Is this the crash we have been waiting for? : Bitcoin

[Discussion] AAS induced hypogonadism and an appeal to the community

Tldr; AAS induced hypogonadism is a very real consequence of steroid use, and the wiki needs to be updated to state this fact clearly and without bias so that prospective users who find TRT (for life) an unacceptable consequence can make an informed decision. Also, lots of people, and some are experienced users, have demonstrated that they don't believe this is a thing.

Before I begin, I want to qualify myself a bit as I am asking that we address something together and make a change to the wiki. I am a 30 year old who has been into weight lifting since I was 15, and I had a keen interest in AAS that led me to my first cycle at 24. I'm on TRT. I have a BS in biochemistry and although that is not inherently relevant, it did give me a tendency to research topics I was unfamiliar with, and to do so in peer-reviewed sources.
Over the last 10 years, AAS use has exploded in popularity. It amazes me sometimes when I show up at the gym and see clearly enhanced lifters all around. Bitcoin has made AAS accessible to anyone with a mailbox; for very low prices you can have any major steroid in the bodybuilding world shipped to you in a week or less, and you don't even need to go to the dark web to find it. You don't need to know a guy. This surge in new users has clearly diluted the atmosphere of online steroid forums, whose members used to be very scrutinizing and against anyone hopping on gear if they seemed even slightly uninformed of the ins and outs.
While I think its overall a good thing that the tone has become more welcoming, since people are going to do their thing regardless, I have noticed that we've collectively been skating over something that didn't used to happen as often. That thing is AAS-induced hypogonadism. In the past 4-5 months I cannot count the number of times I have informed a newcomer that recovery not only wasn't guaranteed, but multiple cycles and years of use make TRT a VERY real outcome. Now, I know there are many who recover from years of use, the majority. That is great. But there are no studies that I can find that show what percentage do and don't, or what parameters are involved. I only have the experience of my many friends, people on these kinds of forums, an endocrinologist, and myself to go on and I can say that there are a lot of us walking around who are on TRT because of our AAS use. Literature overwhelmingly supports this.
The wiki itself states that length of suppression, the types of drugs used, and individual response are factors in determining HPTA recovery. It states that failure to do a proper pct "will present a very high probability of long-term endocrine damage" without saying anything about the possibility of not recovering even after you do everything right, giving the false impression that a pct will get everyone back to normal. The individual response paragraph discerns between users who will recovery easily and those who will have "extreme difficulty recovering" but makes no concession anywhere that there is a third category: those who's test levels never fully return to baseline. The HPTA was never designed to be fully suppressed and brought back, there is no situation where exogenous hormones would ever exist in any time during our evolution. The pituitary sends a message to the balls to make more test when it dips a bit, and then tells them to stop when it reaches a max. Small changes. Dumping hormones into your body causes a hijacking of that entire system and crashes it. The pituitary goes silent, your balls stop producing test, stop making sperm, shrink. They literally atrophy from disuse and revert back to being as useless as they were before puberty. Recovery from that is not a given. After my 3rd cycle, my test values returned to normal but my balls felt a tad smaller, my libido a bit off. My 4th cycle's pct failed, as did the 3 other pcts I attempted over the next 1.5 years. HCG runs, pharma pcts of varying lengths, but no matter what 2-3 months after pct I would dip down. I had lost 40% of my natural production and at the 2 year mark with no improvement I decided to do TRT. For me, it wasnt that huge of a deal because I love this lifestyle and knew I wanted to continue to cycle. But there are guys out there who may find this outcome unacceptable and should really make this the number 1 consideration in whether they cycle or not.
I made this post because I have been met with skepticism many of the times I have pointed out the possibility of not recovering. Someone today called it a myth on the same comment thread that he was giving a new guy advice on. Another guy last month PMed me to let me know he was thankful I had brought it up in a comment thread where a guy was asking about the chances of not recovering and 4-5 people were encouraging him that doing a pct and enough time off would prevent that. I get it, we don't like to think about it. Everyone, when they started, worried a bit about their natural levels coming back since everyone was so adamant about checking via bloodwork, but we seem to have calmed that down by carrying on that a proper pct is King and will set things right. The truth is, there are many people on and off these forums with AAS-induced hypogonadism and I am concerned about the numbers who are happily cycling not knowing their next pct is going to fail. While there is no guarantee, a test cycle will most likely go fine. But when people get into the territory of their 3rd, 4th, 5th cycles, more powerful drugs, BnC, they are most likely not going to leave with the test levels they came in with. For many, it will be severe enough of a dip to warrant TRT, others will suffer minor sides and just go on with life, and some will probably struggle for year with it. I visited an endocrinologist recently because I want to stop self prescribing and he told me he deals with this all the time, that its very common.
I don't really know how changes get made to the wiki, but I propose that we make it a very large disclaimer at the top of the PCT section and in the 500mg test cycle section. Below are just a few sources I found over a very short time. I suggest you look further if you need more evidence. I am not a gatekeeper and never will be, but if we transmit any information to a prospective user about how to take these drugs safely it should come with this fact. Discuss.

Coward RM, Rajanahally S, Kovac JR, Smith RP, Pastuszak AW, Lipshultz LI. Anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism in young men. The Journal of urology. 2013;190(6):2200–5. Epub 2013/06/15. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2013.06.010 pmid:23764075.

Rahnema CD, Lipshultz LI, Crosnoe LE, Kovac JR, Kim ED. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism: diagnosis and treatment. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(5):1271–9. Epub 2014/03/19. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.02.002 pmid:24636400.

Tan RS, Scally MC. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism—towards a unified hypothesis of anabolic steroid action. Med Hypotheses. 2009;72(6):723–8. Epub 2009/02/24. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.12.042 pmid:19231088.

van Breda E, Keizer HA, Kuipers H, Wolffenbuttel BH. Androgenic anabolic steroid use and severe hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction: a case study. International journal of sports medicine. 2003;24(3):195–6. Epub 2003/05/13. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-39089 pmid:12740738.

Boregowda K, Joels L, Stephens JW, Price DE. Persistent primary hypogonadism associated with anabolic steroid abuse. Fertil Steril. 2011;96(1):e7–8. Epub 2011/05/18. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.04.029 pmid:21575947.

Jarow JP, Lipshultz LI. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Am J Sports Med. 1990;18(4):429–31. Epub 1990/07/01. pmid:2403193.

Lloyd FH, Powell P, Murdoch AP. Anabolic steroid abuse by body builders and male subfertility. BMJ. 1996;313(7049):100–1. Epub 1996/07/13. pmid:8688713; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2351471.

Kanayama G, Hudson JI, DeLuca J, Isaacs S, Baggish A, Weiner R, et al. Prolonged hypogonadism in males following withdrawal from anabolic-androgenic steroids: an under-recognized problem. Addiction. 2015;110(5):823–31. Epub 2015/01/20. doi: 10.1111/add.12850 pmid:25598171; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4398624.

Kanayama G, Hudson JI, Pope HG Jr. Long term psychiatric and medical consequences of anabolic androgenic steroid abuse: a looming public health concern. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Nov 1;98(1-2):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2008.05.004. Epub 2008 Jul 2. Review. PMID: 18599224
EDIT: does anyone know how we even go about modifying the wiki? What’s the process?
submitted by benchpressyourfeels to steroids [link] [comments]

How do you deal with Bitcoin Regret?

So I’m not the first and won’t be the last to suffer from feelings of regret associated with Bitcoin but it’s something I’m really struggling with.
I found out about bitcoin in 2012 but didn’t really investigate it further because I had lost 10s of thousands in the 2007 crash and my perception of risk (like many) was skewed.
Come 2013/14 I heard more about Bitcoin because of the significant price movements. But thoughts of investing were never really close to my mind because I was trying to recover from making a bad career move. In trying to back myself out of a corner I ended up investing in retraining. Ironically that turned out to be a bigger risk than anything and it didn’t pay off in the slightest.
Come 2016 my marriage was breaking down but despite that distraction my brain still realised it had missed the financial boat over the years... I had missed rising housing prices of the 00s, the stock market recovery after the crash, and the Tech share boom of Amazon, Apple etc over the last 8 years or so. I started looking for the next big thing, but my brain didn’t join the dots. I did see Tesla on the up and up wanted to invest in October 2016, but at the time didn’t have the liquidity.
Come early 2017, my marriage ended and a came into some money (I also would get the proceeds of selling my house later in the year). I invested in Tesla regularly up until September, it was then that more news about Bitcoin came out and I realised I’d almost missed the boat again!
I’ve invested what I could afford since then, at a pace linked to to my understanding and knowledge as it grew. I’ve done really well out of the recent growth, doubling the 4 figures I’ve been able to invest.
However, over the last week I’ve day dreamed about what could have been (bad move I know). I consider myself an intelligent guy and I work close to tech. How could I have not seen this opportunity over the years? I don’t even see it as high risk looking back. I’ve lost thousands over the years in various ways and losing all I could afford to lose in bitcoin wouldn’t have changed my life. Getting in earlier, going the way it has would have done, for the better.
I even remember seeing a wife’s post to relationships in 2015 where the husband was going all in on bitcoin. If only I’d subscribed to this subreddit then!
The worst thing is I realise I could have helped my family, paid off my sisters mortgage, bought my aunt a house rather than her still renting as 65 year old!
I’m not exactly mourning the loss of a HD worth millions but I can’t help but feel awful regret, and because of who I am, I have sunk into a deep depression. Even if I’d have started to invest 6 months earlier, I could have made a difference to my life and others!
How do you deal with these thoughts and feelings?!
submitted by HooliganCow to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Hype in an ICO

My name is Dmitrii Skripkin, I am the head of traffic department at Platinum, the company that can attract crypto community to your project, provides best ICO and STO marketing services and can be really helpful in teaching about crypto-economics.
Learn more:
As for the teaching… Welcome to the UBAI! Here we gathered all our knowledge to share it with people who just step on the road of crypto success.
If you want to understand the overall influence hype can have on a team and anyone involved with an ICO project, take a look at the summary of our lesson
What is Hype in Cryptocurrency
The English Dictionary defines ‘hype’ as extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion. Therefore it is only right that we define cryptocurrency hype as extravagant or intense publicity and promotion for any kind of cryptocurrency. Recent research suggests there is a 60% chance that people around you have encountered the word ‘bitcoin’, or ‘cryptocurrency’ from one source or another. This widespread publicity was also catalyzed by the stunning and sudden rise of the price of bitcoin in 2017 (and other times as well), which led to a frenzy in FOMO, fear of missing out, which drove otherwise skeptical people to eventually believe in cryptocurrencies. From that point, many people started to believe in the idea and potential of cryptocurrencies. This led to even further growth in optimism among members of the cryptocurrency community, which, in turn, drove demand and hype to absolutely atmospheric levels. There is an ongoing argument among financial experts about the nature and destiny of cryptocurrencies. One school of thought is that crypto is, in fact, the next evolution of money. Other people think crypto is nothing but a bubble or fraud and will eventually fade into oblivion.
Roles of Hype
It is a fact there is hype in the cryptocurrency industry. It is also a fact that investors often trade and hold positions based on that hype. But before speaking about the role and purpose of cryptocurrency hype, let’s take a look at the major causes behind it. Ever increasing media coverage has brought the entire crypto sphere into the limelight. Just the media calling bitcoin “Digital Gold” has coaxed people into buying and hoarding bitcoins for themselves. Increasing groups of cryptocurrency believers have spread the idea that cryptocurrencies are a unique store of value, uncorrelated to other more traditional asset classes. There is also a significant number of individuals who purchased bitcoins before the sudden rise in value and are now hoarding their currency like gold, seemingly unwilling to sell at any price. The money to be made in crypto has attracted a great number of miners. We have previously discussed the key role and value of coin miners to the integrity of the blockchain. These miners help support not only the price and the maturity of bitcoin, but also the blockchain technology on which bitcoin depends.
Common ICO Narratives in a nutshell
An ICO is a funding mechanism that a company uses primarily to raise early stage capital. So far it has largely been blockchain-based technology solutions which employ “Tokens” (cryptocurrencies or digital assets) that are functionally used in the company’s solution, so as to give them a relative value. These days, there are a large number of companies constantly ‘pre’, ‘on’ or ‘post’ ICO. But the first ever recorded ICO was by Mastercoin in 2013. Their campaign lasted for almost a month, with Mastercoin raising up to 5,000 BTC, then valued at $500,000 USD. A year later, Ethereum was launched. And in 2015, the Frontier, an experimental release of Ethereum platform was released. A month later, Augur Token was launched. Since then, many other ICOs have followed. In 2016 alone, ICO sales raised up to $103 million with ICONOMI and SingularDTV leading the sale with $10 million and $7.5 million. In many ways, ICOs were made possible by the ease with which companies were able to create their ICO tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain technology. With the success of bitcoin and the explosive growth of ICOs for various purposes, the market has shifted solely from the topics of blockchain tech and cryptocurrency solutions, to more specific and practical applications of these solutions to actual real world problems. But at the same time, there has also been a large number of scams as a result of the lack of regulation and insufficient oversight. This is something to always keep in mind when you are considering ICO investments.
The Power of Perception
People’s perception of an ICO depends upon several key factors. Due to the incredibly large amount of paper wealth generated by investing in cryptocurrency, people are inclined to invest with less stringent diligence, even regarding their own money. That is, for better or worse, generally more true for crypto as opposed to traditional investors. Intelligent investors pay particular attention to the following details when evaluating an ICO: -The quality and marketable potential of the idea. -The necessity of a blockchain solution to solve this particular problem. -The quality and commitment of the team to the company. -The tokenmetrics and tokenomics. -The ability to actually bring the solution to market as a viable business.
Signs of Market Hype & Anticipation
A solid understanding of the signs of market hype and any resulting hyper-anticipation requires a multifaceted approach to evaluating an ICO. All the circumstances, situations, prevailing market conditions, and other factors contribute in various ways and to various degrees, to each ICO. It is important to also understand why different investors are investing. Some are committing capital because they truly believe in the idea as a viable business and are planning to hold on for a longer term. Some people are pure speculators hoping to multiply their money and take a profit as fast as they can. There is nothing inherently wrong with either one of those approaches or reasons to invest! The point is, you just need to know with whom you are investing so you can make the most advantageous decisions about your own funds.
The following are signs of ICO market hype: The Social Media Factor When an ICO is looking to build momentum among potential investors, social media is at the top of the list of ways to do it. Social media allows projects to market their product directly to investors without relying upon middlemen, and in many cases, basically, for free. Professional marketers have also appeared recently to help projects focus on developing their project-specific technology, or business connections; while the regular marketing team is able to continue building the necessary awareness and hype. Many ICO projects seek to build large Telegram communities, and of course, schedule their ICO at the most opportune time. If you are wondering how a project is being perceived by the market and general community, reading their Telegram and social media posts will give you useful information. You will see how they think, and a get a good look at actual market opinion.
Hype’s Affect Upon an ICO
Over the years, too many crypto lovers invested in hyped and overrated digital assets that promised a 10x ROI (return on investment). This incredibly large rate of return attracted many eager (sometimes a little too gullible) investors. They eventually learned that while the price of ICO tokens may in fact increase 3x or 10x; they can also fall just as much, and just as easily. Many tokens offered as a part of the early ICOs either never went to market, or failed miserably when they did. Of course there are no guarantees in traditional investing either, but crypto is still at a particularly volatile and treacherous stage of growth. Basically, an ICO token price should primarily be driven by business fundamentals, such as cash flow and profitability. But the wild swings in value, and the low barriers to launch an ICO, have grossly amplified the influence hype has upon an ICO token price. Naturally, investors are focused on their own return on investment more than anything else. So, that is where we will focus our attention now too. This return ultimately rests with the token price, and the ability of the investors to buy low and sell high. There are four key attributes or characteristics of hype which directly lead to stronger demand for a token, and thus, a higher price. If the ICO is backed by influential and well-known crypto investors/Venture Capitalists, the team is very likely to have a large investor base to which they can pitch the coin. This is also true for successful entrepreneurs with a good reputation and track record.
Hype’s Effect on the Team Behind ICO
The team structure behind an ICO plays an important role in the hype process. If an ICO is successful, the developers are likely to draw more attention to themselves, thereby becoming key figures in that success. In that way, an ICO allows a project to both fund an early stage idea, as well as to create a reputation among investors for the individuals involved. After having achieved success on previous ventures, as we have mentioned before, investors will be keen to invest based on an established track record. These factors encourage entrepreneurs to try new ideas as a benefit of having a greater funding profile and a tangible resume to use in all aspects of their business, not just fundraising. A strong resume like that encourages confidence that would allow an individual associated with a successful project to partner with larger, traditional firms. Such an individual would also be more valuable on other projects by both providing insight and access to more investment capital.
If you stay tuned, you must have learned a lot about the hype going around crypto, but what are its cons or even Dangers? Bitcoin alone has about a $284 billion USD market capitalization with about 16.4 million bitcoin in circulation. Hype brings out the latent greed in every investor. On any given day, media people may be discussing the endless potential of cryptocurrencies, or the unbelievable returns from crypto investments. While cryptocurrencies have a solid future ahead of them, with strong underlying technological principles, greed and fear will always induce people to create a world of hyperbole. Most investors do not really look as deeply as they should. They do insufficient research, or all too often, almost no research at all, before investing. This is human nature. Most people do not want to feel like they need to do homework again. People also become mesmerized by the success stories, and they just want to get a piece of the pie at whatever cost. It is always important to stay calm and rational. Stay diligent. Keep your mind focused on the long term too, not just the present moment. If you become too enamored with a project, or try to convince yourself nothing matters because “it will all just rise in value anyway” then you have lost your rational decision making ability. You should take a step back and ensure you aren’t being caught up in the hype.
Dangers of Hype Part 2
Hype and speculation give value to a newly launched coin. At that point you will own an intangible functional token in a very early stage company. The value of what you actually have is only what an exchange or someone else is willing to give you for that token on the open market. The price might move in your favor and earn you a fantastic return. But it can just as easily fall to zero. And in fact, this is exactly what has often happened. When you purchase a token without an underlying cash flow positive business, your entire investment is at the mercy of market expectations and the level of hype in a project. Future cash flows and success will either make or break your investment. The dangers of hype in cryptocurrency can never be overemphasized, and never be overlooked. After all is said and done, it is the average individual investor who will suffer most. Possible Downside from Exposure and Attention Speculative Investments Most newly launched ICOs depend upon the frenzy created by the primary cryptocurrencies (particularly BTC and ETH) hype for success. Most consumers/investors these days buy or invest in an ICO based upon speculative ideas about extraordinary returns. The hype can grow so much it does not leave adequate room for actual facts. The most unfortunate result of all this can be seeing your entire investment wiped out by unscrupulous characters selling you fraudulent coin offerings (ICOs) and scams. Hype can dazzle investors into making investment decisions they later regret. But there is no reason for you to ever make such an avoidable mistake in your own crypto career.
Possible Downside from Exposure and Attention §2 Speculative Investments Continued
For example, in January 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) from a company called ‘AriseBank’. The SEC alleged that the ICO was an “outright scam” which falsely advertised and promised FDIC-insured bank accounts to investors through nonexistent banks. The value of the tokens fell to zero. The incredible hype and seemingly limitless potential of cryptocurrencies at the time, as well as this particular idea, led a large number of investors to commit capital to what was determined to be a scam. It is not only that they made grossly fraudulent claims, but there was simply no protection for investors at all. The investors were left with nothing. Some investors were surely all-in on this one project. Some investors had surely leveraged themselves to the max, borrowed too much, and had to stomach an extremely unpalatable loss. These are incredibly important things to keep in mind. Speculative investments will allow you to make a tremendous sum of money, but they can, and all too often will, take away those funds just as easily.
Hype can create Problems Real World Examples
Only a small fraction of the total ICOs being promoted have a working and viable prototype. Yet, every ICO is looking to sell investors on the likelihood of future success on that project. The Bancor ICO is a real-life example from June 2017. It raised up to $153 million in a matter of hours, but since the sale its value has plunged 38%. Some experts have since found big loopholes in their stated plans and intentions. The demise of many ICO projects is caused by such common issues as no viable product, not adhering to timeline, or a team that is distracted and/or not productive. Other coin scams have also successfully skimmed money from investors as a result of cryptocurrency frenzy. Projects like Benebit which scammed investors of up to $4.5 million by claiming to unify customer loyalty programs via blockchain technology. Benebit proved to be an exit scam, despite all of the major review sites rating the ICO positively. It was widely followed across social media, including 9000 people in its Telegram channel. Many people are still in the project’s Telegram attempting to understand what went wrong, and why.
In our previous posts we’ve talked a lot about the cons of the Hype, but have you ever thought if you can take it into your own hands?
Managing Hype for ICOs
You understand what hype is and what it does. You also need to know, what to do about it, how to manage it, either as a seller or investor aiming to be on the right side of price movements. Crypto is a recognized part of our financial landscape already. ICOs and the Blockchain are here to stay. The point of concern is, the course it will chart from here. It is rapidly becoming the new normal for entrepreneurs to get funding from communities of people or investors sharing an important unifying characteristic or value system. This has, as we have discussed previously, completely revolutionized “business” and the approach to starting, funding and growing a company. In 2017 alone, more than $5.6 billion was invested via ICOs. That huge sum brings real opportunity for growth, and equally real possibility for despair. You can learn from examples, how to manage hype for your own benefit and protection. In the whitepaper, the purpose of the ICO should be clearly stated and sufficient information should be given to investors explaining what the project is and why it deserves to be funded. This helps remove or discourage unnecessary speculation. A good and informative whitepaper helps encourage investors to make decisions based on reasonable conclusions as opposed to dreams and desires.
Always Have a Road Map Many ICOs we see on the internet for example, do not really have any long term plan for their product. ICO whitepapers should produce sufficient information on the timeline of the product and the sequence of necessary steps to get there. Questions such as: “When will a marketable product be available to be sold?” “What are the key risks to achieving any goal or aspect of the timeline?” These questions should be explained in the whitepaper, and supplemented with possible plans and alternate avenues to take if certain major issues arise. 6.3e)Managing Hype for ICOs §4 Many whitepapers might tend to overuse technical terms that sound like gibberish to ordinary intelligent people or investors. If you are trying to sell an idea to a broad spectrum of investors, it is important to explain key terms and themes so people are actually able to understand you. If a whitepaper is overly technical, yet seems to appeal to a broad base of investors anyway, it could be a red flag that the investors are confused, and that was perhaps the purpose of the whitepaper. Alternatively, maybe the team just isn’t particularly experienced at marketing their idea. That could also could present either an opportunity or a problem. One way or another, communication with the market will greatly influence the future price of the token.
Scam Projects Real World Examples
Multinational accounting firm Ernst and Young found that $400 million of the $3.7 billion USD raised from ICOs (as of January 22, 2018) had been stolen. That is, up to 10% of all ICO funding is virtually being stolen from investors. Though ICO scams are the most common method of theft in the crypto world, some projects will actually operate for a period of time before disappearing with the money. Like in a Ponzi scheme, an exit scam may be planned for later, sometime after a manipulated pump; or some other time the team believes is most opportune to take the money and run. Giza: Giza marketed itself as a platform within which different cryptocurrencies could be stored securely. But after raising $2.4 million in one month, the team deleted the website and stopped replying to emails. Investors were duped by a very convincing whitepaper, and actors had been hired to appear in photographs promoting the project. No investor funds have ever been recovered. Centra: The SEC put an end to fundraising for the Centra ICO and charged the founders Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma with orchestrating a fraudulent ICO after they raised $32 million USD. They were promoting the ability to develop financial products backed by VISA and Mastercard, though it was later found that neither partnership was real. One of the major red flags in the Centra project was the use of celebrity endorsements for publicity, reportedly paying champion boxer Floyd Mayweather a significant sum to promote their project. Who wants to leave their Blockchain investment decisions up to Floyd Mayweather, regardless of his unbelievable skill as a boxer and regardless of his own financial success? He should still not influence where you invest your money!
Ponzi Schemes: Bitconnect: This is the most infamous Ponzi scheme in the history of cryptocurrency, and certainly the most damaging. Bitconnect was a Bitcoin-based project that rose to an all-time high of $463 per token on the back of a fictitious trading bot. The Bitconnect scam operated by paying dividends to users, proportional to the number of tokens they held and the number of referrals they made. The BCC tokens were exchanged for the users’ Bitcoin, and the highly sophisticated and wildly successful trading bot would trade BTC for them and distribute profits as dividends. The value of the dividends offered was approximately 1% of the initial investment per day. In other words, that is approximately 3,780% per year in cumulative gain! The referral system was capitalized upon most heavily by many of the biggest crypto YouTube channels, including CryptoNick and Trevon James, both of whom are now under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Shortly after the Bitconnect Token reached its all-time high, they received cease and desist orders from the security regulators of Texas and North Carolina, which caused the owners of the Bitconnect exchange to shut down operations, and the price to plummet.
Davorcoin: Davorcoin was a lending platform very similar to Bitconnect. And Davorcoin was farcically promoted by the same Trevon James crypto Youtuber who promoted Bitconnect, and is currently under investigation by the FBI for promoting Ponzi schemes. The Texas State Securities Board, in likening Davor to Bitconnect, stated that “DavorCoin is telling investors they can earn lucrative profits by investing in a lending program based on a new cryptocurrency known as davorcoin. Investors allegedly purchase davorcoin and then lend it to DavorCoin”. Davorcoin promptly plunged from an all-time high of $180 to very close to zero after a cease and desist order was made against them on the 2nd of February 2018. Useless Ethereum Token: Despite brazenly stating in the name of the project that the token has no use, the UET managed to raise $340,000 in its crowdsale, and saw a significant pump of over 300% on the HitBTC exchange in February of 2018. The scam was an obvious case of pump and dump, with the total trading volume for UET crashing back down to as low as $3 per day, after reaching as high as $350,000 per day during the pump.
Indications of Scam Projects
It is currently an unfortunate consequence of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, but there is a distinct lack of recourse for scammed investors. It is wise to become as well-acquainted with the various indicators of good and bad ICOs as you possibly can. In weighing the factors that will allow you to avoid expensive mistakes, ask yourself in whose favor are the terms of the ICO slanted, yours or the teams? To what extent are you actually likely to profit from this investment? Cryptocurrency is inherently a grey area, whether you are investing in it or not. Investing is another inherently grey area, no matter what the area or object of investing might be. Laws and regulations are not always able to keep up. Trying to define and prove what was or was not a scam is not likely to be as simple as the scammed investor would want it to be. A project can be set up in certain ways to avoid being technically classified or provable as a scam, but the unprepared investor can still be burnt or scammed just as badly. Now we look at more individual indicators that can help you form a valid impression whether or not an ICO or even a fully-fledged exchange-listed coin is a scam or a bona fide investment opportunity.
Common Signposts
Contrasting Scam & Legitimate Projects
Presale Bonus/Token Release If the ICO allots massive bonuses to team members, you may leave yourself open to getting dumped on by presale investors if you buy when the project tokens are listed on an exchange. Likewise, if the project has a short lock-up period for developers and founders, you run the risk of them selling as soon as the token is listed on a major exchange. The token release schedule for the founders of a worthwhile project should show long-term team commitment to that project. The Jibrel Network team tokens will be locked up for 5 years before release, and they had no early investor bonus in the main sale. Both of these factors instilled confidence in the JNT ICO investors, and the tokens were sold out weeks before the ICO was due to end. No Presale lock up If Presale investor tokens are not locked up at all for any period after listing, that could easily be a set up for an exit scam after the initial listing. No presale lockup for early investor tokens is a crystal clear warning, the project may be fatally rigged toward those in the inner circle, with little commitment to the long term health or success of that project.
Unsolicited Offers or Unasked for Additions to Groups Characters running scam projects will often add you to Telegram groups out of the blue or send you unsolicited emails with information about their project. Telegram is the most widely used messaging app in the cryptocurrency community and you should familiarize yourself with it to keep yourself in the loop for specific projects in which you invest as well as all kinds of other relevant crypto info. You can adjust the settings on the Telegram app to disallow anonymous additions to cryptocurrency projects if you find yourself bombarded with offers by scammers. Reputable projects at the ICO stage will spread by word of mouth, or by eloquent and meaningful articles posted on their Medium page. A project with serious potential does not need to actively seek participants for their ICO like that. They will often be able to fill their ICO hard cap in a matter of hours, or even just minutes!
Anonymous Team
Alarm bells, again, immediately, if the project has minimal online presence. The individual team members could be mere fabrications. The entire project could be a farce by utterly inexperienced characters. What if the project leaders are simply unaware of the importance of a strong social media profile? That in itself would be too strange to ignore. Top-level projects will have team members with experience in crypto and the LinkedIn accounts for those members will be easily accessible right there on the project website. You should be able to easily see and evaluate each individual’s experience in their field and ascertain what they bring to the project team. Bitconnect’s anonymous team should have been the only deterrent prospective investors needed to discourage them from putting money into that doomed project. Ethhorse, a current project with anonymous founders and operators should be steered clear of at all costs for the same reasons.
Community Atmosphere
The subreddits or Telegram groups of scam projects will often feature moderators that do not allow any kind of criticism in the group chat. If, in the process of your due diligence, you encounter didactic admins that only wish to silence your questioning of certain aspects of the whitepaper or mechanism of the tokenomics, you should be concerned. Similarly if you see a coherent critical reply attacked by many different users who refuse to engage the substance of the point being made, that may be a subreddit infested with bots. Projects that have nothing to hide will allow free debate in the chat. Ideally, they hope to develop a positive community that is itself an asset to the long-term success and overall strength of the project. Good projects do not need to automatically brand all criticism as Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).
One common tactic of scammers is to produce a whitepaper that uses too many buzzwords, and deliberately obfuscates and overcomplicates the explanation of the problem and/or its solution. A good whitepaper clearly and concisely lays out the problem and answer, as well as provides compelling arguments why a Blockchain solution is preferable to the current solution. Another point of concern is a whitepaper that gives unrealistic time frames and goals. Bitconnect’s almost comically optimistic profit projections are a prime example of this, as are the 1,354% yearly gains promised by Plexcoin. Respectable projects will set out development timescales in terms of quarters or years, rather than offering immediate profit projections, which are simply a red flag.
Advisors/Connections in the Cryptoworld
The most prestigious projects will already have partnerships made before the ICO stage, and the worst ones, i.e. the scams, will not mention any such partnerships. Icon (ICX) for example was spawned from a South Korean project named The Loop, a collaboration between 3 Korean universities and the DAYLI Financial Group. They boasted an advisory panel consisting of the legendary investor Don Tapscott, Jehan Chu and crowdfunding expert Jason Best. On top of a solid team of advisors, good projects will also be visible at major Blockchain events such as the Consensus, and the World Blockchain Forum, etc. Scam projects will be unable to inspire this same level in confidence. As an investor, you should sense a certain presence and expect a certain feeling of trust that should guide you in your investments. After all, it is actually a people-to-people thing you are doing.
Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects Post Whitepaper Release The period in the immediate aftermath of the release of the whitepaper can also be decisive in establishing the validity of a project. How a team copes with the roadmap that they have laid out for themselves is key. Valuable insight into the operational efficiency and commitment to the project can be gleaned from the quality of and amount of code committed to GitHub. If you have any experience in computer programming you can see how clean and orderly the code is, which gives insight into the skill of the developers, and in turn the quality of project leaders’ decision-making in hiring team members. Scam projects will have little or no code committed to GitHub, or at best it will be copied and pasted from other projects just to cover their tracks. Start of ICO Sometimes, a scam project, or other project in which you would be better off not investing, will change the terms of the ICO just before the ICO starts. The Key (TKY) ICO doubled the price of tokens on the day before the ICO was due to take place, because the price of NEO had risen so drastically. Currently, the TKY token price is still only half of its ICO price. Initial investors are faced with the prospect of a 50% loss on their investment.
Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects
Exchange Listing
Some particularly greedy scammers will create a scam project with the intent of selling tokens in the ICO for BTC and ETH, and then pumping and dumping their share of the tokens immediately after listing. The team of fraudsters behind Monero Gold used this method after the crowdfunding of their useless ERC-20 token. After listing on, the team dumped their tokens until the exchange finally ceased trading. Although it is not uncommon for ICO tokens to sold after listing (just like can happen with shares of stock after an IPO), if the price does not stabilize and massive sell walls are continually placed, a scam is likely taking place and the token is being dumped.
Real World Example of Scam Customers
Fake Ethereum Twitter giveaway
You may have noticed Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin’s twitter handle has been changed to Vitalik “Not giving away Eth” Buterin in recent months. This is because a group of devious scammers had created fake accounts with almost exact replicas of his profile (deviating by only one character). The fake accounts promised to deposit 1 whole ETH for every 0.1 ETH the potential sucker deposited into the wallet address provided by the scammer. These fake account “Ether giveaway” scam tweets were set up to be sent in just a matter of seconds after the real person tweeted, and usually always appear immediately after the tweet of the real public figure. Fake bot profiles then came into play, thanking the fake Vitalik, or fake Elon Musk, for holding up their end of the bargain and depositing the ETH as promised. One scammer, or group of scammers, managed to fill a wallet up with almost $20 thousand worth of ETH, which they transferred out, never to be seen or heard from again.
Effect of Scam Customers, Upon the Affected Parties
Of course, this is no fun for the targeted public figure either. They need to take steps to avoid being targeted again. This will mean changing their handle, their username, or making their accounts private. However, the injured party with whom we are most concerned is the unfortunate scammed social media user, who has no chance whatsoever of getting his or her funds back, ever. It is a harsh lesson to learn. But it is a fact of crypto reality. Nearly every one that trades crypto will at least be exposed to frauds or scams in one way or another. In this case, we think it is better to learn about scams by studying them, rather than learn from your own unfortunate and expensive experience. In the case of Mr. Buterin, these incidents were awful public relations for the Ethereum project. It had only been a few years since cryptocurrency as a whole was primarily associated with criminality and seedy transactions on the Darkweb. Any connection with unscrupulous behavior is best avoided at all costs. Negative associations could have been particularly damaging for Ethereum’s brand because the vast majority of ICO fraud is committed using the ERC-20 token as the template for the scam tokens.
Effect of Scam Customers on the Market
Any and all the scamming or fraudulent behavior in the cryptocurrency ecosystem is bound to have a negative impact on the speed at which mainstream uptake finally takes place. Cryptocurrencies, as an emerging asset class, will be painted in the worst possible light. Crypto is aiming to, and is in fact in the process of, causing great disruption in traditional centralized finance and business. Mainstream media organizations are also part of that traditional centralized economy. Press coverage will be damning. Something is happening here, but Mr. Jones doesn’t know what it is.
Legal Recourse for Scams
We clearly understand, there is a possibility of being scammed. We know the scams are happening. The SEC has made some arrests and actually charged people for operating fraudulent ICOs. But it is a struggle to deal with the flood of ICOs coming from anywhere at any time. The SEC filed charges against two founders of a purported financial services startup for orchestrating a fraudulent ICO that raised more than $32million from thousands of investors. As you know from the ICOs we have covered so far, the lack of regulation allows for direct contact and dealing between the entrepreneurs, business owners and potential investors. While we believe this is a blessing according to the founding principles of Bitcoin and other alternate Cryptocurrencies, because it frees us from traditional roadblocks, middle-men, and all kinds of time-consuming procedures; it also leaves investors in a place where there is often little to no hope of ever recovering funds lost in fraudulent schemes.
submitted by UBAI_UNIVERSITY to u/UBAI_UNIVERSITY [link] [comments]

Krugman and Bitcoin and Me: Radical Thoughts on Fixed Supply Currency

My dad asked me how I reconciled Bitcoin's fixed supply with the Keynesian model of supply. I understand that most people around here don't hold much stock in what Paul Krugman has to say. But much of the real world actually does, what with his Nobel prize and all. So I put some serious consideration into what he had to say about deflation, how it relates to Bitcoin, and other vague currency questions. What follows is my email back to my pa. Many of these ideas have come from my time spent in this forum, so feel free to chop it up, edit, and distribute away if you find any of it worthwhile.
Thoughts from a liberal after reading Paul Krugman's 2010 NYT piece: Why is Deflation Bad?
Krugman and Bitcoin and Me
Krugman's argument against deflation is built with a dependency: that there is a central authority which controls the money supply. So in a sense he has two core points.
(1) Krugman prefers that a centralized authority control the currency supply in order to manipulate the economy.
I'll allow that this tool can be a good, stabilizing force. But if that's the case, I want to be able to vet that institution from the bottom up before handing them the keys to the kingdom. And I want that institution to unequivocally work for society, not for Goldman Sachs. If I thought the current system worked well, I wouldn't be exploring other options in the first place.
(2) Krugman prefers that that centralized authority manipulate the economy such that it encourages spending and lending. In other words, manipulate toward small inflation.
This could be a good thing. And maybe the economy it creates is more fluid than a deflationary one. But when you bake into the system incentives to spend now and borrow from the future now, you get exactly the problems that you'd expect: over-consumption and a society largely ridden in debt.
Control of the supply of the currency carries tremendous power. It can be used to smooth natural economic cycles and encourage specific consumer and producer behavior. This supply-manipulative ability is not in and of itself a bad thing. The question is whether it is necessary- because with Bitcoin (as it stands) it is impossible. Within the theoretical bounds of crypto-currency, the abilities for algorithmic, "smart" money-supply, one that rests on mathematics rather than the banking elite, are endless. There are truly exciting developments to come in this space.
A First Consideration on Currency
Think, for a moment, of the unit of currency as sort of a creditor's note. It is an IOU from society; a placeholder for some unit of production. It says, "I produced something valuable (for someone else who takes part in this system). In return I got this note. I have reasonable assurance that one day I can cash this IOU in for something that I'll need in the future."
The unit of currency acts as a placeholder for its owner. Under this system, people trade their current productivity for the placeholder, and later (given the system still has integrity) they can trade that placeholder for something that raises their standard of living. It allows us to "time-shift" our production with respect to our consumption.
But don't forget!: A unit of currency as "just a thing". It only carries value if it is actually valued by somebody else you want to do business with. The dollar, the gold bar, the Bitcoin. the Euro, all work the same way: they are nothing but numbers or paper or metal. They are just atoms arranged in a way that make them valuable to a group of people only because they trust in the future of their common system.
Currencies are a subset of commodities. Commodities are things (oil, clothing, food, televisions) that are valuable to humans because they have useful properties. Like we said above, a currency's use is to "time-shift" production and consumption. The properties of the object that afford this advantage are usually a combination of irreproducibility, fungibility, scarcity, ease of transport, and securability.
Why is Deflation Bad?
In his 2010 NYT piece, Krugman argues that deflation hurts the economy due to three factors:
(1) People become less willing to spend, because sitting on money becomes an investment. Your dollar tomorrow will buy you more than what it can today, so why spend today? Therefore, spending goes down.
(2) Those in debt get into serious trouble awfully quickly, because the nominal amount-owed appreciates in value. As a result, they spend significantly less. At the same time, creditors have been shown to not spend enough such that it make up for this difference. Therefore, borrowing (and spending) goes down.
(3) Psychologically, people hate nominal wage decreases. With a fixed supply currency, year over year, wages will have to decrease in name. Even if the value of your wage rises, the amount written on the paycheck is lower. Therefore, people freak out.
These are troubling scenarios, though I think the first two are more substantial than the third. I don't mean to underestimate the psychological factor- in economics psychology is everything- but we'll talk about this later.
Krugman presents the first two points as bugs in a deflationary system. I see them as features.
"Your dollar will buy you more tomorrow than what it can today."
I think this is natural. We are a rapidly advancing species; through technology we are becoming more efficient, automating crappy tasks, raising the standard of living for less work, of course a dollar (that placeholder for your unit of production) is going to go further tomorrow than it does today.
Personally, I find this appealing. It provides every incentive to work now and spend later. That falls very much in line with good ol' American hard-working values and non-consumptive ethics.
Krugman finds this worrying though. If people have less incentive to spend, their is a crisis in demand. Hello liberals?! When was the last time we complained about lower consumption? In a country wracked with hyper-consumption that has put an unprecedented load on Earth's environment and ignited a climate crisis, I see a drop in demand as a breath of fresh air! Furthermore, you don't have to worry about people never spending. People will always spend now- but only on the want/need products, rather than the maybe-want-need-this-now-really-might-as-well-because-my-currency-is-losing-value-and-all-these-things-meet-my-zillion-useless-ephemeral-wants products.
I do believe there are much higher economic principles at work here. The United States is the world's default consumer. The global economy needs us to consume as much as it needs the million child laborers to produce. The economy would come crashing down if we stopped consuming immediately. But if we're trying to aim for a more sustainable economy, one that is compatible with the Earth's environment, let's move slowly and use a deflating currency as an incentive!
"Deflation rewards creditors and hurts debtors. Debtors spend less and creditors don't spend more enough to offset."
The impassive Krugman is beating around the bush. There is a problem when debtors suffer at the expense of creditors, and it's more than just a net loss in consumer spending. If you're concerned about a reduction in spending, see my previous point. But the remaining ethical problem is glaring- a power imbalance already exists in a creditor-debtor relationship, and it seems that deflation only widens this gap, crucifying the debt class on a cross of deflationary coin.
There's no doubt that this is a problem. And wealth redistribution may ultimately be easier with an inflationary currency- again, a word on that later. But there is also an incentive here: borrow less. Credit card debt is at an all-time high, up 1200% in the US since 1980, all while student loans have ballooned out of control. But neither of these problems even compares to the $7.8 trillion of mortgage debt our country has dug itself into.
Now debt is not a bad thing. The right combination of debt and saving, that is- using both capital previously earned with capital borrowed from future earnings- indicates a healthy economy. I don't want to have to work my entire life only to afford a house at the very end. I want to be able to borrow from my future economic output, buy the house now, and live in it while I work to pay it off. The same goes for student debt, corporate debt-financing, etc. Access to credit is crucial to a healthy middle class.
But ever-increasing debt is not sustainable. Nobody lives- and produces- forever, so you cannot always borrow from your future economic output. In the end, regardless of the money tricks you play, you have to produce enough value to cover your consumption. The world recently found out, in a mild manor, what happens when a currency's incentive and a nation's culture favors borrowing. When given the opportunity to build houses they never could have dreamed of paying off in their lifetime, millions of people took the offer and the biggest lenders took the risk. The echoes of their mass default still burden the global economy 6+ years later.
The point is, if Krugman says "inflation promotes borrowing", I say, "is this debt-ridden wreck what we really want our economy to look like?"
"People would freak out when their paycheck goes down."
I say get over it. Other possible proclamations in a deflationary world:
Better yet, this reflects reality! Technology makes everything cheaper every day. You should be paying lower phone bills tomorrow. Has the infrastructure gotten less efficient?
Here it feels like Krugman's grasping for straws. He pounces on people's reaction to their one source of income rather than their many expenses. This point also invokes that ugly liberal side: "The people don't know what's best for them."
The Central Authority as a Tool for Wealth Redistribution
Now we're talking. As a Liberal, I consider this to be a most important necessary evil. But let's call it what it is: stealing from the rich to give to the poor. (Unless we reject the modern notion of property- stay tuned...)
In an inflationary economy, value is constantly leaching out of everyone's savings. Those who control the monetary supply have a means of reaching into every dollar, and skimming off a little bit of value. We can choose to do a lot of good with this. Right now the skimmed dollars are "lent" to banks- the theory is that they then have more to lend to the general public and everyone benefits. Lending is good right? It introduces liquidity. But continue this cycle ad infinitum and all the spending in the economy starts in the form of bank debt! It is no coincidence that Americans households are more in debt than ever before.
If wealth redistribution is the only benefit of a central supply authority (which can fall out of trust at any time), this is a weak foundation. We already have a mechanism for wealth redistribution: taxation. Let's be proud of it, call a duck a duck, raise taxes on the wealthy, and introduce that liquidity with massive infrastructural programs, education spending, science spending, etc, rather than in the form of bank loans.
One last point- inflation appears to be a flat tax. That's already bad. It affects every dollar proportionally, rich or poor. Worse, the middle class and poor have a higher percentage of their net worth in USD- so inflation then becomes a regressive tax... given to banks... to be lent out to again to the middle class. All in the name of wealth redistribution?! In the name of kick-starting the economy?! Something's fishy here, and "you wouldn't understand, it's more complicated" doesn't cut it as an answer for these practices.
So. What are we even doing here?
In 2009 a great mind developed a tool, the first in the history of human civilization, for "minting" a currency according to a fixed and open sourced algorithm. Without the involvement of any third party, you can now send an irreproducible digital object of fixed supply to anyone with an internet connection. The implications are mind-boggling. But the first such currency, Bitcoin, happened to be fixed-supply and ultimately deflationary, which has re-sparked the deflation vs. inflation debate.
This is happenstance. The protocol that gives rise to these digital currencies- the bitcoin protocol (small b)- could easily implement a different supply model. Paul Krugman can start a currency, KrugCoin, with any supply model that he likes! Which begs one last question.
Let's say I'm presented with an option: I may collect my paycheck in a currency that deflates- that is, my paycheck will gain value over time. Or I may collect my paycheck in a currency that inflates- it loses value over time. Why would anyone choose the latter? Must a population be forced into using an inflationary currency? Are we?
submitted by dpxxdp to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] How do you deal with Bitcoin Regret?

The following post by HooliganCow is being replicated because some comments within the post(but not the post itself) have been silently removed.
The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link: Bitcoin/comments/7h9k8e
The original post's content was as follows:
So I’m not the first and won’t be the last to suffer from feelings of regret associated with Bitcoin but it’s something I’m really struggling with.
I found out about bitcoin in 2012 but didn’t really investigate it further because I had lost 10s of thousands in the 2007 crash and my perception of risk (like many) was skewed.
Come 2013/14 I heard more about Bitcoin because of the significant price movements. But thoughts of investing were never really close to my mind because I was trying to recover from making a bad career move. In trying to back myself out of a corner I ended up investing in retraining. Ironically that turned out to be a bigger risk than anything and it didn’t pay off in the slightest.
Come 2016 my marriage was breaking down but despite that distraction my brain still realised it had missed the financial boat over the years... I had missed rising housing prices of the 00s, the stock market recovery after the crash, and the Tech share boom of Amazon, Apple etc over the last 8 years or so. I started looking for the next big thing, but my brain didn’t join the dots. I did see Tesla on the up and up wanted to invest in October 2016, but at the time didn’t have the liquidity.
Come early 2017, my marriage ended and a came into some money (I also would get the proceeds of selling my house later in the year). I invested in Tesla regularly up until September, it was then that more news about Bitcoin came out and I realised I’d almost missed the boat again!
I’ve invested what I could afford since then, at a pace linked to to my understanding and knowledge as it grew. I’ve done really well out of the recent growth, doubling the 4 figures I’ve been able to invest.
However, over the last week I’ve day dreamed about what could have been (bad move I know). I consider myself an intelligent guy and I work close to tech. How could I have not seen this opportunity over the years? I don’t even see it as high risk looking back. I’ve lost thousands over the years in various ways and losing all I could afford to lose in bitcoin wouldn’t have changed my life. Getting in earlier, going the way it has would have done, for the better.
I even remember seeing a wife’s post to relationships in 2015 where the husband was going all in on bitcoin. If only I’d subscribed to this subreddit then!
The worst thing is I realise I could have helped my family, paid off my sisters mortgage, bought my aunt a house rather than her still renting as 65 year old!
I’m not exactly mourning the loss of a HD worth millions but I can’t help but feel awful regret, and because of who I am, I have sunk into a deep depression. Even if I’d have started to invest 6 months earlier, I could have made a difference to my life and others!
How do you deal with these thoughts and feelings?!
submitted by censorship_notifier to noncensored_bitcoin [link] [comments]

[Table] IamAn editor at the Chinese government's official news agency. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-08-02
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
How does Xinhua come up with ideas for slideshows? They are a little different than slideshows you might expect from Reuters or AP. HAHAHA dude. The Xinhua slideshows are a running joke in my department. If enough people bother me to do so, I'll post some of the more ridiculous ones. I want to meet the guy who's responsible for those so badly. But there is little to no communication between departments here, so I don't even know whodunit. I'm only responsible for editing stories, photo stuff is an entirely different unit. Edit: "embarrassed by tight sport pants" has some gnarly cameltoe action, maybe NSFW. Unless you work for a porn company. Or Xinhua, evidently.
Please post more ridiculous slide shows! "Terrible! Women get too drunk"
Link to
"Funny photos of people who got stuck"
Link to
Isn't it risky to do an AMA like this, especially after calling your workplace "Orwellian"? The "Orwellian" bit only applies to the news that comes through my office, not the websites I use during my personal time.
I would've imagined they don't like employees talking about censorship or "insider" information. Oh they don't, you're right about that. But they're also painfully oblivious to anything that is published or written outside of their sphere. Most of them don't even pay attention to major foreign news outlets, let alone Reddit.
You are naive. it is easy to find out who you are I'm aware of how easy it is to find out who I am. Still not fussed about it.
So are you still alive? Dr. Mantis Toboggan?? I'm VERY alive.
I heard you have a monster dong.
You get Its Always Sunny in China? Do you guys have netflix? No Netflix, but torrents work most of the time.
Is there any mention about the pollution there? I mean, is the govt actively doing something, perhaps finding what cause it? Link to
Link to
Link to
Basically the Chinese public have started to focus more on the importance of protecting the environment and have therefore forced the government to pay attention to the issue.
Nothing scares the Chinese government more than social unrest - their greatest priority is ensuring that the general public won't flip out en masse and kick them out of power. Their efforts to reduce pollution are really just token efforts - Chinese industry is massive and produces ridiculous amounts of pollutants. But at this point they have to do something.
Is "Silent Spring" available in a Chinese edition? I don't know, but it should be. The Chinese need their own "Silent Spring".
Edit: since you mentioned a Chinese version of a controversial book, I'd like to note that I've purchased an English-language copy of "1984" right here in Beijing, from some dude on the street with a cart full of books. A Chinese friend of mine has the same book - in Chinese. Wacky, no? Like how/where did that ever get printed?
How 'free' is Sina Weio? Is anything ever censored on it? Sina Weibo is technically a private company, but they are still subject to Chinese law. To that end, they engage in a fair amount of self-censoring. I believe they've gone on record as saying that they employ a number of people who comb through posts for anything sensitive.
That being said, the vast majority of muckraking done by the Chinese public over the last year or so has been done via Sina Weibo.
Why so much fear of social unrest? It's not like a populist revolution is brewing. No seriously. There are so many folks here that if some kind of social movement caught on and a lot of people started protesting, the government would be literally overrun. There was an environmental protest in south China last year (I think?) where local residents actually swarmed a government office building.
I thought more people would use QQ or 人人 more then Sina Weibo? More people almost certainly use QQ, although I'm actually not sure about the precise figures. I just know Weibo has blown up the last couple years.
When I lived in China people used "中国人太多了!" as an excuse for everything! Precisely.
Is there any sense that China is overpopulated? Every time I get on the subway.
What is the largest story that you've had to 'ignore' due to government pressure or interests? I haven't had to "ignore" a story, per se, since I'm not actually a reporter on the front lines. Most of our stories are handed to us anyway via press releases or statements from government spokesmen.
I do recall one particularly troubling day. July 24, 2011 was a Sunday. I was working the weekend shift - it's usually a slow shift, with only one foreign editor on duty (me).
On the night of July 23rd, two high-speed trains collided on a railway in Wenzhou, a city in east China's Zhejiang Province. A few dozen people were killed and a couple hundred were injured.
There were so many stories about the train crash the next day, and I had to edit all of them. The stories I edited seemed to clash with accounts written by foreign media - it wasn't long before the Chinese government was caught red-handed trying to downplay the incident.
Domestic media were instructed not to send reporters to the scene of the crash, and stories about it were intentionally suppressed or relegated to the back pages of newspapers. But between eyewitness accounts and reports from foreign media, many Chinese quickly came to realize that the government was trying to keep the whole thing under wraps.
The backlash was almost immediate. The crash came at a time when Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, was first becoming popular. People were posting photos from the crash, citing their own theories for what happened...I suppose it was not unlike what happened after 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings.
In the end, former Railway Minster Liu Zhijun took the fall for the crash. He'd been previously accused of corruption anyway, and this incident was the last straw. Other high-level officials were sacrificed as well.
I didn't have to ignore that story, but it stayed with me for a long time. I was dating a Chinese woman at the time, and she was in tears when I came home after work. She couldn't believe that her own government would try to hide the facts behind something so horrific, although I know she knows it's not the first time China's government has done so. I told her that governments do that all the time. Didn't really make much of a difference though.
Your role there does sound positively Orwellian. Do you really notice specific correlations between your situation and that of 1984? Heh. I went into journalism because I realized I could write my way out of a wet paper bag but I didn't want to become a novelist and starve and/or become an English professor.
I don't mean to put you down, but doesn't this job bring up any internal ethical conflicts for you? Is this really what you went into journalism to do? I do have conflicts about what I do. I have conflicts about what I do at work, what I do in my personal life. I contradict my own beliefs and attitudes all the time. I'm a huge hypocrite. Constantly. But I pay my rent and pay my taxes and have enough left over to get me through the day. Ask any journalist who works for a major news organization and see what they have to say about ethical conflicts.
China's surveillance, censorship, human rights, food quality, pollution and other issues make it seem like a dark and orwellian place to live. But what is it really like there? It's actually pretty chill here for the most part. Food safety issues have become more visible in recent years, but some say that's actually because food inspectors are getting more strict, which is obviously a good thing. The air quality does suck ass, but unless you're living here for years and years or have some kind of medical condition, it's not actually that dangerous.
Do people speak freely amongst themselves about the government, if not publicly? Surveillance...ya know, there's a camera on every corner. And no one is watching it. I say and do shit that would probably get me in trouble all the time, but no one ever comes knocking. So to answer your third question, people bitch about the government all the time - publicly, no less. Chinese social media is full of people complaining about the government.
I don't think your ethical conflict is similar to those faced by actual journalists. That's true - they have greater flexibility in terms of being able to "take the high road" or not. I can keep working for the Chinese government...or quit.
That's a very strange and unexpected story. Things really aren't as bleak or grim over here as you'd be led to believe. Naturally I can only speak for my own experience as a foreigner living in the capital - there is certainly some dark shit that goes down elsewhere in the country - but my own experience has been largely decent.
On the other hand, many young Chinese I speak to seem eager to leave the country. Some have the aforementioned food and pollution concerns, others want to do business and develop themselves in an environment that rewards their creativity and integrity.
Chinese office culture - one could say Chinese culture in general - is very much about forming relationships with people more powerful than yourself and leveraging those relationships. Lots of ass-kissing and gift-giving. I've met several Chinese who don't care to do things this way.
What is your responsibility in terms of censoring? My company, like most state-owned media, does not engage in a lot of investigative journalism. In fact, most of the information our reporters use to write their stories is spoon-fed in the form of press releases, statements from government spokesmen and public notices issued by various government departments. Naturally, any kind of controversial or damaging content is omitted from that information before our reporters even receive it.
Chinese state media do not use what I would call "active" censorship, where they're actually removing information or otherwise deliberately altering content. It's more passive - the information just isn't provided in the first place. There have been many times when I've tried to clarify a story, only to be told by the writer and/or translator: "we don't have that information."
So would you regard it as a bit like the scene in "Good Morning Vietnam" where the news comes over a telex and then the military censors cross out what can and can't be mentioned on the radio? Hahaha I wish I worked with Robin Williams. I don't know if it's really like that, but it's conceivable. It's more like there's just a lack of transparency and accountability - for instance, government officials are not required to provide their names to journalists.
Did the Chinese govt censor anything on Edward Snowden? Who?
No, of course I know who he is. But if you ask the Chinese government, that's the answer you'll get. The Chinese media doesn't actively censor - it just ignores everything the government doesn't like. Edward Snowden doesn't exist, as far as Xinhua is concerned.
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Wait, seriously? I've been in China for the past few weeks on vacation, and everybody here seems to love Snowden, if they know who he is. Yep - it was my own bias, I never read anything about Snowden because I work in the domestic department. See my reply below.
I'm confused, I'm looking at Link to right now and snowden is mentioned in one of the articles. Yeah I fucked that up - working in domestic news will do that to you. Check my reply below.
What are your responsibilities at Xinhua? Are you a foreigner working as an editor for their English material or a Mainland Chinese editor? I'm a foreigner working in the English department, yes. I edit domestic news exclusively, but we publish both domestic and international news in multiple languages.
Thanks. So how did you end up working at Xinhua? Why did you want to work there? Journalism background or just looking for work that builds on your English expertise? Well, I came to China as an economic refugee from the United States, basically. I graduated with a journalism degree at a time when the journalism industry was (still is? I'm pretty sure?) looking pretty grim in the U.S. and elsewhere. A couple friends recommended that I do an internship at a Chinese English-language newspaper and I worked my way up from there.
I don't even really refer to myself as a journalist anymore, not when I'm working for Xinhua. It's a weird and kind of depressing place to work sometimes, but it's also fairly laid-back and pays decently for the amount of work I'm required to do. I don't love it but it pays the bills and doesn't make me want to kill myself. Maybe I'm setting my sights too low, but I feel like that's pretty okay for a hack like me.
Interesting. Do you work closely with any of the Mainland reporters or is it mostly foreigners in your department? I work with a few foreign copy editors and dozens of Chinese reporters/translators/editors.
Anyone else have a palpable taste of WTF after reading that?... someone left American journalism to work in Chinese journalism. America is unfortunately extremely unsafe for true journalism, just ask Michael Hastings... wait, nvm. To be clear, I didn't decide to work in Chinese journalism because I disliked the U.S. journalism industry (although I do). It was more that there just weren't any jobs at that time. The industry is still in rough shape and I'm not even sure if I'll continue to do journalism when I move back home.
I find it sounds quite cool what you're doing, given the opportunity I'd do it, but I still get paid too well to become an economic refugee ;-). 你的中文好吗? 我中文说的就是一般般.
Have you joined the communist party yet? Can't and wouldn't want to. Well, maybe. Some of those folks do reaaal well for themselves.
Do you feel like you have more freedoms than the average Chinese citizen? Did you have any connections to China or any asian countries before the move? Are you a visible minority over there, if so do you experience xenophobia/racism? No connections to China or any other Asian countries beforehand, although I always thought Japan was awesome because video games and porn. In some ways I guess I am more free than the average Chinese citizen - for one thing, I make a better salary than most Chinese who have the same experience/educational background as me, and I probably work less hours than a lot of them. But this comes at an expense - there is no way I will ever be promoted or gain any kind of seniority at my company. Only Chinese can do that at state-owned companies. In Beijing, I'm certainly a visible minority, but not that visible. There are tons of foreigners in this city - the only racism I've experienced has been from Chinese who've migrated here from elsewhere or from other foreigners.
If you made the same salary in America as you do in China would you have moved/consider going back? If I made the same salary in the States, it'd really depend where I was living. I don't think I make enough now to live in LA or Chicago or somewhere like that.
Seriously how did they even decide that that means "badass." The fuck, China. The fuck. It's an Oriental Mystery.
你有没有觉得一些人有一点儿二在你的单位? As a kid born in Canada I never understood why they referred to weird/eccentric people as "two" lol. Hahahaha I have an 二锅头 shirt that is a play on the "Absolut" ads, it says "约对二" in Chinese (obviously) and "Absolut 2" in English. The Chinese think it's hysterical.
Do people discuss politics in the office ? All the time. One of my Chinese bosses loves to ask me about American rights and laws. My favorite quote?
"If I were an American politician, I would make it mandatory to own a gun."
I'd like to hear a little more about this. What kind of stuff does your boss ask/want to know? Are they surprised by what you tell them. What do they think about rights/laws in America? Most of the Chinese I discuss politics with are either in their early 20s early to mid 30s. They're all fairly well-educated and are familiar with western history and media. They're rarely, if ever, surprised with what I tell them about the States - although it depends on the question, I suppose. They just like comparing and contrasting U.S./China policy. They mirror each other in strange ways sometimes.
I think a lot of Chinese do envy some of the laws and rights we have in the States, but at the same time, they are intensely defensive of China's policies, as backward as some of them may seem to us.
Why did you decide to move to China? Pros and Cons vs living in the US? Pros: living costs are low, the language/culture are interesting, dating can be fun and the food is delicious.
Cons: salaries are low, the language/culture are hard to understand and deal with, dating is hellish and the food can kill you.
Elaborate on the dating? I was always under the impression Chinese girls were very conservative and didnt like to mix much with westerners. Depends on which ones you meet. Many Chinese women are curious about foreigners, but these are often the ones you don't want to date because their understanding of foreign culture is almost entirely informed by American Idol, Big Bang Theory, Friends and other shitty TV shows. Finding a Chinese woman who is liberal, opinionated, smart and all that other good stuff is hard to do. Although it's admittedly easier in the bigger Chinese cities.
Is Chinese celebrity news as highly reported as in America? Depends on what you mean by highly reported. China doesn't have trashy tabloid-esque "news" shows like there are in the States (as far as I know), but they do like to dig up dirt on celebrities. My employers don't run stories like that, but the Chinese do like to gossip about celebs on Sina Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and other social media sites.
One interesting difference is that some U.S. celebrities embrace the fame they gain from unflattering reports/revelations - Kim Kardashian became famous for fucking some shitty DJ - while Chinese celebrities try to avoid those kind of exposures. Chinese society is considerably more conservative than that of the U.S., so any kind of sex/gambling/etc. scandal is much more damaging for a Chinese celeb.
Edison Chen ftw. Aw man. Chen's my boy. Seriously I need to make some famous Chinese friends.
China doesn't have trashy tabloid-esque "news" shows like there are in the States. In exchange you guys have a bazillion talent competition and matchmaking shows. Yeesh. Hahaha true. God those are ridiculous and cheesy.
So what REALLY happened at Tienanmen Square? Well, I probably shouldn't talk about this. But if you really want to know...
First, a bunch of students showed up. Like a huge bunch. And they were calling for democracy and human rights and all this crazy stuff. And then the military showed up with tanks and guns and shit and then the protesters' lives got flipped-turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air.
That's what really happened.
On the one hand, DPRK is entirely reliant on PRC for its continued existence, so I can imagine it would be some kind of glorious brothers in struggle sort of thing, but I get the impression Beijing is getting kinda tired of Pyongyang's shit. Beijing is so tired of Pyongyang's shit, but it's in a tough spot. Things have been quiet in recent months, but when the DPRK nuclear launch stuff was going down, Beijing was just like...fffuuu wat do.
As an editor, how do you feel when people discredit your news agency? Do you feel like they are justified and do you compare yourself to a BBC or another news company? People who discredit Xinhua are somewhat in the right - but our lack of journalistic integrity isn't actually our fault, if you can believe that. We just don't do investigative reporting - we're essentially another arm of the government. We're more akin to the White House PR department than the BBC or Reuters. So I can't really take their criticism too harshly.
Are you a foreigner? How many times a day do you hear "laowai"? I mostly just hear HALLOOO.
How would you define China's relationship with the United States? Mutually beneficial win-win cooperation that features interdependent co-supportive friendly relations.
Just kidding. We're pretty different but we have to get our shit together - together - otherwise both sides will just be fucked.
Would it be possible for an average chinese citizen to access this AMA? Meant to reply to this earlier. ggandthecrew is absolutely right - fear of anti-communist ideas is only half the picture. Most of China's web censorship is done to boost domestic consumption - block Twitter, so Chinese have to use Sina Weibo. Block YouTube so Chinese have to use Youku. Block Facebook so they have to use Renren. It's just as much an economic tool as a social one.
Is part of the reason they block those large sites so that Chinese companies can fill the void and reap the profits? I mean, even a half a billion new Facebook accounts would really generate a lot of money. Exactly. It's partly driven by the need to expand domestic consumption.
I'm trying to imagine a Chinese version of Reddit. Is there anything that comes close? Sort of, actually. There are message boards (Tianya and Mop) that are basically news portals that Chinese can comment on. If you check out, you can find a lot of stories that are lifted from these message boards, along with translated versions of netizens' comments. It's actually a really interesting and informative window into Chinese beliefs and attitudes.
Do they also block foreign sites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc. in order to prevent NSA spying or is that just a new excuse that they've come up with post-Snowden? All the sites you mentioned were blocked or messed with well before Snowden's revelation. The blocking is done to keep "harmful information" hidden, but also to boost use of domestic sites that provide similar services.
Are you familiar with Bitcoin? If so, do you know what the government's stance on it is? I remember there was a pretty positive article about them by Xinhua not too long ago. Thanks! You know what, I haven't actually seen any stories about Bitcoin come through Xinhua. I'm not all that familiar with it myself. But if the article you mention was indeed positive, that's as good as a stamp of approval from the government itself, more or less.
I believe decentralization is key to keeping markets honest, including journalism. Do you support a government-owned news agency and how do you feel about private agencies? And are private agencies allowed to go by different rules or are they heavily regulated by the Chinese government? Chinese media was, for a long time, almost exclusively state-owned. However, this has changed in recent years, as the government is seeking to wean state-owned companies off of the government's tit and expand private industry in order to stimulate consumption. Private media is still heavily regulated and relatively scarce in terms of size and influence, but it will likely grow in the years to come.
I don't support government-owned news because it flies in the face of what I believe "news" should be. But then, U.S. media has very much been in the lap of the government for years.
Also a current journalism undergrad considering living abroad after I graduate in May. I'm not necessarily looking for journalism work, either, though, as the job market is still crap unless you're creme-de-la-creme and have tons of legit experience under your belt. I am curious, though, what motivated you to move to Asia? Were you serious about wanting to find work in journalism abroad, or did you just want to leave America in general, and this job made the most sense once you got there? I honestly didn't care what kind of work I found - at that point, I was just grasping at straws. I had journalist friends who had much more extensive and impressive resumes than I did - and these people were working the counter at American Eagle, shit like that. No jobs to be found for anyone, qualified or not. So no. I wasn't necessarily interested in working in Asia, or working as a reporter in Asia, or even working as a reporter. I just needed a fucking job. Everything else unfolded after I arrived.
You said that you moved from abroad for the work...did you have any connection to China at all, beforehand? Little to no connection to China beforehand. A couple of my good friends had done internships at the same newspaper I ended up interning at, they kind of goaded me into it and I ended up living here along with them.
Also, are there more foreigners like you in your department? There are other foreigners in my department, yes. Foreigners like me? Son, they don't make foreigners like me anymore.
Do you think the Wang Qishan and the Xi Jinping regime are actually making inroads against corruption, or are they mining stories to satisfy a witch-hunting lust for public show? They're making a token effort. I won't pretend to be an expert on the inner workings of the Standing Committee, but from what I know, corruption is what greases the gears of the CPC. Too many government-corporate relationships would dissolve if they truly wanted to get rid of corruption. The economy would be a shambles. Not unlike that of the U.S., really. Too big to fail? China is too big to fail in so many ways.
How overt is the censorship? Does it ever get brought up in meetings, or is it all kinda hush-hush? I live in Shanghai, and I've had to deal with censorship in one way or another, and it seems like there is no official criteria. Since you actually work for the government, do you have an official list of topics the government thinks is not promoting harmonious society? Hahaha. Yeah, it's not overt at all. It happens before it even hits my desk - no official criteria or anything. Although I've had several occasions where an editor will come over and say "hey. This article is sensitive. Don't change anything other than the spelling and grammar."
How is it like living in China? I have a friend who goes to university there, and he uses Facebook, so either it isn't blocked there (or he got through the filter, I dunno). What sites are blocked there, actually? What Craigox27 said - proxy/VPN services are cheap and easy to purchase. Most young Chinese have them as well. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, NY Times and Blogspot are blocked, among many, many others.
Then one wonders what's the point of blocking sites if they can be bypassed so easily. A lot of the things the Chinese government does make little to no sense. And as Dr. Ian Malcolm once said, "life finds a way." AKA Male Chinese adolescents find a way (to look at porn).
You can't say most young Chinese have proxy and VPN. Maybe amongst educated white collar in the media industry, but not in the general population. True, young rural Chinese likely aren't aware of or do not have such software, as most of them don't have computers either. But young Chinese who have computer access are generally aware of them, I would argue.
What news website would you recommend for non-Chinese speakers to read about daily news in China (like Chinasmack)? You picked my favorite already. I would also recommend BeijingCream, the Shanghaiist and Ministry of Tofu.
Late to the party- what's your opinion of the Epoch Times? Of course it can't be gotten in China, but it's quite available in N. America and Europe- any thoughts? To be honest, I'm not that familiar with them, although I realize I really ought to be. I should read up!
What do you believe is the responsibility of the news media in Chinese society? Are you able to talk about how China is different from other countries' media in that respect? Edit: sorry, I feel like I didn't fully answer your question. News media in China largely has no responsibility other than to its sponsor - the government. But there is so much new media content in the form of microblogs and videos that is really heartening. Citizen journalism is blowing up in China and it's awesome.
Is it true that you guys have a plan to take over the whole world? It's the same thing I do every night, Pinky.
What is your future prospect in the agency as a foreigner? do you want to transfer to a different department? I see that you typed some Chinese characters, so how good is your Chinese now? Future prospects? Few exist for foreigners at state-owned companies. I've heard of foreigners with excellent Chinese and networking skills getting promotions, but those are few and far between and I have neither the patience nor skill to go that route. I am transferring to a different department where I will get to learn some new things, but I'm probably headed back to the States in a couple years. There is little to no room for upward movement here, career-wise.
Last updated: 2013-08-06 15:38 UTC
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