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[Diplomacy] The Third Belt and Road Forum: The Caucasus

June 8th, 2021
Beijing, China
The reality is that China does not have the military power that the United States and Russia bring to the world stage, nor do we have decades of Cold War influence that have carved out spheres of influence in the forms of economic unions, alliances, and buffer zones. However, we have the greatest weapons of all on our side: time, and an artificially-devalued currency that allows us to perform what Western economists refer to as "black magic." Our system has confounded the West and its brightest minds for years, and they will continue to scratch their heads as the honorable and powerful People's Republic exercises our soft economic power to carve out our own spheres of influence across the world.
Debt is a loaded gun with a hair trigger, a time bomb with a broken clock. There is a reason moneylenders were so hated all throughout human history -- they held power over their debtors, real power. In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by the multilateral alliance of NATO and the lone Dragon, we must build a multinational web of our own. We do not have natural allies as do the Americans and Europeans, and many around us do not trust us enough to sign onto a permanent military alliance. However, we can slowly bring the nations of the world to appreciate us through copious investments. And it is through these investments that we will make these countries dependent upon us for growth, so that they may one day repay our kindness with a favor of our own request. The greatest minds of China, including Paramount Leader Xi Jinping, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun, and Silk Road Fund Chairwoman Jin Qi have determined that this is our path forward, and we will follow it to the glorious destiny that awaits us.
The first Belt and Road Forum of 2021 will focus on a valuable reason, one with limitless potential for growth and profit, and an important battleground in the war for global influence: the Caucasus. Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan have been isolated for this round of offers, focusing on infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and more.

Turkey: The Middle Corridor

A nation seeking to increase its own global standing, the Republic of Turkey recently announced the creation of the Middle Corridor Project, an investment program seeking to increase connectivity between Europe and Asia through Anatolia and the Caucasus. Conveniently enough, the People's Republic share the same goal. While Chinese-Turkish relations are not all they once were, it is our opinion that our nations still have much to gain through cooperation in this arena. Therefore, we bring the following offers to the Republic of Turkey:
Working On the Railroad
Following the imminent integration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway with the Edirne-Kars High Speed Railway, the Turkish-Chinese trade network -- with a total volume of over $100 billion -- will become much faster and more efficient. The vast expansion of this capacity for movement of goods will continue to open up trade avenues between Turkey and China, allowing the Turks to benefit from Chinese investment and affordable manufacturing while Chinese companies will gain access to one of the largest and fastest-growing markets and industrial bases in Europe. To further accelerate and improve this process, China is willing to offer a loan of $2 billion dollars at a 2.4% yearly interest rate for the purpose of more quickly integrating the two rail networks with the rest of the trans-Asian railways. As Chinese companies have been proven to construct a mile of high speed rail for the ludicrously low price of $30 million, this offer should invigorate the process and greatly enhance the railway's capabilities should Turkey accept.
The Nuclear Option
A major goal of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources throughout the 2010s has been the construction of nuclear power plants in order to increase the nation's share of energy from that source. However, a number of projects have only ended in failure, having met various roadblocks from the safety issues that led to the abandonment of the Sinop Power Plant Project and the deterioration of relations with Russia that have halted the progress on the notable Akkuyu Power Plant Project, which was originally scheduled to be built, owned, and operated by Russian parent company Rosatom. The final nuclear plant scheduled in Turkey is the İğneada Power Plant, to be supported by American company Westinghouse Electric.
The People's Republic believes that Turkey would be better off working with the expert Chinese engineers and technicians, rather than the Russians, whose vision of Turkey and willingness to help is clouded by political tension, and the Americans, whose vision of Turkey is little more than a puppet and bulwark against Islamic terrorism in the Middle East. Certainly, Turkey can do better than this. The People's Republic has recognized that Turkey's economy has incredible potential fueled by a hardworking people and a bounty of natural resources. Therefore, we offer the following proposal to the Republic of Turkey:

Georgia: On My Mind

Georgia, despite the relative prosperity in Tbilisi and other major cities, is still very much a developing country. It is heavily reliant on agriculture in many regions, and subsistence farming remains quite common throughout rural parts of the nation. The People's Republic's analysis of the country has determined that in order for it to accelerate its growth and drastically increase its standard of living, it must break the economic stranglehold that is subsistence farming, and Chinese corporations are more than willing to assist in this task. In 2019, Maya Tskitishvili, the Georgian Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development commented that the Belt and Road Initiative would serve an essential function in growing the Georgian economy. As Georgia was one of the first nations to express interest in the initiative back in 2015, we find it fit to repay this faith in kind.
Fixing Farms
As stated, reforming agriculture through the end of subsistence farming is key to unlocking Georgia's industrial and economic potential. To this end, the Beijing Hosen Investment Management Group, along with a number of smaller Chinese agricultural investment firms, are willing to invest a total of $40 million into purchasing farms of 200 acres or less, or farms that have a projected yearly revenue of $50,000 or less, in order to consolidate them into large farms. These farms will employ at least 80% of their workers as Georgian nationals, while Chinese workers may be immigrated into the country to pick up the remaining jobs that will be created -- a notion that Georgia has previously explored with South African, Armenian, and Arabian nationals. Agriculture is generally associated with economies of scale, meaning that larger farms are more productive and more cost-efficient, so neighboring farms that can be combined into singular large enterprises will have a higher priority for purchase and investment. Furthermore, for larger-scale, Georgian-owned agricultural projects, the People's Republic is willing to offer various loans to Georgian companies. A total of $250 million will be made available at a flat yearly interest rate of 3% for the lease of Chinese-manufactured farming equipment from WeiFang Guanghui Agriculture Mechanism, Shandong Yingsheng Machinery Company, and the Qingdao Iaoshan Tractor Factory.
The governments and cooperations of China and Georgia will cooperate to ensure that Georgian farmers who sell their farms will be able to find jobs in the newly-consolidated agricultural conglomerates to ease fears of unemployment. Furthermore, our economists (as well as Georgian economists) estimate that the jobs created by the elimination of subsistence farming will more than compensate for those lost during the transition.
Bit by Boring Bit
Interestingly, a growing career path in the nation of Georgia is full-time Bitcoin mining, as well as other forms of cryptocurrency. It is becoming quite common for young Georgians to take advantage of powerful Soviet-era electricity grids and the abundance of electricity in the region to mine vast quantities of cryptocurrency, making Georgia one of the leading countries in the crypto market. We believe that we can use this to our advantage. Chinese investment banks, notably the Agricultural Bank of China, will purchase a number of cryptomines and put them to work for the People's Republic, subsidizing part of the electricity cost in exchange for a portion of the profits and a foot in the door of the vast Caucasian energy industry, which will be developed more later.

Azerbaijan: The Middle Child

At the Second International Belt and Road Forum in 2019, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev indicated his country's express interest in taking part of the project to expand its infrastructure and trade opportunities. With the increasing importance of the BTK railway, we see it fit to secure our interests in the Azerbaijani economy so that both our countries may profit. We wish to extend an offer of a loan of $8 billion with an interest rate of 3.2% to Azerbaijan to be used in expanding the Baku International Sea Trade Port, which currently handles 15 million tons of cargo, to handle 25 million tons of cargo by 2028. We would also like to explore the possibility of increased Chinese presence in the Caspian through investments in Caspian Sea natural gas, and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation is willing to invest $2.4 billion for the construction of two natural gas drilling facilities in the Bahar offshore oil and gas field in the southern Caspian. These natural gas facilities will employ at least 80% of its labor force as Azerbaijani workers, and up to 49% of shares in the facilities will be made available for sale to non-Chinese investors. There are an estimated 25×109 m3 of natural gas in the Bahar fields alone, and the fields currently produce around 130 billion m3, making them a valuable resource that should yield consistent production and profit well into the future.

The Fourth Belt and Road Forum

The People's Republic is open for business. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that scarred many economies around the world, we want our fellow nations to know that China is willing and able to invest in them to ensure a better future for both our peoples. Currently, China is targeting the Middle East for the next round of investments, but the People's Republic promises that any nation which requests loans will be considered.
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Updated FAQs for newcomers

TL:DR: Don't bother mining if you want to get rich yo. You're way too late to the party.
Welcome to the exciting and often stressful world of bitcoin! You are wondering what looks like a once in a lifetime opportunity to get rich quick. Of course you guys probably heard about this "mining" process but what is this?
Simply put, a bitcoin mining machine that performs complicated calculations and when deemed correct by the network, receives a block which contains 25 bitcoins (XBT). This is how bitcoins are generated. So your brain instantly thinks, "Holy shit, how can I get on this gold rush?"
Before you proceed further, I would like to explain the concept of mining further. Bitcoin is limited 21m in circulation. It is coded to release a certain number of blocks at a certain time frame, ie: this year the network will release close to 500,000 bitcoins. What this means is that the more people (or specifically the amount of mining power) mine, the less each person gets. The network tries to keep to this time frame through the process of difficulty adjustments which makes the calculations harder and this happens every 2 weeks. So every 2 weeks, you get less bitcoins with the same hash rate (mining power) based on what the difficulty changes are. Recently, the changes have been pretty staggering, jumping 226% in 2 months. You can see the difficulty changes here.
Now, why are these changes so large?
A bit of a simple history. Bitcoin's algorithm runs on SHA-256. This algorithm can be solved using many hardware, from CPU to GPU and dedicated hardware (Application Specific Integrated Circuits). When bitcoin first started, mining on CPU was a trivial process, you can pretty much earn 50 XBT (the block size then) every few hours between Q1 and Q2 of 2010.
In late 2010, due to the difficulty increase that is reducing the effectiveness of CPU mining, people started to harness GPU mining. Only AMD GPU's architecture design are better optimized for bitcoin mining so this is what the community used. Immediate improvements of more than 10x was not uncommon.
In time of course, GPUs reached their limit and people started to build dedicated. In the same vein as the CPU to GPU transition, similar performance increase was common. These ASICs can only perform SHA-256 calculation so they can be highly optimized. Their performance mainly depends on the die size of the chips exactly like CPU chips.
In general, think of bitcoin mining's technological advancement no different to mining gold. Gold panning (CPUs) vs pickaxes (GPUs) vs machinery (ASICs) and we are still in the ASIC mining race.
ASIC mining started with ASICMiner and Avalon being first to the market, both producing 130nm and 110nm chips. The technology are antiquated in comparison to CPUs and GPUs which are now 22nm with 14nm slated for Q1 next year by Intel but they are cheap to manufacture and with performance gains similar to the CPU to GPU transition, they were highly successful and popular for early adopters. At that point in time since there were less competing manufacturers and the low batch runs of their products, miners became really rich due to the slow increase in difficulty.
The good days came to an end mid August with an unprecedented 35% increase in difficulty. This is due to existing manufacturers selling more hardware and many other players coming onto the market with better hardware (smaller die). Since die shrinking knowledge and manufacturing process are well known along with a large technological gap (110nm vs 22nm), you get an arms race. Current ASIC makers are closing in on our technological limit and until everyone catches up, the difficulty jumps will be high because it is just too easy to get a performance increase. Most newer products run at 28nm and most chips are not well optimized, so it will be around another 6 to 9 months before we see hit a hard plateau with 22nm or 14nm chips. The estimated time frame is because manufacturing chips at 22nm or 14nm is a more difficult and expensive task. In the meantime most manufacturers will probably settle at 28nm and we will reach a soft plateau in about 3 months.
Now, you might ask these questions and should have them answered and if you have not thought about them at all, then you probably should not touch bitcoin until you understand cause you are highly unprepared and probably lose lots of money.
No. If you have to ask, please do not touch bitcoin yet. You will spend more on electricity cost than mining any substantial bitcoin. Seriously. At all. A 7990 would produce a pitiful 0.02879 XBT (USD $14 @ $500/XBT exchange rate) for the next 30 days starting 23 Nov 2013 at 35% difficulty increase.
And if you think you can mine on your laptop either on a CPU or GPU, you are probably going to melt it before you even get 0.01 XBT.
Probably not because you probably forgot that GPUs and CPUs produce a ton of heat and noise. You can try but I see no point earning < $20 bucks per month.
No, because your machine will probably not mine as much as buying bitcoins. This situation is called the opportunity cost. While you can still make money if XBT rise in value, it is a fallacy.
IE: if you start mining on 1 Dec 2013, a KnC Jupiter running at 450Gh/sec (KnC lies as not all chips run at 550Gh/sec) will yield you a total revenue of 9.5189 XBT with a profit of 0.7859 XBT in profit by 30th Jan 2014 at a constant difficulty increase of 35%. The opportunity cost is: 8.5910 XBT @ USD $580/XBT with USD $5,000 which is the cost of a KnC Jupiter. This is the best you can earn and it's a bloody optimistic assumption because:
The only circumstances where you will earn money is when XBT exchange rates is so high that it makes the opportunity cost pales in comparison. Unfortunately this is not the case. If XBT stabilized at 900/XBT today (20 Nov 2013) then we might have a good case.
The risk is just generally not worth it. Unless you have at least a hundred thousand and can make a contract with a manufacturer for a lower cost, do not bother. Just wait until the arms race is over then you can start mining.
Okay, go buy an AsicMiner USB Block Erupter. They are cheap and pretty fun to have.
Sure, just read the answer below on who NOT to go for. You are doing bitcoin a service by securing the network and you have our (the users') gratitude.
You can check out the manufacturers and their products below along with a calculator here.
If you still insist on buying, do not to go for BFL. Their track record is horrid and borderline scammish. KnC fucked up a lot with defective boards and chips. Personally, I think CoinTerra is the best choice.
Alternatively, you can go on the secondary market to buy a delivered product. You can get a better deal there if you know how to do your "return on investment (ROI)" calculation. Personally, I will go for a 45%-50% difficulty increase for the next 3 months for my calculations and a 2% pool fee.
However, most products on ebay are sold at a cost much higher than it should. bitcointalk.org is a cheaper place because everyone knows what are the true value is so you will find less options. If you are unclear or need assistance, please post a question.
I actually do not use any of the pools recommended to the left because I think they lack features.
My favourite is Bitminter (Variable fees based on features used; max 2%). It has all advanced features for a pool, very responsive and helpful owner on IRC. Variable fees is good for those who do not need a large feature set, even with all features turned on, it is still cheap.
Eligius (0% fees) has high value for money but lacks features. It has anonymous mining which might be attractive to certain subset of people but not for others. Many other community member and I disagree highly with the opinions of the owner on the direction of bitcoin. I do use his pool for now but I do so only because I share my miners with a few partners and anonymous mining allows us to monitor the machines without using an account. Bitminter uses only OpenID which is problematic for me.
BTC Guild (3% fees) is another big pool and is fully featured and does charge a premium for their fees. That said, they are the most stable of the lot. I do use them but do so only because my hoster uses them for monitoring. I try not to use them because a pool with a very large hash rate (they are the largest) presents a large vulnerability to bitcoin's network if compromised.
All of them pay out transaction fees.
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Block.one Receives Investment Money from Peter Thiel and Bitmain

Block.one Receives Investment Money from Peter Thiel and Bitmain
https://preview.redd.it/6q1t4u1shha11.jpg?width=880&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a15d997726ac11bce959debe14adde44b0ece73e
EOS, Block.one’s first project, raised $4 billion during its ICO.
Block.one announced yesterday that it has received funding from a collection of individuals and companies, notably including Peter Thiel and Bitmain. The press release does not divulge how much money was raised.

Block.one

Block.one is a software company registered in the Cayman Islands. CEO Brendan Blumer created the company with programmer Dan Larimer in March 2017, and released its first project in May.
Time to buy the dip?
That project was EOS, a blockchain platform that supports smart contracts, like Ethereum does. The initial coin offering of this venture was set up to last for more than a year, and altogether $4 billion was raised. After some difficulty it recently went online, and has a market capitalisation of $7.1 billion according to coinmarketcap.com.
EOS has been criticised for its overly-centralised system; transactions are processed by no more than 21 nodes, which are actually usually companies that have run election campaigns. These nodes are voted into position by the rest of the community but some argue that this is no guarantee against manipulation.

Investors

Peter Thiel is a German-born American venture capitalist with a new worth of approximately $2.5 billion. He was one of the founders of PayPal, which was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion, invested early in Facebook, and set up investment funds like Valar Ventures and Mithril Capital. Another fund of his bought millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin in 2017.
Bitmain is a Chinese company which manufactures Bitcoin mining machinery and mines almost half of the world’s Bitcoin itself, making itworryingly dominant. It has an estimated value of $12 billion. CEO Jihan Wu said: “The EOSIO protocol is a great example of blockchain innovation. Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption.”
Interestingly, Bitmain is one of the nodes in the EOS network.
According to the press release, other investors include billionaires Louis Bacon and Alan Howard.
Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer said: “As Block.one prepares to announce its future plans, we’re excited to welcome key strategic investors aligned with our values of creating a more secure and connected world.” He has not yet revealed what these future plans are.
Source
submitted by W12io to u/W12io [link] [comments]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is Helix?
Helix Cognitive Computing GmbH is a Berlin-based strategic tech company, dedicated to creating a cutting-edge digital ecosystem for interconnecting Everyone and Everything. Helix aims to challenge the status quo by eliminating the need for intermediaries and central authorities, at virtually no cost. For more information, you can visit our website at www.hlx.ai.
2. What problem is Helix solving?
Helix solves problems associated with centralized systems and management. Rather than blindly relying on third-party promises, Helix builds trust by adopting public consensus mechanisms. Thus, it fosters the creation of endless new relationships and businesses that are more ‚direct‘ in nature. Helix enables the use of end-to-end encryption to emit secured data streams, implying that you can fully control which parties are authorized to access your messages or data.
By eliminating intermediaries, Helix enables trustless transactions. It is no longer required to blindly trust any intermediary, whether it is a storage or financial service provider, such as banks. An example includes the creation of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) that are direct, peer-to-peer and organize their company through digital voting systems. This could be achieved for any organization using the HelixFramework involving no payment fees to Helix. The Helix Consensus Protocol is leveraged to achieve data integrity instead of that (for more information about the HelixTangle, please refer to the Whitepaper on our website: https://www.hlx.ai/whitepaper), i.e., transactions that have reached agreement are serialized to the ledger and are immutable.
3. What makes Helix different to others?
  • The Helix Consensus Protocol (HCP) enables efficient and secure transaction processing at virtually no cost, opposed to legacy blockchains.
  • We are building an application by the name of HelixComposer. Helix assigns great importance to usability and accessibility by providing an interface for people who do not have prior knowledge in cryptocurrencies or computer sciences. The HelixComposer and its graphical user interface provide the middle layer or rather the "interaction layer" between users and the network infrastructure. It enables interactive guidance and tools for designing own decentralized applications and defining smart contracts.
  • We have community service, the HelixFoundation. The HelixFoundation assures the sustainability of the HelixNetwork. The HelixNetwork consists of Nodes (Computers) executing HCP and overlay networks (such as Flash and MAM), that are leveraged to achieve greater scalability and privacy. Further, the HelixFoundation is dedicated to creating educational workshops in the realm of Distributed Ledger Technologies, as we feel a great need of educating interested people and promote young talents.
4. Is Helix an active player in the Blockchain space?
Helix is active in the Distributed Ledger Technologies DLT space with its own Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network protocol – not based on Blockchain principles. The Helix Distributed Ledger is modeled as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), a well-known data structure with excellent properties in terms of scalability.
5. What does decentralization mean?
Decentralization is a term used in network topology to describe the relations between different node types. Centralized systems typically consist of a client-server architecture or slave nodes listening to a coordinator.
https://i.redd.it/8pue5gmq1fg11.png
Decentralization promotes the elimination of unnecessary intermediaries, from the transfer of value between persons and things.
6. What is Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)?
Distributed Ledger Technology encompasses an extensive database consisting of synchronized digital records. Examples of records maintained by DLTs include monetary transactions (e.g., Bitcoin Blockchain), titles and rights to intellectual property, creative content, music, votes, healthcare records, and other sensitive or confidential material.
7. What is a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG)?
A Directed Acyclic Graph is a particular type of graph consisting of nodes connected to each other by directed edges. The term ‘Directed’ refers to the idea that edges have directions (like a street map), while ‘Acyclic’ implies that it is not possible to walk from a node X and return to X without going back on a previously used edge (for example no U-turns!).
8. What is a P2P Network?
The architecture of most computer applications on the internet is two-tiered. In a two-tiered architecture, there is a clear division between clients and servers. For example, a typical banking application allows a client to prepare transactions on his/her local machine, and upload the transaction to the bank's centralized server or database. In contrast to the two-tiered architecture of centralized applications, P2P systems equally distribute all aspects of the application across participants, which enables workloads, resources, and values to be shared, and additionally, eliminates the need for peers to trust central authorities.
9. What is “cognition”?
The word cognition derives from the Latin term cognosco which means 'to conceptualize'. Cognition can be defined as the mental act of acquiring and understanding knowledge through senses, experience, and thought.
10. What does “cognitive computing” mean?
Cognitive computers imitate human intelligence by processing data with a set of rules and procedures that can be updated iteratively, based on the value of the incoming data on an asneeded basis. Cognitive computing systems can provide highly accurate descriptions of visual and linguistic data, just like humans. A developing cognitive computer system relies on machine learning strategies, and the scientific study of biological systems, including their cognitive abilities that sustain autonomous, self-driven learning.
11. How is Helix funded today and do you plan an ICO – when?
Currently, Helix is funded by global private and institutional investors. In order to optimize its strategy and operations to the interest of both public (i.e. community) and professional investors, Helix decides to defer its ICO until a better perception in the markets evolves. Helix also intends to evaluate other forms of global coin distribution models where the public audience would be involved in schemes similar to Bounty Programs or Air Drops rather than an ICO. For more detailed information about ICO and Coins, please refer to the Helix ICO & Coins Quick Facts on our website: https://hlx.ai/whitepaper.
12. What is a cryptocurrency after all?
A cryptocurrency is a digital means of payment created and transferred using cryptographic principles, to enable a decentralized and secure payment system.
13. What is HLX?
HLX is the cryptocurrency developed by Helix Cognitive Computing.
14. Why is HLX called "Cognitive Cryptocurrency"?
Every transaction initiated in the HelixTangle results from the process of cognition. Helix uses cognitive scientific methods for purposes of security and validation in the network. For example, in order to approve or validate a transaction, Helix introduces the first ever transaction ledger in the crypto world, which secures transactions using artificial intelligence techniques such as decentralized deep learning, a unique ability to understand, reason and learn about cyber-attacks and threats.
15. Who can use HLX?
HLX is for everyone and everything. You do not need to create a large valued transaction to use the HelixTangle. And since there is no fee, both people and machines can attach their micro-valued transactions to the HelixTangle. Thus, the HelixTangle can be used for machineto-machine settlement, person-to-machine, or machine-to-person payments.
16. Who needs HLX?
The HLX coin is the means of digital exchange in the HelixTangle.
17. How I can mine HLX and how expensive are the transaction fees?
You cannot "mine" the HelixTangle because the Helix protocol does not require intermediaries like miners. The upshot is that the HelixTangle does not waste valuable resources like energy or natural space. Regarding transaction fees, there are none!
18. How are HLX created?
The HLX amount was set in advance by a human council. The sum is set in advance in the code and implemented in the HelixTangle. The Total Coin Supply is calculated from (244 * 244).
19. What is the maximum number of HLX Coins that can be in circulation?
Our maximum amount will be 4,292,493,394,837,504 HLX or 4,292,493,394 mHLX. We also tend to say, in short, but imprecisely: "The total supply is approximately 4,3 petaHLX".
20. What is the difference between mHLX and HLX?
Because the number 4,292,493,394,837,504 HLX is rather inconvenient to use, we count in millions of HLX, calling that unit mHLX (“Mega Helix”).
So the integer of the total coin supply divided by a million results in the total mHLX supply of 4,292,493,394 mHLX.
21. Is the HLX supply infinite?
The HLX coin supply is finite, not infinite. In other words, there are a limited number of HLX coins. In contrast to the Keynesian economic models of most states, the HLX coin supply is not inflationary because no one can “print money” as they need it, and arbitrary coins are never generated.
22. On which exchange platforms for trading HLX will be available?
To be announced after the ICO.
23. Where can I store my HLX?
Once the HLX coins are prepared for transfer to third parties, you can store your HLX inside the HelixWallet software that will be provided in time for the coin transfers.
24. Is Helix' focus on the HLX coin or the Tangle?
First and foremost, Helix is not about the cryptocurrency but rather a protocol for introducing next-generation technology in decentralized distributed computing. It can be said that the cryptocurrency HLX is a necessity to our peer-to-peer network. To be able to tap the full potential of the HelixTangle you need currency. It is not possible to pay with fiat money on the Tangle, and this is not a plan.
25. Is the HelixNetwork better than a Blockchain P2P network?
Yes. Advantages of the HelixNetwork over traditional Blockchain P2P networks include:
  • Cost – Transactions in the Tangle are free of charge and occur at a far higher speed
  • Scalability - Transaction confirmation speed increases linearly with the numbers of tips
  • Decentralization – The Helix Tangle eliminates the need for mining or miners
  • Environmentally Friendly – e.g., No waste of electrical energy
  • Can be used by the emerging machine economy (=IoT and sensors).
26. Why is the Tangle faster than a Blockchain?
New transactions in the Tangle confirm two previous transactions. This makes the Tangle infinitely scalable. Blockchain, on the other hand, sees several transactions packed into one block and these blocks are charged every ten minutes.
27. What is unique about the Tangle?
The HLX coin can be used like any other cryptocurrency. The network protocol was specially designed to connect devices. Companies and people gather data every day with a myriad of devices such as weather sensors or sensors in machinery and healthcare. But almost every piece of information is not used or recycled. The HelixNetwork can tackle it in two ways: It can save data in a way, such that no one other than yourself has access to the data. Moreover, it allows a free transaction between the owner and the one who wants to acquire the data. While we already realize how relevant data is at present, in the future, data will play an even more significant role.
28. How is data stored in the Tangle?
Suppose you want to send a JPG file to someone. First, your picture will be split into several parts and stored in a special field of various Helix transactions.
To send data or communicate with someone on the HelixTangle, you store data in the shared, public version of the Tangle for a limited amount of time. When you, or someone else you authorize, retrieve the data, you are reading the data directly from the HelixTangle in its most current state. The transactions containing your data will not be removed until a snapshot, which is like sending data off into oblivion. After the data has been forgotten, all transaction objects valued at 0 are deleted from the shared, public HelixTangle. If someone would want to read your data from the HelixTangle, that would mean that they must take the precisely same walk through the graph you already did, and only then they would recover the original walk, or message, or data. To simplify this process and stay up to certain privacy requirements, we use a module called Masked Authenticated Messaging. It enables a private, public or restricted encrypted data stream, wherein the restricted scheme, for instance, a channel identifier key and a private key would be required to access the data stream.
29. Is the data stored in the Tangle or does the data only pass through the Tangle?
To be certain of the correctness of your data, in other words, to achieve data integrity, it is mandatory that data is stored in the Tangle. Due to Proof of Work requirements and confirmation times, this could lead to problems in a scenario like a messaging app, where remotely instant data transfer is required. In these cases, it is recommended to use an overlay network like Flash. Flash enables the creation of a multi-signature wallet (that holds a balance predefined by the parties) by two or more parties that trust each other. Transactions in a flash channel are almost instant, with delays only associated to network propagation. When the channel is closed by the parties, the last state of the balances of the parties is synchronized to the Tangle. This procedure eliminates a lot of overhead, supports scalability of the overall system, i.e., the HelixNetwork and enables a tremendous throughput of transactions.
30. How is the data sent?
You can use the interface provided in the official HelixWallet. Using the Interface, you will be able to publish data into the Tangle and restrict access to your needs.
31. What are possible use cases for the HelixTangle?
To give a few examples:
  • Bio data platform - BEAMS (Helix' first spin-off, more information at www.beams.ai)
  • Recording diagnostics
  • Supply Chain Transparency (Manufacturing)
  • Aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) Energy & Utilities (The era of microgrids)
  • Public transport (Train, bus)
  • Licensing (Music, movies)
  • Votes (Government)
  • Post-shipping companies (UPS, DHL)
  • Food Industry (Food tracking)
32. Do I need HLX to use the Tangle?
It is not entirely necessary to own HLX to use the Tangle. In the future, you will be able to use the Helix Tangle to store and send your data to other people securely.
33. When will the HelixTangle / Network be available?
The MainNet should be launched in Q1 of 2019.
34. How can I synchronize with Helix' progress?
To keep up to date, you can follow our Social Media Accounts, or get informed through our website and Discord server.
Helix is active on the following Social Media Platforms:
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35. What are Helix' intentions regarding Post-Quantum-Cryptography?
Helix’ proof of work is minimal which means the difference of performance between a quantum computer (QC) and a normal computer is minimal (~QC would be roughly 100 times more efficient than an average everyday computer, in blockchain a QC would be 14 billion times more efficient than a high-end mining pool). The difference is great.
Helix uses Schnorr signatures, which are based on the discrete logarithm problem. It achieves high performance and privacy standards and is widely studied and accepted in the industry. The problem is it’s susceptibility to quantum computations (to be more specific Shor’s algorithm implementation on QCS). Although we see the quantum era as a massive threat to existing cryptographic methods, we are sure of the fact that certain attacks, which are currently only theoretically modeled, will need a few more years to become practical enough for sufficient incentive of an adversary. While Helix is determined to come up with solutions for the quantum era, we decide to take a route quite different from our predecessor. Instead of publishing “quantum proof” algorithms (that the scientific community hasn’t had a chance to study yet), now in a time where there is no practical QC attack, seems kind of premature. In a realm, where trust is the highest good, seems premature.
The general idea is to use, what achieves the best performance and security standards today, while initiating the research needed to sustain all of the computing eras that lie ahead.
36. What Helix areas and brands are worth to know?
  • HelixEcosystem - All systems, users, community associated with the HelixTangle
  • HelixTangle - Helix’ initiated P2P network protocol (a next-generation internet)
  • HelixPlatform - The place for developers and community to interact with the HelixTangle
  • HelixWallet - Interface to manage participation in the HelixEcosystem
  • HelixVirtualMachine - Provides secure access to the computing power of the HelixTangle
  • HelixComposer - Toolkit to build your dApps (decentralized use cases)
  • HelixWetware - Helix’ future initiative for a DNA-based molecular storage system
  • HelixFoundation - the Non-Profit arm of Helix to foster HelixEcosystem and R&D
  • HelixCognitiveComputing - the Commercial legal entity of HelixGroup
  • HLX - Helix Cognitive Cryptocurrency
  • BEAMS - A bio data platform powered by the HelixTangle
submitted by HelixFoundation to helixfoundation [link] [comments]

The Venom of God

So many thoughts come, in my hunger to record the shape of that which ails me.
Memories, imprinted like typewriter keys on the wet, spongy mass of the brain, feel transient, like ancient scrolls or commandments inscribed on crumbling slate, eroded by desert winds in unfathomably ancient ages. The memories of a man, fragmented in time - wet with horror and delusion.
For some reason, softer memories of childhood rise to the surface sometimes, like leaves in a dirty backyard pool, only to become too raw and shamefully unclothed when exposed to the sunlight of a middle aged man’s temperament.
I remember games of Checkers with my great Grandfather, Ildor Hearst, who appears in my mind’s eye as a-kind-of Russian Santa Claus, wirey beard and carven forehead. He was a stern man, and would always be ranting his archaic religious views. Prostheletising the fall of modern Babylon and the age of the Nihilist.
He would play Checkers with me, sharp movements, wooden circles slammed down with impunity. He never let me win. Saw his dominance as a matter of instruction and learning. As I look back nostalgically, sometimes, I yearn for Great Grandfather Ildor’s black and white mentality of good and evil, lightness and darkness... and an over arching confidence in the eventual triumph of mankind. Rather than the bleak reality of the post modernist distopia in which I live.
I recall vividly, after those intense games, once Ildor had imparted his thorny wisdom, I would be granted relaxation and be free to play with my own toys, scattered around my grandparents wooden floor boards; Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers, Wonder Woman, Spider Man and He-Man. Mine was always a multicoloured world of complex morality and democratic voices ... all of which ran into muddy paradigms that seemed totally outside the circle of Great Grandad’s moral compass.
These days, as a real estate Agent, I am occasionally gifted limited insights into a checkerboard like world of manipulation and sinister intentions, but mine is to perceive the evil of global finance, and the general unfairness of land ownership and rabid, unchecked capitalism...but with no delusion of an interventionalist God to pull us out of the hole we humans have dug for ourselves.
My name is Vilson Hearst, and I am a Real Estate Agent for Steel City Real Estate in Hexton, Australia.
Perhaps you think yourself free from the real estate game. Perhaps, you are a fool.
Perhaps you are satisfied with your lot in life, making a simple way for yourself, with a mortgage and a family, (if you should be so lucky to afford to get into the housing market at all that is). Then, could be that you are living a student lifestyle, paying rent, constantly paying off another cunning man’s mortgage, or worse still, perhaps you have abandoned the fight, to cower in your parents basement, with the real world slowly closing in on you, as you desperately try to escape into a world of Hollywood movies, video games or creepy pasta.
You are all in the real estate game, wether you like it or not. There is a broader game of capital and estate, which is increasingly complex, and even those like myself who’s job it is to ‘follow the money’ sometimes are completely lost at sea in the Darwinian struggle of the global free market.
Studying finance at Bourkeley University,.. I did my PHD thesis about money and the aquisition of power. I spent a solid year, studying the major players in global banking, watched the Chinese ICBC rise to become the wealthiest banking institution in the world. I tracked the strange and secretive trails of the richest investors, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, watching money transfer around the globe in secret trust funds, private meetings of powerful elites in Shanghai—as the Chinese World Trade Centre “Tower Three” was built, in the image of the destroyed Twin Towers of New York, (which is no coincidence, given it was constructed by the same architecture group; Skidmore Owings and Merril, (who also constructed the replacement One World Trade Centre.))
I studied Wikileaks and other whistleblower organisations. Gained secret documents, and learned of meetings between wealthy individuals; John Fallon, the chief executive of Pearson Education, the company which controls half the worlds schooling institutions— made a private deal in 2015 with Indra Nooyi and Paul Bulcke, Chairman and CEO of Nestle and PepsiCo, the owners of the majority of global food and confectionary. You wonder why our children are so desperately obese.
I was constantly surprised by the familiarity of these billionaires with one another. For instance, you might not know, that Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto, the sinister company who has come to dominate a stronghold on global agriculture, (and who, among more nefarious acts, was responsible for manufacturing the deadly ‘Agent Orange’ poison in Vietnam and causing countless generational mutations).. just happens to be close friends with the CEO of Lockheed Martin, the dominant power in weapons manufacturing and ultimately what people mean when they talk about the ‘military industrial complex’.
Guns don’t kill people. Corporations do. But you knew that already.
Other minutes from meetings by the powerful, would have many questioning what the leaders of certain organisations could possibly have to discuss with each other,... such is the nature of the unheard of D40 meeting in a chateau in Shandong Province; where Barry Lam, chairman and founder of Quanta computers, the name behind the majority of computing technology, was recently in discussion with Carlos Brito, the CEO of InBev; the name behind all the major alcohol players—Ian Read, the CEO of Pfizer, who basically controls the entire legal drug market, Mark Zuckerberg and the CEO Of Alphabet Inc— who own Google and most of the rest of the internet. Now these meetings bare direct relationships with the stock trading happening in the World Trade Centre Tower Three in China. The minutes from these meetings contained discussion both controversial and amazingly nuanced, and the complexity of the global solutions some of these key players in the tech revolution were coming up with would’ve gone over the heads of even the top IQ holders from 98 percent of high schools in the world. Nonetheless, some of the darker plans by these shady monopolies would terrify you, more than you could possibly know.
To understand Australian land ownership, the problem becomes more of a global puzzle.
The figures who own the most land globally, are, the King of Saudi Arabia, The Pope and the Catholic Church, Hugh Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster certainly has a cut, and of course, the Queen of Britain herself, Elizabeth ...(who currently owns about a sixth of the worlds land, some 6.6 Billion Acres, more commonly known as the Commonwealth Realm, (which includes two thirds of Antarctica, Time Square in New York, Canada, New Zealand and of course ... Australia.) These people, i’ve learned, are not particularly interested in the debate around land ownership coming to the forefront of the global conversation, and billionaire media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Packer have filled their bank accounts, making it their mission to keep just such subjects off the family dinner table, with distractions like ‘My Kitchen Rules’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ filling Australian television channels.
The question of wether anyone owns land in Australia, or if it is in fact all owned by the Queen of England, is a contentious one, particularly when you factor in the confounding elements such as the status of Norfolk Island, which at one time was, on a technicality, not owned by anyone except for the fictitious body ‘The Crown’ (until being taken over by the Australian Capital Territory, in 2015). Then when you consider the original claim of the British that the Australian nation was unoccupied or ‘Terra Nullius’ when Europeans arrived, a truth widely held as fact until the precedent of the Mabo Decision in the Torres Straight islands in 1992. This decision returned some land ownership rights back to certain aristocratic lineages of the native people. However, the paradox leaves a complex and enduring problem for the future of land ownership in Australia and what that exactly entails.
In Hexton, the most rapidly developing city in Australia, corporate billionaires have their stakes in national land ownership, yet meanwhile... National Parks, Botanical Gardens and other public spaces are unapologetically ‘Crown lands’, a fact which is still testified by the names of the spaces; Kings Domain, Queen’s Square, and other titles which clearly and proudly display the heritage of monarchic ownership deeply entrenched within the Australian property market.
Of course, even within the field of Australian National Real Estate, the individual estate agent becomes bogged down even further in matters of local estates, so that these important issues take second stake to the sales and acquisitions of the day.
Steel City Real Estate, the company I work for, is a nation wide brand, but our particular office in Albert Park consists of about nine agents.
I spend most of my time competing with the golden boy of Steel City, Greg Leisdadt. Greg has consistently won the monthly sales targets in our office for over a year. His desk is covered in trophies, awards, and framed certificates adorn the walls behind him.
I’m not sure what words could aptly describe Leisdadt; his wolf-like eyes, both evil and mesmerising. A cannibal grin consisting of Colgate super white teeth, and those gelled locks of amber hair which hang impossibly, like an arch villain over his forehead. Greg oozes saleable confidence which grates my own nervous disposition sufficiently towards constant despair.
The only force which makes the constantly eclipsing day to day victories of Leisdadt bearable to me is Natasha Valuvjdavo. She is the agent who sits on the adjacent table to me in the office.
I confess, for some time, I was profoundly attracted to Natasha, and had to stop myself from gushing and fawning over her. She is a demure, and assertive brunette, her crimson lips could kill a boat full of sailors. Unfortunately, she is engaged to a man named Fred, who is something of a wet blanket, yet I must discard my jealousy and confess that for whatever reason, Natasha seems happy in her domestic life. My only solace in this, being that Greg Leisdadt, the man who has everything, although persistently flirtatious, has never made a dent in Natasha’s self security. She is thankfully not attracted to him.
But now I should refrain from being sidetracked and talk about the subjects which, you, the reader, more likely desire to hear of. For my tale is no idle blathering of romantic ennui, or global conspiracy—but rather the trauma of my profession, does persist— in both being exposed to the ruthless game of money/power, but moreover being haunted by knowledges both gothic and Victorian. For there is no other game in town, where one is more exposed to unwanted or haunted real estate; the devil hounded, and the wished forgotten.
There are the houses that are impossible to sell, because of brutal or public bloody murders that have occurred to the prior occupants. Wether psychological or other, the frequency of those who purchase such forbidden and damned abodes —then in no matter of time, flee and sell at carelessly lower settlement costs, with tales of unhallowed things returned to life, or clanking noises in the basement...why... this simple fact of the real estate market is as common as there is. A story as old as time.
Now perhaps I could spend months repeating the folk lore surrounding that dilapidated and spiritually unsaveable address; that run down, trash infested garden, and collapsing terrace roof of no 13 MacArthur Street.
But this could take a conceivably longer time period, and I shall reserve my energy for the most disturbing and horrific of these preternatural experiences.
Though I should briefly mention Vernon tower, for though this wasn’t the property which near drove me to insanity, it factors too far into the disturbing tapestry of the veiled or hidden real estate scene.
Now, Vernon tower, is an enormous building in South Hexton. Our agency deals more with rentals than with sales of the apartments in that old, and curious piece of architecture. Built as early as 1866, there has always been something profoundly wrong with Vernon towers. Of course, it is me who has to deal with most of the tennants of that foreboding block, for it is the Hearst legacy to be fated just such dull luck.
Thus it is always, I, who takes the phone calls from disgruntled students and drug addicts; Vernon Tower is unprecedentedly cheap, due to its history. Yet the impoverished clientele still have no issue burning my ear off; to complain of strange mechanic noises, or those bizarre phosphorescent green lights. Then there was the girl who tried to sue us, after her seizure from what she claimed to see inside the laundry room. That manner of description I can scarce repeat for its absurdness and high strangeness.
But let me get to the more dreadful incident which frightens me even to recall.
Indeed, it had all begun with that infernal property in Elwood, which I was in terse competition to sell... pitted unwittingly against the undefeated Super-Agent, Greg Leisdadt.
The spectacularly immense mansion on Ormond Road, was once occupied by billionaire Serbian entrapaneur Dimitrije Stojanovic, who I’m told partially drafted the architectural plans for the immense mansion himself, before he had it constructed on the corner of Ormond and Radkin Streets. The nature of the oddities surrounding that place however, extend not from the architectural style of the lot itself, (mind you those odd modernist geometric pylons, stepped piers and sail-like rooves do lend a kind of funereal gothicness to the address.)
However, it was the murder of Stojanovic which caused true fluctuations of interest in the property. Given the public knowledge of the horrendous murder, the property value was incalculably lower than its market worth. It seemed the image of the alleged burglar breaking into Stojanovic’s window, and bludgeoning him to death in the lounge room with a heavy trophy or statue of some kind— somehow grinding his skin off as with multiple teeth, or a spiked club—stayed in the public mind, thanks to Channel 9’s ‘A Current Affair’ and their sensational program about the incident. For interest in the property remained uncharacteristically low. Perhaps the fact that the murderer has yet to be identified or captured by police, nor the murder weapon found, hasn’t helped the matter.
Now, as I have mentioned this was not the first time our staff had dressed up a ‘murder property’. But the truly disturbing elements began to happen during the time the property came under my tenure.
Now, I should proclaim sincerely that I am by no means a superstitious man, I admonish my readers to believe that I was just as skeptical about the soon to be foretold events as you, had I not experienced them myself, I should fiercely doubt my own sanity. I should also divulge a little more information about Dimitrije Stojanovic himself, (the owner of the grand mansion) as the web of intrigue very much seems to hinge on his professional history.
Stojanovic made his billions in Silicon Valley, working in many aspects of the tech industry, investing timely in companies like Facebook and crypto currencies like Bitcoin, when the time was right. in the move to Australia it seems that his ambition was to try out his own company idea in the developing market of Hexton, where the game was not already dominated and over exposed.
With this intent he came out, built his immense mansion in Elwood, Moonsmoth, and immediately started channeling his money into the development of something called .....‘DigiTown’.
Now being neither a tech expert myself, nor expecting such of my audience, I will explain the fundamentals of the ‘DigiTown’ concept in the same manner it was explained to me by Neil Druton, a four eyed nerd with an immense forehead who was one of the developers working for Dimitrije Stojanovic, before he died. I had decided to interview Druton, to get the background on the Stojanovic case to find a more positive angle for investors. I figured if I could distract the buyer from the details of the murder, and big talk the profile of Stojanovic himself, “the prolific entrapaneur”, this might flatter the egos of other wealthy entrapaneurs to buy it out.
Druton told me he had been working for Stojanovic for about six months, mostly at the office Space Dimitrije was renting in Southbank. He described Stojanovic as ruthless, and borderline insane, but nonetheless he spoke of ‘DigiTown’ with respect, a ‘unique’ and ‘brilliant’ project, which would have been at the forefront of the tech industry, if it had ever been finished.
Put in layman’s terms, Druton explained that the project had a great deal in common with Bill Gates plans for a ‘smart city’ but on a more achievable scale.
I could tell Druton was oversimplifying the description for my sake, no doubt parroting Dimitrije’s marketing pitches for investors. But he described it like this; ‘Imagine a kind of augmented portal, with a built infrastructure and virtual architecture planned by white collar professionals, a crypto currency run communal space, overlayed over a modern city space, where your own request portal is linked to different reference cubes; Town Square, Library Cube, Media Station, Entertainment Centre, Eateries, telematics and roads authority, and these all function via the same channels as an actual city.’ ‘So you mean, instead of one social media interface trying to network everything, the actual infrastructure of a city is built out within the media itself?’ I asked. ‘Yeah pretty much’ Druton replied, seeing I had sensed the practical nature, adaptability, and profitability of the software, all over the world. ‘ATMs, shops, business, smart cars and machinery— all worked into the same dual augmented system. Superimposed as a direct collorary.’ It got me thinking paranoid, and I asked Druton earnestly; ‘Do you think if another rogue in the tech industry knew about Stojanovic’s idea, it would have been a groundbreaking idea enough to have killed him over?’ Druton went silent, and sweated a little from his pimpled forehead. I didn’t need to hear him answer the question, it was written all over his shrivelled face.
I spent a good couple of months doing my research on Dimitrije’s mansion. (I would’ve loved to cover up the existence of the current owner of the mansion). Rich heiress Stacey White bought the house, and lived in it for a month before she got spooked— and decided to resell it. I made sure to get the story straight, offering Stacey a hot cup of Bush tea, and asking her precisely what she saw.
Here’s what she told me; ‘I was alone, in that creepy mansion, at night,... and I got a weird feeling. There was a strong wind, and it was dark. The gum tree in the front yard bends a lot in the wind, and sometimes the branches whip against the side of the house. I was just getting used to that noise, but this time it was something different, almost lost in the whistling wind. It was a lower kind of ...moaning. A deep, pained groan. I got up to check I hadn’t left something on in the kitchen. I went to turn on the light switch but the globe burnt out. That’s when it happened. Almost like a mini-earthquake, but there was this strange energy. Then the gas stove just lit up, a green flame. It wasn’t on, but the kitchen was illuminated in a kind of underwater hue. Then—-(Stacey began to gasp and sob)—-then... in the darkness — I saw it!! A green head! Half a Human head, but mangled, half the skull bashed in, shimmering like I was looking through glass. It spoke to me ....in a voice that made the room cold. Just—-(she broke down into tears, suppressing a scream). H—his lips... cold, green lips. Steam coming from his mouth. He said — he said—- ‘Beware the Wagluh’.
As this point she became incommunicable.
I felt an increasing sickness in the ensuing weeks, the cause was unknown, but chiefly matched my mental state. It must’ve been around this time when I first saw the strange rune which had been spray painted on the abandoned building in Elwood. I was doing my rounds, why I should’ve noticed the strange glyph remains beyond my understanding, yet there it was. A curious, green shape, interrupted by a stark arrow and a kind-of ladder shape above it.
I was becoming increasingly stressed and agitated by the competitive sale of Dimitrije’s mansion. My manager Herron Del Ray had been hounding me to make a sale, it had been months since I had successfully got a down payment from a client. Del Ray had threatened redundancy in no uncertain terms, and the stress was beginning to erode my total mental well being.
In conversations with my beautiful colleague Natasha around this time, I found her to be kind, but not particularly helpful. Her advice was that if I was going to beat Leisdadt, I would have to compete with him at his own game. She told me on one particular occasion I should just lie to clients about the gruesome murder in the house, or omit it from the description altogether. This was both against my moral compass, and senseless, for the case was so popular, I felt sure that any potential investor would know of it, to omit it would only anger them.
That same day I got a call from a potential buyer named Greame De Montague. Leisdadt watched me like a hawk as I took the call, giving me a cunning look. The stare flustered my nerves, but choking through the phone I agreed for an inspection with De Montague. He would be the fifth buyer I had spoken to, all four previous investors had abandoned their inquiries when learning more about the murder, or after having seen the contract of sale.
I calmed myself the day of the appointment by speaking soft mantras to myself under my breath. I knew I had to push this client to a final purchase, and my job security depended on it. Greg Leisdadt was leaning against the bronze statue of a Cheetah in our office as I was leaving, mocking me with the words ‘Good luck, Vilson old boy.’
It was a cold autumn day, and brown leaves blew around the streets in gusts of curdled wind.
I had arranged to meet Mr De Montague on Beach Avenue, so that we might walk down to Ormond Street and view the mansion. As an eerie coincidence the corner we agreed to meet was precisely at the point that odd rune was sprayed on the abandoned building in Elwood.
Greame De Montague was standing on the corner as I arrived in my light grey sedan. He was standing in front of the odd rune, as though the symbol itself had somehow marked his presence in an unexplainable yet mystical time stamp. I couldn’t see his car parked anywhere. He was wearing a very curious oufit, particularly for Australia, although the weather was reasonably cool that autumn day. He wore a kind of black velvet robe, cut in the shape ...not unlike an Orthodox Jew’s regalia. It tarried at the bottom into a sort of deep purple cape. On his head he wore a buckled Capotain, and in his hand, a decorated staff. I wondered if his clothing indicated the excesses of vanity of the social media age, or if he was perhaps a foreign prince of some kind.
I stepped out of the car, and approached De Montague with my hand extended. I could see now he had a strange face, with slanted owl-like eyebrows, and a fluffy round beard that gave him an almost koala-bear-shaped head.
Mr De Montague raised his hand and met my embrace, shaking my hand with a firm clasp. ‘It’s lovely to meet you Greame. I have a feeling you are going to love this property.’ ‘Please. Call me Lord De Montague.’ The stern man insisted, ‘I descend from Carpathian royalty, the son of a Duke.’ ‘Very well M’lord.’ I replied, my tone accidentally tinged with irony, ‘Have you come ...very far today?’ I asked trying to distract from my faux pas with a bluff of small talk. I couldn’t help staring at the strange Necklace around De Montague’s neck. It seemed to be made of solid gold, and was comprised of a chain of large charms, each coin depicting deities from Ancient Asian and Mesopotamian religions.
I began walking, unsure what to say but deciding to lead De Montague down towards Ormond Street. There was a terrifying stillness on the street that day. The sun dried grass seemed frozen in time, and the grey sky moaned geriatrically, with the energy of a tired giant trying to fend off the vast abyss of Space.
I noticed that De Montague was not moving, but had instead stopped firmly in his tracks. His face gave off a distinct lack of pathos.
‘Mr Hearst.’ Lord De Montague’s grainy voice echoed; ‘This is the wrong way.’ I turned and looked back at him confused, but De Montague quickly supplanted my curiosity ‘We should walk down Vautier Street. It comes out closer to the property on Ormond.’ By my own calculations, the distance was exactly the same, but as I was in a desperate state of flattery, I decided to humour the strange, old man, though I now questioned wether my client might be an eccentric madman, who merely thought he was born of Royalty, in his delusions.
Nonetheless, I followed De Montague and we wandered down the leafy, terraced streets.
‘Tell me something Mr Hearst’ De Montague began to speculate; ‘Have you ever heard the expression ‘Old Money’?’ I looked at him trying to gage his meaning; ‘Yes, of course.’ I replied. ‘The man who owned this mansion’, De Montague continued in a practiced refrain; ‘It is my understanding he was one of the new breed. Wouldn’t you say? Those who make their fortunes on the gamble— or the changing technologies of the world, but haven’t yet come to fully comprehend the system as it works. As it has always worked.’ ‘I’m afraid I haven’t come to fully appreciate your meaning.’ I replied with honest perplexion. ‘My ancestors were very interested in Asian spirituality’ De Montague continued in a seemingly distracted soliloquy, ‘The De Montagues have migrated for some time you see. Sharing something in common with the Romani people of Europe. I have had ancestors who have lived, over the centuries, in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines. Do you know what is the one thing these vastly different cultures all have in common?’ ‘I do not’ I confessed. ‘Reverence for ones ancestors, and respect for ones elders, and an overwhelming policy of acceptance towards the natural systems that have always existed.’ ‘That’s very interesting’ I replied, gawking about anxiously and wondering where the conversation was leading. ‘I have only more recently come to adapt the principles of the Japanese Shinto religion into my philosophy Mr Hearst. However I think we could all take a page out of that discipline, and it’s superior attitude towards the unknown. You know, in some sense the Shinto practitioners had an almost scientific approach to their spirituality. Certainly, like with the Eastern superstitions, the Shinto perceived a longing towards extra sensory insights into a hidden or secret world supposed to lie beneath the surface of our material life. However, we can say that the Shinto practitioners never got into the awkward and complex dogma of hierarchical worship. Rather, they merely approached each of their animistic inhabitations of spirit that they encountered with the proper fear and respect that one should properly apply to creatures or Gods we fail to yet understand.’ ‘It’s an interesting religion.’ I said, still utterly confused as to what the eccentric prince was attempting to convey.
‘I see you’ve mistaken my warning.’ De Montage continued in a more stern and serious tone, as we passed rows of trimmed hedges and decorative fences. ‘It is right to fear that which we don’t understand Master Hearst. We ought to treat our material supervisors with more respect. Now, I confess, it has never been the object of my ancestors to worship the unseen. Only a fool wishes to make a slave of themselves to a devil they don’t know. But respect, awe, fear, that is different. That is the core of wisdom. Now.... I confess to you... My own aristocratic ancestors, have had more of a vested interest in acquiring artefacts and precious minerals that can absorb such unknown energies. To tap into the mechanisms of nature and the outer spheres of unseen chemistry, that is where one can find the tools to bring about the acquisition of power!’ I began to become totally speechless, realising now, that I was in the presence of a lunatic. We were still about five minutes from the Serbian’s property, and De Montague now began to rave in such a strange and sinister manner, that he appeared some demented imp, his lecture was so insane. ‘So it was for the ones who claimed the future. Those beings with silken robes of silver, who sought the forbidden wisdom from beyond the abysses of Space and time. They are like the watcher, and we are but the conduits to their ancient digital powers. Yet if you could perceive the outlines of the Shapeshifter, who is the lost among us all, and he who brings the bitterness from the original tragedy. Then, perhaps you could understand what the Hindu’s really worship, in the form of their metamorphosising God of many evolutionary attributes.’ Mr De Montague suddenly stopped, slamming the steel cap of his staff upon the cracked concrete, and turned to me; ‘Mr Hearst, this is my warning for you! You cannot outwit the darker destinies of the force that itself conjures black holes. Have due reverence for the unseen beast which lurks beneath, and threatens your soul with eternal mutilation. Stand down from that property, and abandon your research into the disappearance of that accursed Serbian. I send this warning as a friend, and wether or not you take it up, I tell you that your colleague Greg will still make the sale, whichever path you choose.’ De Montague suddenly scowled like a rabid dog, grabbing my hand and thrusting the handle of his cane upon my palm. ‘Cursed child— I have the power of the Chiromancer, and that which is engraved upon your line of fate, makes it clear. But there is still time to evade the mark of this warning.’ Suddenly, I shrieked, for my palm began stinging with pain, and I realised that the silver etched handle of the staff was unfathomable degrees hot. I pulled my hand away before the impression became irreversible; ‘Ouch, you burnt my hand!’ I cried.
De Montague then seemed satisfied that his message had been delivered. He immediately hoisted back his staff, then let out a sound almost like a wolf’s growl. Then he seemed to perform a magicians trick of some form. For he cast the staff down at my feet, but as it fell there, a glimmer of light played a trick on me. I stepped back in fear, for that which lay across my feet, was no longer that of carven wood, but a coiled brown snake, who raised itself and hissed through fangs, and quivering forked tongue. I turned and dashed out of the snakes attack perimeter.
I gazed down at my stinging palm, to see with terror and trepidation that the burn mark in my hand imprinted from the image on the cane— it was the same strange glyph that was painted on the house.
Panting and sweating, tripping over my clumsy feet, as I rotated again to survey the scene, I saw now with incredulity the brown snake remained upon the pavement, but De Montague himself was long gone.
The hoax plagued me for hours afterward, I had been pranked it seemed, by some rich and bored eccentric trickster, who never intended to view the property at all. Or he was an escaped lunatic from Bourkeley Asylum perhaps. As I was already in the area, after a sufficient down time, when my heartbeat had reduced and my manic paranoia dissipated —I resolved to continue to Ormond Street anyway.
When I got to the property my fading anger was rebuked, for I saw two cars parked outside the late Serbian’s mansion. ‘Leisdadt’ I cursed.
As I walked up the modern staircase, I saw a cheerful looking man m, wearing a scarf, leaving, who Greg had obviously just shown around the property. He seemed fearfully optimistic about the place, and I continued cursing under my breath until I reached the hallway where Greg was standing, smugly, with a clipboard. He seemed even more satisfied when I came to the door; ‘You better watch out for that one’ Greg said in a tone that sent me into a rage; ‘He seems very keen. What happened to your 4’oclock?’ ‘Someone pulled a prank on me’ I cursed. I began to wonder if Greg had organised the incident with the charlatan somehow. Leisdadt tried hard to refrain from breaking out into a grin, ‘That’s a shame. Your luck has to come up one day Hearst.’ Leisdadt chuckled, but then seemed to remember something— ‘I thought you signed off on the clearance papers anyway Hearst.’ He said, ‘After Stacey White complained about the dead guy’s stuff still laying around, I thought you had the house completely emptied.’ ‘What of it?’ I asked. Greg leaned over to the ornately decorated mantle piece, pulling open the dresser drawer below the mirror and revealing a stack of haphazard papers and letters. ‘Can you take care of these?’ He insisted coldly, ‘I’ve got a last minute potential sale of that impossible property, 13 MacArthur Street. Can you believe my luck? We haven’t had a buyer for that place in years.’ I scowled into my neck as Leisdadt left via the rear entrance of the mansion. Grumbling and moving towards the papers, I cursed myself for so easily being persuaded to do what Greg could’ve done himself.
I mumbled, calling myself a sucker under my breath as I leafed through the papers.
Then, I turned over something which captured my interest. It was a sleek black diary, and as I turned the pages I came to realise that it had evidently belonged to Dimitrije. I flicked through the musty pages, seeing that the entries of the private journal dated up until the Serbian’s disappearance. I began to read with fascination and morose intrigue;
Here is the transcript of the more interesting parts of Dimitrije's diary: http://textuploader.com/dh4w4
Dimitrije Stojanovic died on the 13th of October, 2016.
The strange diary had a terrible effect on me. I became deeply paranoid that I was wedged within a catastrophic and deep conspiracy. Though I couldn’t fully understand the map laid out by the corners of my discoveries, there was enough of a pattern that I knew there was some terrible logic beneath it all.
I found the references to Vernon Towers and the architect ‘Von Marrickville’ extremely intriguing and began to further my own research on the property which was already familiar to me. I had always known that Vernon Towers was an old heritage building. But I had never researched the buildings actual construction. So it was, that I found out more about the strange creator, borrowing a book about the eccentric architect Veda Von Marrickville from Hexton library.
The book was fascinating. Von Marrickville, it turned out was a fairly prolific architect of the day, who was commissioned to build a series of buildings around Hexton city. Of particular interest to me, where the four or five buildings Von Marrickville built in a kind of arc around Port Phillip Bay, pointing towards Valsbury docks. Von Marrickville was a Dutch native who came out to Australia in 1834, one of the key buildings on the Port Phillip Bay side of Hexton was Vernon Towers, which I read to my astonishment was funded by a wealthy nobleman named Aaron De Montague. I couldn’t find out much about the De Montague family or their history in Australia, but I was beginning to think it must have been the same family as the De Montague whom I had met. Von Marrickville describe Vernon Towers as an ‘occult conduit’ and layered it with engraved symbology. He suffered a tragic fate, and wound up raving as an inmate in Bourkeley Asylum.
Since reading the diary, I have begun to experience strange anomaly. I visited Vernon towers myself, looking for a particular architectural feature. To my surprise and terror I saw one of the green glyphs mentioned by Dimitrije.
I tried to track down De Montage, however have not seen him since that odd encounter. Searching for families of that name, the only people I could come across in Hexton was a family living in Brunswick. When I went to visit I found them to be a strange family of Indonesians who incidentally suffered from an unusual diverse range of diseases. The youngest daughter suffered autism, whilst her brother was an extreme Down syndrome case, and the mother herself had mental health issues. I concluded that these De Montagues probably bore no relation to the man I had met, if indeed he hadn’t lied about his name.
Then there was the day I found that bizarre egg. It was about the size of a milk carton, all speckled and grey, but it was broken in half, as though it had hatched. Yet I was positive no animal could have produced the egg, and could only assume that it was a student art project or installation of some kind. In any case, it seemed unrelated to the other strange occurrences.
I feel as though my sanity has completely abandoned me, torn more and more towards the point of collapse. Leisdadt has sold the Serbian’s property, and I haven’t been to work for a week, for fear of the consequences with my boss.
But worse, I’ve started to smell a.... to sense something. Something that I recognise from Dimitrije’s descriptions in his diary. How is it possible to sense the form of something that you have never seen. To know it sometime. To dream of a shrieking thing that soars through a red sky.
That mosquito like head. Immense lizard like body, bone and ribs, like a sharks egg. Black leather wings.
There was a brown parcel that arrived in the mail. The statue inside matches the description given by Dimitrije. It’s so hideously disfigured. Does it represent the swimming demon in my dreams?
I examined the edges closely, and the inscription which seems to be flecked with blood. Could it be the murder weapon they used to bludgeon the Serbian? What of his shredded corpse, what tore his body apart? As I sit, hailed up in my lounge room trying to distract my mind with escapist television, and recording this journal on my IPad. I fear something unfathomable which seeks my destruction.
I can hear noises, am I hallucinating?
Dear God! That banging outside the house.
submitted by GoityePowerhouse to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

[Summary thread] Chapter 1: Our Riches

Summary: Chapter 1 - Our Riches
Summariser's preface
Allow me to preface this summary by disclosing some of my personal motivations for picking this book up in the first place. Feel free to do the same when writing yours!
I have/had an academic background in modern European philosophy which I pursued until postgrad level. My focus was on the French epistemological tradition, ideology critique, formal ontology, logic, etc. So, basically, this meant that I spent more than my fair share of time thinking in pure abstractions – not that that's inherently a bad thing; as any self-respecting Hegelian Marxist will argue: a fully self-constituted material reality without a grasp of its abstraction is a mere delusion! That's my “excuse” for not reading enough political economy – beyond the very tip of the iceberg anyway (e.g. David Harvey's companion). So, there's one motivation: CATCH-UP. I have one further (hopefully more interesting) motivation though: I'm fascinated by the rising tide of decentralised technologies (e.g. bitcoin, the blockchain, smart contracts, etc.) and the GNU/Linux/Free Software/Open source movement which it stems from – esp. Peer-Production Theory. But even as a novice reader of political economy I rapidly grew frustrated by the crypto space's assimilation by the usual suspects of anarchocapitalist utopians, “free” market-fundamentalists, etc. My instinct though is that this isn't necessarily their innovation, tool or protocol on the one hand, while on the other I'd admit that this is probably due to the lack of initiative taken from leftists on this terrain. But in order for me to discern whether or not I'm barking up the wrong tree, I'll need a better grasp of the fundamentals of decentralised social formation and the modes of production and consumption this entails, in all its historical detail. So that in short is why I'm reading Kropotkin.
Our Riches: premises and promises
Chapter one is merely ten pages long (three sections) yet it establishes the basis for the book's overarching argument in an extremely robust way. The plain-speaking nature of the prose should have also struck you immediately. But what I appreciate very much about this is that the simplicity belies the (scientific) method underpinning his claims. And these claims are unequivocal. They are scientific claims enhanced by lucid prose, rather than flowery rhetoric treading pseudo-scientific waters.
What I'd like to underscore first, then, are the conventions of scientific declarations Kropotkin immediately puts to use (as opposed to certain relativistic tendencies in social theory). These are: universality, enlightenment, genericity, and absolutes in the address of humanity as an entire species, our world's ecological reality, and the common geo-resources that we – the generic human “we” – have inherited. The opening paragraph which I'll cite in full is exemplary:
The human race has traveled far since, those bygone ages when men used to fashion their rude implements of flint, and lived on the precarious spoils of the chase, leaving to their children for their only heritage a shelter beneath the rocks, some poor utensils—and Nature, vast, understood, and terrific, with whom they had to fight for their wretched existence. (p.53)
The axioms of Kropotkin's arguments, then, are that humanity needs to be considered racelessly, and the world borderlessly, in order to conceive of our situation in the correct terms. Yet that is not to say that humanity is devoid of difference (which are categorised as contingent) only that the generic is what's rational (the category of necessity).
On these terms then it follows that we are modern.
We have have a common inheritance of skills as modern humans to care for one another, and provide for our essential human needs as a species. These have been accumulated by trial, error, sacrifice and transmission ad nauseum. And we have conquered the pathos of Nature in the process: 'Climate is no longer an obstacle. When the sun fails, man replaces it by artificial heat; and we see the coming of a time when artificial light also will be used to stimulate vegetation' (p.54).
There are many more examples of anthropological and scientific achievement like these which Kropotkin will recount and dignify, understandably, but in doing so he is not merely celebrating.
There is a rational promise to this grand premise: we are rich.
Let's read this in his words:
Truly, we are rich, far richer than we think; rich in what we already possess, richer still in the possibilities of production of our actual mechanical outfit; richest of all in what we might win from our soil, from our manufacturers, from our science, from our technical knowledge, were they but applied to bringing about the well-being of all. (p.54)
Let's put aside all the arbitrary constructs of our bureaucratic world (included there in that quotation's final clause) just for a moment and reflect upon this thought.
How could it be refuted?
We, in this humble reading group, can certainly debate it, scrutinise it, pull empirical data and form analytical responses to test it if it takes anyone's interest. But I'll get my view in first: It's a rock of materialist postulate, attack it at your peril!
Civilisation vs. civility
After leaving that subjunctive clause hanging, Kropotkin moves into section two by rolling up his sleeves and delving straight into the muck of politics. He offers reasons for what went wrong. What he doesn't do here is to consign it psychoanalytical impulses, of the sort Freud did in Civilisation and its discontents) but pursues it on ideological terms.
In other words he takes the fact that we do have civilised societies wielding more than enough productive power to make good on the well-being of all, but presents how ideology obstructs humanity from allowing itself to be civil on a (global) societal scale.
There is a dialectical side to the modern dignity he establishes in section one, and here it is the shame of having the means of production forcefully stolen by the profiteers and monopolists that constitute the capitalist class.
Endorsing uncontroversial socialist criticism, Kropotkin writes:
… all that is necessary for production—the land, the mines, the highways, machinery, food, shelter, education, knowledge—all have been seized by the few in the course of that long story of robbery, enforced migration and wars, of ignorance and oppression, which has been the life of the human race before it had learned to subdue the forces of Nature.
We have been returned to (anti-modern) barbarism, in other words.
It's important to note the temporal order of civility in his argument here: we were once a nomadic species which became modern through productive settlement, but under capitalism we now have a bizarre form of spatial temporality which makes modernity subterranean to our anti-modern lived-experiences. See this fascinating passage imbued with all sorts of archaeological back-and-forths:
The cities, bound together by railroads and waterways, are organisms which have lived through centuries. Dig beneath them and you find, one above another, the foundations of streets, of houses, of theatres, of public buildings. Search into their history and you will see how the civilization of the town, its industry, its special characteristics, have slowly grown and ripened through the co-operation of generations of its inhabitants before it could become what it is today. And even today; the value of each dwelling, factory, and warehouse, which has been created by the accumulated labour of the millions of workers, now dead and buried, is only maintained by the very presence and labour of legions of the men who now inhabit that special corner of the globe. Each of the atoms composing what we call the Wealth of Nations owes its value to the fact that it is a part of the great whole. (p.56, my emphasis)
We can be forced to live in an anti-modern, and irrational civilisation but the accumulated value of the modern-past, the common inheritance borne of human labour, persists, nonetheless, against the present. There is certainly a strong whiff of Marx's “spectre” here isn't there?
It's useful to note how Kropotkin, as a scientist and social theorist, places maximum emphasis in his conception of progress on continuity and accumulation; unlike, say, Popper or Bachelard, who prefer to emphasis scientific breaks, ruptures and so on. But we won't dwell on this too much here. But to round off this point, I'd like to cite my favourite quotation from this chapter, which manages remarkably to crystallise everything he's covered so far:
There is not even a thought, or an invention, which is not common property, born of the past and the present. (p.57)
This declaration is but a logical progression of his premise on our riches. That is, it would on these terms be absurd or a matter of disavowal to say something like “I've invented something absolutely new, without any historical grounding or help. And, oh, by the way... the product and its methods belong exclusively to me”.
Property: Wage-slavery: War (rinse and repeat)
The final section of the chapter revisits the consequences of property-relations, wage-slavery and the familiar socialist argument of imperialism as its inevitable outcome.
Kropotkin vividly recalls the seizure of industrial machinery by and for the benefit of the few as a travesty against the generations of workers that contributed to their research, development and manufacture. Imagine a communist version of Dr. Who, where we visit, in turn, the lace factory at Bâle or Nottingham only to witness the workers shrinking away from threats of being shot had they resisted against the taking of their machines; or the excavators of European railways assembling for bread from shareholders under threat of 'bayonets and grape-shot'... (p.59)
The device of wage-slavery, which renders workers in a state of affairs where '[e]verything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger' is the very mechanism, Kropotkin argues, that drives enterprise against the needs of a community rather than serves it. And in agreement with Marxist analysis claims (anticipating what David Harvey would later call “the spatial fix”) that 'industry seeks foreign markets among the monied classes of other nations' in order to sustain itself (p.60). Kropotkin's observations in 1892 (contemporary with the Treaty of Nanking) remain strikingly prescient today; see this passage for example:
In the East, in Africa, everywhere, in Egypt, Tonkin or the Congo, the European is thus bound to promote the growth of serfdom. And so he does. But soon he finds everywhere similar competitors. All the nations evolve on the same lines, and wars, perpetual wars, break out for the right of precedence in the market. Wars for the possession of the East, wars for the empire of the sea, wars to impose duties on imports and to dictate conditions to neighbouring states; wars against those “blacks” who revolt” The roar of the cannon never ceases in the world, whole races are massacred, the states of Europe spend a third of their budgets in armaments; and we know how heavily these taxes fall on the workers. (ibid.)
Plus ça bloody change.
Kropotkin then proceeds to close the chapter in two moves.
First, to ridicule the notion that pseudo-scientific institutions (state), with their suspect legislative apparatuses, and promotion of moral uprightness (church) is unfit for service—were one so inclined—as little more than a monolithic sham. Kangaroo courts, systems of espionage, and endemic corruption are recounted. And we are pushed toward a rationalisation of all these open-secrets. 'We accustom ourselves and our children to hypocrisy, to the practice of a double-faced morality...we cheat ourselves with sophistry' writes Kropotkin: 'Hypocrisy and sophistry become the second nature of the civilized man' (p.61).
A moral and political decision is forced upon us then as a result:
… a society cannot live thus; it must return to truth or cease to exist.
How we are to return to truth takes the form of his call to action: a complete revolution of social life that re-opens the historical view of humanity's common inheritance as a principle, which works collectively towards a state of affairs consistent with the maxim: 'All belongs to all' and 'All things are for all' (p.61).
He signs off this chapter with the slogan familiar already to collectivist anarchists, but, importantly, with a crucial modification/rejection: not “To each the whole result of his labour” or “The right to work”, which serves only to preserve wage-slavery-anarchism, but, instead:
'THE RIGHT TO WELL-BEING: WELL-BEING FOR ALL!' (p.62)
As we will have read for ourselves the chapter is quite broad even though it establishes only a few premises upon which the book will draw on and expand. But there should be ample material already here to discuss. I'm interested in your readings of this chapter. What else did you see in it that I may not have picked up on? Have I misread anything in particular?
submitted by pptyx to readingkropotkin [link] [comments]

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