepo was released. Crypto exchange Mine Digital will be joining SelfKey’s exchange marketplace. SelfKey’s R&D team shared a 2020 update on the identity management space and how the project aims to place itself in this segment. Early preview of the SelfKey Mobile Wallet to be submitted to App Store for review For the latest Constellation community update, click here. Don’t forget to send in your questions for the AMA happening next week. Attendees of VeneCoiners meetup in Argentina next week, don’t forget to say Hi to the crew from Wibson who will be presenting the Rewards Marketplace at the event. The team also published a paper on “WibsonTree” which preserves data privacy when interacting with an agent. They hosted an Ethereum meetup this week to discuss DeFi. Here’s a video demo of how fast the Harmony mainnet is. The weekly #pow tweet thread summarises updates from across the team. KuCoin’s $ONE token swap is now complete. A new page was launched to monitor mainnet and testnet status. The crew attended a Binance meetup in Ukraine to talk about latest project updates. Harmony announced a partnership with IBC Media to incubate and accelerate Indian fintech startups. Safe Haven’s digital inheritance solution, Inheriti, will be available on the Harmony chain. $ONE was listed on MathWallet. Intellishare co-founder Nicholas Wan shared a sneak peek of the testnet mobile UI. dGen listed GET Protocol’s GUTS Tickets as one of the notable startups in the Dutch blockchain space in their Blockchain in Europe 2020 Review report. For a project overview click here – nicely summarised by Generation Crypto. GUTS will be ticketing 3 new shows of Chef’Special. Global Crypto Alliance live streamed another demo of its IoT prototype smartlock device being operated through $CALL tokens. The team also hosted a fun quiz on their Telegram this week. YouTuber Crypto Rich interviewed the crew on all things $CALL (Part I, Part II). Nik Patel’s detailed research report on COTI was published this week. $COTI was added to the Staking Rewards platform. And here’s a biggie, Binance listed both the ERC20 and BEP2 versions of the token this week with a bonus airdrop for deposits. Woot! Before the listing frenzy started, the team took a moment to take stock of the situation. A big listing like Binance leads to a lot of new eyeballs that could trigger scams. COTI crew shared their anti-scam guide for this reason. DOMSCRYPTO covered the project in their latest video. DoYourTip was covered in an iHODL news feature. And with that, we close for this week at Parachute. See you again with another update. Ciao!
A Compiled List of 20 Blockchain & Financial Books That You Should Read 
Hey guys - happy Friday! Over the past years I've dedicated a lot of my time to learning blockchain fundamentals and market behaviour. I've read a lot of books! And boy, were some of them frustrating
Most of the books out there are crap – and a waste of time. But there are some gems that are definitely "must-reads". I've compiled a list that narrows down and encompasses the knowledge you need to get started strong.
Trust me - the time you put in will be worth it.
Just a couple years ago, I was nothing more than a CSI nerd who had no clue how the markets moved. Today, I've managed to double my portfolio during the course of this bear market. I was supposed to go back finish my PhD, get a job blah blah... But now I'm thinking..fuck it, I enjoy this (and I get to learn self-directed forever)
I think some of you may be interested in this path as well. All the info you need is already out there. Just start slowly. There's no secret to making money in the markets, it's mostly discipline, mindset & knowledge.
Formatted List with links: Blockchain Fundamentals & Trading, Reading List Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Books: Age Of Cryptocurrency - Paul Vigna Vitaliks Blog from 2014ish - (Not a book, but this was key in my learning journey) Internet Of Money - Andreas Antonopoulos The Truth Machine - Paul Vigna Mastering Bitcoin - Andreas Antonopoulos Digital Gold Misfits - Nathaniel Popper
Trading Books: Trading In The Zone - Mark Douglas Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds - Charles Mackay Market Wizards - Jack Schwager Principles - Ray Dalio Dark Pools - Scot Patterson What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars - Brendan Moynihan & Jim Paul Reminiscence Of A Stock Market Operator - Edwin Lefevre
Financial Books Ascent Of Money - Niall Ferguson Myth Of The Rational Market - Justin Fox Debt: The First 5000 Years - David Graeber Irrational Exuberance - Robert J. Shiller Options, Futures & Other Derivatives - John C. Hull
Epicenter - with Brian Crain & Sebastien Couture Unchained - with Laura Shin Let's Talk Bitcoin - Andreas Antonopoulos Off The Chain - Anthony Pompliano
Bitcoin Mining Profitability: How Long Does it Take to Mine One Bitcoin in 2019?
When it comes to Bitcoin (BTC) mining, the major questions on people’s minds are “how profitable is Bitcoin mining” and “how long would it take to mine one Bitcoin?” To answer these questions, we need to take an in-depth look at the current state of the Bitcoin mining industry — and how it has changed — over the last several years. Bitcoin mining is, essentially, the process of participating in Bitcoin’s underlying security mechanism — known as proof-of-work — to help secure the Bitcoin blockchain. In return, participants receive compensation in bitcoins (BTC). When you participate in Bitcoin mining, you are essentially searching for blocks by crunching complex cryptographic challenges using your mining hardware. Once a block is discovered, new transactions are recorded and verified within the block and the block discoverer receives the block rewards — currently set at 12.5 BTC — as well as the transactions fees for the transactions included within the block. Once the maximum supply of 21 million Bitcoins has been mined, no further Bitcoins will ever come into existence. This property makes Bitcoin deflationary, something which many argue will inevitably increase the value of each Bitcoin unit as it becomes more scarce due to increased global adoption. The limited supply of Bitcoin is also one of the reasons why Bitcoin mining has become so popular. In previous years, Bitcoin mining proved to be a lucrative investment option — netting miners with several fold returns on their investment with relatively little effort. bitcoin mining hardware Mining Hardware The mining hardware you choose will mostly depend on your circumstances — in terms of budget, location and electricity costs. Since the amount of hashing power you can dedicate to the mining process is directly correlated with how much Bitcoin you will mine per day, it is wise to ensure your hardware is still competitive in 2019. Bitcoin uses SHA256 as its mining algorithm. Because of this, only hardware compatible with this algorithm can be used to mine Bitcoin. Although it is technically possible to mine Bitcoin on your current computer hardware — using your CPU or GPU — this will almost certainly not generate a positive return on your investment and you may end up damaging your device. The most cost-effective way to mine Bitcoin in 2019 is using application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining hardware. These are specially-designed machines that offer much higher performance per watt than typical computers and have been an absolutely essential purchase for anybody looking to get into Bitcoin mining since the first Avalon ASICs were shipped in 2013. When it comes to selecting Bitcoin mining hardware, there are several main parameters to consider — though the importance of each of these may vary based on personal circumstances and budget. Performance per Watt When it comes to Bitcoin mining, performance per watt is a measure of how many gigahashes per watt a machine is capable of and is, hence, a simple measure of its efficiency. Since electricity costs are likely to be one of the largest expenses when mining Bitcoin, it is usually a good idea to ensure that you are getting good performance per watt out of your hardware. Ideally, your mining hardware would be highly efficient, allowing it to mine Bitcoin with lower energy requirements — though this will need to be balanced with acquisition costs, as often the most efficient hardware is also the most expensive. This means it may take longer to see a return on investment. In countries with cheap electricity, performance per watt is often less of a concern than acquisition costs and price-performance ratio. In most countries, operating outdated mining hardware is typically cost prohibitive, as energy costs outweigh the income generated by the mining equipment. However, this may not be the case for those operating in countries with extremely cheap electricity — such as Kuwait and Venezuela — as even older equipment can still be profitable. Similarly, miners with a free energy surplus, such as from wind or solar electric generators, can benefit from the minimal gains offered by still running outdated hardware. Longevity The lifetime of mining hardware also plays a critical role in determining how profitable your mining venture will be. It’s always a good idea to do whatever possible to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. Since mining equipment tends to run at a full (or almost full) load for extended periods, they also tend to break down and fail more frequently than most electronics — which can seriously damage your profitability. Equipment failure is even more common when purchasing second-hand equipment. Since warranty claims are often challenging, it can often take a long time to receive a warranty replacement. Price-Performance Ratio In many cases, one of the major criteria used to select mining hardware is the price-performance ratio — a measure of how much performance a machine outputs per unit price. In the case of cryptocurrency mining hardware, this is commonly expressed as gigahashes per dollar or GH/$. Under ideal circumstances, the mining hardware would have a high price-performance ratio, ensuring you get a lot of bang for your buck. However, this must also be considered in combination with the acquisition costs and the expected lifetime of the machine — since the absolute most powerful machines are not always the cheapest or the most energy efficient. Acquisition Costs Acquisition costs are almost always the biggest barrier to entry for most Bitcoin miners since most top-end mining hardware costs several thousand dollars. This problem is further compounded by the fact that many hardware manufacturers offer discounts for bulk purchases, allowing those with deeper pockets to achieve a better price-performance ratio. Acquisition costs include all the costs involved in purchasing any mining equipment, including hardware costs, shipping costs, import duties, and any further costs. For example, many ASIC miners do not include a power supply — which can be another considerable expense, since the 1,000W+ power supplies usually required tend to cost several hundred dollars alone. Ensuring your equipment runs smoothly can also add in additional costs, such as cooling and maintenance expenses. In addition, some miners may want to invest in uninterruptible power supplies to ensure their hardware keeps running — even if the power fails temporarily. asic mining Current Generation Hardware One of the most recent additions to the Bitcoin mining hardware market is the Ebang Ebit E11++, which was released in October 2018. Using a 10nm fabrication process for its processors, the Ebit E11++ is able to achieve one of the highest hash rates on the market at 44TH/s. In terms of efficiency, the Ebang Ebit E11++ is arguably the best on the market, offering 44TH/s of hash rate while drawing just 1,980W of power, offering 22.2GH/W performance. However, as of writing, the Ebang Ebit E11++ is out of stock until March 31, 2019 — while its price of $2,024 (excluding shipping) may make it prohibitively expensive for those first getting involved with Bitcoin mining. Another popular choice is the ASICminer 8 Nano, a machine released in October 2018 that offers 44TH/s for $3,900 excluding shipping. The ASICminer 8 Nano draws 2,100W of power, giving it an efficiency of almost 21GH/W — slightly lower than the Ebit E11++ while costing almost double the price. However, unlike the E11++, the 8 Nano is actually in stock and available to purchase. ASICminer also offers the 8 Nano Pro, a machine launched in mid-2018 that offers 80 TH/s of hash rate for $9,500 (excluding shipping). However, unlike the Ebit E11++ and 8 Nano, the minimum order quantity for the 8 Nano Pro is curiously set at five, meaning you will need to lay out a minimum of $47,500 in order to actually get your hands on one (or five). While the 8 Nano Pro doesn’t offer the same performance per watt as the Ebit E11+ or AICMiner 8 Nano, it is one of the quieter miners on this list, making it more suitable for a home or office environment. That being said, the ASICminer 8 Nano Pro is easily the most expensive miner per TH on this list — costing a whopping $118.75/TH, compared to the $46/TH offered by the E11++ and $88.64 offered by the 8 Nano. The latest hardware on this list is the Innosilicon T3 43T, which is currently available for pre-order at $2,279, and estimated to ship in March 2019. Offering 43TH/s of performance at 2,100W, the T3 43T comes in at an efficiency of 20.4GH/W, which is around 10 percent less energy efficient than the Ebit E11++. The T3 43T also has a minimum order quantity of three units, making the minimum acquisition cost $6837 + shipping for preorders. All in all, the T3 43T is more costly and less efficient than the E11++ but may arrive slightly earlier since Ebang will not ship the E11++ units until at least end March 29, 2019. Finally, this list would not be complete without including Bitmain’s latest offering, the Antminer S15-28TH/s, which — as its name suggests — offers 28TH/s of hash power while drawing just under 1600W at the wall. The Antminer S15 is one of the only SHA256 miners to use 7nm processors, making it somewhat smaller than some of the other devices on this list. Like most pieces of top-end Bitcoin mining hardware, the Antminer S15 27TH/s model is currently sold out, with current orders not shipping until mid-February 2019. However, the S15 is offered at a significantly lower price than many of its competitors at just $1020 (excluding shipping), with no minimum quantity restriction. At these rates, the Antminer comes in at just $37.78/TH — though its energy efficiency is a much less impressive 17.5GH/W. Mining Hardware Mining Hardware Comparison Performance (GH/W) Price Performance Ratio ($/TH) Ebang Ebit E11++ 22.2GH/W $46/TH ASICminer 8 Nano 21GH/W $88.64/TH ASICminer 8 Nano Pro 19GH/W $118.75/TH Innosilicon T3 43T 20.4GH/W $53/TH Antminer S15-28TH/s 17.5GH/W $37.78/TH How To Select a Good Mining Pool Mining pools are platforms that allow miners to pool their resources together to achieve a higher collective hash rate — which, in turn, allows the collective to mine more blocks than they would be able to achieve alone. Typically, these mining pools will distribute block rewards to contributing miners based on the proportion of the hash rate they supply. If a pool contributing a total of 20 TH/s of hash rate successfully mines the next block, a user responsible for 10 percent of this hash rate will receive 10 percent of the 12.5 BTC reward. Pools essentially allow smaller miners to compete with large private mining organizations by ensuring that the collective hash rate is high enough to successfully mine blocks on regular basis. Without operating through a mining pool, many miners would be unlikely to discover any blocks at all — due to only contributing a tiny fraction of the overall Bitcoin hash rate. While it is quite possible to be successful mining without a pool, this typically requires an extremely large mining operation and is usually not recommended — unless you have enough hash rate to mine blocks on a regular basis. Although it is technically possible to discover blocks mining solo and keep the entire 12.5 BTC reward for yourself, the odds of this actually occurring are practically zero — making pool collaboration practically the only way to compete in 2019 and beyond. Selecting the best pool for you can be a challenging job since the vast majority of pools are quite similar and offer similar features and comparable fees. Because of this, we have broken down the qualities you should be looking for in a new pool into four categories; reputation, hash rate, pool fees, and usability/features: Reputation The reputation of a pool is one of the most important factors in selecting the pool that is best for you. Well-reputed pools will tend to be much larger than newer or less well-established pools since few pools with a poor reputation can stand the test of time. Well-reputed pools also tend to be more transparent about their operation, many of which provide tools to ensure that each user is getting the correct reward based on the hash rate contributed. By using only pools with a great reputation, you also ensure your hash rate is not being used for nefarious purposes — such as powering a 51 percent attack. When comparing a list of pools that appear suitable for you, it is a wise move to read their user reviews before making your choice — ensuring you don’t end up mining at a pool that steals your hard-fought earnings. Hash Rate When it comes to mining Bitcoin, the probability of discovering the next block is directly related to the amount of hashing power you contribute to the network. Because of this, one of the major features you should be considering when selecting your pool is its total hash rate — which is often closely related to the proportion of new blocks mined by the pool Since the total hash rate of a pool is directly related to how quickly it discovers new blocks, this means the largest pools tend to discover a relative majority of blocks — leading to more regular rewards. However, the very largest pools also tend the have higher fees but often make up for this with sheer success and additional features. Sometimes, some of the largest pools have a minimum hash rate requirement ù leaving some of the smaller miners left out of the loop. Although smaller pools typically have more relaxed requirements with reduced performance thresholds, these pools may be only slightly more profitable than mining solo. Pool Fees When choosing a suitable pool, typically one of the major considerations is its fees. Typically, most pools will charge a small fee that is deducted from your earnings and is usually around 1-2 percent — but sometimes slightly lower or higher. There are also pools that offer 0 percent fees. However, these are often much smaller than the major pools and tend to make their money in a different way — such as through monthly subscriptions or donations. Ideally, you will choose the pool that offers the best balance of fees to other features. Usually, the pool with the absolute lowest fees is not the best choice. Additionally, pools with the lowest fees often have the highest withdrawal minimums — making pool hopping uneconomical for most. Usability and Features When first starting out with Bitcoin mining, learning how to set up a pool and navigating through the settings can be a challenge. Because of this, several pools target their services to newer users by offering a simple to navigate user interface and providing detailed learning resources and prompt customer support. However, for more experienced miners, simple pools don’t tend to offer a variety of features needed to maximize profitability. For example, although many mining pools focus their entire hash rate towards mining a single cryptocurrency, some are large enough to offer additional options — allowing users to mine other SHA256 coins such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Fantom if they choose. These pools are technically more challenging to use and mostly designed for those familiar with mining, happy to hop from coin to coin mining whichever is most profitable at the time. There are even some exchanges that automatically direct their combined hash rate at the most profitable cryptocurrency — taking the guesswork out of the equation. bitcoin mining pool Best Mining Pools for 2019 The Bitcoin mining pool industry has a large number of players, but the vast majority of the Bitcoin hash rate is concentrated within just a few pools. Currently, there are dozens of suitable pools to choose from — but we have selected just a few of the best to help get you started on your journey. Slushpool was the first Bitcoin mining pool released, being launched way back in 2010 under the name “Bitcoin Pooled Mining Server.” Since then, Slushpool has grown into one of the most popular pools around — currently accounting for just under 10 percent of the total Bitcoin hash rate. Although Slushpool isn’t one of the very largest pools, it does offer a newbie-friendly interface alongside more advanced features for those that need them. The pool has moderately high fees of 2 percent but offers servers in several countries — including the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan — giving it a good balance of fees to features. BTC.com is another potential candidate for your pool and currently stands as the largest public Bitcoin mining pool. It is responsible for mining around 17 percent of new blocks. Being the largest public mining pool provides users with a sense of security, ensuring blocks are mined regularly and a stable income is made. Image courtesy of Blockchain.info. BTC.com is owned by Bitmain, a company that manufacturers mining hardware, and charges a 1.5 percent fees — placing it squarely in the middle-tier in terms of fees. Unlike other platforms, BTC.com uses its own payment structure known as FPPS (Full Pay Per Share), which means miners also receive a share of the transaction fees included within mined blocks — making it slightly more profitable than standard payment per share (PPS) pools. Another great option is Antpool, a mining pool that supports mining services for 10 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH). AntPool frequently trades places with BTC.com as the largest Bitcoin mining pool. However, as of this writing, it occupies the title of the third-largest public mining pool. What sets Antpool apart from other pools is the ability to choose your own fee system — including PPS, PPS+, and PPLNS. If you choose PPLNS, using Antpool is free but you will not receive any transaction fees from any blocks mined. Antpool also offers regular payouts and has a low minimum payout of just 0.001 BTC, making it suitable for smaller miners. Last on the list of the best Bitcoin mining pools in 2019 is the Bitcoin.com mining pool. Although this is one of the smaller pools available, the Bitcoin.com pool has some redeeming features that make it worth a look. It offers mining contracts, allowing you to test out Bitcoin mining before investing in mining equipment of your own. According to Bitcoin.com, they are the highest paying Pay Per Share (PPS) pool in the world, offering up to 98 percent block rewards as well as automatic switching between BTC and BCH mining to optimize profitability. Electricity Costs While your mining hardware is most important when it comes to how much BTC you can earn when mining, your electricity costs are usually the largest additional expense. With electricity costs often varying dramatically between countries, ensuring you are on the best cost-per-KWh plan available will help to keep costs down when mining. Most commonly, large mining operations will be set up in countries where electricity costs are the lowest — such as Iceland, India, and Ukraine. Since China has one of the lowest energy costs in the world, it was previously the epicenter of Bitcoin mining. However, since the government began cracking down on cryptocurrencies, it has largely fallen out of favor with miners. Technically, Venezuela is one of the cheapest countries in the world in terms of electricity, with the government heavily subsidizing these energy costs — while Bitcoin offers an escape from the hyperinflation suffered by the Venezuelan bolivar. Despite this, importing mining hardware into the country is a costly endeavor, making it impractical for many people. Finding ways to lower your electricity costs is one of the best ways to improve your mining profitability. This can include investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, or wind — which can yield increased profitability over the long term. if you are looking to buy bitcoin mining equipment here is some links: Model Antminer S17 Pro (56Th) from Bitmain mining SHA-256 algorithm with a maximum hashrate of 56Th/s for a power consumption of 2385W. https://miningwholesale.eu/product/bitmain-antminer-s17-pro-56th-copy/?wpam_id=17 Model Antminer S9K from Bitmain mining SHA-256 algorithm with a maximum hashrate of 14Th/s for a power consumption of 1323W. https://miningwholesale.eu/product/bitmain-antminer-s9k-14-th-s/?wpam_id=17 Model T2T 30Tfrom Innosilicon mining SHA-256 algorithm with a maximum hashrate of 30Th/s for a power consumption of 2200W. https://miningwholesale.eu/product/innosilicon-t2t-30t/?wpam_id=17 mining wholesale website: https://miningwholesale.eu/?wpam_id=17
Educate Yourself - My Top Picks for news sources, YouTube channels, and podcasts
Why do I need to know what is going on in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain? I'm just here to trade and make money. I saw someone post a couple of days ago about how they have held Ethereum for a while, but had recently "done some research" and discovered that Ethereum was Turing complete and that "surely this must be one of Ethereum's most important features." At that moment, I realized how many people who post here have no idea what the hell they are talking about. If this post can help us become collectively smarter and more informed, and thereby elevate the quality of the discussion in this community, then it will have served its purpose. If you want to get smart on any topic, you need to learn and keep learning from others who are knowledgeable. Things evolve incredibly quickly in the world of crypto and it is very easy to fall out of the loop on the latest happenings. Since most of you have money on the line (in the form of ETH holdings), that should be all of the incentive you need to stay informed. Every effective traditional investor I have ever met researches the hell out of every stock they buy (before they buy it), but also keeps in the know on every major development that company and its competitors have. This is doubly important in the world of crypto where markets can move much faster and the potential for scams and major disruption are much higher. But what about ethtrader? Can't I just get all of my news here? Getting all your news from ethtrader (especially the Daily) is like getting all of your news while standing in line at the grocery store, talking to other people who are reading the National Enquirer. Sure, you may happen upon a useful tidbit of knowledge, but you may also get wrong info that leads you to make bad decisions if you are not informed. But one thing is for sure: it is entertaining. My Top 5 News Source Picks There is no TL;DR for developing real wisdom and insight. Start reading full articles on a regular basis for topics related to crypto/blockchain. At a minimum, put the sites below into a folder on your browser's bookmarks tab and open them daily. Or get an RSS reader and make sure you methodically read every single article that comes out on these sites. Newsify is a great RSS reader for iOS users. For either iOS or Android, you could check out Feedly.
/ethereum (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) - ethereum tends to have more dev focused content. It also tends to highlight big events in the world of Ethereum, ranging from official announcements to the new adoption of Ethereum in the real world.
ETHNews (Intermediate, Advanced) - Probably the best source for all-around Ethereum news. Focuses quite a bit on Ethereum adoption around the world.
Bitcoin Magazine (Intermediate, Advanced) - Focuses on Bitcoin, but covers many other topics related to crypto. Excellent writing and journalism quality. Fun fact: Vitalik Buterin was a co-founder Bitcoin Magazine.
CoinDesk (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) - This is the closest thing crypto has to a news site that feels more "mainstream." The quality of reporting has actually gotten a lot better here in recent months. If you haven't checked it out for a while, I recommend you do so.
Coin Telegraph (Beginner, Intermediate) - Honestly, you would probably be just fine with four news sources above- most of what CoinTelegraph covers is covered better on those sites. CoinTelegraph feels a bit juvenile, with their journalism and writing quality often leaving something to be desired. But occasionally, you'll find a diamond in the rough when they break a big story first.
Honorable Mentions: You may also want to check out TrustNodes, but their content feels a bit more editorial-ish. There are also many great posts from devs on Medium. Sign up for an account and they'll start e-mailing you some good picks based upon your reading history. My Top 5 YouTube Channel Picks Honestly, there are so many YouTube channels these days, I can't keep up with them. I'll often watch the suggested content from YouTube as a way to discover new vloggers.
The Cryptoverse (Beginner, Intermediate) - Short and well done discussion of daily crypto news and markets from a generally likable guy. Spends a bit too much time talking about shit coins on occasion for my taste, but this is easy to overlook. He is based out of the UK and posts pretty early in the morning for US viewers.
Crypt0 (Beginner, Intermediate) - Omar is a great and engaging host who is very passionate about crypto. Good for daily news and editorial perspectives. Sometimes gets a little long winded, but that's part of his charm.
Ivan on Tech (Beginner, Intermediate) - I really enjoy this channel. Ivan works as a software developer and does a great job of explaining pretty complex blockchain topics for the layperson. Each episode typically focuses on just a couple of topics and analyzes them pretty rigorously.
The Node Investor (Intermediate, Advanced) - Probably one of the best technical analysis channels out there. I don't really trade myself, but I enjoy watching this channel anyway.
BoxMining (Beginner) - If you have time for a fifth, BoxMining is a good choice. He delivers information in a fairly easy to understand way, but what I really like is his China coverage (he's based out of Hong Kong). Outside of that, his analysis and editorial comments aren't really anything to write home about.
Honorable Mentions: Love him or hate him, you can't ignore Andreas...good for quick hits on crypto-philosophy. Real Crypto recently caught my attention as well, with excellent quality TA. Chris Dunn is also very well-established and solid for TA. DataDash is also very informative for ICO analysis and TA. I also like MrYukonC, who is a mod here and talks about topics from this sub on occasion. He only posts when he has something to say (which is fairly episodically), but I think that is a good thing. My Top 3 Podcast Picks I only have time to listen to so many podcasts, but here are the three that I listen to on a regular basis.
Epicenter (Intermediate, Advanced) - Probably one of the deepest and best podcasts in the blockchain space. They don't really discuss price / markets, but instead focus on blockchain fundamentals. They frequently get the biggest name guests, including major project leads, hot ICO founders, and others from the legal/regulator and business world. They often get a little technical, but the information is very good. If you are brand new to blockchain, you may find this podcast a bit hard to follow at first, but its worth it to stick with it. Be sure to listen to their library of old episodes as there are many good insights in them (including a few with Vitalik Buterin).
Neocash Radio (Beginner, Intermediate) - Great mix of news and market coverage, released weekly. Very easy to listen to with a relaxed, conversational style.
Unchained (Beginner, Intermediate) - This is Forbes' podcast on blockchain. It's designed to be more accessible for beginners. More informed folks may find it a bit basic.
Honorable Mention: Many folks also mentioned that they like the Ether Review, which I also listen to when the topic is of interest. That's it. Hope you all found that helpful. If you have any information sources you'd recommend, please share them! EDIT: Made a few corrections and added two additional sources I left out initially.
Georgia Tombstones (Part 2) by Jayge 8^J "Project Blue Beam is a conspiracy theory that claims that NASA is attempting to implement a New Age religion with the Antichrist at its head and start a New World Order, via a technologically-simulated Second Coming. The allegations were presented in 1994 by Quebecois journalist and conspiracy theorist Serge Monast, and later published in his book Project Blue Beam (NASA). Proponents of the theory allege that Monast and another unnamed journalist, who both died of heart attacks in 1996, were in fact assassinated, and that the Canadian government kidnapped Monast's daughter in an effort to dissuade him from investigating Project Blue Beam. The project was apparently supposed to be implemented in 1983, but it didn't happen. It was then set for implementation in 1995 and then 1996. Monast thought Project Blue Beam would be brought to fruition by the year 2000, really, definitely, for sure. The theory is widely popular (for a conspiracy theory) on the Internet, with many web pages dedicated to the subject, and countless YouTube videos explaining it. The actual source material, however, is very thin indeed. Monast lectured on the theory in the mid-1990s (a transcript of one such lecture is widely available), before writing and publishing his book, which has not been reissued by his current publisher and is all but unobtainable. The currently available pages and videos all appear to trace back to four documents: A transcript of the 1994 lecture by Monast, translated into English. A GeoCities page written by David Openheimer and which appears to draw on the original book. A page on educate-yourself.org, compiled in 2005, which appears to include a translation of the book from the French. Monast's page in French Wikipedia. The French Wikipedia article is largely sourced from two books on conspiracy theories and extremism by Pierre-André Taguieff, a mainstream academic expert on racist and extremist groups. From these few texts have come a flood of green ink, in text and video form, in several languages. Even the French language material typically does not cite the original book but the English language pages on educate-yourself.org. However, conspiracy theorists seem to use quantity as a measure of substance (much as alternative medicine uses appeal to tradition) and never mind the extremely few sources it all traces back to. Proponents of the theory have extrapolated it to embrace HAARP, 9/11, the Norwegian Spiral, chemtrails, FEMA concentration camps and Tupac Shakur. Everything is part of Project Blue Beam. It's well on its way to becoming the Unified Conspiracy Theory. Behold A Pale Horse, William Cooper's 1991 green ink magnum opus, has lately been considered a prior claim of, hence supporting evidence for, Blue Beam by advocates. The book is where a vast quantity of now-common conspiracy memes actually came from, so retrospectively claiming it as prior evidence is somewhere between cherrypicking and the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. However, the following quotes, from pages 180-181, intersect slightly with the specific themes of Blue Beam: It is true that without the population or the bomb problem the elect would use some other excuse to bring about the New World Order. They have plans to bring about things like earthquakes, war, the Messiah, an extra-terrestrial landing, and economic collapse. They might bring about all of these things just to make damn sure that it does work. They will do whatever is necessary to succeed. The Illuminati has all the bases covered and you are going to have to be on your toes to make it through the coming years. Can you imagine what will happen if Los Angeles is hit with a 9.0 quake, New York City is destroyed by a terrorist-planted atomic bomb, World War III breaks out in the Middle East, the banks and the stock markets collapse, Extraterrestrials land on the White House lawn, food disappears from the markets, some people disappear, the Messiah presents himself to the world, and all in a very short period of time? Can you imagine? The world power structure can, and will if necessary, make some or all of those things happen to bring about the New World Order. “Without a universal belief in the new age religion, the success of the new world order will be impossible!” The alleged purpose of Project Blue Beam is to bring about a global New Age religion, which is seen as a core requirement for the New World Order's dictatorship to be realised. There's nothing new in thinking of religion as a form of control, but the existence of multiple religions, spin-off cults, competing sects and atheists suggest that controlling the population entirely through a single religion isn't particularly easy. Past attempts have required mechanisms of totalitarianism such as the Inquisition. Monast's theory, however, suggests using sufficiently advanced technology to trick people into believing. Of course, the plan would have to assume that people could never fathom the trick at all — something contested by anyone sane enough not to swallow this particular conspiracy. The primary claimed perpetrator of Project Blue Beam is NASA, presented as a large and mostly faceless organization that can readily absorb such frankly odd accusations, aided by the United Nations, another old-time boogeyman of conspiracy theorists. According to Monast, the project has four steps: Step One requires the breakdown of all archaeological knowledge. This will apparently be accomplished by faking earthquakes at precise locations around the planet. Fake "new discoveries" at these locations "will finally explain to all people the error of all fundamental religious doctrines", specifically Christian and Muslim doctrines. This makes some degree of sense — if you want to usurp a current way of thinking you need to completely destroy it before putting forward your own. However, religious belief is notoriously resilient to things like facts. The Shroud of Turin is a famous example that is still believed by many to be a genuine shroud of Jesus as opposed to the medieval forgery that it has been conclusively shown to be. Prayer studies, too, show how difficult it is to shift religious conviction with mere observational fact — indeed, many theologians avoid making falsifiable claims or place belief somewhere specifically beyond observation to aid this. So what finds could possibly fundamentally destroy both Christianity and Islam, almost overnight, and universally all over the globe? Probably nothing. Yet, this is only step one of an increasingly ludicrous set of events that Project Blue Beam predicts will occur. Step Two involves a gigantic "space show" wherein three-dimensional holographic laser projections will be beamed all over the planet — and this is where Blue Beam really takes off. The projections will take the shape of whatever deity is most predominant, and will speak in all languages. At the end of this light show, the gods will all merge into one god, the Antichrist. This is a rather baffling plan as it seems to assume people will think this is actually their god, rather than the more natural twenty-first century assumption that it is a particularly opaque Coca Cola advertisement. Evidence commonly advanced for this is a supposed plan to project the face of Allah, despite its contradiction with Muslim belief of God's uniqueness, over Baghdad in 1991 to tell the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Someone, somewhere, must have thought those primitive, ignorant non-Western savages wouldn't have had television or advertising, and would never guess it was being done with mirrors. In general, pretty much anything that either a) involves light or b) has been seen in the sky has been put forward as evidence that Project Blue Beam is real, and such things are "tests" of the technology — namely unidentified flying objects. Existing display technology such as 3D projection mapping and holograms are put forward as foreshadowing the great light show in the sky. This stage will apparently be accomplished with the aid of a Soviet computer that will be fed "with the minute physio-psychological particulars based on their studies of the anatomy and electro-mechanical composition of the human body, and the studies of the electrical, chemical and biological properties of the human brain", and every human has been allocated a unique radio wavelength. The computers are also capable of inducing suicidal thoughts. The Soviets are (not "were") the "New World Order" people. Why NASA would use a Soviet computer when the USSR had to import or copy much of its computer technology from the West is not detailed. The second part of Step Two happens when the holograms result in the dissolution of social and religious order, "setting loose millions of programmed religious fanatics through demonic possession on a scale never witnessed before." The United Nations plans to use Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the anthem for the introduction of the new age one world religion. There is relatively little to debunk in this, the most widely remembered section of the Project Blue Beam conspiracy, as the idea is so infeasible. Citing actual existing communication technology is odd if the point is for the end product to appear magical, rather than just as cheap laser projections onto clouds. This hasn't stopped some very strange conspiracy theories about such things popping up. Indeed, the notion of gods being projected into the sky was floated in 1991 by conspiracy theorist Betty J. Mills. And US general (and CIA shyster extraordinaire), Edward Lansdale, actually floated a plan to fake a Second Coming over Cuba to get rid of Castro. Step Three is "Telepathic Electronic Two-Way Communication." It involves making people think their god is speaking to them through telepathy, projected into the head of each person individually using extreme low frequency radio waves. (Atheists will presumably hear an absence of Richard Dawkins.) The book goes to some lengths to describe how this would be feasible, including a claim that ELF thought projection caused the depressive illness of Michael Dukakis' wife Kitty. Step Four has three parts: Making humanity think an alien invasion is about to occur at every major city; Making the Christians think the Rapture is about to happen; A mixture of electronic and supernatural forces, allowing the supernatural forces to travel through fiber optics, coax, power and telephone lines to penetrate all electronic equipment and appliances, that will by then all have a special microchip installed. Then chaos will break out, and people will finally be willing — perhaps even desperate — to accept the New World Order. "The techniques used in the fourth step is exactly the same used in the past in the USSR to force the people to accept Communism." A device has apparently already been perfected that will lift enormous numbers of people, as in a Rapture. UFO abductions are tests of this device. Project Blue Beam proponents believe psychological preparations have already been made, Monast having claimed that 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and the Star Trek series all involve an invasion from space and all nations coming together (the first two don't, the third is peaceful contact) and that Jurassic Park propagandises evolution in order to make people think God's words are lies. The book detailed the theory. In the 1994 lecture, Monast detailed what would happen afterwards. All people will be required to take an oath to Lucifer with a ritual initiation to enter the New World Order. Resisters will be categorised as follows: Christian children will be kept for human sacrifice or sexual slaves. Prisoners to be used in medical experiments. Prisoners to be used as living organ banks. Healthy workers in slave labour camps. Uncertain prisoners in the international re-education center, thence to repent on television and learn to glorify the New World Order. The international execution centre. An as yet unknown seventh classification. Joel Engel's book Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek was released in 1994, shortly before Monast's lecture on Project Blue Beam: “In May 1975, Gene Roddenberry accepted an offer from Paramount to develop Star Trek into a feature film, and moved back into his old office on the Paramount lot. His proposed story told of a flying saucer, hovering above Earth, that was programmed to send down people who looked like prophets, including Jesus Christ.” All the steps of the conspiracy theory were in the unmade mid-'70s Star Trek film script by Roddenberry, which were recycled for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Devil's Due, broadcast in 1991. There is no evidence of deliberate fraud on Monast's part; given his head was quite thoroughly full of squirrels and confetti by this time, it's entirely plausible that he thought this was the revelation of secret information in a guise safe for propagation. However, the actual source was so obvious that even other conspiracy theorists noticed. They confidently state it was obvious that Monast had been fed deceptive information by the CIA. Of course!" -- rationalwiki.org "Serge Monast was a Québécois investigative journalist, poet, essayist and conspiracy theorist. He is known to English-speaking readers mainly for Project Blue Beam and associated conspiracy tropes. His works on Masonic conspiracy theories and the New World Order also remain popular with French-speaking conspiracy theorists and enthusiasts." -- Wikipedia "A human microchip implant is typically an identifying integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being. This type of subdermal implant usually contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, law enforcement, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. The first experiments with an RFID implant were carried out in 1998 by the British scientist Kevin Warwick. His implant was used to open doors, switch on lights, and cause verbal output within a building. After nine days the implant was removed and has since been held in the Science Museum (London). On 16 March 2009 British scientist Mark Gasson had an advanced glass capsule RFID device surgically implanted into his left hand. In April 2010 Gasson's team demonstrated how a computer virus could wirelessly infect his implant and then be transmitted on to other systems. Gasson reasoned that with implanted technology the separation between man and machine can become theoretical because the technology can be perceived by the human as being a part of their body. Because of this development in our understanding of what constitutes our body and its boundaries he became credited as being the first human infected by a computer virus. He has no plans to remove his implant. Several hobbyists have placed RFID microchip implants into their hands or had them inserted by others. Amal Graafstra, author of the book RFID Toys, asked doctors to place implants in his hands in March 2005. A cosmetic surgeon used a scalpel to place a microchip in his left hand, and his family doctor injected a chip into his right hand using a veterinary Avid injector kit. Graafstra uses the implants to access his home, open car doors, and to log on to his computer. With public interest growing, in 2013 he launched biohacking company Dangerous Things and crowdfunded the world's first implantable NFC transponder in 2014. He has also spoken at various events and promotional gigs including TEDx, and built a smartgun that only fires after reading his implant. Alejandro Hernandez CEO of Futura is known to be the first in Central America to have Dangerous Things' transponder installed in his left hand by Federico Cortes in November 2017. Mikey Sklar had a chip implanted into his left hand and filmed the procedure. Jonathan Oxer self-implanted an RFID chip in his arm using a veterinary implantation tool. Martijn Wismeijer, Dutch marketing manager for Bitcoin ATM manufacturer General Bytes, placed RFID chips in both of his hands to store his Bitcoin private keys and business card. Patric Lanhed sent a “bio-payment” of one euro worth of Bitcoin using a chip embedded in his hand. Marcel Varallo had an NXP chip coated in Bioglass 8625 inserted into his hand between his forefinger and thumb allowing him to open secure elevators and doors at work, print from secure printers, unlock his mobile phone and home, and store his digital business card for transfer to mobile phones enabled for NFC. Biohacker Hannes Sjöblad has been experimenting with NFC (Near Field Communication) chip implants since 2015. During his talk at Echappée Voléé 2016 in Paris, Sjöblad disclosed that he has also implanted himself between his forefinger and thumb and uses it to unlock doors, make payments, and unlock his phone (essentially replacing anything you can put in your pockets). Additionally, Sjöblad has hosted several "implant parties," where interested individuals can also be implanted with the chip. Researchers have examined microchip implants in humans in the medical field and they indicate that there are potential benefits and risks to incorporating the device in the medical field. For example, it could be beneficial for noncompliant patients but still poses great risks for potential misuse of the device. Destron Fearing, a subsidiary of Digital Angel, initially developed the technology for the VeriChip. In 2004, the VeriChip implanted device and reader were classified as Class II: General controls with special controls by the FDA; that year the FDA also published a draft guidance describing the special controls required to market such devices. About the size of a grain of rice, the device was typically implanted between the shoulder and elbow area of an individual’s right arm. Once scanned at the proper frequency, the chip responded with a unique 16-digit number which could be then linked with information about the user held on a database for identity verification, medical records access and other uses. The insertion procedure was performed under local anesthetic in a physician's office. Privacy advocates raised concerns regarding potential abuse of the chip, with some warning that adoption by governments as a compulsory identification program could lead to erosion of civil liberties, as well as identity theft if the device should be hacked. Another ethical dilemma posed by the technology, is that people with dementia could possibly benefit the most from an implanted device that contained their medical records, but issues of informed consent are the most difficult in precisely such people. In June 2007, the American Medical Association declared that "implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) devices may help to identify patients, thereby improving the safety and efficiency of patient care, and may be used to enable secure access to patient clinical information", but in the same year, news reports linking similar devices to cancer caused in laboratory animals had a devastating impact on the company's stock price and sales. In 2010, the company, by then called "PositiveID", withdrew the product from the market due to poor sales. In January 2012, PositiveID sold the chip assets to a company called VeriTeQ that was owned by Scott Silverman, the former CEO of Positive ID. In 2016, JAMM Technologies acquired the chip assets from VeriTeQ; JAMM's business plan was to partner with companies selling implanted medical devices and use the RFID tags to monitor and identify the devices. JAMM Technologies is co-located in the same Plymouth, Minnesota building as Geissler Corporation with Randolph K. Geissler and Donald R. Brattain listed as its principals. The website also claims that Geissler was CEO of PositiveID Corporation, Destron Fearing Corporation, and Digital Angel Corporation. In 2018, A Danish firm called BiChip released a new generation of microchip implant that is intended to be readable from distance and connected to Internet. The company released an update for its microchip implant to associate it with the Ripple cryptocurrency to allow payments to be made using the implanted microchip. In February 2006, CityWatcher, Inc. of Cincinnati, OH became the first company in the world to implant microchips into their employees as part of their building access control and security system. The workers needed the implants to access the company's secure video tape room, as documented in USA Today. The project was initiated and implemented by Six Sigma Security, Inc. The VeriChip Corporation had originally marketed the implant as a way to restrict access to secure facilities such as power plants. A major drawback for such systems is the relative ease with which the 16-digit ID number contained in a chip implant can be obtained and cloned using a hand-held device, a problem that has been demonstrated publicly by security researcher Jonathan Westhues and documented in the May 2006 issue of Wired magazine, among other places. The Baja Beach Club, a nightclub in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, once used VeriChip implants for identifying VIP guests. The Epicenter in Stockholm, Sweden is using RFID implants for employees to operate security doors, copiers, and pay for lunch. In 2017 Mike Miller, chief executive of the World Olympians Association, was widely reported as suggesting the use of such implants in athletes in an attempt to reduce problems in sport due to drug taking. Theoretically, a GPS-enabled chip could one day make it possible for individuals to be physically located by latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and direction of movement. Such implantable GPS devices are not technically feasible at this time. However, if widely deployed at some future point, implantable GPS devices could conceivably allow authorities to locate missing persons and/or fugitives and those who fled from a crime scene. Critics contend, however, that the technology could lead to political repression as governments could use implants to track and persecute human rights activists, labor activists, civil dissidents, and political opponents; criminals and domestic abusers could use them to stalk and harass their victims; and child abusers could use them to locate and abduct children. Another suggested application for a tracking implant, discussed in 2008 by the legislature of Indonesia's Irian Jaya would be to monitor the activities of persons infected with HIV, aimed at reducing their chances of infecting other people. The microchipping section was not, however, included into the final version of the provincial HIV/AIDS Handling bylaw passed by the legislature in December 2008. With current technology, this would not be workable anyway, since there is no implantable device on the market with GPS tracking capability. Since modern payment methods rely upon RFID/NFC, it is thought that implantable microchips, if they were to ever become popular in use, would form a part of the cashless society. Verichip implants have already been used in nightclubs such as the Baja club for such a purpose, allowing patrons to purchase drinks with their implantable microchip. In a self-published report anti-RFID advocate Katherine Albrecht, who refers to RFID devices as "spy chips", cites veterinary and toxicological studies carried out from 1996 to 2006 which found lab rodents injected with microchips as an incidental part of unrelated experiments and dogs implanted with identification microchips sometimes developed cancerous tumors at the injection site (subcutaneous sarcomas) as evidence of a human implantation risk. However, the link between foreign-body tumorigenesis in lab animals and implantation in humans has been publicly refuted as erroneous and misleading and the report's author has been criticized over the use of "provocative" language "not based in scientific fact". Notably, none of the studies cited specifically set out to investigate the cancer risk of implanted microchips and so none of the studies had a control group of animals that did not get implanted. While the issue is considered worthy of further investigation, one of the studies cited cautioned "Blind leaps from the detection of tumors to the prediction of human health risk should be avoided". The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) of the American Medical Association published a report in 2007 alleging that RFID implanted chips may compromise privacy because there is no assurance that the information contained in the chip can be properly protected. Following Wisconsin and North Dakota, California issued Senate Bill 362 in 2007, which makes it illegal to force a person to have a microchip implanted, and provide for an assessment of civil penalties against violators of the bill. In 2008, Oklahoma passed 63 OK Stat § 63-1-1430 (2008 S.B. 47), that bans involuntary microchip implants in humans. On April 5, 2010, the Georgia Senate passed Senate Bill 235 that prohibits forced microchip implants in humans and that would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to require them, including employers. The bill would allow voluntary microchip implants, as long as they are performed by a physician and regulated by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. The state's House of Representatives did not take up the measure. On February 10, 2010, Virginia's House of Delegates also passed a bill that forbids companies from forcing their employees to be implanted with tracking devices. Washington State House Bill 1142-2009-10 orders a study using implanted radio frequency identification or other similar technology to electronically monitor sex offenders and other felons. The general public are most familiar with microchips in the context of tracking their pets. In the U.S., some Christian activists, including conspiracy theorist Mark Dice, the author of a book titled The Resistance Manifesto, make a link between the PositiveID and the Biblical Mark of the Beast, prophesied to be a future requirement for buying and selling, and a key element of the Book of Revelation. Gary Wohlscheid, president of These Last Days Ministries, has argued that "Out of all the technologies with potential to be the mark of the beast, VeriChip has got the best possibility right now"." -- Wikipedia "In this latest book Joseph P Farrell examines the subject of mind control, but from a very unusual perspective, showing that its basic underlying philosophy, and goal, is not only cosmological in nature, but that the cosmology in view is very ancient, and that mind control of any sort, from the arts to hypnosis, remote electromagnetic technologies and “electroencephalographic dictionaries” has cosmological implications." -- Microcosm and Medium: The Cosmic Implications and Agenda of Mind Control Technologies publisher's description
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets are highly volatile and, according to new research, incredibly unpredictable, appearing to move independently of most traditional or expected indicators. The bitcoin price, which has doubled so far this year after recording heavy losses throughout 2018, is hovering around $8,000 per bitcoin. Most other major cryptocurrencies, including ethereum, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and Ripple's XRP, have also made significant gains in recent months. Now, it's been revealed that bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets do not respond to any of the things that usually move traditional currencies, stocks and shares, or commodities, data provider Indexica has found. Bitcoin has swung wildly in price over recent months, exploding higher in April after months of declines. Getty "We tested bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies including ethereum and bitcoin cash in the same way we've tested popular stocks and traditional currencies," said Zak Selbert, chief executive of Indexica. "From our extensive research, and we've done more testing around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies than we have for pretty much any other asset we've analyzed, it simply appears the bitcoin price and crypto markets just don't respond as we would expect them to." Stocks, traditional currencies, and commodities generally move on company announcements, government policy, and technological developments, while bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices do not, according to Indexica. It's been suggested that the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market's relatively young age could be behind the difficulties in pinpointing what's caused market moves. "As we're dealing with an emerging asset class, crypto evaluation metrics are still largely being developed," said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro. "Stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities all have decades if not centuries of price discovery, so analysts more or less know what to expect. "The crypto market has only begun to mature in the last two years, so we don't have any of that. What does work well for crypto analysts are simple technical analysis tools like support and resistance points, especially psychological barriers, as well as sentiment, trend, and above all momentum indicators." "Bitcoin and crypto prices are all about excitement or lack of," said Glen Goodman, a veteran trader and author of investment advice book, The Crypto Trader. "Nobody really knows for sure whether or not bitcoin will become a major store of value like gold or even a new global reserve currency like the dollar. So any news short of an outright global ban of bitcoin tends to have little lasting impact on bitcoin's price. "For example, China banned initial coin offerings and bitcoin exchanges in September 2017, which was a huge blow as China was the epicenter of crypto development. Yet within a few weeks, bitcoin's price reached another all-time high!" Volatility has, meanwhile, returned to the bitcoin market recently, with the bitcoin price recording daily moves that appear to mimic moves last seen at the end of 2018. The daily price change for the month of May averages 4.7%, compared with 3.5% in April and 1.1% in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earlier this month, however, Indexica found bitcoin has matured as an asset and there had been a "coming of age" for bitcoin over the past few years, based on the study of the language used in thousands of text documents. Indexica found bitcoin now is being spoken about in the same way as a company stock, with those in the industry increasingly looking ahead to future developments and less back to the heyday of 2017. This latest research was designed to examine what has caused the wild swings in the bitcoin price by analyzing data from things like news articles and white papers. The bitcoin price fell sharply before recovering ground over the last year, though attempts to analyse what exactly moves the price have failed. CoinDesk "Sadly, it appears that if you want to know what's moving the bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets, we're not the right people to ask," Selbert said. "Though I don't think anyone could make a better attempt than we have." "The fact that we couldn't find what drove bitcoin, frankly, means that there isn't a predictive signal to be found," Selbert added. "If there was, we would have found it. What is driving bitcoin isn't easily identifiable with any level of statistical confidence." The bitcoin price rose from under $1,000 per bitcoin to almost $20,000 throughout 2017 before losing more than 80% of its value last year. A partial recovery so far this year has restored some investors' and traders' faith in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The epic 2017 bitcoin bull run is thought to have been triggered by expectations institutional investment in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market was imminent but when that failed to materialize in the way many thought it would, the market pulled back sharply. Some think the latest bitcoin price rally over the last few months is down to interest in the cryptocurrency industry from Silicon Valley tech giants, including social network group Facebook. Forbes Special Offer: Be among the first to get important crypto and blockchain news and information with Forbes Crypto Confidential. https://preview.redd.it/ab5twb8vo8431.png?width=200&format=png&auto=webp&s=8ed144a0ae9e96f1da6af50c13725ceb1e02e981
“Whiskey and water. Leave the bottle.” The bartender produced the required glassware along with a flask of amber fluid, but made no move to open it and continue the procedure. After a few seconds of letting him stare at me, I sighed and dug out a bitcoin spear, twirling it between my fingers letting it drop onto the counter. The bartender performed a magic trick and made it disappear into a reader, eyebrows threatening to climb off his bald head at the number of zeroes on the tiny screen. Cash on the barrelhead always trumped whatever initial impression I made when walking into a new place. Quick as a wink the previous bottle was replaced with something a bit more top shelf - probably from his private stash - along with a bowl of cashews and dried wasabi peas. I didn’t care, top shelf was probably more than I deserved. Not that I was about to turn down the wasabi peas, mind you - they just weren’t the reason I came here. I was here to drink. And drink I did. A lot. A sip of whiskey each for those that marched in didn’t make it back out. Nineteen thousand brave men and women who went to the wall and held it, held it hard, just so that the rest of the world could keep on living. Heros each and every one of the, the best and finest soldiers I had ever served with. All dead. All dead. All because they followed me. The face that stared back at me from the mirror over the bar looked nothing like the man I remembered. This one had a haunted look of someone who had seen too much and couldn’t sleep afterwards. A man who drank to excess in an effort to forget and was failing miserably at it, but kept trying anyways. A man that led his troops into battle and wound up most of them killed. A man who stumbled out of the war zone, gathered up what was left, and led the charge back in. A man who sacrificed the finest men and women on the planet, but got the job done and lived to talk about it. I hated the man that looked back at me. I hated the fact he had been showered with medals and commendations and called a goddamn hero. He - I - didn’t deserve any of it. The ones that did got nothing but their name on a wall and an email full of platitudes to their families back home. A pittance to remember someone like Private Alimah Kerr, screaming as she unloaded her service weapon into the face of the thing that was chewing her leg off. Or Specialist Robert Hue who stood his ground as the aliens advanced, refusing to yield until he too disappeared under a wave of slobbering blue-green flesh before finally detonating his remaining grenades. The finest Humanity had to offer. And nobody to remember them but me and a handful of others that had walked away and then paraded in front of the media. Bastards, each and every one of us. Especially me. Survivor's guilt, they called it. The shrinks tried to convince me that I wasn’t at fault, but I knew better. They hadn’t been there, up close and personal with the aliens that came pouring through the gateway, howling and screaming for Human blood. Every single last one of them a whirling murder machine, all legs and claws and teeth, a dripping nightmare from the depths of hell. The good thing was they died just as easy as we did - only there was a lot more of them. The gateway had been yet-another attempt to create a working FTL system. In that regard, it is was a roaring success - and if the creator had survived the initial incursion, he would have won a Nobel Prize. Instead he became xeno chow along with rest of the scientists. The idiot never considered that there might be something waiting for us on the other side, ready to jump through and start fucking things up. Without thinking, he just opened a goddamn doorway to hell and invited the bastards in, leaving the rest of us to fight our way towards the portal and slam the thing shut before something worse came through. We won, of course. But it was a victory bought and paid for dearly, one bloody step at a time. I continued to drink, mentally calling out names with each sip. Victoria Smith. Mark Belzar. Sigivald Elwin. Andy Paz. I had memorized each of the nineteen thousand I led into battle and then left behind. Good men and women. I wish I could count myself among them. Instead I was left with nothing but their names and a fat bank account, courtesy of early retirement. That, and the memory of how I had took them right up to the gates of hell and told them to keep going. Their great commanding officer, the one they looked up to and expected to bring them home, safe and sound. But in the end, I wound up escorting them right to the gates of hell. If it made any difference I was right there with them, every step of the way. Lead from the front was always my motto. Do as I do, like this, here, you try. They loved me for it, and I loved them back, all of them. One big trigger-happy family. I waved at the bartender for another bottle, and he swapped out the empty one for me, setting another decanter of water next to it. I refreshed my glass and snorted at the label. “None Better” it proclaimed, in flowing gold script, winner of the ‘52 international. Perhaps. I couldn’t tell - it all went down the same, burning a line from my mouth to my gut like a tracer bullet. The soft bloom of warmth when it hit was a welcome relief, dulling the pain. If only it could dull the memory of what happened. We had been out doing maneuvers - mostly a show of force to remind everyone that the UN was serious about keeping the peace - when we got an alert indicating a hostile force at a nearby research complex. The day had been going good and I was pleased with how the troops were performing and gave the order to re-task and take back the facility. I assumed it was yet another terrorist action, a bunch of fucking losers following some jackass who thought he was the seconding coming and wanted to prove it by blowing shit up and lopping off heads. What those guys hope to accomplish by all of that is beyond me. Still, they always seemed to be able to gather supporters from those that had nothing else better to do. I guess vague promises of a glowing afterlife was better than dirty villages and crappy TV. On the surface it seemed like a run-of-the-mill op, just like all the others that we’ve been doing since the UNSOF was formed. Somehow the insurgents had managed to slip in and take over the lab before anyone noticed - which meant overwatch had been slacking off and needed a kick in the ass. I figured it would all be over pretty soon and the grunts could look forward to some well-deserved R’n’R afterwards while us command-types filled out paperwork. Just another day at the office, one step closer to retirement and that 30-foot boat I’d been daydreaming about. A little shock and awe and everything would be right on our corner of the world. Give the kids something to bullshit the starry-eyed civvies with back in town, maybe enough to impress the locals to come back their place and get all sticky together. I was just glad we mandated strict birth control, religious and cultural affiliations be dammed. The first indication it was not a terrorist group was when the incursion team breached the outer doors and started screaming. The whirling mass of death that came storming out tore into the team like a starving man at a buffet. To their credit, they stood their ground and gave as good as they got until backup arrived and provided supporting fire, splattering the shit out of whatever it was before recovering our dead and wounded. I gave the order to move in and secure the facility, assuming that whatever had torn Alpha team to ribbons was some unsanctioned animal experiment that got loose. It was only after we lost both Bravo and Charlie did we realize it wasn’t animals we were dealing with but a whole new life form, one that really enjoyed snacking on humans. By the time the rest of the division showed up to provide much-needed support we were down to less than a hundred functioning soldiers and had nothing to show for it. The UNSOF trained and outfitted some of the best soldiers on the planet, and we were experts at enforcing the peace or dealing with the odd armed insurgent, but an actual alien invasion was a little outside of our bailiwick. But we were also never one to back down from a fight, especially one where the fate of the world hung in the balance. The extra firepower allowed us to force our way through the swarms of aliens that just kept coming and coming. Sergeant Iva Magdalene joked with Private Sam Lammert that it was like some sort of video game and wondered if there was a boss level. That was the last coherent thing I heard from her team, screaming and the sound of gunfire saturating the radio channel shortly afterwards. The bar was starting to fill up, the afternoon working class crowd shouldering their way in and talking loud. Friends backslapping each other, yapping about sports or the latest movie or how the new foreman was an idiot. I ignored them and stayed on my perch, nailed there by a continual supply of whiskey and spicy dried peas. I blinked and the empty bottle magically replaced itself, the bartender swapping it out as he moved by. I took that as a good sign and poured myself another, sipping it as I mentally counted out the names. Afonso Lefteris. Castor Theudemar. Rodrigo Neely. Arcadia Frantziska. Coco Yana. Lesha Teagan. Dan Dorin. Cassandra Goldburg. All gone, just names on a wall somewhere now, destined to be part of a school field trip where bored kids stand around and fidget as their teacher tries to jam some history between their dirty ears. Not one of those kids or their teacher will care Cassandra wrote dirty Harry Potter vampire fan fiction, Rodrigo had been studying to be a lawyer, or that Dan moonlighted as a classical guitarist. Each one had a future and a life ahead of them that was wiped out when I sent them off to die. And every last one of them went willingly. Confident, strong, proud. A credit to the uniform. A uniform I no longer felt that I had the right to wear. I set my empty glass down with exaggerated care, uncertain of where the tabletop was, my enhanced liver working overtime to process the influx of alcohol. The thunk told me I had made it successfully, and I let go of the glass and stared into it, the slowly collapsing film of whiskey that clung to the side a reminder of the gateway at the epicenter of the invasion. The egg-shaped device looked like wet glass, the distortion rippling between complicated armatures keeping the field open. It had taken six hours of constant fighting, some of it hand-to-hand, before we gained access to the chamber housing the gateway. Behind us we had left a trail of bodies, both ours and theirs, some of them stacked three deep. The stench of death mixed with the smell of cordite and burnt railgun coils. I had lost track of my own weapon some point, picking up a discard and using that instead. The stock was crusted in dried blood, some of it mine, most of it alien where I had used it as a club. My continual requests for more support and heavy equipment were being shuffled around and put off, nobody willing to believe the reports being sent in. Those of us on the ground were resolved to end this here and now, holding the first, last, and only line of defence between Humanity and the growling alien mob. By this point we had all gotten pretty good at figuring out what the alien’s weak points were - head shots fucked them up pretty good, but they’d just barrel along until you took out the heart-thing located in their ass. Someone told me later they were like bees, putting their vital bits in back and responding to a queen. I stopped eating honey right after that. Being more efficient at killing was not that helpful when the enemy force seemed to have an unlimited supply of bodies to throw at us. At some point we were going to run out of ammo - we had been scavenging what we could off of our dead comrades, exhaustion and terror keeping us from feeling bad about it. I kept sending soldiers out in twos and threes to search the surrounding areas and bring back what they could. Sometimes they came back missing a team member. Sometimes they didn’t come back at all. I added them to the list of dead that I was responsible for and kept pushing forward. The bartender came over and gave me a look, judging if I was at the point where he should consider cutting me off. I held out my hand to show that it was steady - surgeon's hands, my mother called them - and nodded, my fancy liver having already dealt with the booze. He reluctantly complied and poured a drink for me from a new bottle - my third, I think - before moving down the bar to take care of someone else. I kept drinking and counting off the names. Our first clue we were getting closer to the center of the invasion was a change in the mix of xeno types. Before it was just nasty critters that would attack en-masse, but these were more upright and started to sport weapons of their own. They also started to show a level of unit cohesion that was downright disturbing. We figured out pretty quickly that they were also responsible for directing the mass of smaller xenos, so killing them became a top priority. Same general body layout as the rest, so popping a round in their ass worked wonders. By this time we had finally figured out what the hell this place was and command had bought into our doomsday scenario - but were seemingly incapable of making a decision on what to do about it. I lost three men - Williams, Carine, and Renáta - as I hunkered down and got into a screaming match over the vidphone with a four-star general who had never seen live action before. It was only until I broke off to club a snarling mass of alien flesh that tried to eat my face did they get the message how dire the situation was. Nuclear weapons were off the table - even if we could get the release codes, the fallout would poison a large chunk of valuable farmland and wreck the underlying aquifer. The only available units with bunker busters or MOABs were hours away, about the same time as any heavy artillery that could punch through the walls. That left us with jack and shit, along with a dwindling number of functional soldiers who were running short on ammo and adrenaline. So we did what we were trained to do - we kept fighting. And kept dying. My upgraded liver had finally done its job and processed most of what I drank into hydrogen and energy, feeding a process that cracked the rest into more base components my body could use. Very little alcohol actually made it into my bloodstream, and what did was filtered out quickly and excreted in the normal manner. The upshot was I could generally keep drinking for as long as my bank account held out - which these days meant practically forever. One side effect of the upgrades is that I tend to sweat more than normal when I drink, which is hell on my clothing and contributes to the sad state of my personal hygiene. I honestly don’t care - that’s what laundry service is for. As for the smell, it kept the seats next to me clear, which let me focus on more important things. Like drinking and remembering the dead. So when someone invaded my personal space by sitting down and greeting me by name, I was totally unprepared. Fuck. Robbie. The promised support was going to be a long time in coming - most of what we needed were scattered around maintaining the peace or on a ship somewhere. Nobody expected some idiot to throw a complete division of troops and material into a meat grinder and then ask for more. We knew we were in the right area when we killed a dozen of the Walkers - what we started calling the upright fighters - all stationed around a hanger-like door that had been forced open from the inside. A quick peek around the corner showed the room inside was filled with critters of various sizes, all milling around the gateway that kept pooping out more. I could see a dozen or more Walkers arranged in front of it, gathered in a loose circle and waving their hand-things around in some sort of ritual fashion. I didn’t know if they were holding a seance and talking with Great Uncle Charley or just discussing the weather, and frankly I didn’t care - I just wanted them out of the way of our objective. Once we shut the gateway down I was certain that all of our problems would be solved and we could call it a day. Maybe even get out this in time for dinner. “Eugen, Pyotr. Take a squad each and scout left and right of our position. Look for power conduits big enough to power that thing. Sing out if you run into trouble. Go.” Two dozen men and women scampered off without a second thought. “Mansel. You and yours hold here with me. The rest, fan out and grab whatever ammo you can find. Return in five minutes.” Sixty soldiers ran down the hallways in groups of sevens and eights to find whatever they could, coming back within the allotted time. One ran into a pack of xenos and used up what ammo they had, returning empty handed. We parceled out everything the best we could. I kept as many railgun coils as I could carry and handed the rest to Robbie, who had the other functioning railgun. The rest were armed with upgraded SAR29’s and were ready for blood. Pyotr called in saying they had found a power cable that looked promising - it was certainly big enough and had warnings in six languages. Eugen hadn’t reported in and wasn’t responding to coms. I was hoping it was just because their radio was broken or the signal was blocked, but we all knew in our guts they were gone. More names to add to the list of brave men and women I had sent off to die. I ordered Pytor to cut the cable, which should shut down the gateway and prevent the aliens from bringing in any more reinforcements. As soon as that happened we were going to storm the room and kill every last stinking xeno. No survivors, and no Geneva convention to tell us different. It sorta kinda worked. “Whatcha drinking, Colonel?” Robbie asked me, as if everything was normal and it was just another day in the neighborhood. The rest of the bar hooted and hollered, someone sinking a clever shot on the pool table. “Whiskey. Get’cher own,” I growled back, taking a drink and pretending to ignore his presence. I was in no mood to share, particularly not with him. “And I’m retired.” The last time I had seen Robbie he was missing a hand along with a chunk of his face. The surgeons had done a good job on patching him back together. Hell, they had done a good job on everyone that made it out, myself included. They had to - if they showed the world what it really took to beat back an alien invasion, recruitment numbers would plummet to near zero. So broken bones were set, mangled limbs and organs were repaired or replaced, plastic surgery was scheduled. The scars were erased, but for some of us, they went too deep for any amount of medical care to fix. On the surface we looked and acted human, but inside some of us were more plastic and ceramic and high-tech gear than flesh and bone. But we looked good on TV, which is what really mattered. Robbie signaled for a beer, which the bartender obliged. “Put it on his tab,” he said, jerking a thumb at me. “He doesn’t mind.” “What do you want, Robbie?” I asked, waving a hand at the bartender to say it was okay. “Not like we parted friends last time I checked.” Words were exchanged, most of them heated. We didn’t come to blows, but damn near could’ve. “Things change. You were angry, blaming yourself for everything that happened.” Pointing at the line of empty bottles, he added, “looks like you still do.” I grunted in agreement and continued to drink. Robbie wouldn’t shut up and kept at it. “Still doing that thing where you go over the names of everyone that didn’t make it out?” I turned my head slowly towards Robbie, fixing him with a hostile stare. It was his turn to ignore me and he blathered on. “What’s the count again? Oh yes, nineteen thousand. I hear they are going to make a documentary. Want to be in it? They can use a sad sack of shit. Be right up your alley.” He shut up and took a drink from his beer, not realizing the amount of control it took not to punch his smug face in. I thought he was done talking but he started right back up again. “Believe it or not, I have been and always will be your friend. Maybe you forgot that, but I never did. Which is why when you walked away I didn’t, even if I wanted to. Someone had to stick around and pick up the slack. So while you’ve been drinking more than humanly possible and blaming yourself, I - we’ve - have been figuring out what happened.” “I know what happened. We went in and got blown to hell,” I answered, lifting my glass. “Most of a division wiped out on my orders. But we got the job done.” Robbie hit me with a sucker punch. “Who said the job was done?” Pytor’s team took down the power cable as ordered and we came in guns blazing. The gateway was going crazy from all of the ordinance flying around and its power supply being interrupted, but it wasn’t shutting down. Either there was a secondary conduit somewhere or a backup generator providing juice. I had a momentary worry that whatever ritual the Walkers had been doing was keeping it open, but they wasted no time in jumping into the fray, dispelling that notion. Our first order of business was taking the Walkers out - without them providing guidance, the rest of the xeno swarm should be easy. Great idea, but they weren’t going down without a fight. Robbie and I fought back-to-back, railguns close to overload as we fired round after round, punching through aliens four at a time. The rest of the remaining company of soldiers burned through ammo like it was going out of style. Someone yelling “grenade!” caused us all to duck, the bang of it going off followed by the whistling sound of shrapnel and someone screaming. Turns out it was me. A chunk of metal made it past my armor and lodged in my gut, tearing things up pretty bad. “Power souce!” I called out, doing my best to ignore the pain and stay upright. “Find the goddamn power source!” And incoherent shout drew my attention to Corporal Mahmud Paz, who was pointing at a unit mounted on the far side of the bay that was being guarded by three Walkers and a bunch of their pets. That looked like a fine place to have some target practice, and anyone who wasn’t directly engaged with staying alive moved in closer. Before we got there something came through and started to tear us a new asshole. Robbie and I ganged up on it and turned it into Swiss cheese, but not before it had wiped out twenty men and women we couldn’t afford to lose. “We’re fucked!” he gasped, the side of his face that wasn’t hamburger pale from blood loss. I was inclined to agree, but wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. “No we’re not,” I said with confidence I didn’t really have, eyes tracing the line of wrist-thick cables going from the generator to the arms of the still-functioning gateway. “There. Hit it there,” I ordered over the command channel, lighting up a junction with the laser targeting system. I followed through by reloading a coil and chunking off rounds, the railgun rapidly warming up in my hands, heading towards a critical overload. The remaining troops did the same, just as the Walkers realized they were about to be cut off from whatever hell they called home and broke ranks to try and stop us. Robbie’s railgun failed after five more rounds, the final shot warping the barrel and exploding, taking his right hand with it. The rest of us kept firing, spraying and praying we’d finally punch through and hit something important. Eventually we did. “Of course I am. Shut the gateway down, killed all the xenos, exfil’d back to base. World saved, all that jazz.” I took a big slug of whiskey and poured some more, skipping the water this time around. “You were there as I recall. Didn’t look as good as you do now.” “The miracle of modern medicine. So here’s the deal. We managed to salvage the research and rebuild the gateway. Now hold on, lemme finish. Smaller this time, lower power, double isolation chamber, failsafes, the works. Just big enough for some probes to go through without being detected. Guess what we found?” “Your virginity?” “Close, but no cigar. Worlds. Hundreds of worlds. And on all of them, dead civilizations, wiped out by the sames bastards that attacked us. Research managed to translate some of what they found and figured out that every time a species build a gateway, these things come through and wipe them out.” “But not us,” I grunted. “But not us. And it gets better.” Robbie looked around and leaned over slightly before continuing in a lower voice, like he was imparting some great secret. “We found their home world.” The Walkers and their remaining pets tore into us just as the power junction let go, causing the gateway to collapse in a soundless explosion of light and fury. The best part was that it sent the aliens reeling, making them easy pickings. By the time our reinforcements arrived we had bandaged our wounded and crawled out of the rubble, seventy three survivors out of a division of almost twenty thousand. Fresh air never smelled so good. I fully expected to be court-marshaled for taking such devastating losses and not calling for a retreat. Instead what I got was commendation after commendation, so many they had to create new combos just so I wouldn’t run out of chest area to display them all. I suspected that it was all a put-up job, but couldn’t get anyone to admit it. Everyone kept telling me how great I was and how I had done the impossible against incredible odds. I had so much smoke blown up my ass I thought I would get lung cancer. After a while I couldn’t take it anymore and turned in my paperwork and resigned, leaving the uniform and the job behind - the only thing I had known for most of my adult life. I never did buy that boat. “Explain,” I ordered, giving Robbie my best Don’t Fuck With Me glare. He pretended it didn’t work on him but answered anyways. “Just like I said. We found the planet they come from. Easy, too. If you don’t know enough to plan ahead the gateway naturally lands there, like a default setting. Then our buddies swarm through, kill everyone, and leave. Lather, rinse, repeat. Break the laws of physics, get eaten.” “Well that sucks,” I observed, taking a pull from my glass. “But you never answered my question, Robbie. What do you want?” “We - I - want you. We’re building a bigger gate, one that can send a division or three through. We want to take the fight to them, wipe them out for good before they can do the same to another species. Give the rest of the universe a chance to get off their own rocks and make something of themselves.” Robbie cleared his throat before continuing, “but we need a leader. One that can make the hard choices even if it tears him up inside. One that keeps going and going, putting his ass on the line every single day and inspiring others to do the same. One who knows how to fight these things and win. No matter what it takes. No matter what it costs him personally.” Robbie put his hand on the top of my glass, and forced it back down to the counter top. “How about it, Colonel? Wanna get some payback? Maybe make those names of yours mean something other than an excuse to wallow in your self-pity?” I didn’t say anything and stared at the reflection of the man in the mirror. “Don’t do it for me. Hell, don’t do it for yourself. Do it for them. For the nineteen thousand. Make their deaths be more than just names on a wall somewhere or a glass in your hand. Don’t walk away this time and hide in a bottle,” he pleaded, hand still covering mine and holding the glass of liquid memory eraser on the countertop. As I watched, my reflection shifted for a moment, showing me the man I used to be. A man deeply ashamed at what he had become - a drunk, a loser. A man that thought there might be something still inside worth saving, who had never really given up on either of us or what we had once believed in. A man who wanted a second chance to make up for his mistakes. “Weapons?” I asked, my voice quiet and lost in the background noise of the bar. I had hoped Robbie didn’t hear, but they must have fixed his ears, too. “New SAR31’s. Better fire control, larger magazines, bigger punch. Railguns have been improved, too. No more losing fingers,” he said, waving his replacement hand around, the synthflesh blending seamlessly into his wrist. “Got some prototype plasma casters that look promising, if you want’em.” “Armor?” louder this time. No use pretending any more. “Dragonskin v8. Interlocking plates. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Carry weight has been dropped by half, more flexible. Think chainmail that’ll stop a rocket.” I stared at the mirror. “Resupply? Air support?” “Done and done. Trust me, I was your XO for six years before you walked away. I know what you’re going to ask before you ask it. We’re locked, cocked, and ready to roll. Only thing missing is you. The key part to the whole shebang.” I drummed my fingers on the countertop, trying to think of something to trip him up, and give me an excuse to say no. The bottles called out to me, and I really wanted to get back to my drinking. I finally played my ace card and said, “fine, but I want Kitty,” referring to the best damn sniper I had ever had the pleasure to work with. The last time I spoke to her she was happily retired and living on a beach, having traded in her scope for an endless supply of cabana boys and surfers. She was out for good, no way in hell Robbie had managed to lure her back in. Robbie threw back his head and laughed, attracting the attention of the entire bar and proving me wrong. “Deal! She’s tanned, toned, and ready to kick ass. Even brought some promising new recruits with her. So what do you say Colonel, ready to get back to work? Maybe bring some peace to the universe, make a real difference again?” The names were a silent presence, floating around in the back of my mind. I realized in that moment of pure absolute clarity that I had been wrong, so very wrong. The names of the men and women that had followed me to hell and stayed there were not a burden or a curse but a blessing. They had not been dragging me down or holding me back - I had. They were there to lift me up, keep me going, push me forwards. Knowing each one of them had been an honor, and I would never forget their sacrifice. I shoved Robbie’s hand off the glass and tossed it back before standing up and giving the mirror the evil eye. My reflection looked back at me, pleased for the first time in ages. I made a silent vow to carry the memories of those men and women to the farthest reaches of the universe and make their deaths count by tearing the xeno homeworld down, brick by bloody brick, until the galaxy was free from the threat they posed. I could feel the names, all nineteen thousand of them, milling around, tired of excuses and eager to get on with it. Nineteen thousand. Plus one more. Mine.
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