Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market

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pages: 275 words: 84,980

Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, large denomination, M-Pesa, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, Northern Rock, Pingit, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, social graph, special drawing rights, technoutopianism, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, Washington Consensus, wikimedia commons

I suppose it was inevitable that the arrival of Bitcoin would stimulate experiments in this area, although I would have thought that Bitcoin was a poor choice for this sort of thing because, whatever the newspapers might think, Bitcoin is not terribly anonymous, as we will discuss in Chapter 13. Bitcoin transactions are public and you can track them until the end of time. Kuwabatake Sanjuro’s market is therefore unlikely to destabilize our democratic system, although it might lead to a few arrests for incitement to murder. If it were likely to destabilize our democratic system, the FBI would simply set up their own assassination market and put a few quid on Kuwabatake Sanjuro. (Come to that, how do we know that Kuwabatake Sanjuro isn’t the FBI anyway?) Transaction reporting If non-fiat electronic money did become the primary means of payment, then it would be nearly impossible to effect national economic management. How would the government know whether GDP growth was good or bad if it had no way of knowing what GDP was?

This may well be the case, but possibly not in ‘conventional’ ways. I don’t think that electronic money will make that much of a difference to drug dealers, for example. For my retirement plan I need to find something unique to the virtual, which is why I was sufficiently interested in the novel concept of assassination markets to write about them. I was excited to find that an enterprising chap by the name of Kuwabatake Sanjuro had taken advantage of the invention of Bitcoin to set one up (Greenberg 2013). In case you are wondering what an assassination market is, it is a prediction market where any party can place a bet (using anonymous electronic money, and pseudonymous remailers) on the date of death of a given individual and collect a payoff if they ‘guess’ the date accurately. This would incentivize the assassination of specific individuals because the assassin, knowing when the action would take place, could profit by making an accurate bet on the time of the subject’s death.

The proliferation of anonymous, web-based technologies will enable them to yield this power exponentially, creating the potential for devious criminal activity on a scale that has never before been possible. Imagine a world where dangerous minds have a public platform to solicit support from anyone with an Internet connection. Bigshot mock website (courtesy of Joe Carpita and Craig Stover). This idea of taking the assassination markets discussed in chapter 10 and opening them up through crowdsourcing encourages us to imagine new sorts of crime (and, in my opinion, new sorts of diplomacy) that we must take into consideration when trying to design the next generation of money just as much as the considerations around technology, economics and banking. * * * ******** It isn’t, I know, but I am making a different point here.


pages: 50 words: 15,603

Orwell Versus the Terrorists: A Digital Short by Jamie Bartlett

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augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Edward Snowden, ethereum blockchain, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Satoshi Nakamoto, technoutopianism, Zimmermann PGP

I am looking at what I think is a hit list. There are photographs of people I recognise – prominent politicians, mostly – and, next to each, an amount of money. The site’s creator, who uses the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro, thinks that if you could pay to have someone murdered with no chance – I mean absolutely zero chance – of being caught, you would. That’s one of the reasons why he has created the Assassination Market. There are four simple instructions listed on its front page: >Add a name to the list >Add money to the pot in the person’s name >Predict when that person will die >Correct predictions get the pot The Assassination Market can’t be found with a Google search. It sits on a hidden, encrypted part of the internet that, until recently, could only be accessed with a browser called The Onion Router, or Tor.

Users of Tor are untraceable, as are the websites, forums and blogs that exist as Tor Hidden Services, which use the same traffic encryption system to cloak their location. The Assassination Market may be hosted on an unfamiliar part of the net, but it’s easy enough to find, if you know how to look. All that’s required is a simple (and free) software package. Then sign up, follow the instructions, and wait. It is impossible to know the number of people who are doing exactly that, but at the time of writing, if I correctly predict the date of the death of Ben Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, I’d receive approximately $56,000. It may seem like a fairly pointless bet. It’s very difficult to guess when someone is going to die. That’s why the Assassination Market has a fifth instruction: >Making your prediction come true is entirely optional The Dark Net The Assassination Market is a radical example of what people can do online.

Nearly two decades later, with the creation of digital currencies like Bitcoin, anonymous browsers like Tor and trustworthy encryption systems, it had, and Bell’s vision was realised. ‘Killing is in most cases wrong, yes,’ Sanjuro wrote when he launched the Assassination Market in the summer of 2013: However, this is an inevitable direction in the technological evolution . . . When someone uses the law against you and/or infringes upon your rights to life, liberty, property, trade or the pursuit of happiness, you may now, in a safe manner from the comfort of your living room, lower their life-expectancy in return. There are, today, at least half a dozen names on the Assassination Market. Although it is frightening, no one, as far as I can tell, has been assassinated. Its significance lies not in its effectiveness, but in its existence. It is typical of the sort of creativity and innovation that characterises the dark net: a place without limits, a place to push boundaries, a place to express ideas without censorship, a place to sate our curiosities and desires, whatever they may be.


pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

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3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, moral panic, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

I am looking at what I think is a hit list. There are photographs of people I recognise – prominent politicians, mostly – and, next to each, an amount of money. The site’s creator, who uses the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro, thinks that if you could pay to have someone murdered with no chance – I mean absolutely zero chance – of being caught, you would. That’s one of the reasons why he has created the Assassination Market. There are four simple instructions listed on its front page: >Add a name to the list >Add money to the pot in the person’s name >Predict when that person will die >Correct predictions get the pot The Assassination Market can’t be found with a Google search. It sits on a hidden, encrypted part of the internet that, until recently, could only be accessed with a browser called The Onion Router, or Tor.

Users of Tor are untraceable, as are the websites, forums and blogs that exist as Tor Hidden Services, which use the same traffic encryption system to cloak their location. The Assassination Market may be hosted on an unfamiliar part of the net, but it’s easy enough to find, if you know how to look. All that’s required is a simple (and free) software package. Then sign up, follow the instructions, and wait. It is impossible to know the number of people who are doing exactly that, but at the time of writing, if I correctly predict the date of the death of Ben Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, I’d receive approximately $56,000. It may seem like a fairly pointless bet. It’s very difficult to guess when someone is going to die. That’s why the Assassination Market has a fifth instruction: >Making your prediction come true is entirely optional The Dark Net The Assassination Market is a radical example of what people can do online.

Nearly two decades later, with the creation of digital currencies like Bitcoin, anonymous browsers like Tor and trustworthy encryption systems, it had, and Bell’s vision was realised. ‘Killing is in most cases wrong, yes,’ Sanjuro wrote when he launched the Assassination Market in the summer of 2013: However, this is an inevitable direction in the technological evolution . . . When someone uses the law against you and/or infringes upon your rights to life, liberty, property, trade or the pursuit of happiness, you may now, in a safe manner from the comfort of your living room, lower their life-expectancy in return. There are, today, at least half a dozen names on the Assassination Market. Although it is frightening, no one, as far as I can tell, has been assassinated. Its significance lies not in its effectiveness, but in its existence. It is typical of the sort of creativity and innovation that characterises the dark net: a place without limits, a place to push boundaries, a place to express ideas without censorship, a place to sate our curiosities and desires, whatever they may be.


pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

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3D printing, Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

The currency’s and its supporters’ embrace of anonymity and of the libertarian principles of freedom from central authority were almost a reincarnation of this nineties movement’s principles. Notably, it would also attract some of the dark, antisocial strains that ran through the Cypherpunks’ mailing list. In November 2013, bitcoin was featured as the in-house unit of exchange for a new, encrypted Web-site-based assassination market set up by someone under the samurai pseudonym of Kuwabatake Sanjuro. Upon its launch the public figure with the biggest bounty on his or her head was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. But most significant, at least in retrospect, the Cypherpunks themselves were some of the earliest purveyors of cryptocurrency ideas. In the exchanges on Cypherpunk bulletin boards around that time are various references to such ideas and the occasional full-blown project.

“A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto-anarchy”: Tim May, “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” http://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/crypto-anarchy.html. A few products were downright scary: Jim Bell, “Assassination Politics,” April 3, 1997, http://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDF_Books/AP.pdf a new, encrypted Web-site-based assassination market: Andy Greenberg, “Meet the ‘Assassination Market’ Creator Who’s Crowdfunding Murder with Bitcoins,” Forbes, November 18, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/11/18/meet-the-assassination-market-creator-whos-crowdfunding-murder-with-bitcoins/. Six years after that first meeting of the Cypherpunks: Wei Dai, “B-Money,” posted at Wei Dai’s personal archives and http://www.weidai.com/bmoney.txt. Around the same time, Adam Back, another Cypherpunk: First announced on the Cypherpunk mailing list by Adam Back on March 28, 1997, http://www.hashcash.org/papers/announce.txt.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

He then imported the picture to Photoshop, cleaned it up, inverted it, and printed it on a transparency film using a thick toner setting. Finally, white wood glue was smeared onto the pattern and, when dry, could be held over the Touch ID sensor to unlock the phone. Mission accomplished. As if crowdfunding hackers weren’t serious enough, recently yet another crowdsourced enterprise surfaced in the digital underground: the Assassination Market. Regrettably, the service is not some sort of deeply disturbing joke. Rather, it is the work of a dedicated anarchist who goes by the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro. As of late 2014, eight U.S. government officials have been selected via crowdsourced voting for assassination, with the former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke receiving the greatest number of votes. Donations have been made via encrypted and untraceable online currencies, and Sanjuro has crowdfunded $75,000 for the murder of the former Fed chairman to be paid to any hit man who comes forward upon completing the act.

The mercenaries offering these services proudly note their training with militaries such as the French Foreign Legion or their sniper capabilities honed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Each service has different rules and regulations. One has a strict “no minors policy” and refuses to murder children under eighteen, while another demurs when it comes to political assassinations. No worries, though, there are just as many services that are dedicated to killing government officials, such as the crowdsourced Assassination Market mentioned previously. Prices range from a low of $20,000 to more than $100,000 to kill a police officer. The sites request you provide a recent photograph of the target, as well as home and work addresses, daily routines, and frequent hangouts. Bitcoin gladly accepted, and photographic proof of murder is included standard. CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IMAGES Disturbingly, the Dark Net is a sanctuary for merchants of child pornography, widely offered on underground Tor sites such as Hard Candy, Jailbait, Lolita City, PedoEmpire, and Love Zone.

The clock is ticking, and there is no time like the present to bring this idea to fruition. Final Thoughts The best way to predict the future is to invent it. ALAN KAY, XEROX PARC When it comes to technological threats against our security, the future has already arrived. It is sitting in an office building in Kiev, destined to be the next Innovative Marketing. It is in the laptop of that kid next to you at the library who is building the next Silk Road and Assassination Market. It’s in that ten-story government building in that foreign capital where every day thousands of digital spies are showing up at work intent on stealing your corporate secrets. It’s in the garage of that one disaffected bio-hacker who is tired of the bullying in school and now plotting his bioterror revenge. It’s at the local big-box retailer selling quadcopter drones, never knowing if they will be used to ferry weapons over prison or airport fences.