5 Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware ASIC Machines (2020 Rigs)

[OC] Which front offices and agents are the 3 major newsbreakers connected to? I went through 6000+ tweets to find out!

If this sounds somewhat familiar, that's because I did a 2019-2020 version and posted it back in March.
In terms of changes from that post:
TL;DR
Tracked tweets of Woj, Shams and Haynes from 2018-2020 to see whether any of them report on a certain team or a certain agent's players more than their counterparts. Here is the main graph concerning a reporter's percentage of tweets per team separated into three periods (2019 season, 2020 offseason, 2020 season). Here is a separate graph with the Lakers and Warriors, because Haynes's percentages would skew the first graph.

During times like the NBA trade deadline or the lifting of the NBA free-agency moratorium, it’s not uncommon to see Twitter replies to (or Reddit comments about) star reporters reference their performance relative to others.
Woj is the preeminent scoop hound, but he is also notorious for writing hit pieces on LeBron (sources say it’s been widely rumoured that the reason for these is that Woj has always been unable to place a reliable source in LeBron’s camp). On the other end of the spectrum, it has been revealed that in exchange for exclusive intel on league memos and Pistons dealings, Woj wrote puff pieces on then-GM Joe Dumars (see above Kevin Draper link). Last summer, Woj was accused of being a Clippers shill on this very discussion board for noticeably driving the Kawhi Leonard free agency conversation towards the team.
This is the reason I undertook this project: to see whether some reporters have more sources in certain teams (and certain agencies) than other reporters.
First I’ll explain the methodology, then present the data with some initial comments.

Methodology

To make this manageable on myself, I limited myself to tracking the 3 major national reporters: Shams Charania of the Athletic, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports and the aforementioned Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The time period I initially tracked for was from January 1, 2020 to the end of the regular season March, but after finding a Twitter scraping tool on GitHub called Twint, I was able to easily retrieve all tweets since September 27, 2018. However, a month ago, Twitter closed their old API endpoints, and Twint ceased to work. I used vicinitas.io but the data loading became more time-consuming. Therefore, the tweets are up to the date of October 15 2020.
How I determined information was by manually parsing text tweets by the reporter (no retweets):
Now, I didn’t take every single text tweet:
Next, I had to assign possible teams to each tweet:
With all the methodology out of the way, here’s the data! (Here’s a link to a full Google Sheet)

Teams

Here's a graph of number of tweets per team per period, with the colours denoting reporter.
On a quick glance, here's which teams saw a significant period-over-period increase in number of tweets:
And here's which teams saw decreases over a period-by-period basis:
The problem with just using number of tweets is that it's not close on totals between Haynes vs. Woj or Shams. Here's a graph showing total number of tweets in each period for all three reporters. Haynes's most reported period doesn't even stack up to the least reported period of Woj or Shams.
Instead, let's look at percentage of tweets per team per period.
Now, you'll notice that there's two teams missing from the above graph: the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers. Here's the graphs for those two teams. As you can see, they would skew the previous graph far too much. During the 2019 NBA season, 27% of Chris Haynes's qualifying tweets could be possibly linked to the Warriors, and 14% of his qualifying tweets could be possibly linked to the Lakers.

Agents

Here's the top 10 agents in terms of number of potential tweets concerning their clients.
Agent Haynes Shams Woj Total
Rich Paul 15 28 24 67
Mark Bartelstein 4 16 30 50
Jeff Schwartz 3 10 25 38
Bill Duffy 2 13 14 29
Leon Rose 1 12 15 28
Aaron Mintz 2 9 15 26
Juan Perez 5 10 8 23
Aaron Goodwin 11 8 1 20
Steven Heumann 1 6 12 19
Sam Permut 1 13 5 19
Woj has the most tweets directly connected to agents by far. It wasn't uncommon to see "Player X signs deal with Team Y, Agent Z of Agency F tells ESPN." The agents that go to Woj (and some of their top clients):
One thing I found very intriguing: 15/16 of tweets concerning an Aaron Turner client were reported on by Shams. Turner is the head of Verus Basketball, whose clients include Terry Rozier, Victor Oladipo and Kevin Knox. Shams also reported more than 50% of news relating to clients of Sam Permut of Roc Nation. Permut is the current agent of Kyrie Irving, after Irving fired Jeff Wechsler near the beginning of the 2019 offseason. Permut also reps the Morris brothers and Trey Burke.
As for Chris Haynes, he doesn't really do much agent news (at least not at the level of Woj and Shams). However, he reported more than 50% of news relating to clients of Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management, who reps Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan.
Here are the top 10 free agents from Forbes, along with their agent and who I predict will be the first/only one to break the news.
Player Agent Most Likely Reporter
Anthony Davis Rich Paul Too close to call, leaning Shams
Brandon Ingram Jeff Schwartz Woj
DeMar DeRozan Aaron Goodwin Haynes
Fred VanVleet Brian Jungreis Limited data
Andre Drummond Jeff Schwartz Woj
Montrezl Harrell Rich Paul Too close to call, leaning Shams
Gordon Hayward Mark Bartelstein Woj
Danilo Gallinari Michael Tellem Woj
Bogdan Bogdanovic Alexander Raskovic, Jason Ranne Limited data, but part of Wasserman, whose players are predominantly reported on by Woj
Davis Bertans Arturs Kalnitis Limited data
Thanks for reading! As always with this type of work, human error is not completely eliminated. If you think a tweet was mistakenly removed, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll try to explain my thought process on that specific tweet! Hope y’all enjoyed the research!
submitted by cilantro_samosa to nba [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Newcomers FAQ - Please read!

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

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

Key properties of Bitcoin

Where can I buy bitcoins?

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

Securing your bitcoins

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

Watch out for scams

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

Where can I spend bitcoins?

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

Merchant Resources

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

Can I mine bitcoin?

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

Earning bitcoins

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

Bitcoin-Related Projects

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

Bitcoin Units

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

[RF] Just another quiet Friday night

"You're fucking crazy John," the man in the black T-Shirt announced. "Seriously, you want to pretend to be a paedo, so you can lure in the FBI and fuck with them? That is some next level warped shit."
"Chill out dude. That was just an example. Doesn't have to be a paedo."
"I don't give a fuck. Anything that's gonna make them zero-day you is some dark shit that you can't just laugh off. And what if they chain the sploits? They'll bounce out of your sandbox and be kicking the door down in minutes."
"No, no, it's ok. Really. I bought these laptops from a heroin addict in another city. Totally untraceable. I've had the lid off and de-soldered the camera, microphone and wireless."
"That's no use, we've got to get online somehow. And when their payload fires they'll trace us through a ToR bypass."
"That's why we need three laptops. Physical separation. This one," he tapped the metallic blue case, "is the bait. It's a regular laptop, but it's only connection is a single wired Ethernet. The only route to the Internet is via this one," tap tap, "which is running hardened Kali and only connects via ToR."
"Seriously, you're going to actually do this?"
"Come on dude, I've always wanted to try. Live a little."
"What's the third one for?"
"It's hardened Kali too. We proxy everything from the bait browser through here. When they deliver their exploit we'll catch it here, do some reverse engineering, and get ready for the fun bit!"
"What the hell. But you're crazy man. And we never speak of this."
"Of course. Goes without saying."
"How do we start?"
"You get a proxy running on that. I'll get the ToR connection set up. I got a 4G dongle off the same guy."
John removed a small ethernet hub from his bag, connected its power but held off from plugging in the laptops. He connected the 4G dongle, started the ToR service and watch its status update. With the connection active he configured the iptables firewall so outbound traffic was permitted only through ToR. Cal started the intercepting proxy, exposed its listener and looked at John. "Ready" They both plugged into the hub, and Cal watched as John connected the bait laptop, accessed the proxy settings and linked it to the listener.
He accessed a non-descript site to check the setup. It loaded a little slowly, while the series of requests popped up on the intercepting proxy. "Are we sure it's going through ToR?" Cal asked. "Don't worry". "Seriously, show me a packet trace." John started a sniffer, gestured to Cal to refresh the bait browser, while a series of packets scrolled up the screen, all safely encrypted by ToR.
"So what now?" a pause "And definitely no paedo stuff. That's too dark to mess about with."
"Old school," John replied, "I guess it's a bit of a cliche. We go on the dark net and try to order a murder for BitCoin. We'll make it an American prosecutor, that'll get the FBI going."
Cal stared at him. But that didn't stop him typing and Cal watched with grim fascination as he navigated around dark net markets, registering accounts, searching vendors and sending onimous enquiries. Cal monitored the proxy, configuring ever more intricate filters to weed out the mundane.
They'd crossed a line of no return and complicit Cal joined in, weaving convincing tales in their messages, striking the right tone to complete their deception. This went on for hours, with no sign of any incoming exploits. Until the browser popped up with "Do you want to allow this site to access WebGL?"
"That's it," John smiled, "there's no way that site really uses WebGL. This is an exploit. Stands to reason too, we always knews that had huge attack surface." He was about to permit it, but Cal stopped him. "No, don't allow it. If we allow it, we'll just get a lame zero day that requires WebGL. Deny it and carry on. They'll send a better exploit soon enough."
The intensity increased, Cal identified the malicious code that had tried to access WebGL. But it was just a stager - no exploit there. John carried on his ruse, until he noticed the browser stutter. He grabbed Cal's arm, "this is it!" Fear in the room intensified. This was serious now, some hacker - be it FBI or otherwise - had control of the laptop right in front of them. "Carry on with the messaging Cal. If we stop now they'll know our game."
Cal typed into the bait laptop while John began to investigate the exploit delivery. He identified the malware quickly enough, and a lingering connection that could be to the command and control server. Alarmingly, it was transferring a lot of data in both directions, a detail he decided not to share with Cal. He loaded the malware into a binary analysis tool and begun the painstaking process of unpicking its workings. 20 minutes in he told Cal to stop. "That'll do. Sign off naturally and shut it down."
Cal joined him with the binary anaysis and gradually they formed a picture of its armory. "It's not like one I've seen before," Cal said, "it's tighter coded than a typical rootkit. Really could be FBI." John nodded. "You can see it repeatedly copying this string. That's gotta be a heap spray. And it looks like self-decrypting machine code. Yeah, that's the payload for sure. We can just plug our own in here."
"What if the exploit's been watermarked?" Cal interjected, "We don't know where they could have hidden one."
"Who cares? We're gonna deliver it anonymously anyway."
They worked industriously to decouple the exploit and payload, build a delivery mechanism, and soon they were ready to test it. They watched in delight as a fully-patched browser accessed their delivery site, churned the laptop's CPU, then registered a ping back on the console.
The next step was to incorporate a real payload.
"So what's it gonna do John?"
"Persist itself to disk, then sit quietly and await further instructions. I've got the C&C software figured out already, it was a fun project from long ago. What I need you to do is use BitCoin to rent a couple of dozen virtual servers in different data centres around the world."
As Cal started registering the servers, John used the third laptop to generate a public/private key pair. One by one, the servers came online, and John installed the C&C software, configuring each to only respond to instructions signed by their private key. On the 20th he told Cal to stop.
There was a sparkle in his eyes. "We're nearly there! Everything's in place."
"How are we going to deliver it?"
"That's why we had to do this today. I found something earlier. A cache poisoning vulnerability on a major site."
Cal stared at him. The chain was complete. This was not real.
They completed their final maneouvers. Scripted a mechanism to dynamically generate payloads containing a random sample of C&C servers. Uploaded the exploit delivery mechanism into the control cloud, and generated a list of exploit URLs. John accessed the vulnerable major site, saved the HTML code locally, and modified it to include an exploit URL. Then he exploited the cache poisoning flaw, so that every visitor - at least every visitor coming through that particular cache cluster - would receive not the legitimate site but his malicious modificiations.
They watched the C&C management console. Around the world, thousands of unsuspecting web users experienced an annoying pause while their web pages loaded. Each time, under the hood, the zero day exploit fired, the payload persisted itself to disk, and made a connection to their C&C network to receive further instructions. Each time a new node joined their botnet, a line was logged to their console, and soon the screen was scrolling uncontrollably.
John was elated, Cal terrified. Cal watched in horror as John repeated the cache poison process across multiple clusters in different data centres. The rate of scrolling on the C&C console exploded. John cancelled it with a smile.
"Lets just look at the numbers"
Running a grep count on the log showed over 900,000 payload activations. And their malware had been live for barely 15 minutes.
"What are you going to do with it?"
"That's for another day. Now, we cover our tracks."
John removed two USB drives from his bag. He created an encrypted container, and into it put his decoy. Some nudes of an office chick that had been circulating. Incriminating enough, but not the crown jewels. He then created a hidden container within the free space of the first container, using a very strong password. Into this hidden container he copied the private key for the C&C network. This key put him in control. The only way to control the botnot was having both the USB drive, and his strong password. He repeated the process for Cal, inviting him to choose his own passwords. When he handed over the drive, Cal held it like it was on fire.
He shut down the bait laptop, gesturing Cal to do the same with the proxy. Removed the hard drive and connected it via USB to the ToR relay. The ToR relay was unlikely to have been compromised that night, a trustworthy system he could use to erase the others. After a secure erase of both drives, then of the ToR relay itself, John started putting everything in a bag.
They left the hotel room in silence. Bag on the rear seat and John drove. Cal was acutely aware of the USB drive in his pocket, the angled corners pressing into his leg. He went out of town, down lanes Cal didn't recognise, and stopped by a chain link fence. They both got out, John retrieved the bag, and with a big hurl, launched it over the fence into the landfill.
Back home, John smoked a large joint of double zero hash and fell fast asleep. He awoke a few hours later. It almost felt like a dream. But he ran his fingers along the USB drive and remembered the sheer power it contained.
submitted by netsecwarrior to shortstories [link] [comments]

The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history

The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history
The original intention of this article is to let readers understand the causes and consequences of Bitmain internal fighting, but after writing it, I found that it is not so much internal fighting as it is a long history of self-help.
The story is very long. Let's adjust the timeline to the eve of December 17, 2018. That was one of Bitmain's most critical moments and the beginning of a series of subsequent stories.
1. Self-immolation In September 2018, Bitmain's financial department warned management that the company's cash flow has become very tight and operating costs must be reduced to allow the company to continue. The blockchain unicorn, which is valued at more than 15 billion U.S. dollars, is crippled in the run and struggling to break the corner.
In 2017, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars In the first half of 2018, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars Three rounds of financing, a total of 800 million US dollars Net assets should exceed 3 billion U.S. dollars In September 2018, Bitmain had tight cash flow and was on the verge of bankruptcy
A simple comparison, it is not difficult to see that Bitmain's ability to make money is incredible, and its ability to burn money is even more extreme.
How does Bitmain burn money? Do you pour cash into gasoline and burn it, or hire a lot of employees to stuff the banknotes one by one into the shredder? The actual situation is closer to the latter.
The following data can help readers quickly learn Bitmain's money burning skills.
At the beginning of 2018, the entire cryptocurrency market has entered a bear market, but Bitmain's monthly operating costs have been rising wildly. Operating costs have risen from 10 million US dollars at the beginning of the year to 50 million US dollars at the end of the year.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
Operating costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Excessive chip trial production can become a classic case of project management courses. Readers who pay attention to Cryptocurrency mining can easily find that Bitmain is still working hard to clear the inventory of Antminer S9 in 2019. As the co-CEO, Ketuan Zhan did not listen to the advice or even warnings of the Finance Department, insisting on the implementation of Excessive chip trial production, resulting in a large accumulation of inventory and tight capital turnover. Another CEO, Jihan Wu, once revealed that the loss of Excessive chip trial production to the company was approximately US$1.5 billion.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
The BM1393 chip incident is even more incredible. Chip expert Ketuan Zhan invested a lot of money on a failed chip, and finally failed again. From 2017 to 2018, Bitmain has failed Trial production of mining machine chips at least 4 times, including 16nm, 12nm and 10nm chips, of which 16nm Trial production failed twice, thus losing at least US$1.2 billion.
It is rumored that Bitmain still holds a billion U.S. dollars worth of cryptocurrency in a state of floating loss. In view of the rebound in the market in 2020, we will not comment temporarily, waiting for the correct answer from the cryptocurrency market. But the losses pointed out in the previous article are all irreversible.
2. Sole power
In September 2018, Bitmain's management realized the seriousness of the problem. It turned out that the company's money could be squandered. As a result, the management began to discuss self-help plans, and the most reasonable and effective way was obviously to lay off employees.
The probation period for newly hired employees at Bitmain is half a year, and the probationary salary is 100% of the official salary, there is no difference. Once layoffs are made, new employees who have not passed the probationary period will be the main layoff targets. The department managed by Ketuan Zhan will face large-scale layoffs. The layoff plan is strongly opposed by Ketuan Zhan. Bitmain can only temporarily abandon the layoffs and replace it with continuous reductions. For marketing and travel expenses, a budget committee was established to strictly approve every expenditure. At the same time, employee benefits, such as reimbursement of taxi expenses, breakfast supply, snacks and drinks, etc., have also been abolished, and even the tradition of giving employees 400 yuan worth of BTC/BCH every month has been stopped.
In the face of huge cash flow pressure, trivial savings is obviously of no avail. Soon, the management again discussed the layoff plan, and it has reached the point where it has to be laid off.
In December 2018, Jihan Wu began to organize all entrepreneurial veterans and business backbones to persuade Ketuan Zhan to agree to layoffs, but Ketuan Zhan still insisted not to layoffs. The persuasion process was very unsuccessful. After many meetings and intense debates, Bitmain executives were caught in a dilemma of wasting time with Ketuan Zhan.
In this process, the shortcomings of the dual CEO system began to appear, and the relationship between the two CEOs gradually deteriorated.
On the night of December 16th, Ketuan Zhan reconvened the management meeting, and more than 30 managements who were present were asked to hand over their mobile phones. At this time, Jihan Wu was on a business trip in Hong Kong and was busy with listing related work.
In the meeting, Ketuan Zhan's core content was three items:
(1) Bitmain cannot have two CEOs, only one CEO and must be Ketuan Zhan. Ketuan Zhan said that he met an old leader during a business trip. He hadn't seen each other for many years. The old leader suggested that the company can only have one CEO, and it must be him. Ketuan Zhan feels that this is a kind of fate, an opportunity given by God.
(2) Ketuan Zhan believes that the company's cash flow problems, the biggest responsibility is the inability of the financial department. To prove his point, Ketuan Zhan announced Bitmain's financial data at the meeting. In the evening, employees in Taiwan began to post messages on social media, saying that the company's capital chain was broken and the top management was split.
(3) If Ketuan Zhan is not supported, the option will be cancelled and the equity will be voided.
Hearing about this, Jihan Wu, who lives in Hong Kong, sent a WeChat message to the management who are attending the meeting.

https://preview.redd.it/zkj2d44tqid51.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9251c1f7308e155d7911d5969e71091a5ad5e14a
On the afternoon of December 17, 2018, Jihan Wu returned to Beijing to negotiate with Ketuan Zhan all night, and finally reached a consensus in the early morning. Bitmain co-founder Yuesheng Ge announced the results of the negotiations. Jihan Wu and Ketuan Zhan ceased to serve as CEOs, and Haichao Wang served as CEO. Jihan Wu voluntarily backed down and Ketuan Zhan served as chairman.
The "12.17 Incident" had a very bad impact on Bitmain, especially the disclosure of Bitmain's financial status, which caused vendors to start dunning. The loan that had just been negotiated with the Bank of Beijing was cancelled the next day. Jihan Wu's resignation as CEO caused an uproar in the industry, and it became a hot topic among Cryptocurrency mining, blockchain practitioners, and investor communities. The media focused their interpretation on Bitmain's series of incidents, and generally looked down upon its ongoing Hong Kong IPO, believing that the high-level changes had already signaled the failure of the IPO in advance.
On Christmas December 24, 2018, Bitmain finally began to implement the layoff plan. This long-delayed “correct decision” was achieved after a stalemate for nearly three months. The AI ​​teams in Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan, and Shanghai have laid off more than 50% of their employees. The Israeli R&D center was closed and Shenzhen New Species Technology Co., Ltd., which had been acquired for only ten months, was dissolved, and all employees were laid off. Copernicus, Bitmain's top blockchain development team, was not spared and was wiped out in this layoff. Copernicus and some of the laid-off employees joined the new company Matrixport co-founded by Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge, headquartered in Singapore.
3. Past events when starting a business
After the "12.17 Incident", Jihan Wu gradually faded out of Bitmain's management affairs and turned his attention to the IPO and new company. And this is one of Jihan Wu's major mistakes, he began to let Ketuan Zhan manage Bitmain alone.
In fact, as early as 2013, Jihan Wu planted hidden dangers.
Jihan Wu, an investment banker, was the earliest translator of the Bitcoin white paper. He began to get involved in the cryptocurrency mining industry in 2012. The disappearance of Kaomao and Nangua Zhang's ticket skipping led Jihan Wu to decide to develop his own chip.
In 2013, Jihan Wu established his own mining machine company. Together with Yuesheng Ge, who was only 20 years old, he found Ketuan Zhan, an integrated circuit designer of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to create the protagonist of this article, and later the digital Cryptocurrency mining giant, Bitmain.
Jihan Wu promised Ketuan Zhan that every time a mining machine chip was successfully developed, he would give some shares to the Ketuan Zhan team. At that time, the company founded by Ketuan Zhan was on the eve of falling apart. In order to regroup the team, Ketuan Zhan promised to share half of his shares with the team members. Unfortunately, this is just a bad check. With the rapid development of Bitmain and higher and higher valuations, the expanding Ketuan Zhan almost monopolized all the shares.
Like many startups, Bitmain encountered many difficulties in its early days, and many jobs had to be done by the boss. For example, in the chip design and production process in the second half of 2013, Bitmain was caught in a dilemma of insufficient funds. Jihan Wu personally raised funds and met with TSMC’s sales to persuade TSMC to accept the production needs of a start-up company. Jihan Wu also participated in the selection of the thermodynamic parameters of the heat sink in the Antminer S1.
In 2014, Jihan Wu discovered that this company was independently operated by Ketuan Zhan, which had huge problems. Forcing Jihan Wu to continue to participate in company management.
At that time, Bitmain's mining machine chips had just achieved a certain lead in the standard design process. Jihan Wu believes that the next step must be to develop full customization technology, but Ketuan Zhan plans to invest resources in the research of mobile payment chips.
Ketuan Zhan met a mysterious person from the Party Central Security Bureau who claimed to be able to manipulate the Party Central Committee’s decision-making process for the next generation of mobile payment cryptography standards, but this direction is likely to lead to the fact that Bitmain has just gained the lead in the mining machine market. Regained.
Jihan Wu said that as a graduate of the School of Economics, with a little memory of his high school stage and the knowledge reserve of a computer technology amateur, he retrieves various materials and papers every day, learns theories related to full customization, and goes to Ketuan Zhan conducts persuasion work there.
Fortunately, in the direction of full customization technology, Ketuan Zhan finally listened to Jihan Wu's opinion. Bitmain quickly integrated the technical experts from the United States and Russia introduced by Jihan Wu, which greatly improved the design level of chips and complete machines.
In 2015, Jihan Wu suggested that Ketuan Zhan consider the direction of artificial intelligence. But Ketuan Zhan is not here, he prefers the CPU direction. After staying asleep at night, coupled with in-depth analysis by the Bitmain investment team, Ketuan Zhan finally agreed with this direction. It is a pity that after the Tianshi Chen brothers made major breakthroughs in theory and practice, Bitmain officially invested in the relevant direction, and it was still a step behind.
In the two years from 2016 to 2017, Bitmain's business performance has achieved rapid development, becoming a unique super unicorn in the blockchain industry. According to Froth & Sullivan, in 2017, Bitmain Technology Holdings was the second largest fabless chip design company in China and the tenth largest fabless chip design company in the world, and the fourth largest fabless ASIC chip design company in the world, accounting for 74.5% of global cryptocurrency market share.
However, the huge crisis has long been buried in the early days of entrepreneurship.
Ketuan Zhan's decision on major directions revealed his weakness of extremely lack of business understanding. But every mistake he made was blocked by the company's core employees. His overconfidence in his management ability led to the gradual intensification of conflicts, and the management differences between the two founders became more serious.
4.The giant gets lost
The contradiction between the two broke out on December 17, 2018. Ketuan Zhan used extreme means to force the management to compromise with him by canceling the option, so as to achieve the goal of sole control of the company. Jihan Wu returned to Beijing from Hong Kong overnight and negotiated with Ketuan Zhan all night. In the end, the two resigned as CEO. Jihan Wu retired. Ketuan Zhan has the exclusive rights of chairman in exchange for the implementation of the layoff plan.
Jihan Wu's voluntary retreat has intensified Ketuan Zhan's management to do whatever he wants.
A Bitmain employee commented on Ketuan Zhan's management skills, summed up in two letters-SM.
After becoming the sole helm of the company, Ketuan Zhan quickly "rectified" the department in charge of Jihan Wu as the chairman of the board. He guided the sales of mining machines at the dinner, and pointed out that the sales performance is not due to the sales staff. Ability is strong, but the company provides opportunities. Take two sales leaders as examples, saying that if the company hadn't given the opportunity, they would still be losers. In addition, Ketuan Zhan also instructed the sales staff on how to toast and imparted the wine table culture and experience.
After the meal, Ketuan Zhan came to the conclusion that the quality of Bitmain sales staff was too poor, and Huawei’s blood needs to be injected to drive the company’s progress. Soon, the marketing and sales director from Huawei officially took over Bitmain, opening the era of brand premium for Antminer.
In order to further understand and guide the sales work, Ketuan Zhan asked to meet the customers with the sales staff. During the negotiation process, Ketuan Zhan had a heated discussion with customers on the issue of Chinese and Western medicine, and had also forced the sales staff to be able to ship 10,000 machines due to insufficient production capacity.
Although the requirements for sales personnel are strict, Ketuan Zhan has provided a lot of convenience for "Mainland Ark". In addition to selling mining machines at a more favorable price, Bitmain's mining machines are also hosted in Ming Wang at a higher price than the market price. Mine. It is reported that both Ketuan Zhan and Ming Wang are shareholders of Ark.
The new sales strategy of Huawei's executives has also brought very obvious changes to Bitmain. The self-righteous brand premium reduces the price-performance ratio of Antminer, causing competing products to eat away at Bitmain's market share. Later, Bitmain found that the strategy was wrong and started to cut prices, and found that the mining machine market was saturated and the purchase demand of miners had decreased.
More dangerous than the sales strategy is that the technical advantages of Antminer are being chased by competing products, and even overtaken. At the same time, the two mining pools under Bitmain also lost their first and second positions. The AI ​​business, which Jihan Wu placed high hopes and Ketuan Zhan personally supervised, became a laughing stock in the industry. Not only did it fail to make a profit, it almost brought down Bitmain.
Blindly introducing senior executives from Huawei to occupy important positions completely destroys the company's internal cultural foundation. The bureaucracy within Bitmain began to corrode from high-level employees to ordinary employees. Ketuan Zhan is not aware of this. He is still keen on recruiting Huawei employees, imitating Huawei's organizational structure and strategy, letting HR do sales and R&D personnel to do HR.
The organizational structure adjustment in October 2019 was the fuse for Ketuan Zhan to completely anger Bitmain management. This time, Ketuan Zhan completely marginalized Bitmain’s veteran employees, and suddenly promoted some of the “airborne soldiers” who had just joined the company to the position of person in charge, which caused the former person in charge to report to the new employees. The two managers who were originally equal The hierarchy becomes the subordinate relationship, the operation and development of different business lines are merged into a large department, the upward reporting process becomes more cumbersome, and the relationship between employees becomes delicate.
5. Headwind
On October 29, 2019, Jihan Wu urgently held a staff meeting. Prior to this, the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain has been changed to Jihan Wu, including the parent companies Hong Kong Bitmain and Cayman Bitmain. Jihan Wu stood in the lobby of Building 25, B1, announcing that Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Any employee in the Bitmain Group shall no longer execute Ketuan Zhan’s instructions and participate in any meetings convened by Ketuan Zhan. If there is any violation, the company will demotion and expel the company based on the severity of the circumstances. If losses are caused to the company, the company will be held accountable.
Jihan Wu's speech is very long, which can be summarized as follows:
(1) Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Also expelled from the original Huawei company HR Zhi Wang introduced by Ketuan Zhan at the end of 2018. Zhi Wang’s reputation on Bitmain was extremely poor and was ridiculed by employees as "nine thousand years" (In ancient China, the emperor was called "ten thousand years old", and the prince was "eight thousand years old." However, in the Ming Dynasty, there was an eunuch who caused harm to the country and the people. He called himself "nine thousand years old", meaning that he was only A little lower than the emperor's level).
(2) Ketuan Zhan's ability to control the company's option incentive plan has disappeared, and it is no longer possible to cancel employees' options at will.
(3) The organizational structure adjustment plan led by Ketuan Zhan was suspended.
(4) We are optimistic about the future of AI business, but the premise is that the main business can continue to make profits in order to support the company's continued investment in AI business.
In the speech, Jihan Wu also told employees the whole story of the "12.17 Incident" and bluntly said that the company is not in good condition. If no measures are taken, Bitmain is likely to go bankrupt in three quarters and he must come back to save the company.
At this time, Ketuan Zhan, who was on a business trip in Shenzhen, finally experienced the situation of Jihan Wu in the "12.17 Incident".
After the official return, Jihan Wu began to clearly point out the company's various problems in operation and management, and went deep into each business line to understand the situation. In the mining machine sales department meeting, employees spoke enthusiastically, reflecting on the difficulties and opinions encountered in the work, the marketing and sales director from Huawei asked with a surprised look, "Why didn't these issues be reported to me before?", and soon , The director was interviewed and "voluntarily resigned."
On November 2, 2019, Jihan Wu announced a salary increase for all employees. Bitmain’s last salary increase dates back to 2018. In principle, Bitmain has two salary increases every year.
On November 7, 2019, Ketuan Zhan spoke on social media for the first time, describing his hardship in starting a business, and condemning Jihan Wu for “stabbing a knife in the back”. At the end of the article, he also set himself a KPI for 2020, that is, the mining machine market share will reach 90%, and the AI ​​business will earn 1 billion.
But Ketuan Zhan's majestic plan did not make Bitmain employees feel emotional, but ridiculed him instead. Employees exposed that he insulted employees, advocated Chinese medicine, believed in Buddhism, drank in meetings, practiced Qigong...
However, there is less than half a year before the halving of Bitcoin production, and the cryptocurrency market shows no signs of recovery, which makes Bitmain management very anxious.
On January 6, 2020, Bitmain ushered in another round of layoffs, with a layoff ratio of about 1/3. This time the layoffs have caused many employees who have just increased their salaries to feel very grieved. On the one hand, they were looking forward to Jihan Wu's return. On the other hand, the compensation for this layoff was less than 18 years.
Ketuan Zhan, who has been unable to enter the Bitmain office area, once again spoke on social media and firmly opposed to layoffs. We do not need to lay off staff and we cannot commit suicide.
During the Spring Festival, Covid-19 broke out. Mainland China has begun to extend the Spring Festival holiday and advocate working from home. Under the chain reaction caused by Covid-19, most companies have chosen to cut salaries or even lay off employees. In the first two months of 2020, China's exports fell by 17%, U.S. stocks were broken four times in a row, Bitcoin plunged 40% in 24 hours on March 12, 2020, and crude oil futures fell by 300% on April 20, 2020...
Obviously, Jihan Wu can't predict, but this layoff seems to be the right decision again. In addition, from January to April 2020, Bitmain's revenue exceeded US$400 million amid the spread of Covid-19 and the collapse of the financial market.
6. Fight to the death
When Jihan Wu tried to get the company back on track, Ketuan Zhan was not helpless. On April 28, 2020, Ketuan Zhan finally rolled back the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain to before October 28, 2019 by repeatedly submitting administrative reconsiderations, and restored his status as a legal representative.
On the morning of May 8, 2020, a piece of news about Bitmain quickly appeared on the real-time hot search rankings, and even dominated the headlines of the day. At window 52 on the second floor of the Haidian District Government Affairs Center, when Ketuan Zhan, the legal person of Beijing Bitmain Company, was receiving the business license, a group of unidentified people snatched the business license from the industrial and commercial administrative staff. A source at the scene said that the number of unidentified people in the group was about 60 people, of which Luyao Liu was directing at the scene.
This is a skillful piece of news. It first leads readers to think that Ketuan Zhan is a victim, using 60 people to grab business licenses as the focus. The masses accused Jihan Wu of lawlessness, but ignored whether the government affairs center could have 60 personnel. As for Hong Kong Bitmain to have the right to appoint a representative to obtain a business license, this is a deeper level of thinking.
The follow-up report restored the real situation at the scene. Only more than ten people were present, and both sides were equipped with security personnel. Bitmain employees also broke the news in the circle of friends, claiming that Ketuan Zhan's bodyguard had injured Bitmain's authorized person, and said in a threatening tone, "Be careful!"
However, the subsequent plot reversal did not have much effect. Jihan Wu's reputation has been greatly affected. From a bloody soldier who rescued the company in trouble to a lawless criminal, it can be said to be a world of war. do not.
Ketuan Zhan, who succeeded in the first battle, began to counterattack Bitmain continuously. On the afternoon of June 3, 2020, Ketuan Zhan led a team to pry open the back door of the Beijing Bitmain office and formally occupied the deserted Beijing headquarters.
On June 4, 2020, Ketuan Zhan called on Bitmain employees to resume work and promised to expand the company's market value to more than US$50 billion within three to five years. After that, Ketuan Zhan began to contact employees by phone, trying to acquire the options in the hands of employees at a valuation of 4 billion US dollars.
Subsequently, Ketuan Zhan recalled Huawei's executives and issued a series of personnel appointments and removals. As of June 9, 2020, Ketuan Zhan has successively eliminated CFO Luyao Liu, and Wenguang Wang, the head of the mining center. Luyao Liu is responsible for controlling Bitmain's IPO plan. He also appointed Yanwu Ma as the HR director, Gang Ren as the head of the mining center, Yonggang Sun as the head of the supply chain, Ling Gu as the financial director, and Bin Zhu as the head of the mining machine business department. Bin Zhu is the senior executive of Huawei who was interviewed and left as mentioned in the previous article. During his tenure, he reduced Antminer’s 90% market share to 50%, and received a large number of complaints from miners. Internal employees once speculated that he might be Compete against the spies sent by the company.
In addition to recalling senior executives of Huawei, Ketuan Zhan also urged employees to return to work. They can receive a bonus of 10,000 yuan when they return to work on the same day, which is only half the next day. Ketuan Zhan showed a very kind side. Every time the elevator door is opened, Ketuan Zhan's hot gaze can be met, shaking hands, taking photos, and receiving money. As there is no personnel information, Ketuan Zhan does not know whether the person receiving the money is a Bitmain employee, and these people did not resume work the next day.
The effect of gentleness was not good, Ketuan Zhan began to force employees to return to work. Seeing that there are still very few respondents, Ketuan Zhan threatened employees through SMS, phone calls, EMS, emails and other harassment, issued multiple threats such as termination of contract, suspension of payment of social insurance, suspension of wages, and even used personal information saved by employees to form a group of employees. Domicile threats, requiring employees to perform "work handover", trying to force employees to return work computers, etc.
On June 10, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan had controlled Bitmain's Shenzhen factory and prohibited employees from delivering normal shipments to paid customers, which caused difficulties in the operation of the Bitmain mining machine department.
On June 13, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain, the parent company of Beijing Bitmain, issued a statement accusing Ketuan Zhan of signing a "Sales Agency Agreement" with the Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd. in which it holds shares, in an attempt to embezzle Beijing Bit's assets.
On June 17, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan started selling 14,000 T17+ series mining machines at low prices.
On June 20, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain officially suspended the supply of chips to the Shenzhen factory.
On July 13, 2020, in the "A Letter to All My colleagues in the Shenzhen Factory" released by Bitmain in Hong Kong, more details were added on the series of Ketuan Zhan's actions in June.
The legal person Feng Zhou of the Shenzhen plant is related to Ketuan Zhan. After being relieved of Ketuan Zhan's post, Jihan Wu flew to Shenzhen to have a long talk with Feng Zhou. Jihan Wu believes that Feng Zhou is the right person to manage the factory and help the company overcome difficulties, and decides to leave Feng Zhou to continue to manage the factory.
This wrong decision staged a story of a farmer and a snake. When Ketuan Zhan began to counterattack Bitmain, Feng Zhou was also quickly instigated and began to assist Ketuan Zhan in seizing customer machines and transferring 17,000 T17 mining machines in the warehouse. Hainan Continental Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd., which is held by Ketuan Zhan, sold them at a low price.
In order to protect the interests of customers, Jihan Wu had to make a compromise and paid the payment for some goods to a bank account controlled by Ketuan Zhan in exchange for delivery. However, after the other party received a payment of 109 million, the delivery stopped. On July 8, 2020, 5600 mining machines have been overdue.
At the same time, the factory defaulted on suppliers’ accounts payable as much as 200 million yuan. Bank acceptance bills issued by the factory, exceeding 36 million yuan, will expire on July 17, and more than 34 million yuan will expire on July 23. It is understood that Ketuan Zhan, after receiving the bank's dunning call, made it clear that he would not repay the loan, which would destroy the company and the entire group's credit in financial institutions.
7、 This is not the end
So far, the power struggle between the founders of Bitmain has been more than half a year. The office building already occupied by Ketuan Zhan is still empty, and most employees choose to work from home. Some chip developers returned to the office with the acquiescence of Jihan Wu and continued to maintain research and development to reduce the impact of infighting on technological iteration and competitiveness.
This giant ship that once stood on top of the supercomputer chip is crashing into the iceberg due to the madness of the former helm. Ketuan Zhan's madness and Jihan Wu's compromise made mistakes again and again. Bitmain tried to save himself many times, but was unable to get out of the black hole.
If the time goes back to that day in 2013, would Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge still choose to dial Ketuan Zhan?
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The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history

The deepest report: Bitmain's self-help history
The original intention of this article is to let readers understand the causes and consequences of Bitmain internal fighting, but after writing it, I found that it is not so much internal fighting as it is a long history of self-help.
The story is very long. Let's adjust the timeline to the eve of December 17, 2018. That was one of Bitmain's most critical moments and the beginning of a series of subsequent stories.
1. Self-immolation In September 2018, Bitmain's financial department warned management that the company's cash flow has become very tight and operating costs must be reduced to allow the company to continue. The blockchain unicorn, which is valued at more than 15 billion U.S. dollars, is crippled in the run and struggling to break the corner.
In 2017, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars In the first half of 2018, Bitmain made a profit of 1 billion US dollars Three rounds of financing, a total of 800 million US dollars Net assets should exceed 3 billion U.S. dollars In September 2018, Bitmain had tight cash flow and was on the verge of bankruptcy
A simple comparison, it is not difficult to see that Bitmain's ability to make money is incredible, and its ability to burn money is even more extreme.
How does Bitmain burn money? Do you pour cash into gasoline and burn it, or hire a lot of employees to stuff the banknotes one by one into the shredder? The actual situation is closer to the latter.
The following data can help readers quickly learn Bitmain's money burning skills.
At the beginning of 2018, the entire cryptocurrency market has entered a bear market, but Bitmain's monthly operating costs have been rising wildly. Operating costs have risen from 10 million US dollars at the beginning of the year to 50 million US dollars at the end of the year.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
Operating costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Excessive chip trial production can become a classic case of project management courses. Readers who pay attention to Cryptocurrency mining can easily find that Bitmain is still working hard to clear the inventory of Antminer S9 in 2019. As the co-CEO, Ketuan Zhan did not listen to the advice or even warnings of the Finance Department, insisting on the implementation of Excessive chip trial production, resulting in a large accumulation of inventory and tight capital turnover. Another CEO, Jihan Wu, once revealed that the loss of Excessive chip trial production to the company was approximately US$1.5 billion.
Large-scale expansion of the R&D team is one of the main reasons. The HR who once worked at Bitmain revealed that the company once hired more than 50 employees a day and nearly 500 employees a month. Even so, it was criticized for its slow recruitment speed. The cash consumption in this area is approximately $250 million.
The BM1393 chip incident is even more incredible. Chip expert Ketuan Zhan invested a lot of money on a failed chip, and finally failed again. From 2017 to 2018, Bitmain has failed Trial production of mining machine chips at least 4 times, including 16nm, 12nm and 10nm chips, of which 16nm Trial production failed twice, thus losing at least US$1.2 billion.
It is rumored that Bitmain still holds a billion U.S. dollars worth of cryptocurrency in a state of floating loss. In view of the rebound in the market in 2020, we will not comment temporarily, waiting for the correct answer from the cryptocurrency market. But the losses pointed out in the previous article are all irreversible.
2. Sole power
In September 2018, Bitmain's management realized the seriousness of the problem. It turned out that the company's money could be squandered. As a result, the management began to discuss self-help plans, and the most reasonable and effective way was obviously to lay off employees.
The probation period for newly hired employees at Bitmain is half a year, and the probationary salary is 100% of the official salary, there is no difference. Once layoffs are made, new employees who have not passed the probationary period will be the main layoff targets. The department managed by Ketuan Zhan will face large-scale layoffs. The layoff plan is strongly opposed by Ketuan Zhan. Bitmain can only temporarily abandon the layoffs and replace it with continuous reductions. For marketing and travel expenses, a budget committee was established to strictly approve every expenditure. At the same time, employee benefits, such as reimbursement of taxi expenses, breakfast supply, snacks and drinks, etc., have also been abolished, and even the tradition of giving employees 400 yuan worth of BTC/BCH every month has been stopped.
In the face of huge cash flow pressure, trivial savings is obviously of no avail. Soon, the management again discussed the layoff plan, and it has reached the point where it has to be laid off.
In December 2018, Jihan Wu began to organize all entrepreneurial veterans and business backbones to persuade Ketuan Zhan to agree to layoffs, but Ketuan Zhan still insisted not to layoffs. The persuasion process was very unsuccessful. After many meetings and intense debates, Bitmain executives were caught in a dilemma of wasting time with Ketuan Zhan.
In this process, the shortcomings of the dual CEO system began to appear, and the relationship between the two CEOs gradually deteriorated.
On the night of December 16th, Ketuan Zhan reconvened the management meeting, and more than 30 managements who were present were asked to hand over their mobile phones. At this time, Jihan Wu was on a business trip in Hong Kong and was busy with listing related work.
In the meeting, Ketuan Zhan's core content was three items:
(1) Bitmain cannot have two CEOs, only one CEO and must be Ketuan Zhan. Ketuan Zhan said that he met an old leader during a business trip. He hadn't seen each other for many years. The old leader suggested that the company can only have one CEO, and it must be him. Ketuan Zhan feels that this is a kind of fate, an opportunity given by God.
(2) Ketuan Zhan believes that the company's cash flow problems, the biggest responsibility is the inability of the financial department. To prove his point, Ketuan Zhan announced Bitmain's financial data at the meeting. In the evening, employees in Taiwan began to post messages on social media, saying that the company's capital chain was broken and the top management was split.
(3) If Ketuan Zhan is not supported, the option will be cancelled and the equity will be voided.
Hearing about this, Jihan Wu, who lives in Hong Kong, sent a WeChat message to the management who are attending the meeting.

https://preview.redd.it/c5cxea2lqid51.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3d6a0388408f6b8abe10648e5e4b7a3a5434c821
On the afternoon of December 17, 2018, Jihan Wu returned to Beijing to negotiate with Ketuan Zhan all night, and finally reached a consensus in the early morning. Bitmain co-founder Yuesheng Ge announced the results of the negotiations. Jihan Wu and Ketuan Zhan ceased to serve as CEOs, and Haichao Wang served as CEO. Jihan Wu voluntarily backed down and Ketuan Zhan served as chairman.
The "12.17 Incident" had a very bad impact on Bitmain, especially the disclosure of Bitmain's financial status, which caused vendors to start dunning. The loan that had just been negotiated with the Bank of Beijing was cancelled the next day. Jihan Wu's resignation as CEO caused an uproar in the industry, and it became a hot topic among Cryptocurrency mining, blockchain practitioners, and investor communities. The media focused their interpretation on Bitmain's series of incidents, and generally looked down upon its ongoing Hong Kong IPO, believing that the high-level changes had already signaled the failure of the IPO in advance.
On Christmas December 24, 2018, Bitmain finally began to implement the layoff plan. This long-delayed “correct decision” was achieved after a stalemate for nearly three months. The AI ​​teams in Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan, and Shanghai have laid off more than 50% of their employees. The Israeli R&D center was closed and Shenzhen New Species Technology Co., Ltd., which had been acquired for only ten months, was dissolved, and all employees were laid off. Copernicus, Bitmain's top blockchain development team, was not spared and was wiped out in this layoff. Copernicus and some of the laid-off employees joined the new company Matrixport co-founded by Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge, headquartered in Singapore.
3. Past events when starting a business
After the "12.17 Incident", Jihan Wu gradually faded out of Bitmain's management affairs and turned his attention to the IPO and new company. And this is one of Jihan Wu's major mistakes, he began to let Ketuan Zhan manage Bitmain alone.
In fact, as early as 2013, Jihan Wu planted hidden dangers.
Jihan Wu, an investment banker, was the earliest translator of the Bitcoin white paper. He began to get involved in the cryptocurrency mining industry in 2012. The disappearance of Kaomao and Nangua Zhang's ticket skipping led Jihan Wu to decide to develop his own chip.
In 2013, Jihan Wu established his own mining machine company. Together with Yuesheng Ge, who was only 20 years old, he found Ketuan Zhan, an integrated circuit designer of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to create the protagonist of this article, and later the digital Cryptocurrency mining giant, Bitmain.
Jihan Wu promised Ketuan Zhan that every time a mining machine chip was successfully developed, he would give some shares to the Ketuan Zhan team. At that time, the company founded by Ketuan Zhan was on the eve of falling apart. In order to regroup the team, Ketuan Zhan promised to share half of his shares with the team members. Unfortunately, this is just a bad check. With the rapid development of Bitmain and higher and higher valuations, the expanding Ketuan Zhan almost monopolized all the shares.
Like many startups, Bitmain encountered many difficulties in its early days, and many jobs had to be done by the boss. For example, in the chip design and production process in the second half of 2013, Bitmain was caught in a dilemma of insufficient funds. Jihan Wu personally raised funds and met with TSMC’s sales to persuade TSMC to accept the production needs of a start-up company. Jihan Wu also participated in the selection of the thermodynamic parameters of the heat sink in the Antminer S1.
In 2014, Jihan Wu discovered that this company was independently operated by Ketuan Zhan, which had huge problems. Forcing Jihan Wu to continue to participate in company management.
At that time, Bitmain's mining machine chips had just achieved a certain lead in the standard design process. Jihan Wu believes that the next step must be to develop full customization technology, but Ketuan Zhan plans to invest resources in the research of mobile payment chips.
Ketuan Zhan met a mysterious person from the Party Central Security Bureau who claimed to be able to manipulate the Party Central Committee’s decision-making process for the next generation of mobile payment cryptography standards, but this direction is likely to lead to the fact that Bitmain has just gained the lead in the mining machine market. Regained.
Jihan Wu said that as a graduate of the School of Economics, with a little memory of his high school stage and the knowledge reserve of a computer technology amateur, he retrieves various materials and papers every day, learns theories related to full customization, and goes to Ketuan Zhan conducts persuasion work there.
Fortunately, in the direction of full customization technology, Ketuan Zhan finally listened to Jihan Wu's opinion. Bitmain quickly integrated the technical experts from the United States and Russia introduced by Jihan Wu, which greatly improved the design level of chips and complete machines.
In 2015, Jihan Wu suggested that Ketuan Zhan consider the direction of artificial intelligence. But Ketuan Zhan is not here, he prefers the CPU direction. After staying asleep at night, coupled with in-depth analysis by the Bitmain investment team, Ketuan Zhan finally agreed with this direction. It is a pity that after the Tianshi Chen brothers made major breakthroughs in theory and practice, Bitmain officially invested in the relevant direction, and it was still a step behind.
In the two years from 2016 to 2017, Bitmain's business performance has achieved rapid development, becoming a unique super unicorn in the blockchain industry. According to Froth & Sullivan, in 2017, Bitmain Technology Holdings was the second largest fabless chip design company in China and the tenth largest fabless chip design company in the world, and the fourth largest fabless ASIC chip design company in the world, accounting for 74.5% of global cryptocurrency market share.
However, the huge crisis has long been buried in the early days of entrepreneurship.
Ketuan Zhan's decision on major directions revealed his weakness of extremely lack of business understanding. But every mistake he made was blocked by the company's core employees. His overconfidence in his management ability led to the gradual intensification of conflicts, and the management differences between the two founders became more serious.
4.The giant gets lost
The contradiction between the two broke out on December 17, 2018. Ketuan Zhan used extreme means to force the management to compromise with him by canceling the option, so as to achieve the goal of sole control of the company. Jihan Wu returned to Beijing from Hong Kong overnight and negotiated with Ketuan Zhan all night. In the end, the two resigned as CEO. Jihan Wu retired. Ketuan Zhan has the exclusive rights of chairman in exchange for the implementation of the layoff plan.
Jihan Wu's voluntary retreat has intensified Ketuan Zhan's management to do whatever he wants.
A Bitmain employee commented on Ketuan Zhan's management skills, summed up in two letters-SM.
After becoming the sole helm of the company, Ketuan Zhan quickly "rectified" the department in charge of Jihan Wu as the chairman of the board. He guided the sales of mining machines at the dinner, and pointed out that the sales performance is not due to the sales staff. Ability is strong, but the company provides opportunities. Take two sales leaders as examples, saying that if the company hadn't given the opportunity, they would still be losers. In addition, Ketuan Zhan also instructed the sales staff on how to toast and imparted the wine table culture and experience.
After the meal, Ketuan Zhan came to the conclusion that the quality of Bitmain sales staff was too poor, and Huawei’s blood needs to be injected to drive the company’s progress. Soon, the marketing and sales director from Huawei officially took over Bitmain, opening the era of brand premium for Antminer.
In order to further understand and guide the sales work, Ketuan Zhan asked to meet the customers with the sales staff. During the negotiation process, Ketuan Zhan had a heated discussion with customers on the issue of Chinese and Western medicine, and had also forced the sales staff to be able to ship 10,000 machines due to insufficient production capacity.
Although the requirements for sales personnel are strict, Ketuan Zhan has provided a lot of convenience for "Mainland Ark". In addition to selling mining machines at a more favorable price, Bitmain's mining machines are also hosted in Ming Wang at a higher price than the market price. Mine. It is reported that both Ketuan Zhan and Ming Wang are shareholders of Ark.
The new sales strategy of Huawei's executives has also brought very obvious changes to Bitmain. The self-righteous brand premium reduces the price-performance ratio of Antminer, causing competing products to eat away at Bitmain's market share. Later, Bitmain found that the strategy was wrong and started to cut prices, and found that the mining machine market was saturated and the purchase demand of miners had decreased.
More dangerous than the sales strategy is that the technical advantages of Antminer are being chased by competing products, and even overtaken. At the same time, the two mining pools under Bitmain also lost their first and second positions. The AI ​​business, which Jihan Wu placed high hopes and Ketuan Zhan personally supervised, became a laughing stock in the industry. Not only did it fail to make a profit, it almost brought down Bitmain.
Blindly introducing senior executives from Huawei to occupy important positions completely destroys the company's internal cultural foundation. The bureaucracy within Bitmain began to corrode from high-level employees to ordinary employees. Ketuan Zhan is not aware of this. He is still keen on recruiting Huawei employees, imitating Huawei's organizational structure and strategy, letting HR do sales and R&D personnel to do HR.
The organizational structure adjustment in October 2019 was the fuse for Ketuan Zhan to completely anger Bitmain management. This time, Ketuan Zhan completely marginalized Bitmain’s veteran employees, and suddenly promoted some of the “airborne soldiers” who had just joined the company to the position of person in charge, which caused the former person in charge to report to the new employees. The two managers who were originally equal The hierarchy becomes the subordinate relationship, the operation and development of different business lines are merged into a large department, the upward reporting process becomes more cumbersome, and the relationship between employees becomes delicate.
5. Headwind
On October 29, 2019, Jihan Wu urgently held a staff meeting. Prior to this, the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain has been changed to Jihan Wu, including the parent companies Hong Kong Bitmain and Cayman Bitmain. Jihan Wu stood in the lobby of Building 25, B1, announcing that Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Any employee in the Bitmain Group shall no longer execute Ketuan Zhan’s instructions and participate in any meetings convened by Ketuan Zhan. If there is any violation, the company will demotion and expel the company based on the severity of the circumstances. If losses are caused to the company, the company will be held accountable.
Jihan Wu's speech is very long, which can be summarized as follows:
(1) Ketuan Zhan has been relieved of all duties. Also expelled from the original Huawei company HR Zhi Wang introduced by Ketuan Zhan at the end of 2018. Zhi Wang’s reputation on Bitmain was extremely poor and was ridiculed by employees as "nine thousand years" (In ancient China, the emperor was called "ten thousand years old", and the prince was "eight thousand years old." However, in the Ming Dynasty, there was an eunuch who caused harm to the country and the people. He called himself "nine thousand years old", meaning that he was only A little lower than the emperor's level).
(2) Ketuan Zhan's ability to control the company's option incentive plan has disappeared, and it is no longer possible to cancel employees' options at will.
(3) The organizational structure adjustment plan led by Ketuan Zhan was suspended.
(4) We are optimistic about the future of AI business, but the premise is that the main business can continue to make profits in order to support the company's continued investment in AI business.
In the speech, Jihan Wu also told employees the whole story of the "12.17 Incident" and bluntly said that the company is not in good condition. If no measures are taken, Bitmain is likely to go bankrupt in three quarters and he must come back to save the company.
At this time, Ketuan Zhan, who was on a business trip in Shenzhen, finally experienced the situation of Jihan Wu in the "12.17 Incident".
After the official return, Jihan Wu began to clearly point out the company's various problems in operation and management, and went deep into each business line to understand the situation. In the mining machine sales department meeting, employees spoke enthusiastically, reflecting on the difficulties and opinions encountered in the work, the marketing and sales director from Huawei asked with a surprised look, "Why didn't these issues be reported to me before?", and soon , The director was interviewed and "voluntarily resigned."
On November 2, 2019, Jihan Wu announced a salary increase for all employees. Bitmain’s last salary increase dates back to 2018. In principle, Bitmain has two salary increases every year.
On November 7, 2019, Ketuan Zhan spoke on social media for the first time, describing his hardship in starting a business, and condemning Jihan Wu for “stabbing a knife in the back”. At the end of the article, he also set himself a KPI for 2020, that is, the mining machine market share will reach 90%, and the AI ​​business will earn 1 billion.
But Ketuan Zhan's majestic plan did not make Bitmain employees feel emotional, but ridiculed him instead. Employees exposed that he insulted employees, advocated Chinese medicine, believed in Buddhism, drank in meetings, practiced Qigong...
However, there is less than half a year before the halving of Bitcoin production, and the cryptocurrency market shows no signs of recovery, which makes Bitmain management very anxious.
On January 6, 2020, Bitmain ushered in another round of layoffs, with a layoff ratio of about 1/3. This time the layoffs have caused many employees who have just increased their salaries to feel very grieved. On the one hand, they were looking forward to Jihan Wu's return. On the other hand, the compensation for this layoff was less than 18 years.
Ketuan Zhan, who has been unable to enter the Bitmain office area, once again spoke on social media and firmly opposed to layoffs. We do not need to lay off staff and we cannot commit suicide.
During the Spring Festival, Covid-19 broke out. Mainland China has begun to extend the Spring Festival holiday and advocate working from home. Under the chain reaction caused by Covid-19, most companies have chosen to cut salaries or even lay off employees. In the first two months of 2020, China's exports fell by 17%, U.S. stocks were broken four times in a row, Bitcoin plunged 40% in 24 hours on March 12, 2020, and crude oil futures fell by 300% on April 20, 2020...
Obviously, Jihan Wu can't predict, but this layoff seems to be the right decision again. In addition, from January to April 2020, Bitmain's revenue exceeded US$400 million amid the spread of Covid-19 and the collapse of the financial market.
6. Fight to the death
When Jihan Wu tried to get the company back on track, Ketuan Zhan was not helpless. On April 28, 2020, Ketuan Zhan finally rolled back the legal representative of Beijing Bitmain to before October 28, 2019 by repeatedly submitting administrative reconsiderations, and restored his status as a legal representative.
On the morning of May 8, 2020, a piece of news about Bitmain quickly appeared on the real-time hot search rankings, and even dominated the headlines of the day. At window 52 on the second floor of the Haidian District Government Affairs Center, when Ketuan Zhan, the legal person of Beijing Bitmain Company, was receiving the business license, a group of unidentified people snatched the business license from the industrial and commercial administrative staff. A source at the scene said that the number of unidentified people in the group was about 60 people, of which Luyao Liu was directing at the scene.
This is a skillful piece of news. It first leads readers to think that Ketuan Zhan is a victim, using 60 people to grab business licenses as the focus. The masses accused Jihan Wu of lawlessness, but ignored whether the government affairs center could have 60 personnel. As for Hong Kong Bitmain to have the right to appoint a representative to obtain a business license, this is a deeper level of thinking.
The follow-up report restored the real situation at the scene. Only more than ten people were present, and both sides were equipped with security personnel. Bitmain employees also broke the news in the circle of friends, claiming that Ketuan Zhan's bodyguard had injured Bitmain's authorized person, and said in a threatening tone, "Be careful!"
However, the subsequent plot reversal did not have much effect. Jihan Wu's reputation has been greatly affected. From a bloody soldier who rescued the company in trouble to a lawless criminal, it can be said to be a world of war. do not.
Ketuan Zhan, who succeeded in the first battle, began to counterattack Bitmain continuously. On the afternoon of June 3, 2020, Ketuan Zhan led a team to pry open the back door of the Beijing Bitmain office and formally occupied the deserted Beijing headquarters.
On June 4, 2020, Ketuan Zhan called on Bitmain employees to resume work and promised to expand the company's market value to more than US$50 billion within three to five years. After that, Ketuan Zhan began to contact employees by phone, trying to acquire the options in the hands of employees at a valuation of 4 billion US dollars.
Subsequently, Ketuan Zhan recalled Huawei's executives and issued a series of personnel appointments and removals. As of June 9, 2020, Ketuan Zhan has successively eliminated CFO Luyao Liu, and Wenguang Wang, the head of the mining center. Luyao Liu is responsible for controlling Bitmain's IPO plan. He also appointed Yanwu Ma as the HR director, Gang Ren as the head of the mining center, Yonggang Sun as the head of the supply chain, Ling Gu as the financial director, and Bin Zhu as the head of the mining machine business department. Bin Zhu is the senior executive of Huawei who was interviewed and left as mentioned in the previous article. During his tenure, he reduced Antminer’s 90% market share to 50%, and received a large number of complaints from miners. Internal employees once speculated that he might be Compete against the spies sent by the company.
In addition to recalling senior executives of Huawei, Ketuan Zhan also urged employees to return to work. They can receive a bonus of 10,000 yuan when they return to work on the same day, which is only half the next day. Ketuan Zhan showed a very kind side. Every time the elevator door is opened, Ketuan Zhan's hot gaze can be met, shaking hands, taking photos, and receiving money. As there is no personnel information, Ketuan Zhan does not know whether the person receiving the money is a Bitmain employee, and these people did not resume work the next day.
The effect of gentleness was not good, Ketuan Zhan began to force employees to return to work. Seeing that there are still very few respondents, Ketuan Zhan threatened employees through SMS, phone calls, EMS, emails and other harassment, issued multiple threats such as termination of contract, suspension of payment of social insurance, suspension of wages, and even used personal information saved by employees to form a group of employees. Domicile threats, requiring employees to perform "work handover", trying to force employees to return work computers, etc.
On June 10, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan had controlled Bitmain's Shenzhen factory and prohibited employees from delivering normal shipments to paid customers, which caused difficulties in the operation of the Bitmain mining machine department.
On June 13, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain, the parent company of Beijing Bitmain, issued a statement accusing Ketuan Zhan of signing a "Sales Agency Agreement" with the Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd. in which it holds shares, in an attempt to embezzle Beijing Bit's assets.
On June 17, 2020, the media revealed that Ketuan Zhan started selling 14,000 T17+ series mining machines at low prices.
On June 20, 2020, Hong Kong Bitmain officially suspended the supply of chips to the Shenzhen factory.
On July 13, 2020, in the "A Letter to All My colleagues in the Shenzhen Factory" released by Bitmain in Hong Kong, more details were added on the series of Ketuan Zhan's actions in June.
The legal person Feng Zhou of the Shenzhen plant is related to Ketuan Zhan. After being relieved of Ketuan Zhan's post, Jihan Wu flew to Shenzhen to have a long talk with Feng Zhou. Jihan Wu believes that Feng Zhou is the right person to manage the factory and help the company overcome difficulties, and decides to leave Feng Zhou to continue to manage the factory.
This wrong decision staged a story of a farmer and a snake. When Ketuan Zhan began to counterattack Bitmain, Feng Zhou was also quickly instigated and began to assist Ketuan Zhan in seizing customer machines and transferring 17,000 T17 mining machines in the warehouse. Hainan Continental Ark Data Technology Co., Ltd., which is held by Ketuan Zhan, sold them at a low price.
In order to protect the interests of customers, Jihan Wu had to make a compromise and paid the payment for some goods to a bank account controlled by Ketuan Zhan in exchange for delivery. However, after the other party received a payment of 109 million, the delivery stopped. On July 8, 2020, 5600 mining machines have been overdue.
At the same time, the factory defaulted on suppliers’ accounts payable as much as 200 million yuan. Bank acceptance bills issued by the factory, exceeding 36 million yuan, will expire on July 17, and more than 34 million yuan will expire on July 23. It is understood that Ketuan Zhan, after receiving the bank's dunning call, made it clear that he would not repay the loan, which would destroy the company and the entire group's credit in financial institutions.
7、 This is not the end
So far, the power struggle between the founders of Bitmain has been more than half a year. The office building already occupied by Ketuan Zhan is still empty, and most employees choose to work from home. Some chip developers returned to the office with the acquiescence of Jihan Wu and continued to maintain research and development to reduce the impact of infighting on technological iteration and competitiveness.
This giant ship that once stood on top of the supercomputer chip is crashing into the iceberg due to the madness of the former helm. Ketuan Zhan's madness and Jihan Wu's compromise made mistakes again and again. Bitmain tried to save himself many times, but was unable to get out of the black hole.
If the time goes back to that day in 2013, would Jihan Wu and Yuesheng Ge still choose to dial Ketuan Zhan?
submitted by paulcheung1990 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Hide and Seek

An old friend of mine emailed this to me a while back with the subject line “Hide and Seek” and I’ve been hesitant to post it for reasons that should become obvious as you read it. That said, I feel that enough time has gone by for this to be safe so I’m going to post it here. The only edits I’ve made were swapping out names and formatting, otherwise it’s all exactly as he sent it.
T, if you’re reading this then message me. I want to know if you’re alright, and if you are I know you’ll be looking for this story to show up.
This is what the email said:
Rijento,
I’m writing this story because I feel like I need an outlet. I swear to god that you better actually check your email for once in your damn life!
Please…
As for if you actually are reading this, I want you to wait as long as your (admittedly) better judgment tells you to wait and then post this story online. I know it’s a bit vain, but I want people to know my story. Hell, it might be the last one I ever tell. Double hell, it might actually even help some poor soul out.
I’m going to disappear after sending this, hopefully the good kind of disappear and not the death kind. I know nobody but you is going to believe this story but damn if typing this out didn’t make my sorry ass feel better. You were right about that man, I’m sorry for giving you shit for writing so much…
This is the attached file. “Hide and Seek”:
Before I get in to the ‘hiding’ and ‘seeking’ I have a bit of a confession that needs to be made. I work as a transporter for a deep web black market site… I hope it doesn’t change your opinion of me too much, sorry for not telling you sooner.
I’m the guy they call when they get an order for something they can’t send through the mail. Guns and live animals are two good examples. You’d be pretty hyped to know how many rich assholes just order lions and tigers from the dark web.
For obvious reasons, I can’t go in to too much detail, I don’t want to make any dangerous enemies and even after this I still don’t want to lose my job. It’s a pretty sweet gig all things considered, all I have to do is pick up from the seller and deliver to the buyer. I can even choose what jobs I want to take, lets me cling to what little principles I still have. And I DO have principles. After a few years working for the site, my two rules were: no people and no crossing borders.
Anyways, I got into a bit of a bind with the cryptocurrency crash that happened early this year. The site mostly pays in Bitcoin and, well, I decided to let my wallet sit and grow. By the time I realized what happened, my savings were destroyed. Nobody expected it to crash that hard… And it probably wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if I hadn’t also gotten used to living a life full of the finer things. I didn’t really ‘save’ all that much to begin with either. So when my savings finally ran dry and the market was still down, I decided to… Lower my standards a bit and take a riskier, higher paying job.
Organ transport.
I haven’t done it before… I hadn’t been that broke in a long time. Organ jobs pay well too, and I figured I still wasn’t strictly breaking my ‘no people’ rule if it was just their organs. So, I hopped on the site and browsed through the pitiful number of requests in my area till I found what I was looking for. A rich buyer who: had shady connections, was in need of some organs, and lacked either the time or patience to wait for them to come legally. As far as these sort of requests went, this was pretty much the norm from what I’d heard. So I accepted the job and got an email with some additional details about the order: the customer needed two kidneys (which was what I was to transport) and a liver (which they had made a separate request for).
From what other people on the site have told me, what should have happened was the job would move to the ‘seeking seller’ section and I’d be on hold till someone… ‘_acquired_’ the kidneys.
What actually happened probably should have tipped me off to use my monthly free withdraw… I got a notification two hours later that there was a seller.
Rijento, I don’t know how much you know about medicine, but if you do know anything then you’re probably squirming in your own skin about right now. For those who may or may not be reading this that are not in the know, not only do the donor and receiver have to have compatible blood types but kidneys only last about a day outside of a warm body.
Not exactly a product you can stockpile.
I got another email, about the pickup this time, and began the internal debate between the bad feeling in my gut and my empty wallet… You can probably guess which one of them won out… Anyways, I planned my route; one hour to get to the seller and four hours to get from there to the buyer. I sent the site my plan and within minutes they approve of it and set up an actual meeting point. I sighed and grabbed my things, trying to swallow my nerves the entire hour it took me to reach the meeting point.
I sat down on a bench in a city park and waited for what seemed like ages before I felt someone staring at me. It took me a solid minute to pick out who it was even though there were only a few people around. He was sitting with his back to me at a picnic table about ten yards away from me and whenever I looked away I could feel his eyes on me. When we eventually did make eye-contact he bounced excitedly in his seat and waved me over; my heart sank as he also slid a small case into my line of sight.
I forced myself to smile, walked over, sat down, and hid my annoyance. Most of the buyers on the site were practically carbon copies of each other. Probably because you could only become a buyer if another buyer knew and endorsed you. The sellers, on the other hand, were all certifiably insane.
None of the other transporters I’d chatted with had ever met with a ‘normal’ seller. Because of this, all of them quickly learned to keep conversation to a minimum and to not under any circumstances piss any of them off. I decided to follow in their example.
The man sitting in front of me looked friendly enough, overly so if anything. He was scrawny, didn’t look like he would be strong enough to… well… kill someone and harvest their insides. He had a strange smile on his face, and even now I can’t get it out of my head. The kind of overly friendly, wide toothed smile that mothers warned their children to stay away from. It somehow managed to be both inviting and creepy at the same time.
I smiled back and spoke up, “So you’re the seller then?” I asked, and the man nodded.
He nodded and responded in a sickeningly sweet voice… He sounded like a child in a toy store, his voice strained with excitement and wonder as he droned on to his parents about what toys he wanted.
“Oh I’m so glad you found me. For a minute there I thought I’d have to call ‘olly olly oxen free.’” He said with a pleased sigh, pushing the case to my side of the table. “You know… Over the years I’ve gotten quite good at playing hide and seek. So good, in fact, that I’ve never been found. Not. Even. Once. Do you want to know my secret?” the man asked, his voice still just as unsettlingly sweet as his smile.
“Sure, what’s your secret?” I asked. I really, really didn’t want to know what the hell he was talking about; but if it kept him happy then…
He clapped rapidly and bounced in place, “Oh I’m so glad that you’re a curious one. My secret is that the seekers never know that they’re playing.”
“Makes sense…” I said, opening the case momentarily to verify. Two kidneys in pristine condition, doused with preserving fluid, wrapped in plastic. and packed in ice. “If the seeker doesn’t know they’re playing then how would they know to start looking?” I said, leaving out the fact that it would just be stalking at that point before swallowing hard when I thought about where these kidneys came from.
“You’re a smart one…” he said with a smile as I sent a message confirming the pickup. All that was left was to wait for the transaction to process. “I was worried about this last one though… she came right up to me. This. Close.” he said, leaning in till our faces almost touched.
I struggled to keep my composure, and managed to keep from jumping or pushing him away. “So what did you do?” I asked as he leaned back, my suspicions about these kidneys being all but confirmed.
“Why, nothing of course…” He said, a slightly bewildered expression on his face. He looked as though I just asked him how to breathe. I glanced down at my phone to see if the transaction had been verified yet and he snapped his fingers like he remembered something. “Oh I must apologize!” he said, making me look up, “I forgot that you don’t play much… I simply held my breath, closed my eyes, and wished that she would just… go away.”
“You’re right… You are good at hide and seek...” I said, wishing to myself that he would just go away and hearing the familiar ding of a successful transaction sound on both of our phones as if to answer my prayers. I reached out my hand as a formality and he grabbed it and shook it vigorously. I forced a smile and stood, although what he said next made my blood nearly freeze.
“You’re the first person to find me in oh so long…” He trailed off as he said it, his voice slowly shifting from that of an exited child to the cold blooded maniac that he was. “Maybe my games won’t be so one sided from now on,” He said, his voice disturbingly normal. Although, even without looking back I could tell that the same sickeningly sweet smile was glued to his face. I kept walking but waved my arm as though saying goodbye.
The worst part was that I could feel him watching me as I walked back to my car… Not just at first, like if he was watching me leave, but the entire way back, and even as I got in my car. I took a moment to look around and sighed as I saw nothing. It might not sound like much to you. I don’t know, I can still hardly describe it myself, but he had this… creepy way of getting under your skin just by talking to you.
I wrote it off as me just being paranoid, the guy harvests organs from people for a living so of course everything he says is creepy. I groaned and started my car, but it wasn’t until I hit the freeway that I was finally able to shake the feeling of his gaze. It’s not like he could’ve been following me, by then I was already paranoid enough to be checking for that, making a few detours just to be sure of it.
And because of my detours, I ended up being about an hour past the scheduled drop off with the buyer… Lost my chance at a tip for sure, guy was furious and there was nothing I could tell him to calm him down. I’m pretty sure, ‘sorry I’m late, but the seller was a total psycho and I wanted to make sure he wasn’t following me,’ wouldn’t have been a very good excuse.
Whatever, I had my money and the buyer had his organs and plenty of time for whatever operation that used them. Not much to complain about on either side, well except for the fact that I already knew I wouldn’t be sleeping that night. Especially because the feeling of being watched had returned as soon as I set foot out of my car which was, again, impossible. The site never tells the sellers anything about the buyers or transporters, so there’s no way he could have known where I was headed to and no way that he could have followed me.
I hopped back in my car and started to head for home, hoping that a few tabs of melatonin would be enough for at least a few hours of sleep. And again, I could feel eyes on me as I drove and I saw his eerie smile everywhere until I hit the highway. I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders then, although I made sure to take the most winding path home that I could afford gas for (which was quite a bit after a job like that). By the time I did get home it was starting to get dark, and I had made a few loops around my apartment just to be sure I didn’t still feel his eyes on me.
Luckily, my apartment building has a public parking garage attached to it so even if I was being followed I felt safe enough that nobody would be able to find my room. But Just to be sure, I took the stairs for the first time in months.
Have any of you ever climbed seven flights of stairs out of paranoia before Rijento? Well in case you haven’t let me tell you what it’s like. Do you remember running up the stairs from the basement after turning off the lights as a kid? That feeling of unease and terror? Well it’s like that, but you aren’t a kid anymore. It’s not the dark or what imaginary monsters could be lurking in it that frightens you anymore. Instead, you’re worried about who could be hiding in the darkness, what real monster could be following you up those stairs… I’m no slouch when it comes to exercise but it still drained everything out of me hauling my body up those stairs on my hands and feet like an animal as fast as I could.
I got inside and locked the door securely behind me, panting, covered in sweat, but I sighed in relief with the fact that I hadn’t felt anyone watching me at all during my climb. I took a moment to catch my breath, slumping down by the door and chuckling to myself while shaking my head. I couldn’t believe that I’d let that freak get so deep under my skin.
Once I had caught my breath, I stood up and made my way to my couch before flopping onto it. I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep then and there, but I had to be smart with my money this time. I immediately cashed the Bitcoin out. Better to pay myself out in small increments, but I had bills to pay and I’d already learned my lesson about leaving things in Bitcoin.
Once business was taken care of, I grabbed the remote control and flicked on the TV. The familiar faces of the local news anchors greeted me and I began drifting off to sleep while listening to the happenings of our city.
It was around seven a.m. when I was woken up by the sound of the ‘breaking news’ alert coming on.
“We are just receiving reports of a ghastly murder of one [yeah, I’m not gonna put her name or age here] year old college student living on her own. Police investigators say that several of her organs were found to be missing and that they found evidence of someone living in her home without her knowledge for quite some time before the murder…”
The reporters kept talking about how much of a tragedy the situation was… But I wasn’t listening. How could I listen…
I’ve never been less happy to be right then I was at that moment. I shuddered thinking about it. My thoughts and paranoia regarding the man I’d met the other day bubbling back up to the surface. It was then that the reality of what I’d done hit me like a freight train. By accepting that contract I doomed that girl to die… All because I needed some quick cash.
I stood up and went to the kitchen and opened my liquor cabinet. Without looking, I grabbed a bottle of something with shaking hands and fumbled with the top while trying to keep my mind clear of thoughts. Once I had the cap off I took several deep swigs from the bottle, spilling quite a bit down my chin before I set it down and gasped for air.
The burn of the alcohol in my throat gave me something to focus on while it worked its magic on the rest of my body. As my mind slowly clouded I found my way to a chair and found it easier to think about what happened without panicking.
My first thought was that I needed to do something. I knew the guy’s face, I should go to the cops! It was at this moment that the… Less impulsive side of my brain kicked in. I go to the cops and all I do is give myself a one way ticket to an early grave. My employers don’t take kindly to police interactions.
I slowly resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to live with the consequences of this job for the rest of my life… I’m a coward, I know.
Anyways, the next few days passed by slowly. I was… Not in a good place mentally and I’m sure you remember how much alcohol my cabinets were stocked with. I blacked out more than once only to wake up gasping for breath from drinking too much. It was honestly a miracle that I didn’t kill myself through alcohol poisoning.
But I… Managed to come to terms with everything. Don’t get me wrong, I still had nightmares where I was the guy hiding in that girls closet… But I wasn’t drinking my problems away anymore, although I think that was more because of the fact that I’d run out of liquor than any meaningful character development.
It was about a week later that I was able to get my first night of actual sleep. I didn’t dream about anything either so that was a plus. I know it probably sounds bad, but I was starting to feel normal again… Like I could maybe find a way to just be myself…
Either way, even after all that I still wanted to keep my job. I just added a new rule: no organs.
From there I fell back into more or less my old routine. I went to eat out almost every day though, I thought any excuse that got me cleaned up and out of my place was worth taking…
And then, I began to feel it again. That skin-crawling sensation of eyes on me from somewhere that I felt the day I met Mr. Hide&Seek. I didn’t think much of it at first, I only felt the eyes when I was surrounded by other people so of course one or two would be looking my way right? I thought I was just guilty and paranoid.
But no matter what I did, I would always feel like I was being watched whenever other people were around. So I started driving more and more and eating out less and less. Not driving anywhere in particular, just driving… I felt safe on the open road, I couldn’t feel any eyes on me… For about a week.
It started small. A shiver down my spine here and there. A sharp sensation that made my eyes snap to one car or another. Then it came more frequently, and I began to get more and more paranoid as the feeling became stronger and stronger.
I started driving less and less, and whenever I did, I kept my eyes on the cars around me. Trying desperately to find where that feeling was coming from. To find who was watching me… Trying to catch a glimpse of his face in a passing car.
I even thought I did see him a few times… Except that was just paranoia… I hope.
Eventually, I stopped driving unless I had to. I shut myself in my apartment, only going out to get groceries and always, always making sure that I didn’t feel anyone watching me before I parked. But that feeling would always find me whenever I went out.
This went on for about a month. I started to drink again, I didn’t go out to eat or drive anymore. I paid someone to deliver my groceries to the garage of my building. All I did was eat, sleep, drink, and watch movies or play games… I’d be living the dream, if I didn’t think a serial killer was stalking me.
Part of me believed that I was just being paranoid and to be honest I desperately wanted to believe that part of me… But not enough to stake my life on it. And after another week of living like a shut-in the feeling of being watched started to re-surface.
Like before it started off small. I felt a ping of eyes on me and from then on I kept the blinds securely closed. Even then, the feeling persisted for days, gradually gathering in strength. So I emptied out all of my closets and cabinets daily… Eventually I just left all of the doors open and everything on the floor so that I could look in to any hiding spot in an instant…
But that feeling still persisted.
I stopped drinking because I was terrified of being attacked. I started sleeping less and less and when I had to sleep, I slept inside of my closet and barred the doors shut from the inside. I ate and drank only when I felt hungry and always with my back to a corner of the room or locked in my closet… But I could still feel eyes on me, feel His eyes on me the same way I had back at the park.
It was about a month later when I finally discovered my haven. The one place left that I didn’t feel watched. The stairwell of my building. I found that whenever I went down and back up the stars to get my groceries – as I’d long since stopped using the elevator – that I would have a brief respite from the feeling of being watched.
I started to spend all of my waking hours there, sat on one of the stairs without a care in the world. I only left them to eat and sleep and whenever I entered the building proper I would feel eyes on me almost immediately. But having those stairs to return to made my life almost bearable. It had been a long time since I had anywhere I felt safe, and like every place before it I kept waiting form the feeling of being watched to follow me into the stairwell…
But it never did.
For another month, I fell into a somewhat bearable rhythm. I’d wake up in my closet feeling watched, I’d eat in the corner of my kitchen feeling watched, and then I’d scurry off to the stairwell where I could blessedly feel alone – Especially near the top floors where the stairs were seldom used.
But all good things must come to an end and all that, and while I never did feel watched in the stairs, I did run out of money. Apartments and cars don’t pay for themselves after all, and while I managed a few months on the blood money from my last job it was finally time to get back to work.
In the months since I last logged on to the site, things had calmed down significantly and there were now plenty of jobs that didn’t break any of my rules… So I decided to go with a route that I’d done before a couple of times. A gun run. The seller always treated me to a drink or two at his bar and was also always well armed so I felt that it would be a nice and easy job that I could feel safe doing.
After confirming the job I closed my laptop, pulled on a fresh set of clothing, and headed out the door. I wanted to get this over and done with, and thankfully the feeling of being watched was rather light that day. I do admit, however, that I lingered in the stairwell for a bit before heading out. I wanted a bit of time alone before being out in the open for the first time in months.
Anyways, I hopped in my car after about thirty minutes of blessed stairwell time and headed to the bar. After about two hours of paranoid and twisting driving I managed to make it just on time and pulled my car into the alleyway behind the bar.
The owner greeted me with a smile as I got out of my car, “T, long time no see!” he said, his smile fading as I walked up and he got a better look at me. “Holy shit man, are you feeling okay?” he asked, genuine worry in the eyes of the large man.
“No… I’m pretty far from okay…” I said with an exhausted sigh. I could still feel the faintest hint of eyes on me even now, though I know that the owner wouldn’t let me be jumped at his bar. “It’s a long story,” I offered, realizing for the first time that it might be nice to actually tell someone what happened.
“Is that so.” he said with a hint of a smile and a shake of his head. “Well, hows about we get you a drink while the boys get ready to load up your car.” He offered in return, making me smile. “There’s always plenty of time for stories at my bar.” He said proudly.
“I’d like that…” I said with another exhausted sigh, managing to keep the smile up as he put an arm around me and lead me in the back door of the bar.
“Oh, by the way, how did you hold up during the bitcoin crash? I heard it hit a couple of transporters pretty hard.” he said, making me chuckle as we made our way through the kitchen.
“Funny you should mention that,” I said, making him raise an eyebrow, “because that’s how my long story star—” I began, only to stop short when I looked at the bar.
HE was siting there, sipping on a beer without a care in the world. He noticed me out of the corner of his eye and that same sickeningly sweet smile crept onto his face as his eyes met mine.
I froze. There was no way that this was a coincidence. There was no way that he just happened to be at this bar at this time.
I was broken from my trance by the bar owner waving his hand in front of my face and saying my name, “Hello? T, you alright?”
I quickly ducked back into the kitchen and started to hyperventilate. How did he know? How could he possibly have known that I would be here? Did he follow me?
“Did who follow you?” The owner’s voice brought me back to reality once again as I realized I’d been thinking out loud. His face was concerned, bordering on scared.
“How long has that guy been at the bar?” I asked, hoping that the owner knew who I was talking about.
“If you mean tall, thin, and creepy then about an hour… What is going on T?” He asked, as I slumped against the wall.
I started crying. I broke down and burst back into the bar only to see that Mr. Hide&Seek he was already gone. “I… I need to go. I need to get home!” I said, pushing past the owner and running to my car. He called after me, trying to get me to stay and explain what the hell was happening but I wasn’t listening. For all I know, Mr. Hide&Seek could be breaking in to my apartment already.
I drove straight home and threw open the door to my apartment. It had still been locked, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and checked everywhere. But he wasn’t there.
Then, my phone rang and scared the living hell out of me. I checked the number and gulped when I saw that it was blocked. I considered not answering but in the end I picked up the call.
“H-Hello?” I asked tentatively.
“T… What the hell happened at the bar?” a modulated voice rang through the speaker in my ear, making me wince. It was one of the site admins for sure.
I was silent for a moment before telling the admin everything. I couldn’t see the man, but I could feel a sudden change when I mentioned seeing Mr. Hide&Seek at the bar.
“T,” the admin began, a serious edge to his voice. “I need you to log in to the site… _Now_” he said, and something in me told me to listen. I booted up my laptop and hopped on to the site. As soon as I logged in a dialog appeared that I’d never seen before.
ADMIN would like to take control of this computer. Do you consent to this?’ With two buttons. One for yes. One for no.
I clicked yes and watched as my cursor began to move on it’s own. “Thank you T. This will only take a moment…” the admin said, a practiced calm in his voice as he downloaded several files and began to do… Something on my laptop.
A minute later a dialog box popped up that said, ‘Threat detected!’ and the admin sighed and his voice sharpened as he spoke. “T… You’ve been compromised. You’ve had a nasty piece of spyware installed on your machine, for about a month by the looks of things. It’s been recording your keystrokes and giving someone remote access to your camera…” the admin explained, making me gulp as I realized that all of my information was insecure.
“B-but, there’s no way! I haven’t download anything!” I said, making the admin mutter something as a bout of typing could be heard coming through the phone.
The admin’s voice was cold and calculated when he spoke next. “No… No you didn’t…” he said, making me gulp. “This software was installed via _USB_…” the admin said, making my heart nearly stop.
Hide&Seek had been in my home! He had been here without me noticing and put that program on my laptop. Even after all of my paranoia, he still found his way into my room without me knowing.
“I’m going to delete the program,” the admin said, and a few keystrokes later, “done… What the—”
As the admin deleted the program, thousands of windows began popping up on the screen of my laptop. All of them saying the same thing…
‘olly olly oxen free’
After that, I threw my laptop in the trash and got a new one as well as a new phone, sim card and all. I was taking no chances. I got all new accounts for everything and the admin told me he revoked Mr. Hide&Seek’s membership personally.
But I’m going to disappear all the same, I have a plane ticket to somewhere and my bags are already packed.
Don’t look for me, and if you ever start to feel like you’re being watched… It’s because you are.
submitted by rijento to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

So, I have a bit of a quandary....Can I get some objective insight, please?

This got much longer than I thought it would....
I'm applying for a job with an international NPO in the tech industry. To call them "privacy focused" would not be overstating things. It's entirely what they do. I found out about them because it's entirely what they do. Their work is used extensively, although by no means exclusively, by criminals. It's designed for political activists, dissidents, anyone who might have need of tech that comes pre-loaded with all the right tools, can run on damn near any machine and is basically impervious to forensic analysis. It's just been sort of hijacked by people who use it to buy and sell real and counterfeit drugs, both outright illicit and pharmaceutically manufactured; people who steal and sell identities, forged identity documents, social security numbers, credit card data, RFID skimmers in every flavor to steal said data, credit histories, tax returns, counterfeit cash in all the major denominations, stolen/cracked/keygen'd software, hardware, you name it. There are people who will no shit use stolen credit cards to buy you whatever you want and have it delivered to your front door - or wherever else you want it to go - for a fraction of what it costs. If it has value somewhere or is worth something to someone, there are circles in which it's available to buy, sell, trade, or steal. And a large chunk of the people buying and selling these insanely illegal and illicit products are using this NPO's tech to do it.
I have no way of knowing how they feel about that fact. They can't possibly Not know....right?? A simple reddit search of their name immediately brings up like 7 different subreddits that all revolve around these illegal activities. Only one of which contains their name in the . It's super popular. Which brings me to my issue.
Those activities are precisely how I know about their existence. Those criminals are my friends and cohorts. I'm not one for fraud, frankly, but I'm hardly a passive observer in those spaces. I regularly teach people who stumble into those spaces how to more effectively use these tools to stay under the radar.
How do I explain to these people that I know their work and am familiar enough with it's bugs and glitches to be worth investing in, first of all, despite having zero technical qualifications. But more importantly, how do I sidestep the question, "So, how did you come to be so proficient in this particular collection of tools, given your complete and total lack of technical qualifications?" I'm sure they'll ask it more politely than that. But they Will ask it. They can't Not. It's not something people just randomly stumble across and then spend the next several years of their life playing with just for kicks. It's too specific for that. People who use it, need it. And I do not live in a place where it makes sense for me to know it as well as I do unless I'm doing something illegal with it. Which, as it happens, I am. Not to mention...I have zero paper trail for the years I've been paying my bills in cash (because ComEd and the mortgage company don't take bitcoin...yet).
It's crossed my mind to just disclose my activities.
Don't worry. I immediately remembered how many felonies I've committed or been privy to others committing and promptly discarded that plan. Or more accurately, I remembered that I actually Can't remember how many felonies I've committed or been privy to others committing thanks entirely to this tech. Like I said, I have no idea how they feel about people using their work like we do. They may find it reprehensible and disgraceful and call the Feds. I doubt it. Remember, privacy-focused. I'm disinclined to think they'd be very big fans of the Feds, just sort of on principle. Even still. I worry they won't respond well to the truth.
It's also occurred to me to simply point out that they are, in fact, actively developing tech designed for those who have a rather extreme need for privacy, and that while I have very much appreciated the time and dedication they've put into their work, so much so that the opportunity to work for them has very much been the reason I've been pulling myself together and actively working on such professional things as a resume and a portfolio, I feel that to disclose what it was I needed to go to such lengths to secure my privacy for would effectively render such measures obsolete.
I figure if I can get this out of the way in my cover letter and supply a small portfolio of my work showing my competence, if nothing else, that might be the best way to come at it. I don't think I could handle it if they showed an interest in me and interviewed me and then told me they couldn't hire me because I've been abusing their work for years. At least if they just don't respond at all to my submission, I can pretend it was my portfolio and lack of technical qualifications that prevented me from getting the job, you know?
Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? Help?
submitted by AltruisticMzAnthrope to CoverLetters [link] [comments]

I've reached the extent that I think I can tell this story. This is my experience with the cult

Introduction
I am hesitant to begin writing about these memories, and for two reasons. The first is out of fear - fear of retaliation. You see, I was taken advantage of by a cult that I escaped a few years ago in the summer of 2018. I wasn’t involved for long - ten months - but that wasn’t the end of the cult’s influence on me, as they cleverly had a previously unaffiliated visitor contact me and try to bring me back during the period afterwards. I believe they are still keeping tabs on be covertly, but this may just be my paranoid nature.
For nearly the entire first year afterwards, I was always looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed. They definitely have an interest in roping me back into the fold, as you will see how sociopathic these people are. I’m still traumatized, and although I have healed a great deal from these trials, there is still lingering conditioning that causes me panic attacks and anxiety, which exemplifies my schizoaffective disorder. I attribute much of the reason I’m houseless now to the combination of my mental health and trauma caused by this group.
The second reason I am hesitant to begin writing is also out of fear, but this is instead a fear of not being able to deliver on my promise to expose this cult. I know I have the ability to write about my account, but will it be good enough? Will I be throwing these words into the electronic ocean like so many others with little effect on the world? I feel that no matter how hard I try, I will be unable to capture the cult’s devious acts in such a way to convey what it was like for me, a vulnerable individual, to be slowly turned into an obedient slave.
Inadequacy. This is an important piece of my psychology. After watching my mother decay and die for the first nine years of my life, followed by being raised by an abusive, narcissistic father, I have a profound feeling of inadequacy ruling me. I never feel like I am good enough; that I have to self-sacrifice - to the point where I believed I had to be as good as Jesus Christ - in order to achieve a passable level of human adequacy. The cult took advantage of these feelings in spades and left me a shell of who I was previously.
Fortunately, the period of houselessness that has extended the last year or so of my life has been a radically transformative period where I feel able to step out from barriers that previously trapped me. I feel freer than I ever have been, and to be honest, I owe a lot to the cult for pushing me to my breaking point and learning where my boundaries are. In fact, I don’t believe I could have stepped away from the denial of having a feminine side if it weren’t for the ridiculousness of how far I was pushed.
Now, I stand strong, ready to accomplish this mission life has presented me. It is my basic civic duty to tell my story and warn the public about this group and others who prey on vulnerable individuals in an unstable socioeconomic period. They deliberately attract people who are vulnerable for personal or financial reasons. For instance, there was a flat-earther from Belgium who was here illegally that got roped into our group by being attracted to the messages of sovereignty and their abundance of kooky new age beliefs. They even tried to get me to recruit more members using the same strategies they hooked me with - which is standard cult behavior.
This leads right into how I got involved with the cult in the first place. Part of it is my fault, as I was young and naive. I still am, but now I have the wisdom to not throw myself out there for any group to start manipulating. There are many people who can be drawn into their preying behavior, and it is important that I elaborate on how easy it is to get duped, so others don’t follow in my footsteps.
As you will see, the group was bizarre in many ways. I want to start off by saying that I did not join an organization of pee-drinkers who practiced blood-magick on the side of Main Street. Instead, I started working for a nonprofit that promised to change the world, and appeared to have the ability to do that. The weirdness grew exponentially over time, gradually as they conditioned us to accept their way of life.
On my own end, I wanted to join an intentional community; one where everyone involved works towards a singular end as one unit. I longed for the camaraderie and an alternate way of life. I wanted something different than what - as the cult called the common culture - “The Matrix,” or “Babylon” offered. There are such communities, but because of devious groups like this, everyone needs to be cautious when attempting to find them. I still seek to find or create an alternative lifestyle for myself where I can live amongst my brothers and sisters away from the mass-produced consumer culture of the world.
It’s been a hell of a journey, but I am happy where I am now. If anything, the group taught me that self-love is our first love; if the gardener does not take care of themselves, then who takes care of the garden? With my efforts to find such a community as I wanted, it was inevitable that some group would have sunk their teeth into me. I am grateful that I was able to recognize the far-flung insanity that I was trapped in and escape. Now I just need to focus on recovering and helping others who may be searching for the same things I am.
Chapter 1
It all started early in 2017. I was working on reverse networking, like trying to place a letter on someone’s shoes to let them know I exist. I was hoping to find a project I could use my skills as a writer and juggler by broadcasting who I was on our small online community, The Shrug Life Syndicate, on Reddit. I was so desperate to find such a community that fit my ideals and goals that I didn’t even conceive that someone could be watching in order to learn about me.
They first posted a link to their site on our community’s board, when they were still going by the Awakening Sovereignty Collective. To best understand how I perceived them initially, you have to understand that I was lost in what we at the Shrug Life Syndicate call the synchronicity slip stream. An aspect of my schizoaffective disorder, I often get lost in various series of synchronicities that form a coherent narrative that compels me to behave differently than I otherwise would. It is an amazing feature of my mental health for creativity and finding alternative solutions to problems, but it can be debilitating when trying to fit in to the normal world. When the ASC posted, I believed applying on their website was the obvious thing I should do in order to accomplish my cosmic mission.
Well, nothing happened at first, and I forgot about them until several months later until I received an email stating I was hired. This came after a series of strange tasks from anonymous accounts that seemed to be tests to see if I was as capable of a writer as I portrayed myself as being. I remember one test was to see if I could write a sales pitch for “Unicorn Poop,” an edible snack with a humorous twist. I don’t have any proof that these two events are connected, but it definitely tripped my radar as odd that they happened one after another, and nothing ever came from the sales tasks.
Having passed their tests, I began working with them online. It was a slow process, as there wasn’t a lot of work right out the gate, but there was a lot to learn. Their websites were many in number and often confusing. I had difficulty navigating them and almost quit trying within days of getting started. I remember crumbling back into my addictive nature one night as the wailing cries of depression came roaring back with my initial perceived failure.
If I were not partially psychotic, believing the universe was guiding me to the salvation I sought, then that would have been the end of it. Many other people seemed to have given up while I was still new to working for them. If I were to guess, I would say that this was deliberate on their part in order to weed out only people like me, who were in some way desperate to be a part of the group. With only a small number of desperate people finding their way into the clutches of these people, it must be easier to control them as well.
The ASC promised a new way of life for anyone seeking it. They claimed to be a planetary alliance that was helping ecovillages, nonprofits, conscious businesses, and individual change agents. They were working on a cryptocurrency and software suite that would help communities better serve the world. This was at the peak of the bitcoin bubble, where many people unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies were trying to get in on the hype. They touted a number of figures and claims which ultimately turned out to be false or otherwise misrepresentative of the truth, but in the moment I believed everything they were shoveling.
It was easy for them to sell the idea and project as they were all natural sales personalities. I attended a lot of meetings, particularly with the writer’s team, and started to get to know the people behind the project. In the moment, they appeared to be down-to-Earth and relatable, but highly conscious individuals who really cared about the world and were motivated to do the work necessary to make the changes needed for the planet. In hindsight, they really only cared about money, and were playing a part to catch people like me.
The leader was named Dakota, if that was his real name (I believe most of the main group had adopted a second name to hide who they really were). He was a young man claiming to have graduated high school at ten, and he founded a company known as STADA which was facilitating much if not all of the software needs of the ASC. He was brilliant, but I believe most of his brilliance was self-generated through his ability to sell himself as more than he really was. He always acted like a millionaire who was going to change the world, which made it easy for him to sell the project to people like me.
The co-leader was named Lila. She was a cheerful person who always had something positive to add to the conversation. While working with her, I found this to be a powerful part of her personality. It was hard to say no to her, as she had a motherly vibe and she strategically would ask you to do things that left you feeling compelled to help her, for the good of the project. She first won me over by claiming to run a retreat center for circus skills. I only heard of this in the beginning of my journey with the group, so I believe it may have been a bogus means to shift my opinion of them.
The leader of the writer’s team was named Teahna, who was beautiful and knew how to use her womanly charm to influence others. She seemed to be new to the project as well, having recently written her first book, and my time working with her online seemed to be a learning experience for both of us. I believe this was also planned, so that I would have some support learning what I was supposed to be doing on the various websites that seemed to pile up more and more as time went on.
The work was easy at first. There were no assignments or anything like that. It was all pile work - as in, just grab a shovel and get paid for what you move. As a writer, I naturally gravitated to the writers team’s tasks, but I also helped with the education team and the core tasks of the group. Mostly I wrote articles and website content for them, but I also wrote fake twitter bios, social media posts, and began working on their constitution/manifesto before arriving at their headquarters.
I was making good money, both in real dollars and their own cryptocurrency, Equality Keys. They claimed we could trade their currency for real money at any time, which turned out to be a lie. They often only let us exchange it at certain times at a reduced value. But, I was naive enough to believe that the numbers on my screen were real and meant I was doing good. It wasn’t long before I earned upwards of thousands of dollars worth of their currency, which was promised to rise in value as the project continued to grow and evolve.
After a few weeks working with them, they began toying with a name change to Earth Nation. I believe this is a key part of their method of staying under the radar. By changing names and projects frequently, they never gather enough clout to be exposed as the charlatans that they are. They would later create a new project known as Earth Cycle, and there was a tentacle organization we got hooked into after our stay with the main group called Lovecycle. In regards to the latter, I will never forget the name Lovecycle, as that is when the bulk of bizarre and traumatic events occured.
This is around the same time that my girlfriend at the time began helping out as well. We worked together as a writer and artist combo, and they were initially excited to have another person joining to help. There was some friction though, such as bluntly being told they had no need for an artist at this time after they welcomed her onboard, and there were moments where it seemed like they did not want her to be a part of the project. As they turned her and I against each other much later in our odyssey with them, I think this must have been deliberate to sow the seeds of conflict between us. Again, this is classic cult behavior. I regret bringing her into the whole thing, as she is no doubt as traumatized as I am.
What really allowed me to lose myself in the hope of the project was the possibility to do exactly as I dreamed: travel with a caravan, juggle at festivals, help sell whatever my girlfriend and others made, and write gonzo journalism about what Earth Nation was doing. One of the main draws of the group was that they advertised in the meetings about how they had a proposal system, where anyone could come with their plan and it could be voted on to be given resources. They were interested in my idea (how much of that was just gaslighting me to believe I’ve found the perfect gig, I don’t know), and wanted me to do some journalism about my experiences moving to their headquarters just outside Eugene, Oregon - on the other side of the country.
My girlfriend and I were ecstatic at the idea of starting a new life on the west coast. It was the dream we both shared, to abandon the broken world we knew and join something better. We began preparing for the move, sold all of our stuff, and eventually took off from the airport with only three bags to our name. It was a leap of faith, and we were never happier to embrace our dreams and begin to live a much more interesting life.
Chapter 2
We left on October 25th, about a couple months after I first began working for the ASC. It was an amazing trip that we thought would represent our rebirth. I remember arriving at the airport feeling as though I was leaving a part of my past behind. I felt a wave of solemn emptiness and fear over this, but I have since learned such feelings are common with change of this magnitude. Mostly, I felt joy that a new chapter of my life was unfolding before my eyes.
It was a time where it seemed like we had infinite potential right at our fingertips. Who knew what would actually go down over the coming months? We were grateful for the opportunity and happy about the change. My girlfriend even changed her name to Awen to start over fresh as a new person. I still stuck with my birth name, Gregory, but eventually I would start going by the name Rory after having been pressured to by the group.
I remember looking out the window while Awen took pictures of everything we flew over. It was a trip in itself to see the world from such an angle. I was amazed at the number of wind farms in the middle of the country. Likewise, the closer we got to our destination, the more mountainous the ground beneath us became. The change in scenery would pale in comparison with the change in the culture of the west coast - one of the main reasons I now consider Portland my new home.
Landing in Eugene’s airport, we were regaled with Ducks memorabilia. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had forgotten that this was where an old hero from my track days, Steve Prefontaine, used to run. This made me feel hopeful while waiting for Teahna and Prism, the leader of the educational team. I remember pacing the entrance hall of the airport with a giddy smile stretching from ear to ear. This was it, I told myself: I had finally found my new home.
After a long day of airline travel, we were eventually picked up in Prism’s van. We were met with hugs and smiles, which rejuvenated us after the natural stress of the trip. We chatted the entire way back to Triangle Lake, where their headquarters supposedly was. Both Awen and I were antsy while being shaken back and forth while sitting on Prism’s bed for the duration of the drive. I distinctly remember the beautiful colors of the autumn trees as we drove past. This last little bit of our trip took roughly forty-five minutes, but it felt like we were pulling up to the headquarters in an instant.
I caught a glimpse of a sign as we pulled into the long driveway: Circle of Children. This would be where we stayed for the first two months. The area was gorgeous. Giant trees covered in green moss extended as far as the eye could see. With the abundance of fern-life, it reminded me of a Jurassic paradise. Out the cracked window of the van, I could hear tree frogs chirping in harmony. It was certainly something out of another world compared to the east coast.
We stopped in front of the main office - the only building with wifi. If I were to graph the amount of access to the internet we had across the ten months we were involved, it would have a steady, negative slope. Of course, while being conditioned by the group, it was barely noticed, as we grew less dependent on the internet as time went on. We were never barred from the outside world - in fact we interacted with it regularly - but the idea of leaving was made so impossibly far outside the bounds of possible choices through a long series of scripted events.
Which is why the entire beginning of our stay at the Triangle Lake Convention Center seemed like something out of a fantasy paradise. Everything, from the overarching narrative we were fed, to the day-to-day interactions, was designed to win us over, gaslight us, and manipulate us emotionally by using our traumas against us. In the aftermath of the whole escapade, I learned that this is the type of manipulation that cults use to prevent members from seeing reason while keeping them docile, obedient work horses for the greater project, whatever it may be.
It is clear to me now that Earth Nation and all tentacle organizations are a purely criminal enterprise - a money-making machine for those at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Even though we were supposedly a DAO - a decentralized autonomous organization - there were clearly people who were centralized leaders profiting from everything the group did.
And everybody played their roles well upon our arrival. We were greeted with another barrage of hugs as we got out of the van. Everybody was excited to finally meet us in person, as were we to meet them. We chatted with Dakota and Lila for some time outside of the office. They were the exact same as their online personas. In the moment, this gave us a sense that these people were genuine, but in hindsight it serves as a reminder that anyone can create a convincing character and play them whenever they want - even if they choose to never take their deceptive masks off.
We were then shown where we would be staying. Up the hill and to the left we drove until we were in front of Carmen Hall. It was a quaint dorm-style lodging with a large common area and a small kitchenette. Many nights were spent in the common room with the others who were staying in the building. Because we were a couple, we were given the largest room with its own bathroom.
That’s another thing that changed in a downward slope: our living quarters. Over the course of the ten months we were with them, we were downgraded from having our own space, to sharing space, to living in a tent. And again, because of the conditioning, we were fine with the change.
Sometime during the early evening, we went back down to the dining hall and kitchen which was across the way from the main office. Here, we met a variety of characters, including Tuva, a humble appearing guy with a large social network he brought with him to the project, and Daniella, who would turn out to be mommy dearest as she was the sole woman controlling us for the majority of our adventure on the west coast. A Brazillian native, she was as good of a manipulator as she was a cook, and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal on our first night in Oregon.
Before the night was up, we went behind the kitchen to smoke with a man named Grizzly; a wild looking man who mostly kept quiet but had a mouth to use if he needed it. It was the first time we smoked in Oregon and it felt liberating to finally be in a legal state. But, as freeing and fun as being able to smoke whenever we wanted, I believe the abundance of weed we were constantly fed was a means to keep us docile. Daniella always made sure we had some weed, and would frequently smoke with us. I feel I would have been able to say something as things changed if I were not dependent on the constant stream of marijuana.
Afterwards, we went back to Carmen Hall with a couple of members who also stayed there, and Daniella performed a pendulum reading for me and my girlfriend. Holding a crystal on a chain, she “read” the direction it spun as she brought it up in alignment with our chakras. She was spot on and I wanted to say that she had excellent observation skills, but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs, especially my girlfriend who considered herself a mystic and bought into the act.
That night we cuddled in our room, smiling as wide as our mouths could. We had done it - we successfully started our new lives and were going to be a part of something we still had yet to fully comprehend. Everything was new and exciting, and while we were overjoyed, we were glad we had each other because things were still scary. If only we had known then how scary things would become.
Chapter 3
The next morning, we showered, dressed, and went down to the kitchen. There was a slight fog in the air, and we saw a family of deer in a clearing off the road. We would see this family of deer several times during out stay at Triangle Lake, which greatly enthused my girlfriend. She said they were a symbol of wisdom, and must be a good sign as we continued to be indoctrinated by the new age beliefs of the group.
We were early, as our daily meetings were at ten and that is when most people started to show up at the office. But Grizzly was there, as he stayed at the nurses station that sat next to the main office. He offered us some dabs, which just further enforced our belief that this was a great group to be a part of. He also offered me a metal six-shooter pipe, which proved to be the main piece I would smoke out of for the entirety of our adventure.
Breakfast consisted of whatever we could scrounge up. There was a huge walk-in freezer in the kitchen that hosted tons of food when we first got there. There were also a wide selection of dry foods such as figs and nuts. That whole selection would dwindle over time, as the group got everything as donations, usually by soliciting the local food pantries and the Eugene mission and much was close to their expiration dates. It was common to open the freezer and find something moldy.
This was the first time I really interacted with Doran. Doran looked a lot like me - complete with similar beard and glasses - but had shorter, curlier, and darker hair. It was joked that “I was another you.” He appeared to be a really kind-hearted person, and we frequently went to him with problems. This is likely planned as well, to have someone to vent the frustrations we were experiencing as the project transitioned to something different than what we signed up for. I opened up to him before I did with other members, even asking for relationship advice as they tried turning Awen and I against each other between, and received what I now consider a long-standing act of being a good ear with standard advice from the group. Still, he was funny and I enjoyed making strange mixtures of food with him.
As it neared ten, we shuffled to the office to have our meeting. The office had two rooms, and we were all huddled in a circle in one of them. This was nice during the coming months as it was also the only room with the heater. These meetings proved to be a main means to program us, as there were many exchanges that could have only been scripted. We would often talk about one thing, but there would be a subtopic that was teased that would change the meaning of the whole meeting in the context that I heard it. Often there would be some crosstalk in the kitchen beforehand, or something during the day that warped my understanding of what was said
We were required to work thirty hours a week in order to receive our basic income of two hundred dollars a month, as per our agreements before moving to the headquarters. However, it wasn’t long before they duped us by saying the basic income would be used to cover our time staying at Triangle Lake. We weren’t able to fight it, because our tongues were tied by the desire to fit in and be accepted by the group. The ways that they changed things were gradual and deliberate, so that you would never really feel like you were getting taken advantage of. It was just a change, which was alright, because there was a world to save and we were the group who was going to get it done.
That was one of the major ways they were able to get away with a lot of the back-pedaling of agreements - they would always have new, unexpected surprises waiting for us. It was gradual, but they introduced several new elements of communal living that required us to sacrifice more of our money and autonomy. They did this by having so-and-so nonchalantly bringing up these concerns in the meetings, then downplaying the resulting effects as something that should be expected, then agreeing with Dakota or Lila.
Keeping track of my hours was a joke. For everything I did, I was told I should have taken less time in order to do. The criticism I received came tongue-in-cheek and constructive at first, but steadily devolved into a series of harsh critiques that would leave me distraught and unable to think clearly. I was still unmedicated back then, and my emotional state was as turbulent as a hurricane. They did similar things to my girlfriend, as Lila took her under her wing, treating her as her child in order to take advantage of her own trauma she had with her mother.
If there was one thing these people really excelled at it is control. They figured us out quickly and efficiently and then used our traumas against us. Our second night there consisted of an informal group of the residents who stayed at Carmen Hall staring into each other’s eyes and then saying out loud what we felt at that moment. I remember staring at Daniella, who was a silhouette with the lamp directly behind her, and asking for healing. Something about the way she stared at me seemed to provoke a sense of trust and I felt that she would be able to help with a lot of the problems.
That’s one way they won over us and got us to do whatever they wanted. They are experts at gaining people’s trust and then they take advantage of that fact. Through these scripted and planned events they were able to warp our realities to the point where we were already robotic slaves right off the bat. We certainly were eager to earn their approval and work our way to a position where we were seen as valuable members of the project.
One of these planned events was Kukui’s birthday, which was just a few days after we got there. Kukui was a groundskeeper who had previously lived in Hawaii and was joked as being a ginger Jesus. He was an incredible person who really cared about the Earth. I have no idea if he was part of the manipulation or if he was there on similar beliefs that this was a group doing immense good in the world.
Early on during the night’s preparation, Dakota and Lila walked up to us and asked if we wanted to go out to eat with them. This struck us as odd that they would abandon Kukui on his birthday, but we didn’t see it as too weird at the time. We struck up a conversation, where it was revealed that Dakota had two EBT cards from different states.
One big hook they sunk into us was the idea that it was us versus the government. They managed to convince us that the institutions of the world were parasitic - which they usually are - but did it in such a way that made us feel like we were in a spiritual war against the bad boogie men of the world. And they managed this by gradually exposing us to more and more deliberate acts of defiance, in order to manifest our own sovereignty against the parasitic government.
It’s what led to us accepting some of their more diabolic schemes. For instance, there was talk about building a village in Ava, Missouri, moving all their people in, and then taking over the mayorship. They chose Missouri for this plan due to the different building codes of the state. In the moment, this seemed like a brilliant plan for expanding the influence of Earth Nation, but in hindsight appears to be a dystopian means to increase their power and continue taking advantage of people.
These were little seeds they planted that made us more comfortable with doing certain things that we otherwise wouldn’t. Awen was particularly uncomfortable with many of the things we did, but eventually they did get her to help out with their schemes. By keeping us under fear and gradually conditioning us, they were able to make us obedient as we were always looking out for our immediate survival.
Fear. That is an emotion I am now excessively familiar with as a result of this cult. While I have battled paranoia all my life, they took those primal emotions and twisted them to the point that I had no idea which way was up. Each day gradually became a battle while being on high alert, as I constantly scrambled to overcome whatever artificial set-backs were planted in my way and keep up with the workload that was presented to me.
My first exposure to this form of emotional manipulation came during Halloween. The night began jovially as Doran wore a plastic bag as a costume and invented a new dance that we all participated in. Daniella was preparing a large meal in the kitchen while we helped and played in rhythm to one another. The dinner we shared was only part of the night’s events that would change my life completely.
After dinner, Awen and I went back to our room and talked about what we wanted to do that night. The rest of the group was still down at the dining hall and preparing for a fun night of festivities. Awen was not opposed to me going, but she was and still is a pagan and wanted to celebrate her ancestors as per the tradition of Samhain. I debated spending the night with her, but the opportunity to spend time with these new people in our life made me curious as to what they would be doing. I will also admit that I was much more controlled by my addictive nature and was excited to drink with them.
So down I went. As I entered the dining hall, I saw that they were drinking tequila and generally having a great time. Naturally, I joined in and took a shot. Jovial times were had, and some time later I was offered another shot, but I did not see them pour this one. This turned out to be a crucial mistake on my part as I would find out that there was something else, something with psychedelic qualities, in the drink. It was not LSD, as I am familiar with the effects of that drug, so I am at a loss for what it could have been.
As the night went on I began to feel funny. It wasn’t until we were in a smoke circle that I began to notice something was wrong. I had trouble forming words and when Grizzly asked me a question all I could muster was a “hi!” This tripped me up and I went inside to go sit down.
This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I was mostly left alone as I sat cross-legged on a mat on the floor, but eventually there were three other people sitting around me, with a bottle placed in the center of us. I remember Prism and Josh, a carpenter who was doing some work on the buildings at Triangle Lake, were two of the people surrounding me, but I don’t remember any of the conversation they were having. I just remember getting really spooked at that time and tried to leave.
I don’t know how long it took me to get back to Awen, but I do remember the headlights of a vehicle coming down the hill as I was going up. It was late by the time I made it back in into Carmen Hall, which suggests that I have no memory of what happened after the apparent spin-the-bottle episode. My memory starts to get better as I remember lying there with Awen trying to articulate what was going on, but my words just spiraled into incomprehensible nonsense. She was worried for me, just as I was worried for myself.
The next morning continued on as if nothing ever happened, but I was emotionally jostled for the next few days. Nothing was ever said about what happened the night before, and a part of me was terrified that something happened Because my mother had AIDS, and that is a terror I still battle to this day, I obsessed over the idea that Prism, who was HIV positive, may have done something with me. I’ve since been tested and everything’s fine, but for a while I was terrified that I was raped.
Was that a rational or irrational fear? I’ll never know. What I do know is that they took advantage of my perturbed state by subtly twisting the knife in the following days with their synchronous set-ups, making me feel guilty that I did not choose to spend time with Awen that night, and thus making me work harder than ever before.
Chapter 4 in comments
submitted by Shrugbeternowthaneva to ShrugLifeSyndicate [link] [comments]

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