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Small reviews of (I think) all incremental games I've ever played on Android
I don't know if this will be useful to anyone. So I write a line or two about every game I play, and decided to find all the incremental in my game journal and post them here. It starts with the latest games I've played and I think goes back to several years back. One thing I've realized is I have such a love-hate-hate relationship with this genre since I think I've hated 90% of the games and 100% of myself after each incremental phase. I usually angrily stop playing them for a while and restart them again, so this is more or less a journal of addiction, I suppose. THE BEST GAMES I'VE PLAYED ARE THESE (no order):
Honorable Mention: Eggs, Inc The rest: more or less hated it Additional comment if you decide to scan through it, I complain a lot, so it is perfectly reasonable and normal to think, "why the fuck are you even playing these games, idiot??". ------ Time Idle RPG This game was confusing. It tells me the game's resources is time, where you get 1 of it every second, but that's not really something as unique as I assumed. It would have been cool if time as resources meant you used it to deal with something related to time. Maybe time travel? Maybe slowing and speeding time? Instead time as resource buys you stuff like a library. And then you buy a camp or something. Honestly, I wasn't really feeling it. 2 Path of Idling The biggest cardinal sin for me when it comes to incremental is when a game has a lot of features and it just completely throws them all at you instantly. The joy of a great incremental is how things slowly open up and each new achievement feels progress. The game is a RPG game and these are the things that opened up for me in the first few hours. Combat which includes normal fighting, dungeon, raid, boss, PVP (locked, but it just needs an ascend, which I haven't done) Skills Hero upgrades which include Passive (strength, defence, stamina, intelligence), Train, and a huge Tree Town which you can buy workers who get you various things like gold, orbs, knowledge, etc. You can upgrade stuff here. Quest that also includes Perks and Skill quests. Gear which 5 equipment slots, plus craft plus trade plus smelt Also gear for your Pet, which is also another tab! Now, here is the thing. Because I have all of this pretty much instantly, I don't really know which ones are helping me go past a well. How is adding 10 points in strength helping me? Should I have added five in strength instead and five in defence? I have already bought 20 or so upgrades in the Tree, but I have no idea if I am made the optimal choice. There is no real excitement with getting new gear. And so on. The dev has added a lot of features, now it's time to rework the game, and have the features take their time. 2 Idle Slayer The game is like a super simple platformer. Your character is running and any enemy it hits, it automatically slays it. There is no HP, and all enemies die in one shot. Your only active play is jumping occasionally to grab coins or hit the flying enemies. Also, you have a run skill that has a cool down. With the coins, we get new weapons that give us more coins. Enemies give us souls which is used for the prestige system that provides us with an interesting skill tree which provides a lot of choices on the path you want to do in terms of upgrades. So far excellent, however, the game has an extremely serious issue of pacing. The game initially progresses so fast that in the first hour or so, you get almost all the weapons aside from the last two, which then grinds down to a snail pace. You can upgrade your past weapons, but they never really get into play again. Reaching high levels of past weapons sometimes gave me upgrades of that weapon of 10,000% but they still did nothing to my overall coin per second. I think the pacing needs to be fully reworked. It would have been nice to get new weapons after certain prestige cycles, so that every new weapon feels like we have passed a significant wall. The best part of an incremental game for me is to face a wall, and when I finally break it, I feel powerful again for a while. This game feels like this though, powerful powerful powerful powerful WALL........break it....WALL. And so on. I'm still playing it as I want to get some of the skills, but I feel like it could have been so much better. 4 Exponential Idle A very back to the foundation kind of incremental. The premise is that you are a student and working on a formula. There is a neat story where as you progress in the game, your character progresses through university. Each upgrade gives you more and more automation until I reached a stage where I would check back once every 2 or 3 days, click a 2nd layer prestige reset, and close it. Meaning the game was something like 5 seconds of game player every 2 days. I just opened it for this review and realized I had reached the end game. The story wraps up and it tells me "You can take a rest. Travel a bit. Go outside!" NO, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO GAME. 3 Factoid Factoid & Spark should have the same review as they are almost the same game with only small differences. The games are the most basic kind of incremental, where you buy something with resources, until you get the next thing which gives you more of the resources. Both give you upgrades to speed things up, and finally prestige and it's own prestige upgrades. That's it. It's nice little change of pace from all the recent incremental that sometimes do too much, but obviously due to the very simple nature of it, it does eventually feel pointless, specially after you more or less open up everything and the prestige upgrades just keep repeating. 3 Spark Factoid & Spark should have the same review as they are almost the same game with only small differences. The games are the most basic kind of incremental, where you buy something with resources, until you get the next thing which gives you more of the resources. Both give you upgrades to speed things up, and finally prestige and it's own prestige upgrades. That's it. It's nice little change of pace from all the recent incremental that sometimes do too much, but obviously due to the very simple nature of it, it does eventually feel pointless, specially after you more or less open up everything and the prestige upgrades just keep repeating. 3 Antimatter Dimensions Easily top 5 incremental on mobile. Does everything perfectly. You progress nicely, and when new features open it, not only is it rewarding but more importantly, it keeps adding new dimensions (lol) to the game. I'd at the end game as I write this, and I realize that there was no point in the game where it felt stale. Each new prestige layer made the game feel fresh and almost like a new incremental game. 5 Melvor Idle It seems this game was mainly aimed at Runescape players, which is probably why it didn't click for me. It also run extremely slow on my phone which also played a part in me not really getting into. 2 A Girl Adrift The animation is really pretty and is a nice change of pace for incrementals, but I didn't really like the too much active play. Really had to keep going back and forth to different areas to do the fishing which got too repetitive for me. You travel to different areas of the map to catch fish, which you get points and then you upgrade stuff, but I didn't really find any real excitement about the upgrades because I kept having to go back to previous areas to fish similar creatures. 3 Archer: Danger Phone I'm really annoyed how terrible of a game this was. Two things I like, the TV show "Archer" and incremental games, and it's done in the most lazy manner. The game is the worst aspect of idle games where it's just a straight path of clicking the next upgrade with absolutely zero decision making. Every once in a while there is a mini game where Archer gets to shoot others but it's done in the most basic form of early 2000s flash games, where the animation budget is probably 3 dollars. Same static background and both enemies and Archer have just two animation frames. The absolute laziness of it is almost insulting to the player, because it feels like we aren't even worth the effort. There is an Archer story in the game which develops really fast, which is the only positive part, but no voice acting is again another evidence that the creators of the game weren't given any budget for this. 1 Home Quest This game is way too slow. You have to collect materials to build your settlement but everything takes time, so you click for a few seconds, and then you have to leave the game. Which I'm fine with, but the problem isn't the idle part of it, it's how the idle part of it combines with constant checking of the game which annoys me. I like an idle game where you forget to start the game for a day, you come up to a lot of resources, but this is a game which needs you to check back in every 30 minutes or an hour to really get anywhere. I felt that the micromanagement was getting worse as I progressed (without any actual thing to do when I am active in the game) that made me give up. 2 Idle Industry This is probably an interesting game, but I gave up because the one thing I really disliked was the amount of resources and manufacturing that very quickly opens to you. You can buy raw materials, and you can either sell these raw materials or turn them into finished goods and sell them either. And each of these has several upgrade options (increase selling price, increase production, etc). Without even really getting too deep into the game, I have around 20 raw materials and around 30 finished products. A satisfying part of this genre is to have things slow open up for you, which gives me a decent feeling of satisfaction. But the money I got would quickly open up new products, so I would just jump ahead and purchase more expensive ones, and after a while I had a lot of materials and products at zero, and was instead focusing on latter ones. 2 Masters of Madness Somewhat neat atmosphere and visuals, but too much active clicking. Click, upgrade to get more per clicks, get minions to get you some points without clicking, typical clicker, but with the added benefit of almost no idling. I like idling incrementals but clickers is a hard no from me. 1 Soda Dungeon 2 Basically similar to the first one, as far as I could tell. I did "finish" it but maybe I shouldn't have, since it really is the same thing from early on, specially once you get all the heroes and you kind of sort out which characters work best, then it's just the same. But because it was somewhat short and no real wall, it was at least easy to stick to it to the end. 2 Bacterial Takeover Played for a decent amount and was actually more interesting that I thought, given the buttload of ad incentives. You create and upgrade bacteria, attack planets, and eventually go into a blackhole to prestige. Most of the game was good, but the part that killed it for me was the prestige system. Once you prestige, planets get super easy to attack, which becomes a lot of active play. I realized that each prestige was taking me at least 30 minutes to get to where I was, and it was just meaningless clicking. It got to a point where I was putting off prestige because it seemed like it would be a hassle so I stopped. 2 LogRogue Cute graphics. The hero sort of hopping to hit the tiny monsters is cute to look at, but how long can you look at it and do nothing before you realize that it's boring? I suppose this is a game where it's just not for me. I don't like to have my phone open on a game and just watch it like a crazy person and do nothing. My rule is simple for incrementals. While the app is open, be active, if there isn't any choices to make, close the app while resources build up or whatever. I don't like it being open while I do nothing. 3 A Kittens Game Incremental games are so strange. I get in and out of the phases. I loved this for so long and so obsessively that I wanted to only play incremental games. And then, just like that, I was wondering why the fuck I was wasting my time with this. Has happened countless times before. But still probably the best incremental ever. 5 A Dark Room An incremental cult classic of sorts but I don't find it really matches the genre. There is a bit of incremental at the beginning with people huts and stuff but then its just a ascii exploring game, which wasn't interesting to me. 2 Little Healer Saw it mentioned in the Reddit incremental forum in one of the posts and thought it was a healer themed incremental which sounded neat. But it's like being a healer in a raid in World of Warcraft without any if the extras. Just a couple of bars representing your team mates and you healing them while they fight the boss. I didn't even like playing the healer in WoW so no way would I play this game. 1 Clickie Zoo Started playing for a few days until I realized there a beta released with the dev reworking the game completely from scratch and releasing it as "Idle Zoo Tycoon". So, played that instead but this seemed like a game I would enjoy anyway. 4 Idling to Rule the Gods The UI and one drawing if your character is really ugly enough to be distracting to me. The game, seemed interesting and I eventually was into it, but seems like a game that has been constantly being updated, which is not always a good thing, because features are obviously updated regularly to it, making the whole thing a bit bloaty. I guess, this is the problem with this game for me, it's too fat. Also, one main part of the game is that your character creates Shadow Clones up to a maximum limit. Which is fine except the clones can't be made in offline mode. This might not be a big deal in its original web browser game but that doesn't work as well in a mobile format. 2 Realm Grinder This is one of the really popular incremental and it's fanbase seems to love it for it's depth, but to be honest, I don't play these games for the depth, I play it for the simple dopamine rush of doing the same thing over and over again. It relaxes. Although, I didn't even get to the depth part because I dislike games where it rushes in the beginning. I constantly bought buildings, got spells, and got upgrades without even looking at the description. Apparently, later on, we can get complicated race upgades, which seems not what I'm looking for in such a genre. 2 Spaceplan A short (!!) incremental with an actual story (!!!). That's two cool points for it but unfortunately, the game mechanics of increment genre isn't so good. It's a space game with nice visuals and a great ending (cool music set to cool graphics) but the game itself wasn't really that fun. This same exact game would have been better in a different genre (maybe something like "Out There"?) 3 Zombidle Felt like idle games again and this is the kind of examples that kept me away. Too much clicking and seems like advancement will start to get irritating since it relies on IAPs 2 Eggs, Inc While I was playing it, Eggs, Inc was probably my favorite Android game I had ever played. But like most incremental games, there comes a moment when I suddenly stop and think, what am I doing? Because there is something fascinating about Incrementals. Their addictiveness is in a way the whole point. An incremental is less of a game and more an act of electronic addictiveness. What's the point? Eggs, Inc is a very well made and fun incremental but even the best in its genre is still pointless. 4 Castle Clicker Supposedly a mix of incremental and city building but didn't really find out since the clickings were way to much. I know this is supposed to be the genre but I like the incremental part more than the tapping part. This seemed to be a good way to hurt your fingers. 2 Endless Era This RPG clicker game is like other such games but with horrible GUI and animations. Tap tap tap. It's my fault for downloading such games. Why would I ever think this would be fun??? 1 Idle Quote An incremental game with a unique twist. This time we get to make up quotes! The first negative about the game and this irritates me a lot is most of the quotes are fake. A quick search on Google and this proves it. Quotes are generally attributed to Buddha or Ghandi or shit like that and it's usually fake like most quotes on the internet. This kills the major possible advantage of the game because I thought coming up with arbitrary words would at least give me some quotes to learn. Aside from the this, the game isn't fun either because it slows down very quickly meaning you combine words very slowly at a certain stage of the game and then it becomes a boring grind. 2 Monster Miser An incremental game with almost no graphics. We just see character portraits of monsters which we buy and then upgrade until we buy the next monster. Eventually we prestige which gives us multipliers. The only game choice is choosing between two monsters with each new monster with unique benefits. Annoyingly there is a max limit which I wish didn't exist because I wanted to prestige so much that I would be over powerful in upgrading like that "Idle Oil Tycoon". Still, pointless but reasonably fun. 3 Pocket Politics An incremental take on politics sounds fun but it's so generic that it could have been about anything. A Capitalist idle game or a cooking idle game, it wouldn't matter. IAP was also the usual shitty kind. 1 Time Clickers A shooter incremental sounds like a cool twist but it's not a FPS like I imagined it would be. I'm just stuck in a room and I was shooting blocks. Upgrades didn't give me any enjoyment since I was shooting fucking blocks. 1 Tap Tap Fish - Abyssrium I thought this was going to be relaxing incremental but the ridiculous and generic IAPs and all the social integeration spoil it. Too much time is spent in them asking you to buy or share or tweet or post or give them a blowjob. And there is nothing relaxing about that. 2 Cartoon 999 Incremental game about comic book writers, but not the marvel DC kind, it seemed to be the webcomic one and I think it's a Korean developer so all the characters and injokes made no sense to me. The whole thing was just targeted to a very specific audience. 2 Dungeon Manager Incremental games need to be simple but this is beyond simple, it's just upgrade a fighter to level 5, go to next dungeon character, do the same, and just continue without any of the delicious balancing of upgrades like other idle games. 2 Final Fortress Incremental games are already pointless but when it's super heavy on IAP than its also annoying, but when it always has bugs that doesn't register my offline earnings, then it just needs a uninstall in its face. The zombie skin was also crappy. 1 Mana Maker Here is how I know this clicker isn't very good. It doesn't make me hate all clickers and my life and mobile gaming in general for being so addictive and pointless. So fail, sorry. 2 Infinity Dungeon The usual incremental RPG that I should probably never play again. Starts simple enough and then gets more or a chore as you play. 1 Another incremental game which I had promised myself not to play anymore because they are so pointless and repetitive and endless. Well, this wasn't infinite and had a goal at 999 level so I thought it was good but while the humor was cute, the game did become very repetitive. Every 10 levels the slimes changed but after every 100 levels the whole thing restarted and while the monsters got stronger, I seemed to get even stronger. So the game became easier as I progressed and there was no more challenge. By level 800, I gave up. 2 Tap Dungeon RPG Okay, I'm running out of ways to complain about those incremental RPG games that all have similar problems. It starts off reasonably fast and fun but soon it seems like I am in a data entry job. Doing the same thing over and over again with little changes. 1 Dungeon 999 F: Secret of Slime Dungeon Another incremental game which I had promised myself not to play anymore because they are so pointless and repetitive and endless. Well, this wasn't infinite and had a goal at 999 level so I thought it was good but while the humor was cute, the game did become very repetitive. Every 10 levels the slimes changed but after every 100 levels the whole thing restarted and while the monsters got stronger, I seemed to get even stronger. So the game became easier as I progressed and there was no more challenge. By level 800, I gave up. 2 Tap Dungeon RPG Okay, I'm running out of ways to complain about those incremental RPG games that all have similar problems. It starts off reasonably fast and fun but soon it seems like I am in a data entry job. Doing the same thing over and over again with little changes. 1 Tower of Hero You start on the first floor of the tower and keep fighting your way up by summoning your heroes (by clicking) and recruiting other fighters, get upgrades, level up, and then, ugh, here is the typical incremental RPG part, restart, get items, and do it ALL over again. There is something fun about restarting and getting slowly stronger each time but it also feels so pointless after a while. Such a pointless genre now that I have played a billion of such titles, heh. 3 Pageboy Yet another incremental RPG which I have no idea why I downloaded because I'm sick of the genre. I played a pageboy to a knight who does the fighting while I collect the lot. I collect the loot, buy stuff for the knight, and eventually I restart to do the same thing again and get better items but this game I didn't even RESTART! Because fuck it! Fuck it! 2 Idle Warriors The story is cute. Human population is regressing while monster population is on the rise. So the humans start enslaving monsters to mine for them! The brave warriors beat the crap out of monsters, kidnap the bosses, and enslave them. The animation of monsters slaving away while speech balloons above them talk about their wife and children is funny. But the game itself is another RPG incremental which I should start staying away from. These games are like a chore for me nowadays because I'm doing the same crap again and again. The blame is probably on me because it seems like a reasonably solid game. But hey, fuck it, I PERSONALLY didn't enjoy it. 2 Tap! Tap! Faraway! Any game that is remotely like Tap Titan scares me. They are addictive at first and very fast moving but after every restart gets more and more annoying. It soon turns into a time eating activity with the player having to redo the initial levels to get relics to get better items to progress further to restart to get relics to and so on until the player realizes how much time he is putting in the game for a repetitive activity. 2 Auto RPG Now that is a title the game developers didn't spend too much time on. RPG battles are automatic but I can help out by clicking like a mad man. I started with one hero but would get additional members in my party as the story progressed. Party members receive skills as as they level up and while all the skill usage is automatic, it did give me a sense of progression which is extremely important in a RPG and which I think is usually lacking in incremental games. It usually starts feeling useless but in this game at least there are new maps, new members, and an actual end sight! There is an infinity stage once the last boss is defeated but I am glad the infinity stage happens AFTER the end and it's not the game itself. 4 Merchant Hire a hero and send on to battle. The battles is done automatically and takes time, starts with something short like 10 seconds with each battle taking longer. The loot is raw materials which can be used to craft equipment which also takes real life time with better items taking longer. The crafted items can either be sold or equipped to the hero to make him be able to fight stronger monsters. I was worried I would hate the longer crafting and fighting times because I hate games which I have to watch for a task to finish but even though the durations for longer, I had more to do. However, I don't know what would have happened in the end game because I gave up on it. New maps were exactly like the first map just with different heroes but the progression was similar in each level which felt that I was doing the exact same thing all over again but with longer task times. 2 Idle Oil Tycoon This is the best idle game I played. It's graphics aren't just minor, they are none existent. It's just numbers, so basic that my sister thought I was on a stock market app. It's such a simple concept. Invest, get oil, upgrade then like other idlers restart to get a bonus and do the full thing all over again. When I finished the game, I played the unlimited mode which I played until the unlimited mode couldn't handle the numbers anymore. 5 Soda Dungeon This kind-of Idle Dungeon was great. I started with weak ass fighters who would fight on my behalf while I collected the loot. I then got to use the lot to upgrade the sofa bar to recruit more adventurers. Not sure why it was a sofa bar. Maybe they wanted to make it a family game and not have alcohol? Sounds weird but the sofa element in a RPG game sounds weirder. The game only hit a brick for me when, like most other incremental games, there is no real closure. Once I thought I bet the big bad guy, it just goes on, harder but similar enough with no end in sight. Eventually, we have to stop playing right, but it always feels a bit like a let down when I don't feel like I have finished the game. 4 10 Billion Wives Kept Man Life The two games from this company, 10 Billion Wives and Kept Man Life, have similar strengths and weaknesses. I liked the silly premises from both. In 10BM, I had to get married as much as I could, using the loves I collect to marry more expensive wives! In KML, I'm a boyfriend who doesn't work and I have to please my career gf so she would take care of me. Both start reasonably fast and I was willing to grind through difficult parts but the end game is like a brick wall. Passing through it to get all the achievements is pretty much impossible unless one puts in way too many hours. And it's a shame because I really wanted to get all the achievements to see all the tiny little extra stuff. 3 Adventure Capitalist One of the better incremental games, but now that I am out of the short lived incremental fan phase, I realized how dumb the genre is. Tap, tap, tap, upgrade, do this a million times, reset, and do it all over again like a moron. The game does deserve credits for me acting like a moron and playing it for so long but I also cheated and got free cash and then if occupying became even more pointless. 3 The Monolith A combination of an incremental and a civilization building game seemed like an excellent idea and in some ways, it was, specially how we get to upgrade through the ages from cavemen to futuristic. But no offline feature means that the resets aren't enticing. 2 USSR Simulator An incremental game that has a great theme (USSR!) but absolutely horrible to enjoy, even though I did stick to it. After a certain upgrades, the game just turned into me popping in the game, clicking an upgrade and then forgetting about the game for a few days. 2 RPG Clicker They should call these games tappers not clickers. We are not clicking anything on a touchscreen device. Anyway, tap tap tap level up buy weapons tap tap and uninstall. 1 Logging Quest Logging Quest 2 [Review is for the original and its sequel] There is not much of a difference between the game. I actually played them both at the same time because the actual game is offline. You choose your hero, send them to a dungeon, and then come back to the game after a while to see how well they did. I thought an offline RPG like this might be interesting but then, if you don't really play a game, how much fun can it be? 1 Another pointless incremental. I was in an incremental phase and got so many incremental games that I know realize were absolutely pointless. Hit a tree, buy upgrades, get a new hero, and continue hitting a tree. Not much offline it seems which is what I like about incrementals. 1 Galaxy Clicker A space incremental that should have been a lot of fun. You get to upgrade your spaceship and buy new ones and explorer new planets. But first of all, the interface is so ugly that it makes playing the game less enjoyable. And a lot of things I didn't really get no matter how much I would play like the full exploring planets. The spaceships were nice, so it could have been fun. 2 Megatramp A pretty pointless incremental kind of game. You are a tramp and then you can collect money to buy upgrades to make more money, with no strategy needed, nor any effort needs to be made to hurt your brain cells. 1 Inflation RPG It supposed to be some kind of incremental RPG, I think, which has you resetting and getting more powerful and then fighting monsters to get insane levels. It is very unique but I couldn't get into it. 2 Widget RPG Are you fucking with me? This is button bashing rpg in the most extreme manner. You get a widget, so you don't even have to open the game and distract yourself from the button bushing. Just click the button and the game plays behind the scenes and gets you experience, loot, and kills. It's a ridiculous idea that is fun for a few minutes to see what they come up with but there is only so much button bashing you can do. 2 Capitalist Tycoon I downloaded this game because I was in an incremental/idle game phase and really enjoyed AdVenture Capitalist. But this game is nothing like that. On the surface, it seems similar, buy small investments, make money, buy bigger investments, and so on. But with this game, there is no offline mode, and you keep having to wake up managers, AND the goal is to see how much you make in one year. Bah. I prefer the incremental approach which makes you build and build and build, not try to rush it in just a year. 2 Clicking Bad An incremental clicking game that is themed after Breaking Bad. It is a fun idea it's a very simple game with little to do aside from the obvious of upgrading and upgrading. The only twist might be to balance out making lots of money selling drugs and not attracting the law but even that is only a small challenge at the start. Eventually, you will get enough upgrades to bring the law risk so down that it makes no impact on the game play. 2 Zombie Tapper A super basic incremental clicker game with a zombie team. Click click click to eat brains, use brains (?) to buy zombies to do the brain eating for you and then buy upgrades for your zombies, and buy new zombies and it all feels very pointless. 1 Bitcoin Billionaire I started to enjoy incremental games, but it needs to have a good offline mode, because I don’t want to just play a game where I keep tapping. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t play. I played it, and I played a lot of it, because I could reset the game (like most incremental games) and it gives you a small benefit where you could finish the full game a bit faster (it gives you bonus income). So, I kept finishing and resetting, and each time the start to finish would shorten, so I thought I would reach a stage where I could finish each start-to-finish in an instant! It didn’t happen. I got bored first. 3 Tap Titan An addictive tapping game. Just tap on the creatures, level up, get new skills, hire heroes, and then reset and to it all over again to progress further. It’s an incremental game where it depends on resets to progress, but no real offline bonus, so you have to be playing online. Which got boring, so I installed an app that does the tapping for me, which is actually a stupid way to play the game, but this isn’t an attempt to prove to anyone my intelligence. Anyway, thankfully something went wrong and my progress got deleted, WHICH WAS A GOOD THING, because the game was extremely addictive. 4 God Squad I’ve realized most incremental games are stupid. Tap on monsters to kill, collect gold, buy Roman Gods, level them up, fight other monsters, and then get bored. 1
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I know I shouldn't have done it. I know, okay?! I was just curious and, and... So, how did I get here? Well, let me tell you. My name is Sarah. I am currently investigating something you may know of: the Deep Web. It all started a few years ago as an internship for Barry Stocks. The shadiest person on the block, known for being a total scumbag. Barry had approached me on the street, asking if I wanted to make some cash. I was desperate, okay? So, I said yes. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. You see, Barry runs a webpage known as "The Truth." The Truth is a site where people can be informed of all things going on in the Deep Web and the Dark Web. The site is obscure, mostly used by your average person who loves all things conspiracy and, um, the "weirdos." You can probably guess where I'm getting at with that. Anyways, I started my work for Barry. He showed me how to access the Deep Web safely and securely. Soon enough, I was on it almost every day of the week, writing down facts, onion links, disturbing websites in which I would inform law enforcement (Barry said it was okay, I never got arrested). If I'm honest, I was terrified when Barry said that I would be investigating the Deep Web. Wouldn't anyone? Mind you, I didn't want to be kidnapped or murdered! Everything worked out fine, I guess. Until today. My morning started normally. Wake up, take a shower, eat, feed the cat, and leave for work. Once I arrived at the office, something seemed...off. Only two of my other co-workers and I were here. One including my friend Charlie. Usually, there are at least six other people in this tiny office...where did they all go? I felt a hand on my shoulder, my whole body tensed. "Hey, hey," Barry laughed, "It's just me!" He walked in front of me, looking neurotic. Something was wrong. He's never placed his hands on me like that before, and he sure as hell never looked so anxious. Charlie looked up at me. She knew something was up too. "Is something wrong?" My voice sounded sarcastic as if I didn't care. Barry seemed to be rocking back and forth, avoiding my question. Why is he acting in such a way? My desk was only a few footsteps away, so I made my way towards it. Today I would be going deeper into the more appalling sites. I was slightly skittish. I had gone far, but never this far. I felt my fingers tapping across the keyboard, making sure everything was secure before I started typing in some links Barry had given me. Soon enough, I was on my way. Barry had told me about his experience with this in the past. Now listen, Sarah. Barry had said. I have been doing this much longer than you have. I have come across some of the most disturbing, nauseating, and alarming websites out there. I trust you to not look into something that could get you in trouble. Like I did. He had stopped talking and walked away. When he said that to me, it seemed as if he was linked to something disturbing. No! Don't think that way. My mind was racing as I typed in the first onion link. The page came up, shining in a mysterious blood-red hue. I rolled my eyes. All of these pages seem to be made in the most terrible way possible. I skimmed the page, looking for anything useful. This site seemed to be related to torturing someone. Gruesome images were in the corners of the page. You could see the pain of the people in those pictures. Holy hell. My stomach flipped and my face flushed. What was I to think about this? Was it even real? How did Barry find this link? I never, not once in my career (If you can even call it that), came across something like this. I looked over to Barry. He was on the phone, speaking very fast in a hushed tone. He glanced at me and caught me staring. I immediately looked back at my computer. This is fake.It has to be. The webpage states to receive the coordinates to the "torture," I need to pay 0.8 Bitcoin. That's about 8,000 USD! What the hell? It seems...cheap. I felt a presence behind me, so I turned around. Barry? "Can you come with me, please?" This...was odd. Why is Barry being so weird? He normally just talks to me from his desk. He never comes up behind me. Charlie looked at me. I shrugged my shoulders towards her and stood up to follow him outside, "What's wrong, Barry?" "You see, Sarah, I think It's time for me to let you go." "What do you mean?! I've been working for you longer than almost anyone in there! You can't just fire me! What did I do wrong? I'll-" "Sarah. You have been a good employee. You looked at that site and didn't tell me. I saw what was on your computer when I was behind you. You weren't going to tell me, were you?" "I know I shouldn't have done it. I know, okay?! I was just curious and, and..." So here we are. This is what led up to that moment. I should have known something he said was off. Why did I have to tell him about the site if he had already given me the link? "Forgive me for what is about to happen," Barry said. Huh? What does he me- I felt hands grab my neck and something poking into my body. What? I let out a strangled yelp as some cloth was put over my mouth and nose. I struggled to be free. The last thing I saw was Barry smiling as my limp body got thrown into a vehicle. Then everything went dark. ... When I woke up, my head felt nebulous. I allowed my eyes to open. What is this? My body was positioned awkwardly in a chair and ropes dug into my skin. I looked up and could make out a room. The lights were dim so I could hardly see anything. My eyes filled with tears. Someone help me. I heard footsteps then, a door opening. My body became rigid with sheer terror. Please don't hurt me. "I see you're awake." Barry? "Yes, It's me, Barry," He said as if reading my thoughts, "do you know where you're at?" I didn't move, I couldn't move. Barry laughed. It sounded awkward and clipped. "Come on, everyone!" Footsteps, that seemed to be all I heard. How many people? I couldn't seem to come up with a logical number. My head hurts. "Ooh, who's this beautiful young woman?" "Wow! Such a good pick!" Who is that? I can't see anyone! I can't see a thing! "This is Sarah. She's been working with me for about two years," Barry started, "now, Sarah. Do you know how you came to be in such an awful predicament?" I struggled in the ropes, tears leaking from my eyes. I need to get out. "I suppose not!" Barry continued, "Well, you see, I learned tons of information as we worked together. Your address, your telephone number, everything and everyone that is important to you and more! All of that critical information is in my hands now. Did you see that list of links I provided? I knew you would start from top to bottom. Remember the first site you came across today? I wanted you to see it, and you did! Now, the pictures of your body will be all over the site! It will be more, what's the word? Auspicious! I suppose you could say the way I've done this was adroit." The lights weren't dim anymore. I could see clearly. I craned my neck to look behind me. As soon as I did, I felt something strike my face. I shrieked in pain and heard the room explode with laughter. Someone, anyone, help me. I heard a weird sound. A pop. Gun? My body was trembling furiously. "The hell was that?" Someone called out. More pops. They were getting closer. "I'll go look," Barry said. "No, you won't." Charlie? "Surprise, surprise!" I looked behind me and gasped. Charlie had arrived...with law enforcement! Soon enough, the room was being cleared out. But then, I felt a hand on my arm. My eyes shot up. Barry? "I'll kill you." "No, you won't," an officer had his gun pointed to Barry, "I don't think so." I saw Barry quickly move his hand to his pocket. That's when another shot rang into my ears. Nothing was touching me anymore. Barry was dead. Charlie ran over to me and helped me get to the ambulance outside. I was alive. I survived.
I stared at my bright computer screen. My eyes felt heavy, and my fingers trembled nervously with each key press. We'd already been awake for more than five days, during which time twenty-eight players had died. “I don't wanna die,” Louis typed into the chat. “I'm not so sure you will, there's only the two of us left. I can't keep this up much longer.” The game had seemed so simple. A competition to see who could stay awake the longest, and the winner would receive enough money to last a lifetime. For someone like myself, without a social life, nor a job to attend, it was the perfect opportunity. Thirty players had received an invitation, all active participants of an international dark web forum. We were just required to fill in some necessary information, including a bitcoin wallet to where the money would be sent. After clicking submit, I was given a time, and a list of simple rules to follow: 1: Both your web camera and microphone must be activated for the entire duration of the competition. 2: There won't be any bathroom breaks. Plan accordingly. 3: You're not allowed to seek out the physical location of the other contestants. 4: There can only be one winner. As I eagerly awaited for the first bit of excitement I'd seen in months, I stocked up on the necessary supplies; mostly energy drinks, snacks and a bucket. Once the time of the competition started, I clicked the provided link. I was faced with a black screen, only comprised of thirty names and a chat box. I could gain access to each of the competitors camera feed by clicking on their user name, but the chat itself was global. “I guess no one here speaks English?” Insomnia90 said. A few of the participants responded with broken sentences. It seemed that out of the thirty members of the chat, only myself and Insomnia90 were native speakers. Two days went by in the blink of an eye, and seven players had already left the game in silence. I spent most of my time watching movies and chatting to Insomnia90, who I'd come to know as Louis. He was a Canadian university student on break, bored out of his mind. “Hey, check out the German guy, he's about to pass out,” Louis said. I clicked on his username. It would be the first participant we'd actually see falling asleep. His eyes were already half closed, and his body shifted towards the edge of his chair. We chuckled at the guy, as we got one step closer to victory. Not long after, his consciousness wandered of the edge, and fell into a deep pit of sleep. Only a second passed, before his eyes shot back open in horrified panic, as he clutched his ears and screamed in agony. His body started twitching uncontrollably in all the wrong direction, and blood poured from his nose and ears. It looked as if his brain had been scrambled to pieces inside his own head. Within a minute, he fell over dead. His face softly resting on the keyboard. “What the fuck was that?” I asked. “Is he dead?” Louis replied. I frantically started clicking on every other username, checking if anyone else was about to fall asleep. “Check the Swedish one!” I said. Sure enough, he'd drifted off no more than a minute earlier. Suddenly his eyes shot open and he seized just like the German had before him. Another minute, and he just added to the rapidly growing pile of corpses. We warned the others as best we could. Only a few of them seemed to get the message, each getting out from their chairs in an attempt at fleeing. Alas, no sooner had they decided to run, before they dropped dead on the floor. “Oh fuck, oh God! We're going to die, aren't we?” Louis half asked, half stated. “I guess only the winner survives...” I typed back. Three days passed. During that time, we made numerous attempts at contacting the outside world; phone calls, emails, messages, they were all blocked. Louis and I were the only players left, keeping each other awake as we futilely searched for a way out. I'd already ran out of supplies, so if sleep deprivation didn't get me, dehydration would. Then I noticed that Louis hadn't spoken in a few minutes. “Louis, no! Wake the fuck up!” I called out to no avail. He had already died. As he left the game, I was declared the winner. Twenty-nine people had died, and I was gifted an unfathomable amount of cash. Since then, I've been searching for Louis' family. Even if they weren't close, I want them to know that he was a good person up until the end. I'm so sorry, I wish it had been me. WATCH
There is a web of invisible slime that reaches out from the artificial traditions of psychological think tanks, like The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, whose roots trace back to the Vienna Psychology Club; a web that stretches across the entire world and inserts itself into your lives in intrusive, unethical and corrupt ways. Groups are deceiving you for a dollar, for a vote, for your personal information, for your labor; for your body and soul. This deception is carried out using every screen you look at, every song offered to you, every sign on a billboard, every popular book, magazine and newspaper. If you want honest information; if you want to see past the slime, you are going to have to look hard for it. If you are just starting down your journey of being cognizant of the deception, the scope is difficult to believe but well borne out by the evidence. We all know the news is dishonest, but the common myth is that it is for the ratings and for the views. The ways in which the news is dishonest is what is really difficult for people to swallow and the “why” still very much in debate until you understand the framework by which they operate. Systemic corruption is no exception to the march of modernization; more sophisticated than ever and more capable of staying hidden to the average person. Modern day slavers control the narrative and the reason it is a spiritual conflict between good and evil is because there are a very small group of people who believe that stealing your agency/free will/consciousness lends itself to their ability to become gods, in their own right. Understanding that the elite have deep occult traditions is important, though often scoffed at. However, to advertise their power and influence, occult messages are constantly and publicly advertised back and forth between these groups. It is no theory that think tanks have studied and implemented cult behavior even going so far as to create artificial cults in which to entrap people. Faceless, emotionless, unempathetic organizations that are merely constructed of words on paper are able to impose these cult tactics on you with impunity and in secrecy. This is the heart of the problem; when it comes to an organization, company, agency, church, etc., these abstract constructs are very much not human, at all. Their existence is alien and unknown to human instincts, who assign human attributes naturally and without conscious thought. These constructs take advantage of normal, honest, empathetic individuals by mimicking empathy, not by actually being empathetic. There are more slaves, now, than ever in human history and the methods of enslaving are far more insidious than ever. Modern slavery networks and the corrupt political ecosystems that allow them to endure are the heart of mankind’s problems. If we, as a society, were able to address the corruption that keeps these networks alive, then we, as society, would solve a lot of problems surrounding organized crime, in general, not just the problem human trafficking. How do we do that? It is very simple; “Zero Trust” policies in organizations and 100% government transparency. That’s it. A great deal of time, effort and money are spent making sure these issues never hit the ballot box and are never part of the platform of a candidate you are given the option to vote for. The movies you watch are constantly reminding you of dangers that allow a select group of idiots to maintain secrecy that is undeserved and clearly wielded for uses other than helping society. Common sense solutions are not prioritized by the media and politicians. Don’t be a part of the destruction of common sense and common courtesy. Stop taking the bait. Stop taking the path of least resistance. We are all guilty, but pushing yourself to be better and do better has a ripple effect in the world around you. Being a terrible person also has a ripple effect. There are enough bad ripples. The concept of an “epiphany” is an important one; where a person’s mind changes on a physical, neurochemical level to the extent that their world view changes. The moment a person is “red pilled” is an epiphany and it is very much the concern of media and Internet shills and their manipulative overlords because they do not want people to have the realization that the system is corrupt from top to bottom and that both sides of most narratives. But, if you do have that realization, there is a plan for you; to do nothing and sit idly by as corrupt forces continue their work. When you have an epiphany, the neurochemical storm actually is a moment where you are most suggestible and most ready to be manipulated. If you manage to raise your level of awareness across multiple narratives, the system almost doesn’t need to care about you, anymore, as they have likely already moved you to inaction and made you unwilling to tell others the truth. While there is a great deal of science that goes behind manipulating people, the tradition is as old as human history, itself; it’s origins, magical from the perspective of the ancients. Whether you call mass manipulation “hypnosis,” “psychology,” “magic” or “science,” the fact of the matter is that it is there in a more constant form than ever, impossible to avoid, and invisible to those who aren’t paying attention or willing to research and think for themselves. Like the idea of dark matter, you cannot see it directly (at least, when done well), but should be able to test and compare data data in different circumstances to detect it. There are many confirmed real world examples of mass manipulation that people should be aware of, because it is very easy for people to believe that it is not happening to them. Many say that is too big of a conspiracy to keep secret; though we already see how it works with a variety of leaks, court cases and plenty of proven real world examples. If you encounter this argument, you have probably encountered someone who is hypnotized into misunderstanding the word “conspiracy”, where a group of people work together to commit crimes. One easy way to create a consensus across media organizations is to enter into “non disparagement agreements.” For example, HBO entered into a non-disparagement agreement with Michael Jackson’s attorneys. A recent court case established that the agreement remains in effect even after his death. This means, with the right law firm, someone can enter into many unknown non disparagement agreements with many companies. It sounds weird, but this is like black magic. Occult literally means hidden. Secret words have been spelled out that the public is not aware of, but creates the illusion that there is a consensus about any given personality; like say a politician, a singer or an actor. A web of mutual non-disparagement agreements works as a form of forensic interruption, preventing people being held accountable for crimes. Between non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements, there is a web of protected relationships where people, products and even governments are not allowed to be discussed in a negative light. This has created an extortion racket by the media. If you don’t buy in, then you are fair game. Not only are you fair game, they will harass you until you buy in because they literally need something to do due to their lack of ability to speak negatively about their cohorts. When you consider the nexus between government and media, the problem is compounded when you introduce the concept of keeping things secret for national security. Policy has created the circumstance that corporate and secret government interests are intertwined and they become aligned in keeping each other out of jail. While a lot of this is managed at upper echelons, the system is merely taking advantage of human nature, which is why the government and media should be operating from a “zero trust” standpoint and not the other way around, like it currently is. There is and never has been any reason to trust the media or the government, and doubly so when their interests are aligned. There are many proven real world examples. The first ingredient to modern mass hypnosis is saturation and repetition. Your first clue that the message is artificial is when many corporate, government and astroturfing battlegrounds all agree on the same thing. Not only is a contrived message oft-repeated, it is generally very polarized; where, due to cognitive bias, it is designed for consumption by both sides with the ideal result of making one side feel schadenfreude and the other side feel outrage and injustice. Just being aware of this polarization tactic and allowing yourself to have more nuanced opinions that the black or white ones offered up to you, is incredibly effective at not taking the bait. “Systems Psychodynamics” is the name of the psychological framework that is used to monitor and control people, primarily based on attacking and reforming “basic assumptions.” By controlling everyone’s basic assumptions using the repetitious push and pulling narratives, the levers of political and monetary behavior are controlled through “influencers.” This framework reads like it was written for social media, though, in reality, it is much older; social media merely enhances the effects. One easy way to detect the agenda and the widespreadness of the corruption, without even knowing the finer points of mass persuasion techniques, is to see what is censored. Generally, the astroturfing campaigns seek to drown out good information that is contrary to their cause. However, when you find some information that is very damaging to their narrative, especially before they’ve scripted a response, it gets removed. Eventually, they will write up a standard response, but this takes time. For this reason, I incubate a number of censorship experiments across multiple sites. While people easily get away with discussions about aliens and flat earth, conversations about modern slavery are shut down everywhere; particularly if you call people to action in reporting crimes. Sites that purport to be “free speech” will not allow you to openly hunt human traffickers and the “system” seems to hate vigilantes more than anything. Most recently, the censorship around Covid “truth” is heaviest. Censorship of doctors has been swift and totalitarian. However, because I see generally what gets censored, first, I knew this was all a scam from Day One. The first SARS COV 2 tests, up until March, were merely SARS COV tests. Very literally. The SARS COV 2 tests hadn’t been invented, yet. Explaining that the body produces the CR3022 protein (what the antibody tests look for) for all human affecting coronaviruses was heavily censored. Even now, explaining this basic fact that exposes why a great deal of testing is fraudulent, is struck from both Right and Left astroturfing machines. If you really want a rabbit hole to dig through, search the coronavirus pandemic bonds that matured March 23, 2020. Prior to that, the name “Eric Ciaramella” was one of the most censored things on the Internet. Censored, in that the information was deleted immediately. The motivations behind these multi-site censorship campaigns should have everyone concerned because it is consistently in support of Democrat and RINO narratives, politically, and always in favor of human traffickers. However, even the Q Anon group will censor you with a variety of tactics if you speak of certain things in the wrong way or mention the possibility that they, themselves, are part of an astroturfing outfit. Fox News still won’t give a fair shake to the Uranium One/Skolkovo/Troika Laundromat evidence and it betrays them as controlled opposition/ a limited hangout, since it would destroy the Democrats. Any “side” of politics you can be on, whether it’s fringe or mainstream or Right or Left, every group has limits to what truthful statements they will tolerate and the nexus where all the groups meet in alignment is when it comes to discussing modern day slavery and who is profiting from it. Simply removing content is very overt and complaining about it to those who do it will usually earn you a mute or a ban. Running a “brand” across multiple platforms requires conformity to social media company ideologies, or you will be subjected to any and all means of censorship. Covert means of censorship are also rampant. Upvotes.Club offers a service that not only promotes the content you want, but downvotes topics that run contrary to your marketing strategy. This is one of many astroturfing services. Shadow banning is another tactic that can be difficult to detect. “Deboosting” is common in social platforms, as well, where the number or type of viewers who see your content is limited. This breeds “echo chambers” across multiple Internet communities. Out of frustration and curiosity, I began experimenting with different ways to engage with the shill communities. Very often, their own tactics work quite well against them. Years into this push and pull with these groups, my best strategy has evolved to monitor them as they often telegraph economic opportunity and subvert them from behind a layer of complexity a shill script can’t understand and is unable to deal with. When I noticed Bitcoin was being heavily shilled, I saw a signal to buy early. This was the catalyst for rethinking everything I was doing. When I noticed that there was blatant fraud in the media about SARS COV 2, I noticed the exact same behavior I had seen before when I struck it rich with Bitcoin. I even went to my audience and said on a podcast, “the market will be back to normal levels in a month… six tops.” I bought the dip, knowing the numbers were fully overblown. My $TSLA experience has been quite enriching. Every day, in the stock trading communities, shills are looking to pump and dump stocks and groups are spending money to illegally manipulate the stock market. However, you can use different ways to monitor social media to detect potential pumps and dumps. If you start seeing the same thing show up on different platforms, among different known shill groups, you know someone has paid for a pump and dump. So long as you have a set, small percentage to gain, you can avoid the pitfalls and get out early. Right now, that is my “edge”, in trading. I don’t feel nearly as obligated to spread the truth to others, since I’ve realigned my priorities. These technological tools for being the first to news items, to new evidence, finding new ways of searching existing information; not only does it help you navigate past censorship, you can use it to make more “realistic” decisions about the world around you. Politics and the stock market are inextricably linked. To be informed on one, is to be informed on the other. When you begin to pull in more intersecting information, like “systems psychodynamics” and overall agendas of differing groups, you are expanding your knowledge and your consciousness so that your intellect has more of a real world impact. When you delve deep into ancient traditions, you will, eventually, learn of alchemy; usually the pursuit of endless wealth or the search for immortality. Day trading well is, essentially, modern day alchemy in that you are making money from thin air. Musicians transform what is in their mind into a product that can be sold. There are many forms of alchemy. Bitcoin is another great example of modern day alchemy. In my humble opinion, augmenting your own well-disciplined intellect with good computing practices can make you a modern day wizard; an alchemist. Many people were saturated with pro-Nihilism marketing and ate it up with their Cheerio's while listening to Nirvana CDs. A couple of generations of nihilists later, combined with portable dopamine trap screens from waking moment 'til slumber, and people are literally having a hard time finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Being a successful trader heals a lot of the damage from that consumerist propaganda and forces people to interact with the natural causes of their decision making. The Market is not racist. The only color you have to worry about is green. The market does not celebrate your success or mock your failures. The opinions of critics do not count. The Market does not care about your feelings or anyone else's. All people enter the Market equal and there are no participation awards. There is no busywork. Your test scores do not matter. All that matters are results and that type of black and white simplicity makes the Market the most sane aspect of society, right now. Though most of the obvious stocks have since reached preCovid normality, it has been easy to make money by sorting every ticker by Feb 20 high, then subtract the current price, calculate potential gain when they return to their old price and pick ones that had a high probability of doubling or tripling your money the fastest. I understand it seems tangential, the stock market angle, but when you are routinely called a “conspiracy theorist”, it helps to be as realistic as possible and there is no better way to prove your theories than by putting your money where your mouth is. The stock market is a vessel from which normal people (”retail investors”) are scammed constantly, for the benefit of institutional investors. The Epsteins, the Soros’, all the political elite; they are playing in this realm and they graduated to using AI and machine learning to augment their schemes years ago. In order to understand the elite, you have to understand their playground. In order to compete in the information age, you need to augment your intellect using technology. If nothing else, use it to be meticulously organized. If you get organized in only one aspect of your life, make it your finances. The Democratic party uses the ADA AI, named from Ada Lovelace and a competitor, in 2016, Cambridge Analytica, was used by the Republicans. These AI’s are augmented with databases and metadatabases of everything that can be served up by a social media APIs. They know everything about you and they don’t spy on your microphones, cameras and screenshots to catch you at crimes; they are spying on you in order to better teach you how to vote and spend money. Combined with an army of astroturfing accounts, these AIs are quite good at manipulating what shows up on your screen. This type of censorship is bad for stock traders, researchers and people who just want a few honest answers. In order to compete a bit better, I have taken to making by own custom feeds and scrapers, so that I can database text of many sites and subjects, which then is far easier to search, but is also able to sort information so that I can find what I am looking for in a few minutes, as opposed to trawling the same channels or search engines everyday and learning relatively little. I am really on the hunt for stuff that is voted up or noticed organically and is in that stage before it catches on by a shill group. I incorporate a lot of OSINT tools and I like to collect leaked databases to be able to compare information. It is very helpful to use machine learning to detect what I need as quickly as possible and serve it up to me, first. Applying my own knowledge of how the astroturfing system works, I have developed strategies to target influencers with new and original information and I can quickly and easily get it to them without influencers even knowing I am the source of the information. I just have to identify the correct group to get my message out, then make sure their leaders see the information, who will naturally post it on their own and their followers will naturally vote information up for free. I don’t do this with stocks (questionable legality), but I do feed good news to the right people and I exert a lot less effort to get ideas across all platforms than I used to. No astroturfing groups are into anti-consumerist ideas. “Hydro Homies” and “No Fap” are two great examples that recommend people be anti-consumerist and avoid specific products. As a result, these movements, despite being healthy and productive, have a lot of trouble gaining traction. There is no mainstream push for a truly healthy agenda. All contrived movements must pay to astroturf and shill because, otherwise, embracing their products and ideas is contrary to your well being. No shill group is working to save you money or trying to convince you to make the right decision, for yourself. There are certain messages almost no one will add social media velocity to; detailed instructions on how to report crimes or catch pedophiles, leaked information that hurts both sides of the political spectrum, anything a little too technical or complex. There are already efforts to make hijack the anti-human trafficking crowd. They will be tricked into meaningless pursuits that have no real world consequence. Money will be raised and wasted. News article after news article will be pumped out detailing how everyone is supporting victims and raising awareness. Meanwhile; nobody of consequence is arrested. The mining industry will continue to use forced labor and the networks they use will also feed the sex slavery and domestic servitude and the systemic policies and corrupt politicians will continue on unimpeded. Let’s hope that changes, but it will require a lot more people getting off their asses and getting involved. It will require a lot more people speaking up outside of their echo chambers. Ready. Set. Go.
XRP Isn’t A Security, Declares Former CFTC Chairman
https://preview.redd.it/8yehv8lzsce51.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=69f0a6eb4973a5a9974e42d15709434719a26a81 When Chris Giancarlo was the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission he became a rock-star of sorts in certain corners of the cryptocurrency community, helping establish criteria that eventually led to bitcoin and ethereum being declared commodities, more like coffee or sugar than stock in a company. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission largely followed suit, eventually also declaring that bitcoin and ether, the cryptocurrency powering the ethereum blockchain weren’t securities. Now chairman emeritus Giancarlo, who was deemed “Crypto Dad” following an impassioned speech he gave to Congress where he credited bitcoin for finally getting his kids interested in finance, is at it again, having co-written a detailed argument published this morning in the International Financial Law Review for why XRP, the cryptocurrency formally known as “ripples,” was also not a security. The only problem is he’s no longer a regulator. In fact, his employer is on the payroll of Ripple, the largest single owner of XRP, whose co-founders actually created the cryptocurrency. The bombshell paper, titled, “Cryptocurrencies and U.S. Securities Laws: Beyond Bitcoin and Ether,” co-authored by commodities lawyer Conrad Bahlke of New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, methodically reviews the criteria of the Howey Test, established by the SEC in 1946 to determine whether something is a security, and point-by-point argues that XRP does not qualify. Rather, the paper argues, like its name would indicate, cryptocurrency is a currency of perhaps more interest to the Federal Reserve and central banks than securities regulators. What’s at stake here to the cryptocurrency world cannot be overestimated. XRP is now the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, with $5.9 billion worth of the asset in circulation according to cryptocurrency data site Messari. While Ripple was valued at $10 billion according to its most recent round of funding, the company continues to fund itself in part by selling its deep war chest of 55.6 billion XRP, coincidentally valued at the same amount as the company itself. Not only could an eventual decision by the SEC to classify—or not classify—XRP as a security impact the untold individual owners of the cryptocurrency, but other clients using Ripple services that don’t rely on the cryptocurrency, including American Express, Santander, and SBI Holdings could stand to be impacted positively or negatively depending on the decision. After all if XRP were to be rescinded it would be a huge cost to their software provider. If Giancarlo is right though, Ripple could end up being one of the most valuable startups in fintech. “Ultimately, under a fair application of the Howey test and the SEC’s presently expanding analysis, XRP should not be regulated as a security, but instead considered a currency or a medium of exchange,” Giancarlo and Bahlke argue in the paper. “The increased adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange and a form of payment in recent years, both by consumers and in the business-to-business setting, further underscores the utility of XRP as a bona fide fiat substitute.” Giancarlo was nominated to be a commissioner of the CFTC by then-President Barack Obama in 2013. In 2015, he helped lead the thinking behind the CFTC’s decision that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were commodities, paving the way for the SEC’s related comments that neither bitcoin nor ethereum are securities. Then, at the height of the 2017 cryptocurrency bubble President Trump nominated him to be Chairman of the CFTC, where he oversaw the creation of a number of bitcoin futures projects, including at CME Group and the short-lived effort at Cboe. While many blame the creation of bitcoin futures for popping the 2017 price bubble, which almost hit $20,000 before halving today, others have seen the works as a fundamental process of maturity, helping pave the way for more sophisticated crypto-enabled financial offerings. Giancarlo’s last day in office at the CFTC was in 2019, after which he promptly got involved helping envision the future of assets issued on a blockchain. In November he joined as an advisor to American Financial Exchange, using ethereum to create a Libor alternative. The following January he co-founded the Digital Dollar Project leading the push to use blockchain at the Federal Reserve and now it would seem he’s hoping to influence the classification of XRP as he did for bitcoin and ethereum, but from the other side of regulation. Importantly however, a footnote in the report discloses that not only is Giancarlo and Bahlke’s firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP counsel to Ripple Labs, but they “relied on certain factual information provided by Ripple in the preparation of this article.” While it’s impossible to parse what information came from the co-authors and what came from Ripple, the resulting legal argument is fascinating, even if it does leave room for doubt. The Howey test Giancarlo uses to bolster his arguments is a three-pronged definition used by the SEC, none of which he says apply to XRP. The first prong, is that an investment contract should be implied or explicitly stated between the issuer of the asset, in this case XRP and the owner, in which money exchanges hands. “The mere fact that an individual holds XRP does not create any relationship, rights or privileges with respect to Ripple any more than owning Ether would create a contract with the Ethereum Foundation, the organization that oversees the Ethereum architecture,” he writes. This does however overlook the fact that OpenCoin, credited on Ripple’s own site in 2013 for creating XRP (then tellingly described as “ripples”), was run by many of the same people that founded Ripple. The original creators of XRP then donated the vast majority of the assets to Ripple, which they also ran, creating a sense of distance, tacit though it may be. The actual data around the creation of XRP was also muddled by a glitch in the code that means unlike bitcoin and ethereum the crucial genesis data is no longer attached to the rest of the ledger. The rebranding of “ripples” as XRP further extended the sense of distance between XRP and Ripple, followed by an aggressive campaign to get media to stop describing the cryptocurrency as “Ripple’s XRP.” With so much distance between the company that actually created XRP and the company that now owns more than half of it, one would be forgiven for wondering, if there was an implied contract between OpenCoin and XRP owners, does the donation from one group of people at one company to a very similar group of people at another company sever that responsibility? In spite of the sense of distance created by Ripple between itself and the cryptocurrency its co-founders created, a number of active lawsuits alleging securities violations have been filed. In all fairness though, Giancarlo appears to recognize this prong may not be Ripple’s strongest defense and concludes the section, hedging: “Even if XRP were to satisfy one or two of the “prongs” of the Howey test, it does not satisfy all three factors such that XRP is an investment contract subject to regulation as a security.” The second prong of the Howey test stipulates that there can be no “common enterprise” between shareholders or a shareholder and the company. While refuting both relationships, Giancarlo curiously goes onto to write that “given the juxtaposition between XRP’s intended use as a liquidity tool, its more general use to transfer value and its potential as a speculative asset, XRP holders who utilize the coins for different purposes have divergent interests with respect to XRP.” Ironically, there has always been a widely held belief that owning a cryptocurrency would unify interests around a single goal: to co-create the infrastructure that lets the cryptocurrency exist and ensure it was vibrant and diverse. Meanwhile, XRP, in spite of its aggressive supporters on social media, is one of the least diverse ecosystems, with the vast majority of serious development being done within Ripple. If XRP owners aren’t expecting an increase in value from the work being done by Ripple, they certainly aren’t nearly as involved in helping build that future as are owners of bitcoin and ethereum. In a related issue, the third prong of the Howey test stipulates that “no reasonable expectation of profit should be derived from the efforts of Ripple,” according to the paper. Supporting this position, Giancarlo writes: “Though Ripple maintains a sizable stake of the XRP supply and certainly has a pecuniary interest in the value of its holdings, it is not enough to suggest that a mutual interest in the value of an asset gives rise to an expectation of profits as contemplated by Howey.” Again, this strains credulity. According to its own site, Ripple currently has access to 6.4% of all the XRP ever created. But that doesn’t count the 49.2% of the total XRP Ripple owns, but is locked in a series of escrow accounts that become periodically available to Ripple and Ripple alone. Adding those two percentages together leaves a float of only about 44% of XRP that has been distributed for public ownership. For some comparison, Facebook went public the same year XRP was created and has a 99% float, according to FactSet data, meaning almost all of its stock is in the hands of traders.While Ripple does also have more traditional stock, this distribution shows that Ripple might not be as distributed as it claims. While it’s perhaps no surprise that Giancarlo would come out on the side of his own client, there’s also plenty of other reasons to believe his argument may in fact hold water. In February 2018, the notoriously compliant exchange Coinbase added support for XRP, something it would unlikely do if it were concerned it might accidentally be selling an unlicensed security. Perhaps most tellingly though, Ripple has also been granted a difficult-to-obtain BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services, giving it the blessing of a respected regulator. However, while the license was granted after then-superintendent Benjamin Lawsky stepped down from the regulator, it's perhaps no coincidence that a year later he joined Ripple on its board of directors and is now active in the cryptocurrency space. Perhaps a similar fate is in store for Giancarlo. Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Ripple Labs is a client of Giancarlo’s law firm.
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