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Doing the Math on the S4E10 eCoin Transaction...
In this week's Mr Robot episode, Darlene sits on a park bench with Dom, and distributes the money she stole from the Deus Group to everybody, evenly. I timed the transaction as it happened in the show. It was 24 seconds, between her hitting return and seeing the following message on her screen: "*Transfers Complete. All Wallets Updated*" This processing time includes a message that says, "cleaning coins through crypto tumbler". It took 1 minute and 16 seconds for the transaction to tumble, process, and for the recipients to begin to get notices that they received money in their accounts. If you have worked with bitcoin, you know that cryptocurrency does not work like this. Transferring money is a slow and sometimes expensive process, as transaction fees eat into every transaction. I know that eCoin isn't necissarily bitcoin, because it's controlled by eCorp, but it's fun to think about what happens if eCoin works like bitcoin does today... How much money was transferred? According to Forbes, the most wealthy people in the world are worth a combined $8.7 trillion, or $2.7 trillion. It depends on which Forbes list you are looking at. On the actual Forbes web site, they say the richest people in the world are worth $8.7 trillion, but they do not state how many of the richest people in the world are worth that much. If you look at sites like Victor Media, they publish a table of the 100 most wealthy people, and say they got the list from Forbes. They probably did purchase the list from Forbes. If I put the Victor Media list into excel, and add all the values in the net worth column, that number comes out to $2.7 trillion. So Forbes might be talking about a list that is more than the top 100 people, and sell the top 100 people list to sites like Victor Media? I don't know. Either way, we are talking about somewhere between $2.7 and $8.7 trillion. How many people did the money go to? That's complicated. There was no global montage showing people celebrating all over the world (which I found a little surprising, even though I still love how this episode was shot). The only indication of a truly global transfer, to every individual in the world, is a TV screen in the airport saying that, "Global eCoin Payout... Deus group collapses as wealth spreads around the world." So Darlene could have sent the money to every individual with an eCoin wallet in the world, or she could be sending them to every American, or to everybody in the developed world. I doubt the average rice farmer in Indonesia is really using eCoin, but it's possible. If she only sent it to every American, our wealth tends to spread around the globe pretty fast, so that's possible, too. Lets work with World Bank population numbers for all three of these possibilities... World Population: 7.6 billion people Global North (AKA the developed world): 1.24 billion people United States: 327 million people So we have 6 possibilities for how much money was sent to each person...
Money Per Capita
How much would this transaction cost with bitcoin? Aside from the fact that eCoin probably functions differently than bitcoin, this is a very complex question. I'm definitely not as sure about these numbers as the other numbers I have, but I'll do my best to come up with useful, realistic numbers. If you are more familiar with the block chain than me, please correct me. The coins were taken from 100 different Deus Group accounts. Lets say each transaction launders through a bitcoin tumbler 1,000 times. I'm going to ignore transaction fees for the tumbling process, because I don't fully understand the details of tumbling, but 1,000 times seems reasonable to me. That means that there are 100 x 1,000 = 10,000 inputs in any transaction that spends all the money from the Deus group. For outputs... for simplicity's sake, I will make the conservative assumption that everybody has one eCoin wallet. That means somewhere between 327 million and 7.6 billion outputs. Accounting for everybody having multiple wallets would make the transaction even bigger, but this is a good starting point to get a feel for what this transaction would look like, in the real world. How long will this transaction take to process? There is a bidding process and a bit of politics involved in processing a cryptocurrency transaction. For simplicity, I'll assume we bid enough that this transaction gets priority treatment from the bitcoin miners. According to blockchain.com, transactions happen on the block chain at a rate of roughly 3.5 transactions per second. At that rate, the tumbling would take roughly 48 minutes, rather than the few seconds it took for Darlene to tumble this money. According to buybitcoinworldwide.com's fee calculator, here are the transaction sizes, the transaction fees involved (in US Dollars), and the time it would take at 3.5 transactions per second...
So this transaction would take years to go through, and it pays Evil Corp somewhere between $1.6 and $38 million. In the real world, most of that money would go to Chinese bitcoin miners. What would the impact be? A one time windfall of $327 per capita would probably not trigger hyperinflation in America. The largest payout we calculated was $26.5k, and I doubt that would cause hyperinflation, either. Regular inflation? Yes. Hyperinflation? Probably not. It might lead to hyperinflation in other countries, though, because of differences in purchasing power. Purchasing power parity is a number that describes the differences in the cost of goods and services around the world. $5 in America will buy you a big mac, but if you go to, say, Indonesia, you can buy a lot more with that $5, because Indonesia is full of people who make something like 25 cents a week. OECD.org publishes PPP (purchasing power parity) numbers for countries all around the world. If you want to know how far your dollar will stretch, on average, in a foreign country, consult this list. If you have $100 in America, you can expect it to be worth $100 worth of American goods and services, so on the OECD table, it has a PPP of 1.0. If you take that $100 to, say, the UK, where the PPP is 0.7, you can expect that $100 to be worth $70 worth of goods and services. If you take that $100 to Australia, where the PPP is 1.48, you can expect that $100 to buy roughly $148 worth of goods and services. If Elliot and Darlene were genius economists, I might expect them to account for PPP in their payout. They would have to be geniuses, to predict what PPP is doing after events like the 5/9 hack, because their best data would be out of date, so they would have to use all kinds of fancy regressions and tricks to figure out how that would work in such a volatile world economy. They definitely aren't economists, though, so I'll assume they sent the same nominal amount to everybody. So what's the range on how much purchasing power this transaction gives people around the world? In 2018, the highest PPP number on the OECD list is Indonesia, with a PPP of 4,245.613140. The lowest PPP on the list is Lithuania, with a PPP of 0.457582. Lets see how this shakes out in each of these countries...
$ Per Capita
What would this cause? People might predict a lot of different things. The Yang gang people probably strong opinions on this. I have a bachelor's degree in economics, so I believe I can predict that most mainstream economists would predict the following... In Lithuania, when they get a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, they probably raise a pint to F Society, then put the rest towards a house or car payment, or buy themselves something nice. Minor inflation would happen, probably starting at the pubs, and that would worry financial types, but it would not cause any kind of major economic catastrophe. In Indonesia, where everybody becomes an asset millionaire overnight, they will probably have hyperinflation, mass social upheaval, and violence. In conclusion... TL;DR: What Darlene did last night with eCoin isn't actually possible with bitcoin, and the impact in America might not be as great as you think, but the impact would be much bigger in poorer parts of the world.
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Copied and pasted a long thread about the 2020s (part 2)
I have found a very interesting thread in a forum, I decided to copy and paste all the comments that the author of the post had made. The author posted this in 2019, the author also posted another in the past in 2018 about the same subject. But this will be about the 2019 post (part 2) I won't be sharing the link to the website because I want to protect the identity of the users since it is a mental health forum. But here is the link to part 1: https://www.reddit.com/The2020s/comments/dzpb6l/copied_and_pasted_a_long_thread_about_the_2020s/ --------------- Here we are! Today it is the year 2019, the near end of the 2010s.The 2010s was an interesting decade to say the least, internet use continued to spread like wildfire worldwide with more and more people becoming dependent on the internet. When I was a kid in the 2000s I felt like the odd one out because I was addicted to the desktop and I didn't know many other people who were addicted to computers, but today in the 2010s this seems like the new normal except now most people are carrying desktops in their own pockets (cellphones). In the 2000s politics was very moderate and there was much less polarization, now polarization is pretty much a growing trend with many people sharing very strong political believes on the internet. The internet became a political tool and metaphorically a source of political fuel in the 2010s, everyone can now share their believes on the internet and inspire a new group of followers, something that the world didn't have or realized it had until the 2010s and we are still getting used to this. In 2010 there were 6.9 billion people and 1.9 billion internet users, in 2019 there are about 7.8 billion people and about 4.5 billion internet users. Which means that internet use has increased by 237% while the world population has increased by at least 12%.By 2030 the world population is expected to reach 8.5 billion people and more than 7.5 billion people are expected to be internet users, that could very well be 90% of the worlds population. This means that the internet will truly begin to take over the world during the 2020s, it will continue to make big changes on how we will live and how we will communicate, it may become almost impossible to live in the western world without being online. Climate change is a big issue, in 2010 the global average temperature was 0.62 Celsius above 20th century average, in 2018 it was 0.79 Celsius above 20th century average. The 2018 temperatures may not seem like much but everyone who is informed about the summer of 2018 will agree that it was a very hot year, so hot that record wildfires within the arctic circle happened.By 2030 we could potentially reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming since pre-industrial times, again the number does not seem much but the consequences are huge. Mudslides from melting soil will turn mountains in death zones, lower food harvests and nutritional value will increase risks of starvation, loss of fresh water will result in wars over water, the Maldives will be flooded as well as Bangladesh which will cause huge mass migrations, the ice will melt even faster which are increasing sea levels, you get the idea.In the 2020s global warming will become a much bigger problem, but there is no guarantee that enough will be done to cut emissions. Developing countries such as India want nothing more than to have the same quality of life as the western world does, not much can be done to dissuade India until the country suffers greatly from global warming and the potential for growth seems impossible. As long as developing countries believe that growth is possible they will contribute massively to global emissions just as soon as the developed world begin to cut their emissions, and worse yet developing countries often have very high populations which will contribute to global warming even more than it could have done. In the 2020s there will be a new global superpower which would be decided by 2030, it is unlikely that America will remain the superpower due to its stagnant economy and the potential loss of trade partners in the near future. The most likely contenders for being the next global superpower is Russia and China, this struggle for power could potentially trigger a 2nd cold war. Global relations will change, there has been a growing loss of trust in the 2010s between nations and that trend will continue to escalate during the 2020s while new crises emerge.This loss of trust could result in balkanization in some parts of the world, particularly in ethnically diverse countries such as Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. Countries will begin to do their own thing and ignore international agreements as trust disintegrates, the Paris Agreement and the United Nations might be abandoned in the 2020s.To put it shortly, the world power will likely shift from Anglo-America to Asio-China/Russia, international co-operation and aid may regress into nationalistic autonomy, and from democracy to populism. Technologically, most breakthroughs will be related to the huge spread of the internet in some way, in other words most technological advances will be adaptations to the way we live with the internet and learning the full capability and power of it. 5g will be adopted reluctantly due to health concerns, but it will be adopted anyway at some point in the 2020s quickly and this will cause even more dramatic changes within our society. If you think our world has changed drastically so far just wait until 5g comes! By 2030 we could have fridges that are connected to the internet, many other inanimate objects would also be connected to the internet and whatever information is processed will be used to benefit companies as well as sniffing out bad behavior. Because of 5g, the 2020s may be the last decade when privacy is possible in society. Lastly, I am going to talk about generations and their role in the 2020s. Pretty much all Baby Boomers are going to retire in this decade to have their previous role as leaders replaced by Gen X, Gen Y will all be adults and will be trying to make big changes in the world, Gen Z will begin to grow into adults, there will be a new generation in the 2020s (generation beta). What do you think will happen in the 2020s? Very keen to read your thoughts about this topic!Have a good day. ------------------------- reply to user: Honestly I will never be able to answer with confidence about Brexit! I think many people in the parliament don't seem to know what to do, I think most likely Brexit will be on hold until the EU itself fails. Today the EU is already struggling to survive.How will the EU fail? When its financial situation gives European nations the incentive to leave so they can grow their economies by themselves without restrictions, the Syrian refugee crisis (5 million people) destabilized the EU to its core and it was the refugee crisis that started Brexit in the first place.Imagine what would happen to global politics if 20 million migrants went into Europe, it would certainly change a lot of things. reply to user:Religion could make a comeback in the 2020s, particularly in a scenario where climate change pushes people to turn to religion for comfort. Islam is on a sharp rise due to the fact that they have a lot of children, it will also become the biggest religion in the world in the near future, at that point most people on Earth will be Muslim.I think ISIS largely happened because of food shortages in Syria which resulted in civil war, if a similar thing happened in another vulnerable Muslim country then you can expect another wave of suicidal radicals wrecking havoc and forming another radical group.I have once predicted a similar uprising in North Africa resulting in a mass Christian migration into Europe, the number of Christian migrants could exceed 20 million. ----------------------- reply to user: Yeah the idea of the European Union has been a flawed and overly ambitious project right from the start, Europe is quite a divided continent with many countries having a strong sense of identity, trying to make Europe into one country will inevitably backfire. Without much doubt the EU will collapse, however it will live on under a different name by one or a few countries that still cling onto the vision.After EU falls there is a chance that a few more so-called unions may form, these unions may be alliances that share the same political views which could result in a polarization.Germany had a good shot at attempting to rule Europe again though, we tried it and probably won't do it again for a while. ----------------------- reply to user: Funny enough I have just very recently found out that the UK is going to have another general election, so far at the moment it looks like Labour is doing well with public approval, it is a likely possibility that Jeremy Corbyn may become the next prime minister.If Jeremy Corbyn becomes the next prime minister that would mean that Brexit will be cancelled, this could cause major polarization and unrest if there are still people who really want Brexit. Who knows what would happen if the majority of pro-Brexiteers protest in the streets because they didn't get what was promised to them? A British revolution is another real possibility. reply to user:Predicting elections will always be difficult for me because of how uncertain and at times random they all are, who would of thought that Trump would win in 2016? Would Trump win again in 2020? I mean it sounds crazy but if it happened in 2016 then it can certainly happen again in 2020. Although I do think that Trump has less of a chance of winning in 2020.A good thing to take note of is when Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement much of America didn't follow suite, there are many American companies who still follow the Paris Agreement guidelines because they don't agree with Trump, there are many Americans who have not been implementing Trumps policies.Elections can never be predicted with 100% confidence, but Trump is more likely to lose in 2020 than 2016. ------------------------------- Thank you all for your replies, they have been smart and intuitive contributions. :-D Last night I just began researching about the 1920s out of interest (I think I might have mentioned the 1920s in the old 2020s thread). I have just started learning about the 1920s so there is a lot that I don't know about it but there are a few themes that resonates with today trends, which I will mention below.And because I am not well informed about the 1920s the below information would be hypothetical and open to speculation. The 1920s was an economically prosperous time for the Western World, but the economic prosperity abruptly ended with the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and resulted in the Great Depression in the 1930s. A very similar situation is happening today but is happening much slower and at the moment is less severe, the Stock Market Crash in 2007-2008 resulted in an economic crawl that is still persisting to this day. I have a feeling however that the full effect of the 2007-2008 economic crisis is yet to be felt in full force. Political movements such as Socialism and Fascism were on the rise in the 1920s-1930s partly because of the economic situation, those parties believed that capitalism is out of control and needs intervention to prevent the degeneration of society. The term supercapitalism was created by Fascists, it pretty much means a degenerated form of capitalism that is doing more harm than good to society. The blame of the 1929 Stock Market Crash was placed on Capitalism by both Socialists and Fascists, anti-capitalism exploded in the 1930s which resulted in far-left/far-right nations fighting one another by the end of that decade. Lets say that the next Great Depression is to start in the early 2020s, we already have a lot of young people who have a favorable view on Socialism, on some level there are many people who are blaming Capitalism for the economic crisis. Nations have already been polarizing in the 2010s, so what would happen if we enter the next Great Depression and then a massive surge of Socialism/Fascism happens straight after? The world would be in a very similar situation as the world in pre-WWII. If the 2020s Great Depression happens then Capitalism in the Western World could end, the more young people has power over America the more likely that the nation will transition into a Socialist state. Kinda ironic because in the 20th century Anglo-America fought against Socialist Russia and in the end capitalism unexpectantly won as the leading world policy, but in the 2020s Russia may abandon their socialist past and turn to capitalism as they take advantage of the new resources revealed by global warming, just as Anglo-America turns Socialist Asio-Russia will turn Capitalist (I'm not sure about China, but I'm pretty sure that India is taking the capitalist route too). The Arctic will melt a lot during the 2020s, Russia may likely claim most of the new oil reserves which will cause worldwide tension as oil will be running out, America will be stuck with the last remaining reserves of oil in Alaska and Canada which may result in poor relations between Canada and America, eventually China may have most of the oil reserves in the Middle East because I believe that the Middle East will turn to China for economic interests as America begins to lose its grip on the region. Nothing is forever, everything changes.To those who fear for the future of America I just want to say this, even if America loses influence on the world America will still cling onto their core values in their own home and I can't see America giving up on the American dream, I think that the American dream is redefined by each of its passing generations. ------------------------------ This is probably the last comment I will post in this thread so I'll be sure to write out anything else I can predict or think about the 2020s, again I may be repeating things but at this point its hard to avoid because I posted quite alot about the 2020s at this point. I definitely agree with :user: that if WW3 were to happen in the 2020s it would be similar to how WW1 started, everything was fine then suddenly everything wasn't and the world fell into further chaos resulting in a world war. Currently I believe that the 2020s will start off with a cautious optimism, the decade where Gen X and Gen Y fully realises that the world is in their hands and they will bring about changes. If I could name a main theme of the end of the 2010s I would say 'youth in protest'. A growing number of young people believe that civilization won't be there when they grow up, they see no point in taking part in a society that they believe will inevitably fail due to climate change. In the 2020s the 'youth in protest' will grow to such a degree that societal values of the 20th century will be rendered obsolete. But where does the cautious optimism comes in? I believe the optimism is the result of hope of a better future as the youth wields more power to make changes. We will likely see a big wave of new famous Gen Z's and who knows what they could contribute to this world? Today(Nov,2019) we can all sense that things are changing but what if the changes of the 2010s are volcanic rumbles compared to the eruption of the 2020s? The 2020s will likely be a social and societal fragmentation, the crossroads of a post-consumerist world. Baby Boomers are largely responsible for the world we live in today, very soon Baby Boomers will lose their power over the world and that power will be passed onto the younger generations who have different values. Most Baby Boomers favor capitalism, a growing number of younger generations favor socialism. Conspiracy theories are a growing trend, due to the upheaval of technology it has become easier to believe in conspiracy theories because what was crazy 10 years ago seems feasible today. I think if everyone starts to believe in conspiracy theories then a lack of trust would become so hard to overcome that the government would have no choice but to allow a degree of autonomy. Allowing autonomy would cause more and more lands to demand independence, most of them will be city states like Hong Kong or Singapore. I can't think of anything else, going to conclude it here.The 2020s would either be the beginning of a new era or a long-winded dying of the present post-consumerist era. The Baby Boomers will recline on their chairs and leave the whole world to Gen X and Y, Gen Z will become adults. I haven't mentioned robots but they will begin to take some of our jobs, which can possibly trigger a neo-luddite movement. WW3 hopefully won't happen, a 2nd Cold War is more likely to happen though. Hopefully there won't be an epidemic like the Spanish flu, in this case it will most likely evolve from a strain of bird flu. Climate change will trigger protests and changes, some fear that its already too late to stop global warming. Thank you for reading, lets make the 2020s as good of a decade as possible. ---------------------------------- reply to user: Yeah I've been getting a growing sense that a British Civil War might happen, last year I could not see a civil war happening but now it seems like a real possibility, today it is easy to figure out why it would happen. I bet not many people in the 17th century civil war wanted it to happen and didn't think that it would happen but you can learn what ended up happening, Charles I got beheaded and maybe Boris Johnson might meet a similar fate.Not a certainty, I can never be certain but its something worth worrying and preparing for. In the 2020s, I think the U.A.E is a possible candidate for a world power and I can see them cutting deals from America and making deals with China instead 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'. Imagine if America-UK runs out of energy and oil resources, in this scenario it is likely that U.A.E+China+Russia will own all the remaining deposits by then and we may have no choice but to give up a degree of independence in exchange for some of their oil and energy.Another scenario is the race for the last of the remaining resources that our society still largely depends on, the nation that has the most resources will have the most power and nations that lack those resources will form alliances with them for resources in return.We may possibly see the first super-corporations being established, a very large and powerful corporation that may be the true power behind everything and maybe even more powerful than political figureheads.Those super-corporations may become independent nations that have their own goals and projects, mostly they involve technologies for either saving our eco-systems or to control us. I have once thought about the year 2075, I imagined a huge city (at that time many countries collapsed, civilization largely being left with city-states ran by trillionaires) the city uses mind control technology to maintain order, the A.I is used to help the elites figure out the next best course of action, human clones are used for labor and war, everyone is constantly being watched due to surveillance that will be almost everywhere.The 2020s will be the start of the new world that future generations will recognized as the true 21st century, 2000-2030 will be seen as a transitional period. ------------------------ We are only 2 days away from the 2020s, I am going to post about the decade predictions to avoid the regret of not posting it before the 2010s ends. I will have a bit of closure about my 2020s threads now that I'm doing this for the last time, I might be a bit risky and do my best to make a scenario story for fun even though about half of it will be inaccurate haha, since accurately predicting the future is like trying to fly without wings. But still, some of the predictions I have thought about have already come true even before the 2020s has started, which makes it clear that the world is changing faster than we thought and will continue to increase the throttle. There is already some tension between America and China over trade, at the moment as I write this they have agreed to a truce after a trade war that not many knew about but there is tension and might escalate in the near future, if America attacks another nation again then half of the world will turn against America and will cut all trade-ties with it which would cause America to descend into chaos. In short, America could get sanctioned but other nations will be at risk of being sanctioned if they commit any future acts of aggression. There would likely be more riots and terrorism, there will likely be a much worse refugee crisis caused both by climate change and acts of aggression by ISIS or a nation. There could be more online communities that provide a source of humanitarian relief and charity, some online communities will run on bitcoin(or other forms of cryptocurrency) so that they can afford more resources to help people with.I have once predicted that there will be a mass migration of Christians from North Africa due to Islamic radicalism, well as of 2019 there already are Christians in Nigeria (North Africa!) being beheaded by ISIS so a mass migration from North Africa is very possible, in fact the whole Arab Spring and its neighbors could produce masses of migrants due to the continuous descent into chaos. Out of all the Muslim nations Turkey-Saudi Arabia-Iran-U.A.E appear to be the most stable while others are highly vulnerable, I have a good feeling about U.A.E solely because it has many long-term goals to ensure economic security so I can see them having a good influence on Iran and Saudi Arabia, U.A.E will likely make trade deals with China and China could offer U.A.E military protection thus protecting the U.A.E from Saudi Arabia and Iran since the risk of a war going on in the Persian Gulf is high.Dubai will become a more important city and will become a cultural as well as scientific center, much of its workforce would likely be desperate people from South Asia looking for work. If a new superpower enters world-stage then the West could face sanctions for acts of war against the Arab Spring, especially if the new power is disapproving towards the West, if the West is sanctioned then it will enter a long-term economic depression and could be forced to house refugees.Populism will spread as more people feel like they are living through a crisis, populist candidates appeal to people by presenting themselves as the solution to their crisis. Populism has been on the rise in the 2010s and many people believe that most populist movements have been right-wing, the most common theme of 2010s-populism are anti-immigration and America/Britain first, those populist movements have resulted in Brexit and Donald Trumps presidency.If populism continues to spread in the 2020s then we will see more and more nations implementing anti-emigration policies and we will see them turn away from globalization as they retreat into the concerns of their own nation. The European Union will decay due to countries leaving, the United Nations too will decay as countries start to defy and leave so they can do their own thing, globalization is at a big risk in the 2020s. Largely due to technology more and more people will begin to lose their jobs, and more people will lose their homes to man-made disasters. Self-driving cars will begin to render Uber Drivers and Taxi drivers obsolete, mass-production is becoming more automatic so more people who work in mass-production will lose their jobs, self-checkout machines in shops will continue to slowly render retailers obsolete. Newspapers are dead, and soon TV will be.Nations will be able to provide more resources with robots but there will be less consumers since not many people would be able to afford to buy many things, this would cause a worldwide economic crisis and we are overdue for a 1920s-style economic crash.What will the government do with all those homeless and unemployed people? Universal income will be the most likely solution but it is highly unlikely that many people would live comfortably since they will have to work very hard to survive and you'd have to be very lucky to get a job, in turn people will begin to reject the government and the system, some (hopefully many) people could turn to online communities to support one another and due to the failing economy will turn to cryptocurrency which they use to support themselves. The Sagrada Familia will finally be complete, I think it would be nice to make the wonder of Sagrada Familia the icon of the 2020s. Other projects will be completed as well such as The London Super Sewer, The Giant Magellan Telescope, The Square Kilometer Array radio telescope, a few big bridges (and a tunnel for boats in Norway) and a few new railways here and there. There will be at least a few major space achievements thanks to Elon Musk and some privatized science projects will offer few more major breakthroughs in science, the first manned mission to Mars is scheduled in the 2020s but its chance for success is low due to the many risks and dangers, space junk will become a much bigger problem and will need to be cleaned up before we will never be able to leave the Earth. The mission to Mars would likely be re-scheduled or postponed. 3D printing is expected to enter mainstream which in itself will change many things, 3D printing could even render some shops obsolete because you could print whatever stuff you want at home instead of going to a shop looking for what you want, a creator sub-culture may develop from 3D printing enthusiasts.Vertical farms are expected to be erected for the first time in cities, this trend will grow because agriculture is also expected to fail in the long-run so there is a lot of funding put into vertical farming because vertical farming could replace conventional field farming, in the 2020s however vertical farms will only generate a very small percentage of food and its produce would not be sold in mainstream shops for a while.Lab grown meat will be a new growing trend in the 2020s, but its adoption will be slow due to skepticism and lack of popularity. Will there be wars? Likely more than the 2010s.Because not much has been resolved at 2019 we can expect things to grow more tense, especially since we are all facing an impending global warming crisis and a decline of globalization. Russia and China will become more dominant and influential throughout the world, developing countries will bear the brunt of climate change while the developed countries are increasingly destabilized by the flocks of refugees flooding in, developing countries could be reduced into war-zones like Syria in the 2010s.The trade-wars between America and China could involve other world powers and it could escalate into the 2nd Cold War, with a Cold War there is always the chance of a 3rd World War looming.The west will decay as the western economy worsens, Russia and China would exploit whatever resource they can get with their new influence in a decaying world but their economic growth will be fragile too.China is threatened by the loss of fresh water once the Himalayan ice melts, much of Chinese agriculture is threatened by floods, when the Chinese eco-system fails then you can expect them to attack their neighbours or best-case scenario demand resources from their allies.Russia is threatened by the same thing that will give them economic prosperity, global warming, when the ice melts the methane would doom us all and will also release long-forgotten epidemics into our world, Russia will face a huge refugee crisis coming from the south due to water shortages so you can expect Russia to heavily enforce their borders.European politics will change drastically due to responses from refugees, if Europe refuses most refugees then it is possible that armies of angry refugees could invade Europe in the future.Africa is gaining so much but that growth will not be expected to last due to climate change, water wars reduce some areas into anarchy like Libya in the 2010s, Nigeria-Ethiopia-South Africa would likely be the most prosperous countries of the continent, the African countries that are developing would likely begin to adopt the same lifestyle as the West is living like eating fast food and being online all day long. I do not know much about South America but some parts appear to be on a verge of political change and turmoil, I do believe that they are at risk for water shortages due to melting ice in the Andes, I can't see them stopping the destruction of the Amazon so that will be ongoing. South America will grow economically but like the rest of the world it will be a highly vulnerable growth.Australia will continue to be burnt alive by wildfires, we should start seeing more and more Australians moving to colder areas such as Tasmania New Zealand and Britain. Indonesia will continue to destroy their rain-forests to make money out of palm oil, don't know what their political situation would be though but would most likely go down the capitalist path. All in all the 2020s will be a time of disruption, the pace of life will get faster and faster, fake news and deep fakes will spread, misinformation will be rife, as the internet spreads and becomes more disruptive more restrictions will be put on the internet, because we are growing more dependent on technology cyber-attacks or power-cuts could bring us back to the late 20th century, people will grow more scared and desperate and may turn to drastic courses of action if said course of action is the only solution.We are at risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and bird flu, obesity and depression will become a bigger burden than it already is, transgender people will be the new normal as people are now coming out as transhuman, in some parts of cities driving a car could be banned because of driverless cars replacing transportation in some city centers, cars are switching to hybrid/electricity as electric car plugs appear in many built-up areas, more and more people have had their DNA stored into a database and I can't say for sure how this data will be used. Online communities give me hope, and I hope that online communities become so rich with cryptocurrency and popular that when the decaying society that thrived in the 20th century fails we got the new online society to fall back onto and rebuild a new society from scratch instead of trying to rebuilt a society that failed us. I wish us all the best of luck. --------- reply to user: I think you are definitely right about 2020 Britain being pretty much the same as 2019 Britain except that it could get worse especially since the NHS is in the process of being privatized which sucks for me too because I am a Type 1 Diabetic, I am inclined to think that Boris Johnson will resign in the near future just to be replaced by another equally unqualified/unpopular Tory. I am going to be a bit controversial and biased but I want to blame Democracy for the situation that Britain is in right now and I want to explain why I am skeptical towards Democracy.So the idea of Democracy is to get the public to choose who becomes the leader and its down to the public to make that important choice, but many people do not want to run the country and many people do not know what is best for their country.In a Democratic society the best way to win a vote is to promise the public everything and appeal to them, you don't have to be good at politics to win and you don't have to tell people of your true intentions all you have to do is lie and be charismatic. Politicians probably hire professional psychologists to trick people into voting for them because they know how to trick the system to get them into the position that they both don't deserve or are qualified for. Its no wonder why Politicians are losing their efficiency, they do it as a job because many politicians do not need to be good at running a country to become the leader and like I said they just need to know what the people want to hear and to put on a charismatic face.I believe that running the country should be reserved for those who want to run the country and have the countries best interest at heart, it should be reserved for professionals who know what they are doing and have had years of training as well as experience. In a Democracy if you get two candidates, one is a businessman who is very charismatic but only knows about business, the other one is a ex-Sergeant who has had 20 years of experience in the administrative field but he is not as charismatic. Even though the Businessman is less qualified he will win because he is charismatic and knows how to trick people into voting for him instead of the professional, repeat this process and you'll end up with a very ineffective government or circus full of charismatic millionaires who trick and lie to the public to maintain their lofty position in society. And that is probably how Britain ended up with the government it has, people have been lied to and people don't know who is best for their country so we end up voting for the wrong people or get tricked into believing that Democracy is the best form of government.Sadly Democracy will put Britain(as well as other nations) at risk of a power hungry Populist who will present him/herself as against the present government and will use his/her charisma to appeal to us to make us believe that the Populist is the solution to all of our problems caused by the government, but once the Populist gets elected s/he will show his/her true colors and the public will soon regret their vote.This process will keep repeating itself while we have Democracy, I believe that its not working and maybe we are better off leaving our politics to the professionals elected by professionals. I also want to thank you for all the replies you posted on my 2020s posts, they have helped keeping the 2020s posts alive. Again, thank you. --------------------- reply to user: Not only that but many people are also misinformed because Democratic candidates lie and be all fake to get votes and on top that they also spread rumors about other candidates or pretty much anything so that they'll get more votes, its bad because not only many people already don't know what is best for their country but they will find it very difficult to know for sure what will be best because of all the lies and misinformation. --------------------- reply to user: Its scary that some people out there actually believe that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semetic, its such a ridiculous and desperate accusation just to make Jeremy Corbyn look bad and lose. And its scary because if people actually believe those bogus anti-Semetic accusations then it just shows how much the media controls us all.Donald Trump is indeed right about journalists and fake news being an issue, but I think the reason why journalism is such a joke in America is because it is privatized and they are becoming desperate so that they can survive kinda like 'IT' from the Steven King novel.Capitalism and privatization can corrupt journalism because capitalism makes journalism more about money and getting attention so it degenerates into what it currently is, but Donald Trump is very capitalist, which could mean that Donald Trump is a cause of journalism gone wrong and he is getting backlash from the world he helped to create whether he knows it or not. Journalism does need to be regulated, especially now we are becoming fully aware of how powerful mass media can be. I could be blaming capitalism because of mass media and it could turn out that capitalism isn't to blame after all, but I still believe that its probably best for journalism to just focus on entertainment and to leave actual news to a more professional environment where the professionals highly focus on telling the people about unbiased truths. ------------------------------
Lessons learned - Crypto and Divorce - In January I was a millionaire thanks to BTC, then my wife divorces me and now I have $30,000 AMA
Crossreferencing u/nanoissuperior He wrote earlier today: https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/a3n6uw/in_january_i_was_a_millionaire_thanks_to_nano_now/ Title: In January I was a millionaire thanks to Nano, now I have $25,000 AMA I was replying to his post, but my reply ended up being a bit too large as a reply and steered off-topic, albeit an interesting one. So I decided to make it its own post, because there may be a good lessons to be learned and hoping some will come forward with good information to be shared. I hope it can help anyone on this sub avoid the costly mistakes that I made. Here it goes: FLAIR: LEGAL (not in the list) ---- u/nanoissuperior are you who I think you are? I won't give out any further identifying clues, but I happen to know someone in the exact same position that could have written that exact same headline. If you read the first paragraph, you'll know if you know me. The person I know bought Nano really early, based on a tip from a friend. I got in much later. By the time he told me it had already spiked to the $5 range, when I ended up buying. I then sold in the $20's so it was a good buy nonetheless. We were former colleagues at a large, large software company somewhere in the PNW, I left the company to venture out on my own and try to launch some projects I had in mind and relocated overseas for a few years. We lost contact with each other during my time away, but we connected again during the market runup and started exchanging coin information on a daily basis during the big bull run of late 2017. That was a crazy time.... the market trend was a few degrees short of vertical for pretty much all coins! Hey, guess what? Now that I think about it, I could have written that same headline myself! In January 2018 I was a Millionaire too! Not with Nano, but thanks to purchasing a good chunk of Bitcoin in 2011 at $1.20 each. I ended up a single digit millionaire with what I had left in Bitcoin around January of 2018. And, just like you, today, from all that wealth, I have about $30.000 left, with little to show for. Can we call that even? Although my disaster was not caused entirely by market fluctuation; Mine is a more complex story and I am going to mention it, because hopefully, it could serve as a lesson to be learned for any crypto holder out there, so they don't make the make mistake I made: Don't trust anyone. Always be skeptical and watch out for your own interests. Anyhow, here it goes: After 5 years overseas, I had enough and wanted to come back to the States. My wife stated her preference to stay abroad, but eventually, she conceded albeit reluctantly. We chose a small town in CO to settle, and landed in November of 2017. We had plans to settle down and considered purchasing a home with my/our new fortune, based on the market price during that period. At the same time, I was also hesitant about the inherent tax payments due caused by such large liquidation. I was trying to have to pay taxes as far away as possible. So, I decided to wait till New Year's Eve and started liquidating my crypto on January 1st, 2018 right after midnight. This way, I would have 16 months (till April, 2019) to pay any capital gains taxes, and I was confident at the time that the market would give me that for free, especially at the pace that it was going. I have been an early adopter and have since then acquired the high levels of verification and trading limits per week, with many exchanges, but for a large sum like this, I needed several separate transactions, over the course of several weeks, especially wanting to do it with a US-based exchange that was linked to a US bank accounts, to avoid overseas wire transfers, meaning more fees. (Yes, I did look at all OTC options, but for reasons not relevant to the story, I couldn't make it happen, so I had to use the traditional Exchange channels for asset liquidation). My wife and I, initially had some fundamental disagreements on the gross amount to be spent and the type of property we should be purchasing. I wanted a smaller place, with a denser, younger community, where there'd be kids our son's age for him to play. She insisted that we should go big; we had been traveling for so many years, and we had not been able to call any of our past residences our home. It was time to settle and nest; She convinced me that we should own a property of our own that we would be proud of living in for years. One that we could own outright and would not easily outgrow. We ended up splurging and purchased in cash two luxury cars for ourselves and set our sights on a large dream house in the city's Golf & Country Club, free and clear, for us and our two kids. I don't even play golf, nor do I even like it, but, if it makes her happy and it is within the safe margins of making it happen, I figured, why not? My concerns were largely financial and the numbers were adding up. It was a bit tight against my personal safe margins, but, at the same time, I was imagining to never have to make, or even have to think about, a car or home mortgage payment ever again! Bitcoin is on a roll and there is no sign of it stopping. Fine. Let's do it, before I change my mind. Now, I admit I was extremely lucky with choosing the time of when to sell the assets. I had no clue the market would take a dive in February, and so it seemed to many that I had timed the market perfectly, selling most of my coins in the first two weeks of January of 2018. Many called me a genius for selling at the very top, as if I had some sort of wisdom to know when it would drop; the truth is much less flattering; it was nothing but dumb luck, based on me wanting to pay taxes in 2018 and defer to 2019. Awesome, well done! Yeah? well, slow down, son, not so fast. So, I gather the 7-digit lumpsum in January 2018 and we write a check for the full amount at closing in February on the property of her dreams. A property that could easily be showcased on a luxury Real Estate magazine cover. Also, remember we had just moved back to the United States with just a few suitcases each from overseas. We had no furniture, kitchenware, curtains, TV's, bed sheets, winter clothing and so many other essential things that one usually purchases over time, but which we now had to purchase all at once. Not a problem, Bitcoin had dropped slightly but still well above $15k, I believe, at the time. And, earlier, in January, I had diligently taken this expense into account and effortlessly set aside a small fortune for equipping such a large house with everything we would ever need, brand new. It seemed we were protagonists of one of the Home Makeover Shows. Finally, after working day and night, prepping the house non-stop for days and when every piece of furniture had finally arrived, been unpacked and carried to its corresponding room, it seemed most of the essentials were in place and the hard work was done. I longed for pouring myself a Scotch and to finally sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I head downstairs to the dedicated walk-in, cigar-humidor / wine / Scotch cellar in the basement and grab the better bottle of Whisky of the few bottles of Scotch that I had bought earlier in the week. On my way up, I remember feeling a sense of calm, combined with a glow of excitement and this undescribable profound inner peace, all at once. This was such a rare, natural, non-drug induced high that I had never experienced. It felt so good! This sense of accomplishment of achieving that one thing I had been chasing and longing for my entire life. I had expected I would be chasing this goal for the next 15-20 years, and yet, here it was. No, where I was, was even better than expected! A place where not even my parents, who still have to make their monthly mortgage payments. I had done it! With a smile from ear to ear, I take a deep breath of relief and while looking around the property, I think to myself: "It's perfect, everything is in place and I can finally call this our home. We are so lucky and we are going to live a great life. A life that few can only dream of. So many concerns will be lifted and become redundant. Everything will be better. I'll start a fire in one of our two fireplaces and I am going to begin enjoying my semi-retired life with the first sip of my drink. That will be the official start of our new life". I head over to the kitchen to get a glass and some ice cubes, while I struggle to find which one is the freezer among the many drawers in the kitchen. It was then when I notice a handwritten note placed front and center on the kitchen counter. It is from my wife and read: "There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it..... I want to legally divorce [ ...]". It continued saying that she had taken our son, and had unequivocally decided to leave me. She had already filed the paperwork for divorce and that I should expect to be served in the morning. My bliss had lasted less than 5 minutes and in less than two seconds, it turned dark, somber and I saw it all crumbling down in front of me. Like a long-awaited rocket launch, years in preparation, which then unexpectedly explodes on the launch pad during the countdown. My stomach, heart and everything in my body just sank and melted into one ball of poison in my core. I felt like throwing up. I was completely blindsided; she had played the game all along, not giving me the slightest hint of what was being concocted in the background. She had already engaged with her lawyers weeks beforehand. Her mother was already in town from another state to help out with I don't know what. I had been gaslighted and was threatened by her that I needed to see a psychiatrist due to a change in my temper that I had supposedly developed - my temper was awesome: with BTC at that price? Everything was perfect! But I obeyed and went anyhow (this would later fit her story that she had to leave with the child because she feared for her safety due to my supposed temper for which I was under treatment, therefore, I must have this temper problem, see?). Also, the purchase of the overpriced home also seemed clearly premeditated: Price was the main driver of the decision making; not location, demographics, taxes, etc. It was the wrong neighborhood for us (people much older than us, retired, golfers and no kids the same age as our son to play with). Our house happened to also be the most expensive in the neighborhood. I can see it all so clearly now. See, your crypto coins on the blockchain, are not within the US court's jurisdiction (or, at least, it's quite debatable - a gray area - ask me for the seed and I can tell you that I may have the seed, or that I may not have the seed, I may have the wrong seed, I may have forgotten it, I may have lost it - you can't prove I did not forget, or lost it, etc). However, once it is in FIAT in a bank, or invested in a property, the courts can rule on the asset(s), freeze, disburse or order a sale of the property, etc. It's done all the time. Also, the coins were technically mine, and by definition private property (not to be divided during the divorce) as they were acquired before the marriage. I could not prove its origins (I bought many of them via direct messaging members on Bitcointalk.org and mining rather than exchanges, so no records, receipts or nothing to prove otherwise: the big exchanges like BitStamp and Coinbase didn't start operations till 2013, if I m not mistaken. Instead, I would talk to one of the forum members offering coins we'd agree on a price, I'd send a check to wherever the individual seller instructed me to (Russia, Bulgaria, Japan, UK. etc) and the coins would be deposited to whatever address I provided. Yes, it was quite crude at the time. However, once I converted my coins to cash and used that cash to buy a property for the benefit of the family, it became common property and thus she then had rights to a portion of it when divided between the two parties should a divorce occur - which ended up being almost 3/4 of all assets. I was robbed in broad daylight. By the one person, I trusted with my life. The one you should trust with your life. Your life partner. And while I was in complete denial, trying to bargain, I waited too long to obtain good legal representation. When I finally ended up getting a lawyer, I was quite distraught and I clearly did not do the proper research and this resulted in a less than stellar performance and detrimental to me at many key steps in the process. I had to switch legal representation right before mediation and I can't blame my new lawyer either, as (s)he did not have the required time to catch up on all the details, (s)he did his/her best, but I was ultimately strongarmed into conceding my soon-to-be-ex-wife to let her return to the house, in exchange to obtain 50% of my son's custody, with serious and strict clauses I had to abide by. So, I had to move out, find a hole in the wall in a student apartment, pay my rent and pay our kids pre-school, while she lives grandiose, without monthly payments in the country club, till the house sells, which will likely be in the spring of next year. Nice! Due to my delay, legal mishandling and somehow every other element in her favor, she inexplicably ended up with around 3/4 of the worth of all assets, free and clear, no taxes due. Mind you, she has never financially contributed, nor made a single $ during our entire marriage. She has never worked and had $0 in her pocket when we married. She didn't even have a checking account, well in her thirties. She is no dummy; she is street smart, knows how to manipulate people, get her way with flirting and charm, while I am more intellectual and book smart. and She beat me hands-down. She is walking away with a sum of, not quite 7 figures, but close. With what I am left with from the sale of the house, I am responsible to pay for all the capital gains taxes from the liquidation to the IRS, which are due in April 2019. I don't expect there to be more left over than the estimated $30k mentioned above. Hate the market all you want, I made peace with the market and am keeping busy at hating my ex for a while for putting me in the same situation. She tripped me 1 yard before the finish line and pushed me in the prickly bushes, to cross it by herself. Go figure. When I am done hating her, I'll get back to rebuilding my life again from scratch. I am not worried, I have done it before. Just pissed, I was so close and that I was so naive to not see it coming. Sorry, I am not meaning to hijack the thread, just wanted you to know that others may have lost more than just "free" money; money we didn't really have to work for. We were the lucky ones. It is what I keep telling myself to stop me from jumping off a bridge. PS - Woah: Sorry for the wall of text; I was just going to write the first paragraph and ended up venting about my current situation. I know, I should take this issue to /depressed, /exes or /whereisthenearestbridgeIcanjumpfrom. Hopefully, this can be a lesson to those holding crypto and some can learn what NOT to do. I learned the hard way and was left with nothing. Don't be a nice guy. Don't trust anyone with your crypto. Anyhow, I am sure either our vigilant subreddit bot, or one of the mods will remove my post for not adhering to rule, and if not, I am sure that you fine people will downvote me to hell. Go ahead. Take away from me the little Karma I left too! Thanks! I learned many lessons, but here are some key ones [IANAL - any crypto-educated AL opinion appreciated here, thanks] : - Understand the concept of private property - property you acquire before getting married. INAL - this depends on the state legislation, but it is hard to prove with crypto, especially if you obtained your crypto through foreign exchanges, outside of legal jurisdictions, the petitioner might not understand or willing to invest in obtaining subpoenas and requests to businesses operating overseas, as this may result costly. - Get a lawyer who understands, or is willing to understand crypto, its benefits of being somewhat unreachable and how that can work for you. Don't let them shortchange you with: "well, let's just convert the rest to cash, because that I understand" type of reasoning. - If you do go to mediation, the above applies as well. This arbitrator or mediator needs to be one that understands the intrinsic details of crypto - for example, during the ATH, I bought 6 digits worth in $USD of Stellar. I used the very first version of the software, supporting Stellar on my hardware device, and put it all in a cold storage wallet somewhere around January. I routinely checked on my coins on the blockchain and they are there. A few months later, I try to access my account and the device returns a different public address, which contains 0 funds. I am still trying to debug this issue with the manufacturer, but the fact is that I was accused of hiding these coins or negligence and was demanded that I paid half of what was lost. or not lost, out of my pocket for money that I didn't have access either. I tried to explain it in the simplest terms, there are risks involved with using first come software. There is no 1800 number, mo tech support. no CEO, no, you can't call the BBB and complain, etc and no one seemed to be able to understand, nor willing to either. It became a huge roadblock for which I had to concede, not cash, but a concession, I was not wanting to concede. The petitioner leaned on the fact that I was either wilfully cheating or stupid enough to lose the coins and managed to create enough doubt in my character and integrity and there was nothing rational I could explain that she, or anyone else in the room would understand. Perhaps mutually contracting a seasoned crypto expert that can offer a neutral view and give his/her opinion might be worth considering. Andreas, where were you when I needed you? :) - Other examples were some coins I had bought in 2012 and gifted to some of her family's kids. I was holding these, till they would turn 16 for them to pay themselves their college, or so I told them. These coins were demanded back by the petitioner. Ok, I suggested that I would send them, but with a CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY value with a block height of let's say,10 years from now, out of fear that she would spend the coins and the kids would never know (they are toddlers). No one understood what I was talking about, I was made out the crazy one, I gave up, sent her the coins, unlocked and, just as I expected, within 20 minutes of receiving them, she spent $1200 worth of it (for a flight, I think). If you are the only one speaking your language, no one is willing to listen or make an effort to understand you. - It appears my coins were private property, which means, that I acquired them before the marriage and in case of divorce, if I have not moved them or used them for the common good of the marriage, then they remain mine. However, I liquidated them and cash ended up in my checking account to be used to buy groceries, cars and eventually a house, and it is then that they became common property. Only once they landed in my checking account on which she is named on. It appears that had I taken proper legal precautions with documentation, or a company/trust, where that money would have gone, instead of my checking accounts, elsewhere, I would have still been able to be the legal proprietor of the resulting cash. I can't quite remember the details, but it as something that was explained to me afterward, and I honestly think I just tuned it out, because it made me sick to know I could have held on to my wealth. Perhaps a lawyer can chime in? Again, much of the lack of information and every misstep taken was because of dealing with people that are accustomed to traditional assets and will not deviate from it. Crypto is different and is treated differently. It is so important to know the strengths and weaknesses when going into litigation about something that people don't understand. - Some more I can think of, but this post is getting way out of hand in size. Feel free to comment/suggest your own and I'll add more to the comments. Credits to: u/nanoissuperior Thanks for your post, it inspired me to write this one. Anyone, any karma you feels needs to go his way, for providing the source of inspiration, please give to O-OP. TL;DR: Wife, having contributed $0 during entire marriage, waited until I cashed out all my crypto at the top of the bull market in January 2018, for a nice seven-figure amount, and then immediately divorced me for the money. Edit: added TL;DR
What happened to missing woman Madeline Bigatton, last seen March 2018. Her car was found at a well known suicide spot. But wait there's more.
https://7news.com.au/sunday-night/no-one-knows-where-the-money-has-gone-on-the-trail-of-4-billion-of-missing-cryptocurrency-after-the-worlds-biggest-financial-scam-c-14357 https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/investing/relatives-fear-missing-mum-madeline-bigatton-may-have-met-foul-play/news-story/85cf189ce7e8b9a92fa268bee880c743 Madeline Bigatton was last seen leaving her family home in Carss Park Sydney at about 11.30pm on Sunday, March 25, 2018. When she failed to return home that night, St George police located her car, a black 2017 Kia Sorento, along with her personal belongings, at Cape Solander, a cliff side lookout 20km away at Kurnell overlooking Botany Bay. Ms Bigatton was last seen wearing a khaki green singlet, three-quarter pants, and was carrying a black and white bag. Police launched an extensive land, air and marine search, but failed to locate Ms Bigatton. John Bigatton is a born salesman - he’s the Australian frontman for one of the biggest financial scams the world has ever seen, BitConnect. After its collapse, $4 billion vanished overnight, wiping out the savings of thousands of Australian mum and dad investors. Sunday Night’s Matt Doran investigates John Biggaton’s shadowy role in the multi-billion dollar Bitconnect swindle, and explores a second and even more disturbing mystery - the suspicious disappearance of his wife Madeline. John Bigatton was always looking to turn a quick buck. Over the years, he tried his hand at everything - selling vitamins, running a gym, trading foreign currencies - anything that promised a big return, and fast. He lived in an extravagant mansion in Sydney’s south with wife Madeline and their two young daughters. Two years ago, John Bigatton chanced upon his next big thing - BitConnect, a shady company based in India selling cryptocurrency. It was at the height of the Bitcoin boom, and Bigatton was convinced he could make a fortune. He signed up to run their Australian operation and began working his contacts for investors. Like so many other Australians, Dani and Steve Bow were bedazzled by the vast fortunes being made in the cryptocurrency boom of 2017. John Biggaton offered to get them in on the ground floor. Steve remembers how enticing the offer from Biggaton was. “He's telling us, ‘I'm making a lot of money. The people under me are making a lot of money, and you'll be able to quit your jobs [and] able to do all kinds of things.’” The promised profit is incredibly persuasive. Dani and Steve invested $130,000 into BitConnect. In the space of a year, their investment was estimated to grow to over $8 million. Niall Coburn spent more than a decade as Senior Investigator for ASIC, Australia’s corporate watchdog. He has taken down dozens of financial scams, just like BitConnect. To him, those figures were the biggest red flag. “Immediately in my mind, I knew it was a scam. They were offering 1% a day. That’s 365% a year. There is no investment I know in the world that offers that return.” “In my experience, the promoters of these schemes know what they’re doing, without a doubt. They know that investors will not be receiving their funds back, they know that those returns are unsustainable, and that the whole scheme was a lie.” But it was the promise of those eye-watering returns that led first-time investors Hilton and Talia Robinson to sign up with BitConnect. “I went on YouTube and saw other people in the same position just making money,” Talia explains. “Buying cars, living the dream, having a free income. But we wanted to buy a house, not a Lamborghini.” The house would be for their growing family. The couple had just had their first child. Talia was initially cautious. But Hilton had no such reservations. He poured their life savings into the scheme – much more than his wife knew about. “I started putting my whole wage in there,” Hilton reveals. “Which he didn't tell me,” says Talia. ‘He didn't tell me he was putting his whole wage in every week. I didn't know that.” Then on January 17 last year, Bitconnect suddenly stopped trading. Millions of investors lost everything. “I just was like, ‘What have I done?’” remembers Hilton. “’Now I have a child, and what's our future going to be like?’ It hurt because I felt like I failed as a husband as a provider, and as a dad.” Talia was equally as concerned. “I was really thinking, ‘What have I done for my future with this decision or with this man? Why would you trust them and listen to them and not me?’” Ever since the collapse of BitConnect, John Biggaton has refused to speak to any of his investors - even those who counted him as a friend. Dani and Steve became close with John, even having regular dinners with him, but he vanished after BitConnect collapsed. “We didn't get a, ‘Sorry guys,’ or ‘God, you must be feeling awful,’ or, ‘I feel for you,’ or anything like that,” Dani recalls. “Not even a phone call, not even a text. A text I can live with, a phone call, nothing.” It’s here that the story of the Australian connection to this multi-billion dollar global scam takes a really dark turn. Almost a year ago, John Bigatton’s wife Madeline went missing. At around 11:30 on the morning she vanished, Madeline Bigatton got into her car with a beach bag. With her was her youngest daughter, who she dropped off at a friend’s house. Some hours later, she sent a message to John reminding him to feed their dog. Madeline didn’t return home that night. Her car was found in the parking lot at the Kurnell cliffs. Her wedding ring was left inside, and her keys tossed a few metres away. Even now, the family is divided. Could Madeline still be alive? Or was this something more sinister? Madeline’s family isn’t convinced it was suicide. Madeline was a survivor - she’d beaten breast cancer twice. Madeline’s cousin, Sonia Vuchich, says there are other reasons suicide doesn’t seem like a realistic possibility. “She was a devout Catholic, so that puts doubt in my mind. Her religion was very important to her, as were her children, so that's the part that I'm struggling with the most. I can’t understand how she could do that - that her kids would suffer, and she's going against everything she believed in.” Just days after Madeline’s disappearance, John Bigatton posted a cheery selfie to Facebook. He seemed to be getting on with life, even while telling friends his wife probably committed suicide. “He looks pretty happy for someone who's lost a doting wife of 20 years,” Dani Bow observes. “They were together since university days.” “If you’d just lost your wife in such an horrific fashion basically on the back of something you’d caused, which with BitConnect was the cause of it, he looks pretty happy he’s caused her demise.” Some of the many investors duped by John Bigatton believe Madeline staged her disappearance. This wasn’t a suicide - it was a money grab.***“It just seemed to me that it would be a good, convenient story,” Dani says. “To be able to get the money out, his wife out of the country - sinister as it sounds, that's where my head went I didn't believe it for one second.” It’s a year since Madeline Bigatton disappeared, and John Bigatton has scarcely skipped a beat. He’s still living in the family home where he’s raising the couple’s two daughters. He’s even working for a small finance company called Wealth Synergy. John Bigatton refused to be interviewed by Sunday Night, and while he may not answer our questions, he will have to answer ASIC’s. Australia’s corporate watchdog is investigating the company’s collapse and all those missing billions. The issue is that cryptocurrency is very hard to trace. “No one knows where it has gone,” explains Niall Coburn. “There are investigations under foot in the UK, the U.S. [and] Australia. There’s no way we can yet really understand where that money has gone, except that once it does go, in my experience, it’s funnelled through offshore jurisdictions. It’s very hard then to on-trace those accounts. Realistically, it’s unlikely that any investors will ever see their funds again
A friend revealed herself to me a couple of days ago...
One of my friends, let's call her K, came out with me and my girlfriend for dinner. After the dinner, we went back to my place and my girlfriend went upstairs to get changed.
While GF was upstairs K referenced my interest in Bitcoin and the sentence, "Have you ever wanted a second income?" was asked. The question in itself is a huge red flag for me but I thought I'd better not jump to conclusions and I'd hear her out. I'm not sure why she thought Bitcoin was relevant but she knows that I've had interest in it since 2014.
Her first tactic was to make me imagine what it would be like to be rich and then said all I had to do was create a network to sell to much like Avon. This pitch was as viable to me as cold calling me and telling me I was eligible for compensation from a car crash. I immediately asked, "Isn't this a pyramid scheme?" Her response was quite shocking and at the same time fascinating for me in a conversation post-mortem. I've never had this experience before so as unpleasant as it was for me it was a great learning experience.
How her justification and defence escalated:
At first she played innocent and made me explain what a pyramid scheme was and why it was, in my words immoral.
Then she asked if it was that bad why so many people were doing it.
On being advised they were illegal in the UK she pointed out that most people and companies that got rich got to where they were by shitting on other people.
When I told her that morally, I couldn't fuck people over to get rich she very aggressively asked why I didn't want to be a millionaire? Where did I see myself in ten years time? I surely couldn't be happy with my current status-quo (I actually am.)
The next step for her was pretty much demand that I start a scheme with her or on my own and should use my side-gig as a platform for a pyramid scheme.
My side-gig is that I create sportswear which I sell online so I think in her head it was had potential to be the same as LulaRoe. If I wasn't insulted enough I pointed out that I paid a premium to make sure my factory didn't exploit workers or use child labour, I created everything from scratch and I definitely didn't market them to my friends, or in her words, my 'network.' I always appreciate support from people I know but from the very start I've never ever pitched them a product or tried to sell them anything. If any of my friends ever asked or showed interest I'd thank them, point them to the website and always say that there was no pressure or obligation to buy anything from me. It's actually my baby and I'd rather shut it down than become a millionaire and see it become a pyramid business.
It didn't matter what my content was, my delivery failed to take into account her feelings so anything I said was more or less discarded immediately by K. Apparently I wouldn't talk to any of my other friends like I'd talk to her and would I talk to a customer at work like I'd talk to her right now.
One of the most bizarre 'conversation' pieces that I'd ever been involved in was when she tried to make fun of the way I used 'proposal' in the context that her MLM 'proposal' to me was not a great idea. For the longest time she maintained that proposal was only ever used in the context of marriage and a proposal was never used in a business setting. I said it was a fairly standard business term and in the basic sales process. She really wasn't letting this go and for a couple of minutes gave a monologue trying to come reason why I was yet again, wrong and what the real process and term was.
The rest of the evening went as expected. I was so angry but at the same time confused because I'd never been in a situation with the subject at hand, how emotional and desperate it got. K very quickly changed subjects as soon as she felt threatened and fell back to personal insults which I didn't call out because everything was happening so fast. I'm a very chilled out person so not being prepared for this and the pace it was happening was incredible and disorientating. I wasn't able to adequately defend a point of view before it was switched up or I was personally under attack for being a 'bully' or being compared to one of her ex-lovers (who I've heard was quite controlling of her.) I never once told her what to do but gave her an honest opinion on a subject she asked my opinion of.
I guess the point of this, other than to vent, is that I'm shocked that one of my friends thought a pyramid scheme was a great idea. When I gave her the benefit of the doubt she doubled down and showed she's actually a reprehensible person for acknowledging that it wasn't a moral way to make money but she's going to do that anyway because she wants to be rich. I haven't spoken to her since but I'm not blocking her social media because I'm going to be the first to try and shut down any MLM posts. As a method of recruiting or expanding her network, she went about it in the worst possible way, as a way to break a friendship, she went about it in a very efficient way. Thinking back at it now I should have asked her to leave my house so many times but I was just so surprised by an actual MLM pitch and the ferocity of it.
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