Breaking Bit: Walter White & the Cryptosphere

-- “The drugs were wrapped in Ziploc bags, covered in duct tape,” a story on the Daily Dot by Patrick Howard O’Neill begins, “and hidden below a balcony right near a crowded sidewalk in Kiev, Ukraine.

“The package was left there by a dealer known online as Brooklyn Flea Shop,” O’Neill goes on. “The product was easy to find for the buyer, someone who goes by the alias of Mahadeva, the name of both the Great God of Hinduism and a legendary evildoer in Buddhism.

“One gram of speed — amphetamine sulfate is the kind of stuff that can induce euphoria, drench you in sweat, and skip your heartbeat — costs 250 Ukrainian hryvnia ($11), paid for in Bitcoin, a cheap buy for a big high.”

This transaction, as you may have gathered, was conducted through the Ukrainian cryptomarkets.

In yesterday’s episode, you’ll recall, we spoke of the fiat, fractional reserve central bank circle-twerk. And whether or not there truly is any way out of the web.

Maybe not. But aside from gathering some precious metals and edging your way toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle…

Adoption of the cryptomarkets could be the next best thing.

For that reason, as promised yesterday, let’s talk a bit about what cryptomarkets are… and, more importantly, how they work.

--Though the word “cryptomarket” might, for whatever reason, conjure up terrible images of frightful labyrinths of doom for some — fear not.

A cryptomarket can look exactly like Amazon. It can be as seamless as Netflix. It can be as convenient as Uber. It can take on any form we can dream up. It can look exactly like our current ‘Net.

The only difference would be, of course, in this new net everything is encrypted and decentralized. Which allows for better, cheaper service out of the realm of nations, and on a more secure digital foundation.

The global black market, as mentioned yesterday, is the first to adopt the crypto-market. And it’s easy to see why.

The black market, to stay alive, must stay ahead. And crypto-markets, they’ shout, are what’s up ahead.

--For perspective, here’s how quickly the drug world has adopted the Darknet…

Darknet drug markets started to pop up in 2011, beginning with the opening of the infamous Silk Road.

Fast-forward to today, they’ve  fully-flourished into an increasingly competitive global drug trade. Such a transformation, we remind you, in only half of a decade.

Darknet Drug Markets

Kyle Soska, a doctoral candidate in electrical computer engineering at Carnegie, along with his advisor, Nicolas Christin, studied the Darknet drug trade while it was still in its infancy. They wrote a report on, in their words, the “evolution of the online anonymous marketplace ecosystem.”

Here’s a little bit of what they found:

In its prime, Silk Road was making up to $400,000 per day. And Agora Marketplace, another crypto-drug market, in its earlier days, raked in as much as $500,000 per sunset.

That’s how popular the Darknet markets were in the beginning.

Though the markets are a little more competitive these days, there’s still a hierarchy created by the established players who’ve built a reputation for quality and service. As new consumers enter the Darknet, the big players are the names they hear about first. (But, of course, the more competitive the dark markets become, the more the Old Guards of the Darknet will be shaken.)

--But we ask, still, why the Darknet? And why has it been so popular for the drug trade?

Well, it’s simply a matter of incentive.

“Had Walter White sold his blue meth on Silk Road rather than through drug kingpins and criminal gangs,” journalist Alice Speri says for Vice News, “there wouldn’t have been much to Breaking Bad, but he would have made plenty of money and probably avoided a violent death.

“That, in a nutshell,” she says, “is the argument made by proponents of the Internet as a safer and more ethical marketplace for illicit substances.”

Thing is, Speri goes on, the e-underground marketplace works: “dealing and buying drugs online, abetted by cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, isn’t just less sketchy: it also comes with a wider choice of products, better customer service, and, increasingly, assurances to please liberal or socially-conscious users, such as knowing that their opium is ‘fair trade’ and their cocaine ‘conflict-free.’”

“It is, in other words,” says Speri, “gentrifying the drug business at the expense of the middlemen and drug enforcement authorities profiting from the war on drugs.”

While undercutting the middlemen (and the drug enforcement authorities who mindlessly chase after them), the cryptomarkets also help to curtail much of the street violence, corruption and the general inhumanity committed by the insane War on Drugs.

--Global drug policy, as you know, is a sad state of affairs responsible for untold and unnecessary misery.

(If you don’t know, go watch the new Cartel Land documentary on Netflix.)

If the policies aren’t willing to change, then people will continue to find ways to simply step out of the system — and change it from the basement up. (Not without resistance, of course. But much of it will be futile.)

We wonder, then, as we watch the Great House of Dollars screech and creak under its own belly, if a feasible alternative is, in fact, growing deep within our wires.

As the old monetary system politely retches over a chicken bone, is it possible that a superior alternative has just begun to grow legs?

Only one way to find out.

Tomorrow, we’ll go into the cryptomarket currently prepping itself for the limelight of the masses.

And how you can be one of the first to test it out.

Until then,

Chris Campbell
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today

P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.

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