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GPU Mining - Where GPU Miners Discover the Best GPU Mining Hardware
gpuminer is a Reddit community dedicated to GPU mining of digital currencies also known as alt coins. Discover the current best mining hardware, mining software and hash rate settings to get the most out of your GPU mining rigs. We cover Ethereum mining as well as other crypto currencies including: Dash, Monero, Decred, Zcash, and Library Coin.
ILPT: In depth guide on how you can make a lot of money anonymously (Bitcoin)
So you've all heard of the old e-whoring and DNA scams by now, but people and corporations are already starting to crack down on them. So what do you do when these techniques become obsolete? Today I present to you: Cryptoconning! (As in cryptocurrency and con). So what is cryptoconning you may ask? Well it's a quick way to make a lot of bitcoins without them being traced back to you. I have only seen this technique used once and it *almost* got me, and I usually have a good eye for scams and the like. Cryptoconning is very easy to set up, even more so than e-whoring, as it requires no external downloads apart from a social media app/IM and a cryptowallet, although most people already have these anyway (and if you don't have a wallet set up you probably shouldn't be doing this scam anyway lol). Alright so let me explain the general idea of this scam. It relies on some small mind tricks. You know how online games always have some kind of in game currency, or a premium currency? Well the reason they work so well is because it breaks the association between money-product and adds a barrier between them (money-currency-product). Would you rather spend 5 dollars on a cosmetic item for your character, or spend 6 dollars on 600 gems, then spend 500 of them on the item and have 100 left over to spend on other purchases. Pretty self-explanatory. So now that we have the basis of the scam out of the way, let me show you how this is gonna work. You're going to offer someone 0.06 btc if they pay you 0.006 btc. Yeah, that's it. Well sort of, let me explain further. For those of you aren't into cryptocurrency, 0.006 btc is roughly 40 dollars as of right now, and 0.06 is 400. Now you are probably thinking I'm crazy, that people would actually fall for this type of scam, but it actually works. Going back to the mind trick idea, what do you think sounds less sketchier: "hey bro i can turn 40 dollars into 400 rn just paypal me the money" or "hey bro i can turn 0.006 btc into 0.06 rn just send the btc to my address". Mathematically, the difference between 0.06 and 0.006 sounds much smaller than 40 and 400 to us, even to those who understand cryptocurrencies, that's how this scam works. So you get your victim, give them this offer (change the prices if you want), hope they go through with it and boom, free 40 dollars. That easy. So now that you get the gist of it, I'll write a more in depth instruction guide below, starting with a checklist for what you'll need to pull off this devious scam: - Some kind of social media app/instant messaging app. It's better to use the more popular ones, such as Instagram and Snapchat, but you can use Kik or Skype (who?) if you want. - Fake profile. Doesn't need to be in depth like with e-whoring, just make a simple page for your bitcoin entrepreneur with a fake name, PFP etc. Your profile doesn't even need a real person, you can go for the good old Xx_bitcoinguy69_xX if you want. - YouTube account. You'll need this to "vouch" for yourself. You can just use your main if you want or make a quick Google account as this one doesn't even need any content. - Crytowallet. There are plenty of good wallets out there. I use Blockchain on my phone for easy access, and it requires no ID verification. Aaaand that's all. No extra downloads required, no "[FREE]  Cryptoconning pack | Over 1200 bitcoins included!!!!!" needed! So now that everything is set up let's get to work. The first thing you are gonna want to do is promote yourself. *Don't* promote yourself as yourself, that's just stupid. That's why we use your YouTube account to vouch for yourself in the comments of bitcoin videos. Now you may be asking, what type of video should I be looking for? And the answer is any. Really, just type bitcoin in the search box and sort by upload date. For the best results however, I would look for videos titled "how to get free bitcoins" and the like, as the type of people who will be watching those videos will be pretty desperate for money. In the comments just type something along the lines of "this is a good technique but my friend has access to a crazy mining rig. he can get you 0.06 btc in a few days message him on [social media] his name is [username].". If you want to increase your percieved authenticity, try and relate your comment to the video in some way. Yes this is more time consuming but it makes you stand out from all the bots in the comments. For example, instead of leaving the comment previously mentioned, start it like "this app is pretty cool i got 0.0002 btc in a few days. will definitely take some time but my friend already started me off etc etc etc.". Now your first victims have begun messaging you, what next? Well the next part is similar to e-whoring, so if you are experienced in that this will be a breeze. The less questions they ask, the better. This is also a good way of seeing how desperate they are, so if you feel like you can take advantage of someone, increase the prices and the "profit". Just don't go too high, and keep the difference between the price and profit low. If they start asking questions just bullshit your way through them. "Where does the money come from?" "I have access to a mining rig in Texas", "How can you get it so fast?" "We have over 350 mining rigs, with Radeon RX 460s", "How do you make a profit out of this?" "It's not my mining rig", etc etc. When they finally ask for the money, that's when you tell them about the fee. You need a good reason for this, and by far the best one is to say that you need the money to pay for the mining rig's services. This one works like a charm. So by now you should have been able to see what kind of person they are. Friendly? Go semi high with the price and if they hesitate offer to lower it a bit. Straight forward? Go somewhere in the middle-high. Asks lots of questions? Go middle and offer to lower it a bit just for them. When you've finally got them on board all you need to do is give them your wallet address and they will send the bitcoins over. Sometimes this can take a few hours or sometimes it goes through immediately, but you should recieve it the same day. And just like that, you've made yourself a quick 30-80 dollars! Now you don't your victim to get suspicious right away, so if the transaction hasn't gone through, tell them that it hasn't, and that you will get back to them as soon as it has. If you get it immediately, say "thanks got it" and that you've started the mining rig and it will take a couple days (be specific, don't just say "a few days", say "about 74 hours") and bid your farewell to them. At this point you can just block them but if you don't risk getting reported and your account taken down you can take it further. There's a chance that your victim will ask for progress on your mining so just give them a fake amount of bitcoins according to how long it's been since you "started it". So if you said it will take 74 hours and it's been 2 days since you scammed them, say you have mined 0.0454379 btc out of the 0.06 you agreed on. After the time period is finished come up with some excuse such as you're not allowed to use the mining rig anymore, or the owners took the bitcoins. Say you're sorry and that you returned the bitcoins they sent you and that it will probably take a few hours to send. You can even fake a screenshot of the confirmed transaction if you want, just in case they ask for proof, but at this point it's safe enough to block them. And that's how you make 100s of dollars in bitcoins per day, completely anonymous, less hassle than other methods and less risk involved! I hope you found this useful because it took me forever to write this. Below I made a pros and cons list for a quick summary. Happy scamming! :) Pros of cryptoconning: - Completely anonymous, can't be traced back to you, especially if you launder it through Monero - No downloads needed (except wallet and social media, but if you're on this sub you should probably already have those!) - Faster than other methods, both setting up and actually executing; victims are more straight forward and willing to pay - No need to maintain relationships with victims (also a con) - Less risk than other money making methods (DNA is being cracked down on) - Doesn't take up your time unlike e-whoring - Less saturated than e-whoring Cons of cryptoconning: - Requires you to trade bitcoins for IRL currencies if you want to move it to PayPal/bank accounts - Requires more promotion than other methods, can't just stick a profile on kikfriender.com and let it do it's thing lol - Victims are one time use, unlike e-whoring - Bigger risk of account being banned
Ammo is the most important thing for combat in this game. I don't think I put enough emphasis on this in the previous guide. How do you kill high tier geared players? Good ammo. Low gear? Good ammo. Spend your money here, not on gear or weapon mods. Best example I have is literally my last raid. I got one tapped by a mosin in a full tier 5 setup at full health. Vader helm, Killa armor, silenced M4 build totaling around a mil with ammo and mods. Missed his first shot, I located him, dead to one shot in the thorax. Good ammo trumps all. Here is the best ammo of each type for commonly used guns: 556: M855A1 < M856A1 << M995 545: BT << BS < 7N39 762: BP 12x70: Flechette < AP-20 762x51: M80 << M62 < M61 762x54: 7N1 < SNB < 7N37 9x39: SP6 < SPP < BP 9x19: AP 6.3
On that same note, take grenades into raids. Grenades are very powerful in tarkov. If someone is in range (which is significantly bigger than other games) they will die. A hatchling with a nade and some luck can take down the most geared players in the game. I would highly recommend at least putting one in your pouch for over geared/room clearing purposes.
Quick Hideout Note (thinking about doing a passive income and usual profitable crafting guide): rush for the intel center, the discounts of trades and scav run reduction are huge. Then crafting table, library, and air filtration are all useful. I get about 500k-700k in passive income per day from the hideout by just logging in a couple times. The scav box is absolutely worth it, the 6k rouble option consistently nets me 15-20k (up to 100k+). Bitcoin farm is maybe worth it? Its a big profit per day, mines already paid off, but takes 1-2 months to return its value at current prices. Best crafts are Ifaks at the med, m995 and other ammo at the bench, sugacondensed milk at the fridge, pure water at the filtration all depending on price of ingredients which fluctuate a lot.
Check out the youtube community for loot runs, quest guides, and everything else. Tarkov is a very hard to game explain in a written or word of mouth guide. For specifics, see videos.
Finally, have a plan before you raid. At least know the extracts and your objective (money run, quest, killin dudes) and exactly where those are for the map you're running.
TLDR: Shoreline for money, Interchange for consistency, Customs for quests, Factory/Labs for fights.I did a brief overview on money runs on various maps in my previous guide, but wanted to update those maps in light of recent changes to spawns and my experiences over the past month or so testing all the maps out. In profitability order: Shoreline - With the new addition of 6-8 LedX spawns, shoreline has become king for money. It takes the high reward possibility of Labs and mixes it with the consistent loot value of Interchange with the only draw back being the need for keys, which I purchased for around 3-4 mil for all good loot rooms ( 15 keys in total). This is a steep investment, but it is a one time cost, and completely worth it. You can expect an LedX about 1/7 raids clearing most LedX rooms. I got 5/36 shoreline runs, clearing most rooms about 2/3rds of the time, dying or being beaten to the rooms in the other 1/3. Unlike labs, however, these are just the cherry on top of consistently amazing loot in the rooms with easy extracts to boot. The big draw back is popularity, I run into at least 2-3 PMCs at the resort, usually 4-5 with a duo or squad tossed in the mix. They're usually tier 3-4 geared (I go tier 5 but don't recommend that unless you're good with losing a mil to a lucky mosin shot) and have a bad habit of hiding in rooms and ambushing. Interchange - For consistent mid value barter items, Interchange is your map. Nothing has changed from my original assessment, tldr version being run Oli shelves and the 3 tech stores next to it for about 500k-1 mil per extract, assuming you bring a decent bag and rig. This map has dropped in popularity with the Shoreline buff, but be on the look out for tier 5 geared PMCs doing their 100 Killa kills grind and the ever present extract campers. Reserve - This map still has great high value drops, less frequent than Interchange but with higher average value and requiring less keys than Shoreline. The massive drawback here is extract difficulty. If you can afford it, para-cord with the ice-pick for the repel extract is recommended as you just have to ditch/bag chest armor and you're out. Losing a bag for the manhole has required many a painful pick and chose for me recently and the door just isn't consistent, sometimes the button will be pressed but its still locked, other times its just open. Its a fun PvP map, but for money its just not beating the two above. Customs - This map just really isn't for money, its for quests. But with the addition of the new stashes spread throughout the map you can make decent money whilst running the quests. See my past guide/the link below for stash runs. Factory - Wait, Factory over Labs? Customs over Labs? Yes, I'm getting to that. So why Factory? Because quick, hit and run style or longer scav pileup at a choke-point style runs can net you tons of experience along with a big stack of weapons and decent loot from scav pockets. Solos try the upper hallway office/breakable door, the bottom pipeline hallway curve, or extract choke-point. Duos and squads can hold down the shower doors with ease. Labs - People who have read my previous guide might be surprise this is last. The issue with labs is its completely dependent on high level item spawn rates. Labs is my favorite map, I could write a lengthy separate post about everything labs. At the beginning of the wipe, labs was ludicrously OP. You could spawn in and expect a 1/3 chance of an LedX (2.5 mil at the time) along with 2-3 other 400k+ items spawning in each raid. This resulted in 10's of millions in profit. Then they released Shoreline LedX spawns and turned off labs LedX. The barrel spawn was completely dead (50+ runs and nothing) and the two other (at the time) known locations had maybe a 1/25 rate. You could expect maybe 1-2 other drops per raid and it was now crowded with PMCs. It was difficult to turn a profit doing geared runs, and I lost millions. Today its slightly better, there are 3 new LedX spawns and the barrel spawn has a 1/7-10 (still testing) rate but everything has plummeted in price (VPX is less than 200k now) and you can expect 3-6 tier 5 geared PMCs plus raiders to be skulking around. Great for fights, terrible for money. Though extracting will often bring huge rewards in gear alone in current state. ... - Feel like I'm forgetting one... Hmm... Nah they wouldn't put a thermal ridden snipe happy map in the game with no loot spawns and lots of annoying quests. (Don't @ me Woods fans)
TLDR: Highest level armor not worth, high level ammo makes everything vulnerable. Not doing the same tiers (see previous guide) but the actual armor level itself. For actual setups with armoweapons see my previous guide.
Level 1: Examples:3M body armor, tank helmetIs it worth: No. Its not worth it. Ever. The speed/sound debuffs alone make it not worth it because it doesn't stop anything besides terrible pistol ammo. This should be obvious but I see new players wearing it. Don't bother guys. Sell this on the flea.
Level 2:Examples:PACA/6b2 armor, Kolpac/SHPM/Djeta helmsIs it worth: No for all the helmets due to sound debuff, but kinda if you're really broke for the armor. Level 2 armor is effective against scavs and pistolings. It'll stop you from getting one shot from distance by a crappy shotgun or pistol and is extremely cheap. I'd mark this as the minimum armor on a budget.
Level 3:Recommendations:UNTAPRESS/6B23-1/Kirasa armor,SSH68/LZsh with face/Kiver with face helmsIs it worth: Yes. The chest armor should be the standard for every raid. Its still really cheap but will actually stop most low/mid tier rounds. This makes you much more effective against scavs and low-mid gear PMCs. The SSH68 helm is dirt cheap and should be worn for every raid as a minimum. The other two helmets for tier 3+ load outs. Kiver for no headset, LZsh for use with headset, both with the faceshield.
Level 4:Recommendations:6B13/6B23-2/6B3/6B5 armovests,Zsh-1-2 with face shield/BNTI LSHZ with neck cover and face shieldIs it worth: Armor: Kinda, if you have the money to get it fresh or are questing/fighting focused in raids. The main problem with level 4 armor is its lack of health overall and repair ability (essentially can only be used for 1-2 raids before replacing). It also is mostly to increase coverage on mid tier (5.45 BP/BT for example) ammo but does nothing against high tier ammo, so it doesn't offer much more for the price than level 3. If you have the money, however, it will increase survival rates. Helmets: Yes, once you have the black skier variant unlocked for the Zsh-1, and only with tier 5+ gear for the BNTI. The Zsh-1 helmet will become you're go to for tier 3+ armor the instant you unlock it. Its only 5k roubles more expensive with faceshield than the Kiver but provides level 4 protection on head and ears with level 3 for the face. The BNTI or Vader helmet provides a level 4 faceshield and nape cover, giving you full coverage of level 4 armor over all vital areas. This is better than the Fast-MT (most of who's parts only give level 2-3 protection) and the best helm in the game imo due to it not limiting your vision.
Level 5:Recommendations:Killa 6B13 Assault/Gen4/Redut-M armor, Alytn with face shieldIs it worth: Sometimes, but mostly no. I say this as someone who runs level 5 armor 50+% of my raids. But this is only because after awhile the cost stops mattering to you and it makes raids more interesting to be risking more and getting to challenge anything you come across. The main issue is its extreme expense and the ability to be easily killed by inexpensive weapons with high tier ammo. Killa armor + the Vader helm is, in my opinion, the best armor setup in the game due to having full visibility and high movement speed with coverage on all vital parts. But the amount of times that I've dropped the 400-500k on this armor only to die in one shot to a mosling or hunterling with high level ammo is ridiculous. Yes, this armor makes you immune to anyone with low/mid tier ammo, but high tier ammo, available to everyone through the flea market, cuts right through.
Level 6:Examples:Zhuk-6a, 6B34 "Fort" armor, Vulkan with faceshield helmIs it worth: No. This armor is the only in the game that will reliably take a few shots from the best ammo in the game, listed above. So why is it bad? First off, it has huge penalties. You are slow and bulky and loud. Second, unless you open up a hole in the armor with no face plate/level 3/4 face plates (making you not tanky), you have restricted vision. Its like being a world war era tank. Hard to kill, sure. But if they brought the right ammo for the job they can run circles around you and blast your blind/slow butt until you drop. Third, its very expensive. Zhuk-6a is the only possible option here really for price and penalties, but its also ceramic. If you're going to go tier 5, I recommend Killa armor.
Does this mean you should never run good armor? No. What it means is you should be aware you are likely losing value/money by doing so at higher tiers. Better armor will help you survive more raids, help with quests, and is a sign of being a more established player. But you are trading a LOT more money for smaller advantages in return, making it hard to recommend the more expensive armors in the game to anyone who can't handle multiple instant deaths in a row losing 500k-1mil.
STATUS: Majority of questions have been answered. If yours got missed, please feel free to post it again. Introduction All, Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I'm posting similar versions of it here, in several major crypto subs, and eventually in the weekly "tax help" threads personalfinance runs. I'd like to thank the /personalfinance mod team and the /tax community for their help with this thread and especially for reading earlier versions and offering several valuable suggestions/corrections. This thread is NOT an endorsement of crypto currency as an investing strategy. There is a time and a place to debate the appropriateness of crypto as part of a diversified portfolio - but that time is not now and that place is not here. If you are interested in the general consensus of this sub on investing, I would urge you to consult the wiki while keeping in mind the general flowchart outlining basic steps to get your finances in order. Finally, please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities. The Basics This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency. Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto. The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019. In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later. When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are three two ways to calculate your basis - your average cost, a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). EDIT - you may not use average cost method with crypto - see here. If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income. One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates. For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists. Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS. "Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto). The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something. This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash. Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so. "Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock. Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped. There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well. While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach. Dealing with "Forks" Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine. Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks). While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks. One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork. Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory. Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community. Mining Crypto Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business. In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C. Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax. What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction? One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward. However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction. What if I don't trust you? Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes. IRS guides
And so there i was in shoreline running around in the pitch dark hoping that what little moonlight may guide my path down these wretched claustrophobic hallways, My mind and spirit both wishing so dearly for the elusive Ledx and red card spawn. I was hungry, I was optimistic.The cold Russian rain pattering atop the roof as I ascend up the stairs of east wing building of the resort, rushing straight for door 222, my heart was pounding in my ear. They could be here anytime now i thought. I reach the front of the door and pulled out the key for it, my fingers fumble about in the dark. No, not this key...where is it... Then footsteps. They came from the floor below me, My heart quickens. I jam in a key into the lock and hoped it was the right one, gave it a twist...and the bolt came loose. Yes! I force my way in closing the door behind me before frantically searching the room and there it is! I FOUND IT! With a black plastic body with a crescent moon smile it sat atop one of the shelves, a Ledx! I slap that bad boy into my secure case and was ready to die. The footsteps were approaching closer and closer now. I grip tightly onto the automatic pistol that i got, an APS. Staring at the door, waiting for it to open and for that cone of light to peer into the room and paint the room with bullets. But it never came. Huh. I popped a syringe of morphine i found in the room and decided to peek out into the hallway and take my chances. If I was gonna die then at least I would die trying to fill my enemies with holes. What if they left? What if someone else had gotten their attention? I began to greed more and more each second. A minute passes. two minutes passes. I was lured into a sense of security slowly. three minutes passes. "If they left then i could head up to grab more loot, oh imagine the bitcoins and gold chains you could walk out with..." I thought. I steeled myself and pushed out of the room, the door creaked and wailed in agony. I winced at the sound and peered right toward the stairwell. it was dark and ominous. Oh shit, is that movement? I see a blob of grey lighter than the wall behind it move slightly and with twitch reaction pulled the trigger once before ducking back into the room, running into the furthest corner to avoid an incoming nade. But it never came. Did I panic to nothing at all? I must have. I looked out once more and this time round I see a silhouette fast approaching me. This time I screamed bloody murder and went full auto with this dinky 9mm pistol of mine. The corridor lit up momentarily to muzzle flashes, the scene almost looking like a stop motion movie. I see it.. its kevlar cladded body and steel bounded head, the thing's weapon of death staring down at me. This monster had four green eyes, and on its back what looked to be a wrapped up corpse. Then a new set of gunshots rang out from this creature. I counted four shots at first. The beast topples forward and goes prone. My gun clicks, its muzzle glowing red hot. My fingers still wrapped around the trigger like a vice. It ran out of ammo. So this is it. I loosened my grip on the pistol, dangling it from a finger. Awaiting the surgical removal of my kneecaps... Then another shot.... And... it sounded further away? Oh shit. I looked up from my defeated stance and see this behemoth motionless on the floor. "No way." I murmured to myself. I too prone down on his body and the search option popped up. "Dear lord." Gen 4 assault kit, A b6 backpack, M4 kitted out with a red buffer tube, Night vision goggles on a helmet with mutton chops, black rock rig filled to the brim with all the heavy ordinance you could ever want. I ripped off his armour with senseless lust, kicking the body aside. Pried his still warm fingers from his weapon, bullets still with my name on it. Pulled the dogtag around his neck to properly claim my rightful kill. I get up and made my way towards the exit... and there lies at the very end of the hallway Another identical monster. Dead and limp on the cold concrete. "Nooooo...." I say in disbelief I crouch down to inspect his dogtag. "Killed by xennos_g2 with Aps" I laughed maniacally, bending over to harvest the carcass as well. Tossing everything it had into the the bag that could well fit an entire human. My shoulders ache at the heavy tugging from my pack, it rattles and grumbles from its fullness. Every step taken towards the exifil was exhilarating. This is it! Every breath I exhale exclaimed victory! I am the apex predator of Shoreline! There it is, I see it. The Tunnels! Im out! I WIN! Ps. Died right at the firetruck to a mosin extract camper.
6 Most Weird Techniques Used For Bitcoin Mining So Far
This news comes from https://www.livebitcoinnews.com Bitcoin continues hitting the news for a variety of reasons. It is the most popular cryptocurrency and with increasing acceptance across industries, more people want to enjoy a piece of the pie.By the end of 2018, the global value of Bitcoin reached 66 billion U.S. dollars. One of the greatest offshoots of Bitcoin’s growth is Bitcoin mining. It is essential for the survival of the cryptocurrency as it deals with creating new bitcoins. It is one of the most popular activities with techies seeking to cash in on the Bitcoin craze. The idea of mining cryptocurrency might sound farfetched, but the investments going into this activity are enormous. Success as a Bitcoin Miner The hardware and software required for Bitcoin mining are expensive and this has seen investors injecting millions of dollars into their projects. Miners require specialized computers and software to get the job done. There’s also the high cost of electricity and bandwidth which makes it difficult for everyone to join the fray. How does Bitcoin mining work? If you want to succeed in Bitcoin mining, you need dedicated processing power, a lot of energy supply, cutting-edge ASIC mining hardware, and a lot of time. In a slow global economy, Bitcoin mining remains a viable income-generating activity. You enjoy insulation from inflation and you don’t have to worry about capital controls. As the interest around Bitcoin continues, it is interesting to note some of the most brazen techniques Bitcoin miners have tried so far. 1.Using the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) The creation of the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was solely to guide U.S rockets to the moon. It was one of the earliest computers made and it was huge and slow. With computing power in high demand for Bitcoin mining, a restoration team consisting of Ken Shirriff, Carl Claunch, Marc Verdiell and Mike Stewart tried reviving the AGCA for this task. The AGC team was however disappointed by the results. At a hash rate of 10.3 seconds per Bitcoin hash, the team discovered it would take billions of years to mine a Bitcoin block. 2.Mobile Data Mining With Waste Gas The idea is to install Bitcoin data-mining centers at oil rigs which has a need to vent gas. The data center developers argue that this would generate more revenue than selling fuel. It is also an easier way to reduce carbon print. The Ohmm® mining data center is an alluring proposition and one most miners would pick up. 3.Nuclear Reactors A report on Forbes says Bitcoin miners harnessing power in a nuclear reactor compromised one of these sensitive installations in Ukraine. Nuclear reactors produce excess energy due to their sheer size. Using this exceeds energy on a profitable venture such as mining bitcoins is a great idea but only with a clear framework. 4.Mosque Data Mining Bitcoin miners will go to any lengths to find the energy to power their supercomputers. A mosque is an unlikely palace for such an activity but due to a government subsidy of free electricity, Iranian Bitcoin miners now work from these holy places. A government crackdown has not managed to kill the practice. 5.Cryptojackers While most online hackers want to steal your identity or harm you, crypto-jackers are a different breed. These are hackers interested in the computing power of your network. These computer geeks are so suave that some even hacked the Tesla company cloud and tapped computing power for Bitcoin mining. 6.Leveraging Bitcoin Mining Byproducts Bitcoin mining systems generate a lot of heat and creative miners now use this to do other things. Some innovative miners heat their homes using this byproduct while others use the same for rum making among other tasks.
I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure. Myself included. So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate. But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same. Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall. Yes, I’ve seen the video. No, I won’t be sharing the link. Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it. Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air. Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable. Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman. We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym. What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck. Inevitable, as you’d say. Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often. See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later. I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt. Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering. Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked. Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them. Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance. A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really. As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school. Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence. Which is why I refuse to be silent. Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all. I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique. Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.” I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight. That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else. I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend. When with Roman, do as the Roman does. After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design. Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world. As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School. I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though. Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line. See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself. Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.” With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.” Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’ It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.) And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.” Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer. It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class. Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.” “Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling. “I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.” “Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?” Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his. I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick. You might have something to say about what we deserve though. As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too. Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from. They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful. In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required. However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature. Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’ I thought this was really funny. Ellie Monk however, did not. She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.” “Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!” “Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.” “It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!” “Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.” Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman. “Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.” “Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.” At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier. Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.” I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all. Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity. I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt. Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all. Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman. He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion. Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care. I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you. The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name. He mentioned the Basilisk. Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant. Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind. Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor. Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps. Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger. In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down. Now I understood what this was. I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh. Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms. It drew nearer and I ran. I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me. Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up. Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat. I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load. Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy. As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut. What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk. After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either. I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead. He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T. He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside. His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked. “A few months.” With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour. Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?” “Shoot.” “What is the Basilisk?” At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?” “From you. You told me about it.” “No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.” “Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.” Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.” “So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?” He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that. “Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?” “No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.” “The… Basilisk is your computer?” Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.” I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?” “Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.” Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.” He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.” “So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?” “Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.” All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?” “Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.” “Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer. “Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.” My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?” “The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again. “You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?” “Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.” This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up. I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.” Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us. He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.” When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester. But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?” In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on. In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given. When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.” Institute? Mipsqueak? Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account. Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.” I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject. They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.” Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute. It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’. “A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee. Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile. That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been. From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!” As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer. This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped. That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl. I sprinted to run. Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch. The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet. With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting. Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death. Its teeth opened wide. Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage. I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence. Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger. I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components. He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes. One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit. I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman. “What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh. “I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.” “Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.” “I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.” He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—” “Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!” “Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.” “It’s not moralizing.” “Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.” I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.” Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view. At least not in person. When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear. The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits. I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said. Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know. But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity: I don’t believe in you.
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