Affordable 12 GPU Mining Rig: Monero, Vertcoin, Bitcoin

Antminer T19 May Not Affect Bitcoin Hash Rate but Keeps Bitmain Ahead

The Antminer T19 by Bitmain may not have a big impact on the Bitcoin network, and it comes out amid the firm’s internal and post-halving uncertainty.
Earlier this week, Chinese mining-hardware juggernaut Bitmain unveiled its new product, an application-specific integrated circuit called Antminer T19. The Bitcoin (BTC) mining unit is the latest to join the new generation of ASICs — state-of-the-art devices designed to mitigate increased mining difficulty by maximizing the terahashes-per-second output.
The Antminer T19 announcement comes amid the post-halving uncertainty and follows the company’s recent problems with its S17 units. So, can this new machine help Bitmain to reinforce its somewhat hobbled position in the mining sector?
T19: The cheaper S19
According to the official announcement, the Antminer T19 features a mining speed of 84 TH/s and a power efficiency of 37.5 joules per TH. The chips used in the new device are the same as those equipped in the Antminer S19 and S19 Pro, though it uses the new APW12 version of the power supply system that allows the device to start up faster.
Bitmain usually markets its Antminer T devices as the most cost-effective ones, while the S-series models are presented as the top of the line in terms of productivity for their respective generation, Johnson Xu — the head of research and analytics at Tokensight — explained to Cointelegraph. According to data from F2Pool, one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools, Antminer T19s can generate $3.97 of profit each day, while Antminer S19s and Antminer S19 Pros can earn $4.86 and $6.24, respectively, based on an average electricity cost of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour.
Antminer T19s, which consume 3,150 watts, are being sold for $1,749 per unit. Antminer S19 machines, on the other hand, cost $1,785 and consume 3,250 watts. Antminer S19 Pro devices, the most efficient of three, are considerably more expensive and go for $2,407. The reason Bitmain is producing another model for the 19 series is due to what is known as "binning" chips, Marc Fresa — the founder of mining firmware company Asic.to — explained to Cointelegraph:
“When chips are designed they are meant to achieve specific performance levels. Chips that fail to hit their target numbers, such as not achieving the power standards or their thermal output, are often ‘Binned.’ Instead of throwing these chips in the garbage bin, these chips are resold into another unit with a lower performance level. In the case of Bitmain S19 chips that don’t make the cutoff are then sold in the T19 for cheaper since they do not perform as well as the counterpart.” The rollout of a new model “has nothing to do with the fact that machines are not selling well,” Fresa went on to argue, citing the post-halving uncertainty: “The biggest reason machines probably are not selling as well as manufacturers would like is because we are on a bit of a tipping point; The halving just happened, the price can go anyway and the difficulty is continuing to drop.” Product diversification is a common strategy for mining hardware producers, given that customers tend to aim for different specifications, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, a consultant and the former chief technology officer of Genesis Mining, told Cointelegraph:
“ASICs don’t really allow for one model as consumers expect a certain performance level from a machine, and unfortunately silicon is not a perfect process — many times you’ll get a batch that performs better or worse than projected due to the nature of the materials. Thus, you end up with 5–10 different model numbers.” It is not yet clear how efficient the 19-series devices are because they have not shipped at scale, as Leo Zhang, the founder of Anicca Research, summed up in a conversation with Cointelegraph. The first batch of S19 units reportedly shipped out around May 12, while the T19 shipments will start between June 21 and June 30. It is also worth noting that, at this time, Bitmain only sells up to two T19 miners per user “to prevent hoarding.”
Hardware problems and competitors
The latest generation of Bitmain ASICs follows the release of the S17 units, which have received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews in the community. In early May, Arseniy Grusha, the co-founder of crypto consulting and mining firm Wattum, created a Telegram group for consumers unsatisfied with the S17 units they purchased from Bitmain. As Grusha explained to Cointelegraph at the time, out of the 420 Antminer S17+ devices his company bought, roughly 30%, or around 130 machines, turned out to be bad units.
Similarly, Samson Mow, the chief strategy officer of blockchain infrastructure firm Blockstream, tweeted earlier in April that Bitmain customers have a 20%–30% failure rate with Antminer S17 and T17 units. “The Antminer 17 series is generally considered not great,” added Zhang. He additionally noted that Chinese hardware company and competitor Micro BT has been stepping on Bitmain’s toes lately with the release of its highly productive M30 series, which prompted Bitmain to step up its efforts:
“Whatsminer gained significant market share in the past two years. According to their COO, in 2019 MicroBT sold ~35% of the network hashrate. Needless to say Bitmain is under a lot of pressure both from competitors and internal politics. They have been working on the 19 series for a while. The specs and price look very attractive.” Minehan confirmed that MicroBT has been gaining traction on the market, but refrained from saying that Bitmain is losing market share as a result: “I think MicroBT is offering option and bringing in new participants, and giving farms a choice. Most farms will have both Bitmain and MicroBT side by side, rather than exclusively host one manufacturer.”
“I would say that MicroBT has taken up the existing market share that Canaan has left,” she added, referring to another China-based mining player that recently reported a net loss of $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2020 and cut the price of its mining hardware by up to 50%.
Indeed, some large-scale operations seem to be diversifying their equipment with MicroBT units. Earlier this week, United States mining firm Marathon Patent Group announced that it had installed 700 Whatsminer M30S+ ASICs produced by MicroBT. However, it is also reportedly waiting for a delivery of 1,160 Antminer S19 Pro units produced by Bitmain, meaning that it also remains loyal to the current market leader.
Will the hash rate be affected?
Bitcoin’s hash rate plummeted 30% soon after the halving occurred as much of the older generation equipment became unprofitable due to the increased mining difficulty. That spurred miners to reshuffle, upgrading their current rigs and selling older machines to places where electricity is cheaper — meaning that some of them had to temporarily unplug.
The situation has stabilized since, with the hash rate fluctuating around 100 TH/s for the past few days. Some experts attribute that to the start of the wet season in Sichuan, a southwest Chinese province where miners take advantage of low hydroelectricity prices between May and October.
The arrival of the new generation of ASICs is expected to drive the hash rate even higher, at least once upgraded units become widely available. So, will the newly revealed T19 model make any impact on the state of the network?
Experts agree that it won’t affect the hash rate to a major degree, as it’s a lower output model compared with the S19 series and MicroBT’s M30 series. Minehan said she doesn’t expect the T19 model “to have a huge impact that’s an immediate cause of concern,” as “most likely this is a run of <3500 units of a particular bin quality.” Similarly, Mark D’Aria, the CEO of crypto consulting firm Bitpro, told Cointelegraph:
“There isn’t a strong reason to expect the new model to significantly affect the hashrate. It might be a slightly more compelling option to a miner with extraordinarily inexpensive electricity, but otherwise they likely would have just purchased an S19 instead.” Bitmain continues to hold leadership despite internal struggle
At the end of the day, manufacturers are always in an arms race, and mining machines are simply commodity products, Zhang argued in a conversation with Cointelegraph:
“Besides price, performance, and failure rate, there are not many factors that can help a manufacturer differentiate from the others. The relentless competition led to where we are today.” According to Zhang, as the iteration rate naturally slows down in the future, there will be more facilities using “creative thermal design such as immersion cooling,” hoping to maximize the mining efficiency beyond just using most powerful machines.
As for now, Bitmain remains the leader of the mining race, despite having to deal with the largely defunct 17 series and an intensifying power struggle between its two co-founders, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, which recently resulted in reports of a street brawl.
“Due to its recent internal issues, Bitmain is facing challenges to keep its strong position in the future thus they started to look at other things to expand its industry influences,” Xu told Cointelegraph. He added that Bitmain “will still dominate the industry position in the near future due to its network effect,” although its current problems might allow competitors such as MicroBT to catch up.
Earlier this week, the power struggle inside Bitmain intensified even further as Micree Zhan, an ousted executive of the mining titan, reportedly led a group of private guards to overtake the company’s office in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Bitmain continues to expand its operations. Last week, the mining company revealed it was extending its “Ant Training Academy” certification program to North America, with the first courses set to launch in the fall. As such, Bitmain seems to be doubling down on the U.S.-based mining sector, which has been growing recently. The Beijing-based company already operates what it classifies as “the world’s largest” mining facility in Rockdale, Texas, which has a planned capacity of 50 megawatts that can later be expanded to 300 megawatts.
submitted by melissaBrian0 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Top Bitcoin Myths

1. Digital Currencies Are Primarily Used for Illicit Activity

One of the oldest and, unfortunately, most pervasive myths about digital currencies is that they are most commonly (or perhaps most effectively) used for illicit activity. While it's true that digital currencies have been used by individuals with nefarious goals in mind as well as by criminal enterprises, the same could of course be said for fiat currencies as well. One of the reasons behind this myth is the anonymity that is crucial to most cryptocurrencies. As the first major digital currency, bitcoin became popular in black markets like the Silk Road. While it's true that aspects of bitcoin (including the anonymity it provides) may have been enticing to criminals conducting illegal business in that and other similar markets, it's worth remembering that it was the transactions themselves which were illegal, not the cryptocurrency. Criminals could (and do) use fiat currency for their activities as well.

2. Digital Currencies Don't Have Value

Cryptocurrencies have proven difficult to categorize. In the U.S., the IRS has spent years determining how to classify digital currencies for tax purposes. Investors haven't been quite sure how to treat their digital assets when it comes to taxes or even everyday transactions. All of this has perhaps contributed to the idea that cryptocurrencies are a fad or that they will simply disappear. In actuality, however, not only have cryptocurrencies only been gaining in prominence and popularity, but they are generally set up in such a way as to minimize the risk of these things happening. As with other types of currencies, cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for goods and services, and they have value in accordance with the belief of the holders of the currency.

3. Cryptocurrencies Aren't Secure

As digital currencies have gained popularity, there have been a number of high-profile scams and thefts. In many cases, digital currency exchanges themselves were the targets of these attacks. In other cases, criminals capitalized on vulnerabilities in wallets and other aspects of the cryptocurrency space. Investors worrying about the security of digital assets should remember that it is possible for hacks, thefts, and fraud to occur. However, there are many ways that investors can change their behavior in order to better protect their holdings. Further, it's also worth noting that many governments and other financial institutions have shown an interest in blockchain technology; one of the reasons for this is that blockchain is widely seen as a secure and effective tool with untapped potential.

4. Digital Currencies Are Bad for the Environment

There is reason for concern about the impact of digital currencies on the environment. As cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether have taken off, so too has the number of mining operations around the world. Each of the individual mining rigs requires massive amounts of computational power, and this in turn requires large amounts of electricity. What's worth remembering, however, is that the value of mining for a cryptocurrency nearly always outweighs the real-world cost that is required in order to complete that mining operation. What's more, many cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, have set hard caps on the total number of tokens which can be mined. After this point, individuals will no longer be able to mine for new tokens or coins, and the costs of the computational power required for mining that currency will be dramatically reduced.

5. Cryptocurrencies Are a Scam

Again, there is reason for investors to be cautious when it comes to potential scams. There have been numerous initial coin offerings that have proven to be fraudulent in various ways. However, savvy investors tend to treat cryptocurrencies in the same way that they would any other potential investment: with a healthy dose of skepticism and a large amount of research and caution. It's possible for investors to be drawn into fraudulent investment opportunities in the traditional financial world as well, and this situation tends to come about when an investor has not taken the time to thoroughly consider and learn about the details of the opportunity itself. Just as one must sift through good and bad potential investments in the traditional financial landscape, one must take the time and effort to sort out dubious investment opportunities in the cryptocurrency space. While it's impossible to fully eliminate the chance that you will be the victim of a scam, this nonetheless helps reduce those chances considerably.
submitted by PresentType to cryptocurrenciestrile [link] [comments]

Some hints and tips for newer players

This wipe I have progressed more than I have in past wipes, and I think a lot of it has to do with my play-style changing.
I know I am still nowhere near as stacked stash wish or stats wise than a lot of players, but thought I might share some hints and tips for new players that have been helpful for me.
I play mainly duos, sometimes trios with a couple of mates. My play style is relatively quiet (i.e. little sprinting, lots of pausing walking to listen) until I engage the enemy, then as much aggressive flanking and pushing as possible.
So you can see where I currently am this wipe my stash and play stats are here (it's zoomable). TLDR - 41% Survival rate, 120mil stash value, 5.77 KDR.
So onto the tips:
1) Optimise what you bring out of raids:
2) Run. Good. Ammo
3) Keep what you loot in raid
4) Run gear appropriate to your stash
5) Make the most of your hideout
6) Once you have engaged an enemy play aggressively
7) Sound is your friend
8) When poor, scav in
9) Complete quests
10) Don't be afraid to use gear
11) Play with others
I hope these tips help at least one person! Happy to expand on any of them if anyone has questions....
submitted by TomSchofield to EscapefromTarkov [link] [comments]

How To Gain From Bitcoin Investment

How To Gain From Bitcoin Investment
Bitcoin mining

The most clear approach to bring in cash with Bitcoin is through Bitcoin mining – the procedure by which new coins are made and exchange data is confirmed. Mining is performed by powerful PCs which take care of complex scientific issues. Excavators are compensated Bitcoin at whatever point they include another square of exchanges to the blockchain.

In the beginning of Bitcoin, it was conceivable to make a good measure of cash with restricted use. After some time, be that as it may, mining Bitcoin has become much harder and progressively serious. Additional preparing influence is required, which implies excavators need particular hardware and must fork out a ton of cash on power.

For the individuals who can't bear the cost of an enormous mining rig, the main doable approach to bring in cash through Bitcoin mining is to join a mining pool and consolidate your handling power with different excavators.

https://preview.redd.it/h54ossnd2mh41.jpg?width=678&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3b32706c6ee4bf6d0f55ebbfe7eab3c277b9b8b8
Putting resources into Bitcoin

You can put resources into Bitcoin by purchasing and holding the cryptographic money in the expectations it will increment in esteem after some time.

Bitcoin is incredibly unpredictable and high-hazard, so contributing is suggested for individuals who have a decent degree of information and can bear to lose their speculation. You additionally should be quiet, as it could set aside an extremely long effort for your Bitcoin to develop in esteem.

On the off chance that you would like to put resources into Bitcoin, it's critical to store your crypto in an advanced wallet to guard it.

Exchanging Bitcoin

Exchanging Bitcoin is significantly more hazardous than putting resources into Bitcoin, however in case you're effective, it very well may be rewarding. The thought is to purchase Bitcoin at a low cost and sell it not long after at a more significant expense, in this way banking the benefits.

Exchanging is appropriate for individuals who have understanding and information available, yet and still, at the end of the day the danger of losing cash is very high.

A few people decide to run a Bitcoin exchanging bot, for example, 3Commas. An exchanging bot has a lot of parameters and markers which when met will make the bot sell or purchase on the trade you like.

Bots are effective on the grounds that they limit human mistake, take out choices dependent on feeling, and ascertain formulae a lot quicker than individuals can. Be that as it may, they can be costly and aren't generally intended for fledgling dealers.

Another choice to consider is contracts for contrast, where you purchase an agreement for Bitcoin without really purchasing or putting away the coin itself.

Bitcoin loaning

It is conceivable to get exceptional yields from Bitcoin loaning, albeit again it conveys an elevated level of hazard.

By utilizing a site, for example, Unchained Capital, Bitbond, or BTCpop, you can loan your Bitcoin to someone else at a financing cost of up to 15%.

The primary hazard is that the borrower doesn't repay you, which means you'll have lost the whole advance sum.
submitted by Bitcoin12investment to u/Bitcoin12investment [link] [comments]

New-ish Player's Guide++

I did a guide a month ago for new players here, this guide is a continuation on that: https://www.reddit.com/EscapefromTarkov/comments/e9smrv/new_players_guide_extended/
If this is your first week, this games amazing and worth it. In the meantime read this guide to start:
https://www.reddit.com/EscapefromTarkov/comments/e515ub/influx_of_new_players_means_its_time_for_a_guide/
I wanted to do a follow up guide after doing ~30ish runs on each map this month to get the current meta of each and review various armors because I'm slightly bored after all the quests and max hideout is done but this game is just too addicting to stop playing. It also helps that I've had 8 friends buy the game in the last few weeks so this is easier than explaining to them one at a time. If anyone sees anything incorrect please feel free to correct me and if there's any other questions post in comments/pm me.

General Tips Continued:

Maps

TLDR: Shoreline for money, Interchange for consistency, Customs for quests, Factory/Labs for fights.I did a brief overview on money runs on various maps in my previous guide, but wanted to update those maps in light of recent changes to spawns and my experiences over the past month or so testing all the maps out. In profitability order:
Shoreline - With the new addition of 6-8 LedX spawns, shoreline has become king for money. It takes the high reward possibility of Labs and mixes it with the consistent loot value of Interchange with the only draw back being the need for keys, which I purchased for around 3-4 mil for all good loot rooms ( 15 keys in total). This is a steep investment, but it is a one time cost, and completely worth it. You can expect an LedX about 1/7 raids clearing most LedX rooms. I got 5/36 shoreline runs, clearing most rooms about 2/3rds of the time, dying or being beaten to the rooms in the other 1/3. Unlike labs, however, these are just the cherry on top of consistently amazing loot in the rooms with easy extracts to boot. The big draw back is popularity, I run into at least 2-3 PMCs at the resort, usually 4-5 with a duo or squad tossed in the mix. They're usually tier 3-4 geared (I go tier 5 but don't recommend that unless you're good with losing a mil to a lucky mosin shot) and have a bad habit of hiding in rooms and ambushing.
Interchange - For consistent mid value barter items, Interchange is your map. Nothing has changed from my original assessment, tldr version being run Oli shelves and the 3 tech stores next to it for about 500k-1 mil per extract, assuming you bring a decent bag and rig. This map has dropped in popularity with the Shoreline buff, but be on the look out for tier 5 geared PMCs doing their 100 Killa kills grind and the ever present extract campers.
Reserve - This map still has great high value drops, less frequent than Interchange but with higher average value and requiring less keys than Shoreline. The massive drawback here is extract difficulty. If you can afford it, para-cord with the ice-pick for the repel extract is recommended as you just have to ditch/bag chest armor and you're out. Losing a bag for the manhole has required many a painful pick and chose for me recently and the door just isn't consistent, sometimes the button will be pressed but its still locked, other times its just open. Its a fun PvP map, but for money its just not beating the two above.
Customs - This map just really isn't for money, its for quests. But with the addition of the new stashes spread throughout the map you can make decent money whilst running the quests. See my past guide/the link below for stash runs.
Factory - Wait, Factory over Labs? Customs over Labs? Yes, I'm getting to that. So why Factory? Because quick, hit and run style or longer scav pileup at a choke-point style runs can net you tons of experience along with a big stack of weapons and decent loot from scav pockets. Solos try the upper hallway office/breakable door, the bottom pipeline hallway curve, or extract choke-point. Duos and squads can hold down the shower doors with ease.
Labs - People who have read my previous guide might be surprise this is last. The issue with labs is its completely dependent on high level item spawn rates. Labs is my favorite map, I could write a lengthy separate post about everything labs. At the beginning of the wipe, labs was ludicrously OP. You could spawn in and expect a 1/3 chance of an LedX (2.5 mil at the time) along with 2-3 other 400k+ items spawning in each raid. This resulted in 10's of millions in profit. Then they released Shoreline LedX spawns and turned off labs LedX. The barrel spawn was completely dead (50+ runs and nothing) and the two other (at the time) known locations had maybe a 1/25 rate. You could expect maybe 1-2 other drops per raid and it was now crowded with PMCs. It was difficult to turn a profit doing geared runs, and I lost millions. Today its slightly better, there are 3 new LedX spawns and the barrel spawn has a 1/7-10 (still testing) rate but everything has plummeted in price (VPX is less than 200k now) and you can expect 3-6 tier 5 geared PMCs plus raiders to be skulking around. Great for fights, terrible for money. Though extracting will often bring huge rewards in gear alone in current state.
... - Feel like I'm forgetting one... Hmm... Nah they wouldn't put a thermal ridden snipe happy map in the game with no loot spawns and lots of annoying quests. (Don't @ me Woods fans)

Armor

TLDR: Highest level armor not worth, high level ammo makes everything vulnerable. Not doing the same tiers (see previous guide) but the actual armor level itself. For actual setups with armoweapons see my previous guide.

Does this mean you should never run good armor? No. What it means is you should be aware you are likely losing value/money by doing so at higher tiers. Better armor will help you survive more raids, help with quests, and is a sign of being a more established player. But you are trading a LOT more money for smaller advantages in return, making it hard to recommend the more expensive armors in the game to anyone who can't handle multiple instant deaths in a row losing 500k-1mil.

Links to helpful stuff and vids

Ammo Spreadsheet (focus on armor pen power above all): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_l-gYeSt2MqIw62EdMZt_wefG0yO9L7dTaRM74c2J1w/htmlview?sle=true
Best in Slot guide to weapon modding (Shout out to Virion this guide is amazing work) : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yHyVEVB5oN0qL_pR1qTNP1_ICmzJ3SCFJQNb6XDM_DQ/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true
Every map key guide (I used as a guide for Shoreline keys mostly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzGsoK-dkkY&t=931s&ab_channel=Pestily
Shoreline LedX spawns (Note: he and Pestily have some different spawns, I check both): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndVWwscyJW4&t=112s&ab_channel=Piranha
Interchange Loot guide (I only focus on the 3 tech stores near Oli and Oli itself): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7GJnZLfczY&ab_channel=VoX_E
Customs Stash Run: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7b7zVwN6wA&ab_channel=Pestily
How I learned Labs this patch:
See key guide lab section above.
The main spawns in the first part of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxUWWOj9R0U&t=758s
I used to combine a bunch of different videos but this guy does a solid job of getting all of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTMKJvdDbxI&t=319s&ab_channel=AlekkerTv
Learn all the extracts before running the labs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyWCznHKugM

This guide was brought to you by: Tarkov 2020 Wait Times! Averaging 20 minutes or more per raid giving me plenty of down time to type it up! I joke but I really do hope they fix this soon, and to new players this is a very uncommon issue. BSG has never let us down before.
submitted by Boredmatt14 to EscapefromTarkov [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to nosleep [link] [comments]

Mining: Weird Time to Start, a Good Time to Think

Mining: Weird Time to Start, a Good Time to Think
Well, it’s supposed to be an optimistic article about most promising mining cryptos, but then something happened. No one was too naive to believe that the events unfolded around the COVID-19 pandemic will not affect global markets, but the turbulence that occurred was very significant and, what is most sad, it is still very difficult to say how soon the situation will stabilize.
https://preview.redd.it/9xxheofluzp41.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd8ca033faddf57ea041e82ceadee1037b8587f1
Many people were already bothered that crypto mining is becoming less profitable in 2020 and will be meaningless very soon, but even though big companies having bigger resources took over most of the industry, cryptocurrency mining using video cards remains available to common users and still has potential.
Despite, the volatility of the cryptocurrency market hashrate of the Bitcoin blockchain network yet remains almost at the same level and that is a quite positive sign. At the moment, the most reliable option seems to be to leave mining to large ASIC-farms and return when the stock panic subsides and the prospects will be clearer.
Although Bitcoin is still the most popular cryptocurrency on the market, every year the complexity of operations necessary for its production increases, and rewards fall (after halving in May 2020, we will talk about 6.25 BTC per block). For mining many altcoins, the threshold for entry is much lower, therefore it makes sense to look for a more profitable option among them.
But first, let’s try to understand a little what conditions we need for profitable mining.
There are several crucial aspects that determine how profitable mining will be. These are such obvious things as the price of the currency or the amount of reward for the generated block.
And this is the reason it is now very difficult to calculate the possible income. One way or another, the market price of altcoins depends on the position of bitcoin, which is experiencing bad times. For several months, the world of crypto mining has been preparing for the May halving, because the reduced supply led to a significant increase in prices. This time should not have been an exception, but now when bitcoin does not rise above $5500 and risks falling below $3500, we can only make vague guesses about its potential price in May. Many analysts tend to believe that closer to the middle of April, the negative effect of the crisis should be reduced, and positive expectations from halving and a large amount of cash from investors should have a positive impact on the price of bitcoin. Altcoins, as a rule, repeat the dynamics of the first cryptocurrency and will also continue their growth to historical highs in the year’s future.
Next, you should also pay attention to the complexity of mining because it affects the time and energy spent on generating the block. Do not forget about the cost of electricity in your region, as one extra-large bill can negate all your efforts to earn money on currency mining.
Do not forget about expenses on a mining rig and it’s amortisation.
In addition to the above, you should find out how practical the chosen currency is: whether it can be exchanged for fiat or more popular coins, what fees are charged by exchanges that work with it, and what reputation it has in general.
In order to avoid unpleasant mistakes, it is easier and more reliable to check the possible profit in one of the many calculators.

Best altcoins to mine in 2020

Monero is the currency with the highest anonymity rates, which stays attractive to many users and remains one of the strongest altcoins. The specific proof-of-work hashing algorithm does not allow ASIC-miners, so it is relatively easy to mine using personal computer’s processors and graphics cards. AMD graphic cards are preferable for this task, but NVidia suits as well. The current block reward is 2.47 XMR.
Litecoin is one of the oldest Bitcoin forks, but unlike it uses a different “Script” PoW algorithm which allows less powerful GPUs to mine coins. Litecoin is on the most popular, and successful Bitcoin forks and considered one of the most stable cryptocurrencies. Block mining reward is 12.5 LTC.
Ravencoin is another Bitcoin hardfork, and like Monero’s its X16R algorithm is practically unavailable for ASIC machines. Raven keeps gaining popularity for many reasons – it has faster block time, higher mining reward (5,000 RVN at the moment) and secure messaging system.
Dogecoin is not a joke anymore. Hard to believe, but this currency once made for fun, became one of the most valuable ones. Like Litecoin it uses Scrypt algorithm and great for mining with GPUs.
One more Bitcoin fork Bitcoin Gold was made specifically to kick out ASICs and clear the road for GPUs. It may not be the fastest-growing currency, but it is definitely one of the most stable.
That’s all for today. Stay safe, cause health is our most important asset.
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submitted by Stealthex_io to StealthEX [link] [comments]

Building a mining rig for 100k USD.

Ok so basically my question is this:
How do you build the most efficient Bitcoin mining rig with 100k USD?
I've been trying to do some research but I really want some info from people who have/have had mining rigs in the past. I wanna know what are some potential issues that could arise?
I want to know if it's most cost effective to buy a bunch of GPU's and set them up with some mining motherboards or is it better to buy a pre-built machine like the AntMiners?
If I'm building a rig for 100k and plan to pay for electricity using the bitcoin mined each month then how much money do I need to have as backup to make sure I can pay for electricity if BTC price drops significantly?
Just anything useful that someone who plans to build a rig should account for.
Also: Yes I acknowledge that BTC is very unstable and that even though mining right now (for 10K/BTC) is profitable it could be the case that later on I'm mining in the negative for several months or years.
Thanks.
submitted by AnimeRegime6987 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

IOTA, and When to Expect the COO to be Removed

Hello All,
This post is meant to address the elephant in the room, and the #1 criticism that IOTA gets which is the existence of the Coordinator node.
The Coordinator or, COO for short, is a special piece of software that is operated by the IOTA Foundation. This software's function is to drop "milestone" transactions onto the Tangle that help in ordering of Transactions.
As this wonderful post on reddit highlights (https://www.reddit.com/Iota/comments/7c3qu8/coordinator_explained/)
When you want to know if a transaction is verified, you find the newest Milestone and you see if it indirectly verifies your transaction (i.e it verifies your transaction, or if verifies a transaction that verifies your transaction, or if it verifies a transaction that verifies a transaction that verifies your transaction, etc). The reason that the Milestones exist is because if you just picked any random transaction, there's the possibility that the node you're connected to is malicious and is trying to trick you into verifying its transactions. The people who operate nodes can't fake the signatures on Milestones, so you know you can trust the Milestones to be legit.
The COO protects the network, that is great right?
No, it is not.
The coordinator represents a centralized entity that draws the ire of the concurrency community in general is the reason behind a lot of FUD.
Here is where things get dicey. If you ask the IOTA Foundation, the last official response I heard was
We are running super computer simulations with the University of St. Peteresburg to determine when that could be a possibility.
This answer didn't satisfy me, so I've spent the last few weeks thinking about the problem and think I can explain the challenges that the IOTA Foundation are up against, what they expect to model with the super computer simulations, and what ultimately what my intuition (backed up by some back of the napkin mathematics) tells me that outcomes will be.
In order to understand the bounds of the problem, we first need to understand what our measuring stick is.
Our measuring stick provides measurements with respect to hashed per second. A hash, is a mathematical operation that blockchain (and DAG) based applications require before accepting your transaction. This is generally thought of as an anti-spam measure used to protect a blockchain network.
IOTA and Bitcoin share some things in common, and one of those things is that they both require Proof of Work in order to interact with the blockchain.
In IOTA, a single hash is completed for each Transaction that you submit. You complete this PoW at the time of submitting your Transaction, and you never revisit it again.
In Bitcoin, hashes are guessed at by millions of computers (miners) competing to be the first person to find solve the correct hash, and ultimately mint a new block.
Because of the competitive nature of the bitcoin mining mechanism, the bitcoin hashrate is a sustained hashrate, while the IOTA hashrate is "bursty" going through peaks and valleys as new transactions are submitted.
Essentially, IOTA performance is a function of the current throughput of the network. While, bitcoin's performance is a delicate balance between all collective miners, the hashing difficulty with the goal of pegging the block time to 10 minutes.
With all that said, I hope it is clear that we can come to the following conclusion.
The amount of CPU time required to compute 1 Bitcoin hash is much much greater then the amount of CPU time required to compute 1 IOTA hash.
T(BtcHash) >> T(IotaHash)
After all, low powered IOT devices are supposed to be able to execute the IOTA hashing function in order to submit their own transactions.
A "hash" has be looked at as an amount of work that needs to be completed. If you are solving a bitcoin hash, it will take a lot more work to solve then an IOTA hash.
When we want to measure IOTA, we usually look at "Transactions Per Second". Since each Transaction requires a single Hash to be completed, we can translate this measurement into "Hashes Per Second" that the entire network supports.
IOTA has seen Transactions Per Second on the order of magnitude of <100. That means, that at current adoption levels the IOTA network is supported and secured by 100 IOTA hashes per second (on a very good day).
Bitcoin hashes are much more difficult to solve. The bitcoin network is secured by 1 Bitcoin hash every 10 minutes (which adjust's it's difficult over time to remain pegged at 10 minutes). (More details on bitcoin mining: https://www.coindesk.com/information/how-bitcoin-mining-works/)
Without the COOs protection, IOTA would be a juicy target destroy. With only 100 IOTA hashes per second securing the network, that means that an individual would only need to maintain a sustained 34 hashes per second in order to completely take over the network.
Personally, my relatively moderate gaming PC takes about 60 seconds to solve IOTA Proof of Work before my transaction will be submitted to the Tangle. This is not a beastly machine, nor does it utilize specialized hardware to solve my Proof of Work. This gaming PC cost about $1000 to build, and provides me .0166 hashes per second.
**Using this figure, we can derive that consumer electronics provide hashing efficiency of roughly $60,000 USD / Hash / Second ($60k per hash per second) on the IOTA network.
Given that the Tx/Second of IOTA is around 100 on a good day, and it requires $60,000 USD to acquire 1Hash/Second of computing power we would need 34 * $60,000 to attack the IOTA network.
The total amount of money required to 34% the IOTA project is $2,040,00
This is a very small number. Not only that, but the hash rate required to conduct such an attack already exists, and it is likely that this attack has already been attempted.
The simple truth is, that due to the economic incentive of mining the hash rate required to attack IOTA is already centralized, and are foaming at the mouth to attack IOTA. This is why the Coordinator exists, and why it will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
The most important thing that needs to occur to remove the COO, is that the native measurement of transactions per second (which ultimately also measures the hashes per second) need to go drastically up in orders of magnitude.
If the IOTA transaction volume were to increase to 1000 transactions per second, then it would require 340 transactions per second from a malicious actor to compromise the network. In order to complete 340 transactions per second, the attacker would need now need the economic power of 340 * $60,000 to 34% attack the IOTA network.
In this hypothetical scenario, the cost of attacking the IOTA network is $20,400,000. This number is still pretty small, but at least you can see the pattern. IOTA will likely need to hit many-thousand transactions per second before it can be considered secure.
What we have to keep in mind here, is that IOTA has an ace up their sleeve, and that Ace is JINN Labs and the ternary processor that they are working on.
Ultimately, JINN is the end-game for the IOTA project that will make the removal of the COO a reality.
In order to understand what JINN is, we need to understand a little bit about computer architecture and the nature of computational instruction in general.
A "processor" is a piece of hardware that performs micro calculations. These micro calculations are usually very simple, such as adding two numbers, subtracting two numbers, incrementing, decrementing, and the like. The operation that is completed (addition, subtraction) is called the opcode while the numbers being operated on are called the operands.
Traditional processors, like the ones you find in my "regular gaming PC" are binary processors where both the opcode and operands are expected to be binary numbers (or a collection of 0s and 1s).
The JINN processor, provides the same functionality, mainly a hardware implementation of micro instructions. However, it expects the opcodes and operands to be ternary numbers (or a collection of 0s, 1s, and 2s).
I won't get into the computational data density of base 2 vs. base 3 processors, nor will get I get into the energy efficiency of those processors. What I will be getting into however, is how certain tasks are simpler to solve in certain number systems.
Depending on what operations are being executed upon the operands, performing the calculation in a different base will actually reduce the amount of steps required, and thus the execution time of the calculation. For an example, see how base 12 has been argued to be superior to base 10 (https://io9.gizmodo.com/5977095/why-we-should-switch-to-a-base-12-counting-system)
I want to be clear here. I am not saying that any 1 number system is superior to any other number system for all types of operations. I am simply saying, that there exist certain types of calculations that are easier to perform in base 2, then they are performed in base 10. Likewise, there are calculations that are vastly simpler in base 3 then they are in base 2.
The IOTA POW, and the algorithms required to solve for it is one of these algorithms. The IOTA PoW was designed to be ternary in nature, and I suggest that this is the reason right here. The data density and electricity savings that JINN provides are great, but the real design decision that has led to base 3 has been that they can now manufacture hardware that is superior at solving their own PoW calculations.
Binary emulation, is when a binary processor is asked to perform ternary operations. A binary processor is completely able to solve ternary hashes, but in order to do so it will need to emulate the ternary micro instructions at a higher level in the application stack from away from the hardware.
If you had access to a base 3 processor, and needed perform a base 3 addition operation you could easily ask your processor to natively perform that calculation.
If all you have access to, is a base 2 processor, you would need to emulate a base 3 number system in software. This would ultimately result in a higher number of instructions passing through your processor, more electricity being utilized, more time to complete.
Finally, let's review these figures.
It costs roughly $60k to acquire 1hash per second in BASE 2 consumer electrictronic. It costs roughly $2M to acquire enough BASE 2 hash rate to 34% the IOTA network.
JINN, will be specifically manufactured hardware that will solve base 3 hashes natively. What this likely means, is that $1 spent on JINN will be much more effective at acquiring base 3 hash rate then $1 spent on base 2 hash rate.
Finally, with bitcoin and traditional block chain applications there lies economic incentive to amass mining hardware.
It first starts out by a miner earning income from his mining rig. He then reinvests those profits on additional hardware to increase his income.
Eventually, this spirals into an arms raise where the players that are left in the game have increasingly available resources up until the point that there are only a handful of players left.
This economic incentive, creates a mass centralization of computing resources capable of being misused in a coordinated effort to attack a cryptocurrency.
IOTA aims to break this economic incentive, and the centralization that is causes. However, over the short term the fact that the centralization of such resources does exist is an existential peril to IOTA, and the COO is an inconvenient truth that we all have to live with.
Due to all the above, I think we can come to the following conclusions:
  1. IOTA will not be able to remove the COO until the transactions per second (and ultimately hashrate) increase by orders of magnitude.
  2. The performance of JINN processors, and their advantage of being able to compute natively on ternary operands and opcodes will be important for the value ratio of $USD / hash rate on the IOTA network
  3. Existing mining hardware is at a fundamental disadvantage to computing base 3 hashes when compared to a JINN processor designed specifically for that function
  4. Attrition of centralized base 2 hash power will occur if the practice of mining can be defeated and the income related to it. Then the incentive of amassing a huge amount of centralized computing power will be reduced.
  5. JINN processors, and their adoption in consume electronics (like cell phones and cars) hold the key in being able to provide enough "bursty" hash rate to defend the network from 34% attacks without the help of the COO.
  6. What are the super computer simulations? I think they are simulating a few things. They are modeling tip selection algorithms to reduce the amount of unverified transactions, however I think they may also be performing some simulations regarding the above calculations. JINN processors have not been released yet, so the performance benchmarks, manufacturing costs, retail costs, and adoption rates are all variables that I cannot account for. The IF probably has much better insight into all of those figures, which will allow them to better understand when the techno-economic environment would be conducive to the disabling of the COO.
  7. The COO will likely be decentralized before it is removed. With all this taken into account, the date that the COO will be removed is years off if I was forced to guess. This means, that decentralizing the COO itself would be a sufficient stop-gap to the centralized COO that we see today.
submitted by localhost87 to Iota [link] [comments]

The Problem with PoW

The Problem with PoW
Miners have always had it rough..
"Frustrated Miners"

The Problem with PoW
(and what is being done to solve it)

Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most commonly used consensus mechanisms entrusted to secure and validate many of today’s most successful cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin being one. Battle-hardened and having weathered the test of time, Bitcoin has demonstrated the undeniable strength and reliability of the PoW consensus model through sheer market saturation, and of course, its persistency.
In addition to the cost of powerful computing hardware, miners prove that they are benefiting the network by expending energy in the form of electricity, by solving and hashing away complex math problems on their computers, utilizing any suitable tools that they have at their disposal. The mathematics involved in securing proof of work revolve around unique algorithms, each with their own benefits and vulnerabilities, and can require different software/hardware to mine depending on the coin.
Because each block has a unique and entirely random hash, or “puzzle” to solve, the “work” has to be performed for each block individually and the difficulty of the problem can be increased as the speed at which blocks are solved increases.

Hashrates and Hardware Types

While proof of work is an effective