he intends Assassination Market to destroy “all governments, everywhere”
November 18, 2013 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Meet The 'Assassination Market' Creator Who's Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins
Last month I received an encrypted email from someone calling himself by the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro, who pointed me towards his recent creation: The website Assassination Market, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations. According to Assassination Market’s rules, if someone on its hit list is killed–and yes, Sanjuro hopes that many targets will be–any hitman who can prove he or she was responsible receives the collected funds.
posted by andoatnp (143 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
This article sounds like a hit job on Bitcoin to me.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:15 PM on November 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


whoah.
posted by K.P. at 1:15 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This had me wondering how much money it would take to convince me to kill someone. Rather more than this market is going to raise, is my guess.
posted by srt19170 at 1:15 PM on November 18, 2013


How much have world governments contributed to the fund to assassinate Kuwabatke Sanjuro so far?
posted by jepler at 1:16 PM on November 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


The article does a good job talking about the history of the assassination market idea. Worth calling out specifically is Jim Bell's 1997 essay. I remember reading it when it came out, probably on cypherpunks, and being shocked at what a lovely bit of satire it was at the scary side of cryptoanarchy. It was only later that I realized he was serious. I continue to think cypherpunks and cryptoanarchy is one of the most valuable underappreciated ideas from the early Internet years, but a public trust fund for targeted assassination is pretty fucking crazy.

PS: I hope we avoid the derail about talking about the current runup in the value of BitCoin or the more general "lol BitCoin" every single discussion here has. The interesting part of this story is anonymous payments and crowdsourced assassination; the payment vehicle is secondary. Although if I were a hitman, I'd want something less traceable than BitCoin thanks.
posted by Nelson at 1:19 PM on November 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Founder arrested and site shut down in 5... 4... 3...
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:21 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This article sounds like a hit job on Bitcoin to me.

funny, it sounded like the ramblings of someone who is really into Bitcoin to me
posted by Dr. Twist at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


One should never threaten to cost someone more than it would cost for them to have you killed. Words to live by, in general.

But yeah, you should read the bitcoin forums sometimes. Giving those anarchist nut jobs millions of dollars to play with is a scary proposition.
posted by empath at 1:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, because assassins definitely want to provide incontrovertible proof that they have assassinated high-ranking govt. officials. That couldn't possibly backfire.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [26 favorites]


This article sounds like a hit job on Bitcoin to me.

funny, it sounded like the ramblings of someone who is really into Bitcoin to me


The two are virtually indistinguishable.
posted by Etrigan at 1:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [32 favorites]


I would love to see what happens if somebody were to actually perform the hit, but then the website didn't pay them out. Cool unenforceable agreement, bro.

I wonder what percentage of people involved in this site are simply undercover LEOs.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


This had me wondering how much money it would take to convince me to kill someone.

Far more valuable to me would be a person who, for the right price, would ensure that my nemeses live a long and terrible life of neverending suffering via youtube videos that never quite buffer and mobile phone calls always dropped and a cat that somehow gets into their house and pisses in places that are not noticed until it has sunk into the floorboards. Also their wifi passwords are always wrong and the rims of all their glasses smell like ball sweat no matter how many times they run the dishwasher.
posted by elizardbits at 1:27 PM on November 18, 2013 [95 favorites]


I would like to apologize to elizardbits right now for everything I have ever done.
posted by Etrigan at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2013 [74 favorites]


PS: I hope we avoid the derail about talking about the current runup in the value of BitCoin or the more general "lol BitCoin" every single discussion here has. The interesting part of this story is anonymous payments and crowdsourced assassination; the payment vehicle is secondary. Although if I were a hitman, I'd want something less traceable than BitCoin thanks.

Well, Bitcoin IS like catnip to crazy people.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, because assassins definitely want to provide incontrovertible proof that they have assassinated high-ranking govt. officials. That couldn't possibly backfire.

Yeah, that's the part that seems silly to me. The assassination market isn't a new idea, but usually they don't ask for 'proof' because that's…dumb. The model I've seen is that it's set up like a predictions market, but the predictions are on date of death. So, conceivably, the 'winner' could claim that they just placed a lucky bet.
posted by kagredon at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


At least I now have a reason to point at why in October bitcoins were under $150 and now are looking at $650.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, that and CryptoLocker.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:31 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The model I've seen is that it's set up like a predictions market, but the predictions are on date of death.

I took a peek, and it looks like that's what this site is doing.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 1:32 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I also believe that as soon as a few politicians get offed and they realize they've lost the war on privacy, the killings can stop and we can transition to a phase of peace, privacy and laissez-faire."

The ignorance of history required to believe that a campaign of assassination will lead to an era of peace is mind boggling.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:32 PM on November 18, 2013 [37 favorites]


...Except in the end, the users submit him.

He is now a victim of his own twisted code of ethics: "The target must have initiated force against another human", and there's nothing he can do to stop it.

He frantically drives from one secret warehouse to another (a la Hollywood network structure, of course) destroying server after server, while the bounty climbs higher; every new "million" reached sending an ominous text message to his brilliant white Samsung Galaxy S 4 with the AT&T globe logo.

Reaching the final safe house, a gleaming mainframe in an abandoned warehouse, he is about to throw the giant red "off" switch, and then he hears the crunch of broken glass behind him.

He slowly turns, and before him is a 4 ft. Douglas Fir holding a 9mm

He slowly backs away, gibbering in terror.

"No.. I... it... it's HAPPENING again...."

BOOM....

[Fin]

Directed by M. Night Shamalamadingdong.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:34 PM on November 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


I took a peek, and it looks like that's what this site is doing.

Oh, yeah, I see that now. It still seems silly to do it as hashed text file sent directly to one guy, though, which makes me suspect that this is indeed a particularly elaborate and sensational scam.
posted by kagredon at 1:34 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, they took down the Silk Road. And the Silk Road had several advantages:

A. The founder was secret and well hidden.
B. It had overseas servers and respectably good security.
C. It had a relatively low profile.
D. It wasn't entirely about killing people.

This will be taken down ages before it succeeds in actually getting anyone killed. I mean, obviously. The only thing law enforcement must be waiting for at this point is for better charges to be built up.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:35 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I contacted the Secret Service and the FBI to ask if they’re investigating Assassination Market, and both declined to comment.

Frantic typing, shuffling papers and a garbage can being knocked over were heard in the background...
posted by klanawa at 1:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The ignorance of history required to believe that a campaign of assassination will lead to an era of peace is mind boggling.

Well, one assasination did bring down the Austrian empire, German empire, Russian empire and Ottoman Empire.
posted by empath at 1:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Some folks really don't like Ben Bernanke.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:37 PM on November 18, 2013


Bernanke was a bit of a surprise. Halfway tempted to bid on Jenny McCarthy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:40 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Step 1: Set up assassination market
Step 2: Find willing confederate
Step 3: Wait for a political figure to die
Step 4: Claim that confederate won the kitty, and split it
Step 5: You guys didn't actually kill anyone, so you're in the clear for murder. You did commit fraud, though, so try to lay low and be ready to hand over the Bitcoin wallet numbers of the people you collected from if the feds do find you.
posted by kagredon at 1:41 PM on November 18, 2013


One should never threaten to cost someone more than it would cost for them to have you killed

I hear tell that is as low as 50 cents, if rap lyrics are to be believed. The US of A pays $2,500 for a mistaken death in the WOT, right?

So how cheap is human life so we know not to sue for more than that?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:42 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We should set up a market for "whoever commits the first assassination".
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:42 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


All the bitcoin bounties are kept in "escrow" by the website operator, yes? When the sum is large enough (or the heat hot enough) Kuwabatake Sanjuro just takes the cash and splits, simple scam.
posted by Walleye at 1:42 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Why not set it up as a suicide market? Your next of kin / designated beneficiary gets the pot.
posted by jepler at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The ignorance of history required to believe that a campaign of assassination will lead to an era of peace is mind boggling.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

(I'm going with "scam," though.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2013


Live blog of today's Senate hearing on Bitcoin. A lone member of Congress attended.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ignorance of history required to believe that a campaign of assassination will lead to an era of peace is mind boggling.

Well, one assasination did bring down the Austrian empire, German empire, Russian empire and Ottoman Empire.


I will give this shiny nickel I have on my desk to anyone who can identify a single day of peace that has happened since then.
posted by Etrigan at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well I also did gloss over the several million people who got ground up in the trenches on the way to ending those empires.
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The interesting part of this story is anonymous payments and crowdsourced assassination; the payment vehicle is secondary. Although if I were a hitman, I'd want something less traceable than BitCoin thanks.

Uh, isn't BitCoin the anonymous payment source? Hence its importance to this discussion.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:47 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, one assasination did bring down the Austrian empire, German empire, Russian empire and Ottoman Empire.

No. One assassination did not do that. History is not a game of dominoes.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Uh, isn't BitCoin the anonymous payment source?

Bitcoin isn't totally untraceable. With enough computer-hours, you can trace a transaction back to a particular wallet, and I don't know of any dollar (or other currency)-to-Bitcoin exchange that doesn't request any personal information, which makes it possible to associate a wallet ID with a person.

The amount of work required and the cost is high enough that the government isn't going to put in the effort for every rando who was buying coke off of Silkroad, but they could do it if the stakes were high enough (and assassination might clear that bar.)
posted by kagredon at 1:55 PM on November 18, 2013


Directed by M. Night Shamalamadingdong.
Why do people do this? His name is neither hard to spell nor say. And I've seen at least one comment - although I forget who it was by - right here on metafilter about how shitty the "make fun of Indian subcontinent names" thing has been for her.

I very much hope no one is killed as a result of this stupid thing.
posted by kavasa at 2:03 PM on November 18, 2013 [60 favorites]


Yeah, don't do that.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


isn't BitCoin the anonymous payment source?

BitCoin is the opposite of anonymous. Every single user of BitCoin has a complete log of every single transaction ever made since the beginning of BitCoin. That log is essential to how BitCoin operates. There's ways of laundering BitCoins, IIRC there's evidence of that happening at large scale as part of the Silk Road investigation. But the core technology is anti-anonymous. (BitCoin is pseudonymonous, at least until you try to spend BTC or convert it to another currency. But then again so are all bearer currencies.)
posted by Nelson at 2:07 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know what I always do when I set up a totally illegal service? Talk about it with major media outlets.
posted by The Whelk at 2:07 PM on November 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


All the bitcoin bounties are kept in "escrow" by the website operator, yes? When the sum is large enough (or the heat hot enough) Kuwabatake Sanjuro just takes the cash and splits, simple scam.

I've been repeatedly impressed with how easy it remains to gull a significant number of people in this manner. The hilarious part is that the trust issue could be ameliorated significantly if people used the cryptographic escrow that was built into Bitcoin by design but remains a very small niche. What that does is enable a third party to adjudicate on a transaction, thereby receiving an agreed fee, without ever possessing the bitcoins involved.

I'd keep this opinion to myself on ethical grounds if it wasn't now perfectly obvious that too few bad guys who could benefit from this technological solution have the wit to demand it from third-party suppliers of 'services' like this one.
posted by topynate at 2:10 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"My assassination market will change the world."

"I;m sure dear."

"I'm a cyptoanarchist on a mission."

"Whatever you say dear."

"Governments will tremble before my networks of trained killers."

"Eat your vegetables dear."
posted by The Whelk at 2:14 PM on November 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


Oh I don't think so much it's about tracking down bitcoin transactions or anything. From talking to the cops I know on the detective squad, the problem with these schemes is 1. People always fuck up somewhere (witness the Dread Pirate Roberts takedown) and/or 2. People can't keep their damn mouths shut and inevitably spout off to the wrong person. This person will be tracked down when they have a Reddit post under their actual name saying HELP ME BUILD A BITCOIN ASSASSINATION SERVICE or something dumb like that.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:14 PM on November 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Cypherpunks did it"

http://www.cypherpunks.to/faq/cyphernomicron/chapter16.html#16
posted by graftole at 2:14 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is just babytown frolics, as my son -- the world's most deadly spy -- would say. Some pseudonymous nerd hears something on -- I don't know, NPR or whatever and thinks he's some great puppet master with a stable full of Glennon Englemans. "Oh, hello, I work in Silicon Valley, read a bunch of crummy sci-fi novels and don't know what bearer bonds are! Now let me tell you how I'm going to disrupt the world of dead drops!".
posted by Malory Archer at 2:18 PM on November 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


Why do people do this? His name is neither hard to spell nor say.

Because he is a silly person.
posted by kenko at 2:20 PM on November 18, 2013


"In the site’s instructions to users, Sanjuro suggests they run their funds through a 'laundry' service to make sure the coins are anonymized before contributing them to anyone’s murder fund"

How do you launder bitcoin without making an even bigger paper trail?
posted by griphus at 2:21 PM on November 18, 2013


Because he is a silly person.

Well, certainly, but he'd still be a silly person if his name was Bob Smith, so fixing on the name is unnecessary at best.
posted by kagredon at 2:22 PM on November 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


How do you launder bitcoin without making an even bigger paper trail?

Oh, Mr. Kotter, Mr. Kotter....would that be by killing the people involved on the other side of the transaction?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:23 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, certainly, but he'd still be a silly person if his name was Bob Smith, so fixing on the name is unnecessary at best.

But please, everyone, feel free to make fun of the fact that he appended "Night" to his name all you want.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:24 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well, certainly, but he'd still be a silly person if his name was Bob Smith, so fixing on the name is unnecessary at best.

If his name was Smith, I'm almost positive we'd all be calling him Smithee.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 2:26 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


If his name was Smith, I'm almost positive we'd all be calling him Smithee.

Yeah, but there's an actual joke rooted in film lore there, and not "furrin names sound funny."

Like, mispronouncing John Boehner's name is funny mainly because John Boehner is in fact a sentient be-legged penis.
posted by kagredon at 2:31 PM on November 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm guessing he wanted a name that sounded exotic and vaguely menacing, a la Keyser Söze, which makes me even more certain that he is actually a white 30-something computer nerd named Matt or Eric or something.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:34 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


fuck, i guess i should stop rolling the rims of my margarita glasses in ball sweat and salt
posted by nathancaswell at 2:35 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't accept Bitcoins but I will happily kick a man in the shins for something from my Amazon wishlist.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:35 PM on November 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Eat your vegetables dear."

"Animals eat vegetables!" *downs tumbler of Soylent*
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


bitcoin irritates me a lot

mainly because I thought about buying fifty dollars worth when it was cheap, but was warned off this

if I have learned anything from the experience, it is that you should invest in things which are good for illegal trade, apparently
posted by solarion at 2:36 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm guessing he wanted a name that sounded exotic and vaguely menacing, a la Keyser Söze, which makes me even more certain that he is actually a white 30-something computer nerd named Matt or Eric or something.

That and it being a reference to BitCoin founder “Satoshi”, and/or William Gibson-citing Cyberpunk Japanophilia.
posted by acb at 2:37 PM on November 18, 2013


Ideally your super spy agent would be as unmemoriable and unremarkable as possible.

*adjusts blue tie on perfectly bog standard blue blazer*
posted by The Whelk at 2:37 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing he wanted a name that sounded exotic and vaguely menacing, a la Keyser Söze, which makes me even more certain that he is actually a white 30-something computer nerd named Matt or Eric or something.

That and it being a reference to BitCoin founder “Satoshi”, and/or William Gibson-citing Cyberpunk Japanophilia.
Seriously, you haven't watched Yojimbo?
posted by sukeban at 2:39 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


posted by Malory Archer

Fic promt, ISIS is threatened by a flashy start-up spy agency run out of this guy's basement apartment.
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This article sounds like a hit job on Bitcoin to me.

funny, it sounded like the ramblings of someone who is really into Bitcoin to me

The two are virtually indistinguishable.


The cool thing is you can have infinite sides of the same imaginary coin.
posted by srboisvert at 2:45 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


fuck, i guess i should stop rolling the rims of my margarita glasses in ball sweat and salt

So you're saying that this realization happened just now?
posted by clockzero at 2:47 PM on November 18, 2013


The Whelk: "Fic promt, ISIS is threatened by a flashy start-up spy agency run out of this guy's basement apartment."

How do you think ODIN got started? One weekend you're both enjoying some jazz at Hua Hin, then Len Trexler shows up at my doorstep because he's "just getting settled" in a new city and then woop! he's got a basement office uptown full of intel ops and french thugs. Can you believe it? He had the spunk to get in my face when I confronted him about the whole thing!
posted by Malory Archer at 2:54 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


So you're saying that this realization happened just now?

I was under the impression that people liked my rimjobs.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:01 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The origin and reason behind the name is covered in the article:
... Sanjuro, who shares his handle with the nameless samurai protagonist in the Akira Kurosawa film “Yojimbo.” (He tells me he chose it in homage to creator of the online black market Silk Road, who called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts, as well Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.)
Here's what interests me: Whenever someone comes up with an innovative use of Bitcoin for a nefarious purpose, it seems to come with a political justification. Whoever runs the other assassination sites is just offering a service, but both the guy who invented the idea of crypto-betting on assassination and the guy who implemented it portray themselves as doing the world at large a big favour. So did DPR, the owner of Freedom Hosting (i.e. child porn hosting), and so on. And so far at least, the politics are the same: libertarianism to the point of anarcho-capitalism. But then, when they eventually get busted, the same pattern of hypocrisy emerges, too. DPR was so scared and angry he tried to have his buddy offed. Eric Marques of Freedom Hosting actively solicited paedophiles to use his service. Makes me wonder what truly foul thing Sanjuro is hiding behind his wholesome murder operation, and if there's something in the combination of anonymity and anarcho-capitalism that brings out the worst of both.
posted by topynate at 3:05 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm sure it's just a front for his Japanese replica sword collection.
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd forgotten Bitcoin had an escrow capability built into the transaction protocol. It seems to be a basic M of N system. Normally 2 of 2 people authorize a transaction, but you can have 2 of 3, or 4 or 4, or whatever you want. If I read it correctly you need to have the public key for the recipient at the time the payer commits to making the payment though, so I'm not sure if it can be used to pay an unknown future hitman. Also the escrow agent still has to exist and be trusted, although maybe via the remove of Bitcoin addresses it's a bit more anonymous.

Some info on Bitcoin escrow transactions: blockchain.info, StackExchange, Bitcoin wiki.
posted by Nelson at 3:23 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would love to see what happens if somebody were to actually perform the hit, but then the website didn't pay them out. Cool unenforceable agreement, bro.

In my list of people you should rip off:
-Old ladies
-Hipsters
-Passportless Americans.

In my list of people you should never rip off:
-Trained International killers.
posted by zoo at 3:25 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


What happens to people in the middle of that Venn diagram?
posted by kagredon at 3:26 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Artisan Handcrafted Walther PPKs, I assume.

"Well, of course I ONLY use handloads, fucking commercial ammunition kills them just as dead but I support the small international arms conglomerates and furthermore..."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:28 PM on November 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


"I remember it so clearly, I was yelling at the sandwich artist at Subway for tessellating my cheese in the incorrect overhand fashion when it hit me, I could revolutionize the murder for hire business!"
posted by The Whelk at 3:29 PM on November 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


I just had a wonderful idea. I'll make a market where you can place bets on a bitcoin service mysteriously vanishing along with all the money.

I'll need to hold all of the funds for the bets in escrow of course. Don't worry though, you can trust me or my name isn't Hiro Protagonist.
posted by Rictic at 3:34 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing he wanted a name that sounded exotic and vaguely menacing, a la Keyser Söze, which makes me even more certain that he is actually a white 30-something computer nerd named Matt or Eric or something.

Speaking of names, are there any dogs named Paul? I have yet to encounter a dog named Paul, or Dave, or Karen.
posted by juiceCake at 3:35 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know what else btc should be pretty good for? ransoms.
posted by 3mendo at 3:48 PM on November 18, 2013


Funny you should mention that.
posted by topynate at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


...all their glasses smell like ball sweat no matter how many times they run the dishwasher.
My father unintentionally did something like this to our glasses by running the un-emptied garlic press through the dishwasher after every time he used it. All our glasses smelled bad*, and every glass of water tasted like bad garlic. I think it took me years to figure out why.

*although better, one presumes, than the aforementioned sweat variant
posted by blueberry at 3:59 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


fuck, i guess i should stop rolling the rims of my margarita glasses in ball sweat and salt

Don't cave to the man, man
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:07 PM on November 18, 2013


All the bitcoin bounties are kept in "escrow" by the website operator, yes? When the sum is large enough (or the heat hot enough) Kuwabatake Sanjuro just takes the cash and splits, simple scam.

I've been repeatedly impressed with how easy it remains to gull a significant number of people in this manner.


Libertarians are the most gullible people in the world. They're the ideal mix of greed and naiveté while being utterly convinced of their own brilliance.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:19 PM on November 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


See I wonder if it is not a chicken-and-egg thing. The people I know who identify themselves as capital-L Libertarian (or Objectivist or whatever flavor of "fuck you got mine") also have some very strong ideas about human nature and how the world works that do not meet any standard of evidence save for hope and that someone charismatic told them it'll work, I promise, just believe.

Sometimes I wonder if affiliation with that sort of thing isn't just one in the innumerable scams and cons that beset a person who does not examine things closely enough.
posted by griphus at 4:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


You can read more about this in my upcoming book How To Never Get Scammed Again, only $19.95 plus shipping and handling.
posted by griphus at 4:31 PM on November 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


See I wonder if it is not a chicken-and-egg thing. The people I know who identify themselves as capital-L Libertarian (or Objectivist or whatever flavor of "fuck you got mine") also have some very strong ideas about human nature and how the world works that do not meet any standard of evidence save for hope and that someone charismatic told them it'll work, I promise, just believe.

for people who are compelled to believe in something they can't see and don't understand, but don't want any of that "help the downtrodden" shit that the major world religions all advocate
posted by kagredon at 4:35 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why do people do this?

Because he makes bad and self-important movies. And uses a portentous middle name. And 'shamalamadingdong' is a pretty funny word.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:44 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Directed by M. Night Shamalamadingdong.
Why do people do this?


Mocking foreign sounding names gets pretty racist pretty quickly. However...

Benderick Camberpatch
Benedock Cumberbund
Bednedict Cambutchack
Barnardork Cumblesnatch
Babblefish Haversack
Bobblemint Candersnack
Bandersnatch Coulibiac
...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:44 PM on November 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


(for that matter, thinking of non-anglo-saxon names as foreign sounding is itself pretty racist)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:46 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Fisticuffs Tinygarden!
posted by The Whelk at 4:46 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can you all please stop the posts about Shyamalan? This post isn't about him.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:47 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought about this during the CryptoLocker thread. Assassination pools could be a fairly good long-term malware defense; everyone who pays the ransom to places an equal amount in a bet on "The creators and beneficiaries of the CryptoLocker malware will live more than 6 months", if they live you get your money back, but whoever actually provides the date of death takes the pot.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:52 PM on November 18, 2013


I've been trying to quote Grosse Point Blank but my phone apparently can't copy+paste.
posted by gucci mane at 4:53 PM on November 18, 2013


Really though, I think our government needs to pay a little more attention to the legitimate uses of BC beyond the scare-mongering. Best case, it's a dog with fleas. Worst case, you're Microsoft in 1993 claiming that TCP/IP is just a fad.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:54 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


For the record Cumberbatch is an Anglo Saxon name.
posted by biffa at 4:56 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow has a good point. I'm never sure quite how to feel about the whole Burgerking Cheeseburger meme. I mean on the one hand it's kind of mean, and it's not Bulbasaur Charmander's fault that he has a name that makes him sound like one of Bertie Wooster's rivals, but on the other hand, I feel like the harm done by making fun of a name like Widebrimmed Porkpiehat for being recognizably super-upper-crust-anglo-sounding names is demonstrably minor compared to the harm done by making fun of a name like Shyamalan for being recognizably not anglo-sounding.

I don't know, is what I'm saying.

Can you all please stop the posts about Shyamalan? This post isn't about him.

Well, not yet, but once we start a collection in his name….
posted by kagredon at 4:58 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your skepticism towards Libertarianism is undeserved. In fact you doubting Thomas folks will soon realize that the very finger you're using to point out perceived flaws in Libertarianism are in fact sowing the seeds of understanding within the fecund soil of your squishy human brains.

You see, Libertarianism contains within it a foolproof method to solve any problems you may find within Libertarianism: the dialectic of Liberty! If you object to Libertarianism, it's obvious that you must become a Libertarian. Why? Because only in a truly Libertarian world do you have the Liberty to refuse to associate with Libertarians!* I believe this is commonly known as the First Principle of the Freedom to Not Associate, and it's why becoming a Libertarian is the only truly rational thing to do.

* except in cases such as those presented in the featured article, of course, in which case Libertarianism is violently forced upon you in much the same way that taxes and anti-racism laws are.
posted by tychotesla at 4:59 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you object to Libertarianism, it's obvious that you must become a Libertarian. Why? Because only in a truly Libertarian world do you have the Liberty to refuse to associate with Libertarians!

What a twist!
posted by kagredon at 5:00 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


So what's the read on the (presumably email) interview here? This dude can't seriously believe that this ends in eradicating nuclear weapons, can he?

I mean... It's just... There must be a word for it in German.
posted by graphnerd at 5:09 PM on November 18, 2013


Historically, are assassins ever motivated by money? From what I recall, they're usually nutters who have political obsessions.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:11 PM on November 18, 2013


I mean... It's just... There must be a word for it in German.

Why do you hate the Germans?
posted by bongo_x at 5:14 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Makes me wonder what truly foul thing Sanjuro is hiding behind his wholesome murder operation, and if there's something in the combination of anonymity and anarcho-capitalism that brings out the worst of both.
As has often been said, anonymity would be all very well if one could for a moment imagine that it was established from good motives. Suppose, for instance, that we were all quite certain that the men on the Thunderer newspaper were a band of brave young idealists who were so eager to overthrow Socialism, Municipal and National, that they did not care to which of them especially was given the glory of striking it down. Unfortunately, however, we do not believe this. What we believe, or, rather, what we know, is that the attack on Socialism in the Thunderer arises from a chaos of inconsistent and mostly evil motives, any one of which would lose simply by being named. A jerry-builder whose houses have been condemned writes anonymously and becomes the Thunderer. A Socialist who has quarrelled with the other Socialists writes anonymously, and he becomes the Thunderer. A monopolist who has lost his monopoly, and a demagogue who has lost his mob, can both write anonymously and become the same newspaper. It is quite true that there is a young and beautiful fanaticism in which men do not care to reveal their names. But there is a more elderly and a much more common excitement in which men do not dare to reveal them.
(G. K. Chesterton)
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:23 PM on November 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Given the Yojimbo connection, you know what would be really funny?

If, should a hit ever occur, he both rats out the assassin and takes all the money in all the coffers.

Playing two evil sides against one another, screwing everyone in the process.

Like in Yojimbo, broadly and figuratively speaking.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:30 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sounds like a viral movie trailer. Hollywood execs are speculating, "How can we combine 'The Social Network' with the suspense spy film genre."

antisocial networks
posted by bad grammar at 5:38 PM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is quite true that there is a young and beautiful fanaticism in which men do not care to reveal their names. But there is a more elderly and a much more common excitement in which men do not dare to reveal them.

tits or gtfo
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:42 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


So is Jom Bell currently in the clink? Pretty solid alibi if he is.
posted by ocschwar at 6:47 PM on November 18, 2013


(for that matter, thinking of non-anglo-saxon names as foreign sounding is itself pretty racist)

I just can't trust a person to rebuild the cathedrals in the archiepiscopal see unless they have a good solid non-funny name like Æthelbert or Sexburga or Gonorilla or Æthelweard.
posted by XMLicious at 6:50 PM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like in Yojimbo, broadly and figuratively speaking.

Sounds like someone hasn't seen the Director's Cut.

(The director is Bruce LaBruce.)
posted by griphus at 6:53 PM on November 18, 2013


As good a time as any to see if I can log in to Metafilter using TOR.

(affirmative)

Now to see if I can create a new account and pay for it using TOR...
posted by ocschwar at 6:55 PM on November 18, 2013


Per elizardbits's comment, I would like to introduce: Taha Muhammad Ali's "Revenge."
posted by linear_arborescent_thought at 7:18 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Benedock Cumberbund

Ha. I love that line from the last season of The Thick Of It (or was it Veep?) - "This is a fancy gathering, where's your cumberbatch?" (paraphrasing)
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:22 PM on November 18, 2013


Libertarians are the most gullible people in the world. They're the ideal mix of greed and naiveté while being utterly convinced of their own brilliance.

As hustling and scams are one of my interests, I've read and watched a lot on the topic and a recurring theme in The Literature of The Hustle (if you'll permit me) is that it's not dumb people you want to hustle, the real people you want to scam are smart people because they mistakenly believe that being smart in their particular field means they're the cream of the crop in everything. See: Slashdot, Reddit, any programmer convinced he'd be the one surviving the apocalypse/libertopia rather than being one of the fleshy masses herded by the guys who beat him up in high school.

So if you can manage to swindle them, they will either not report it, because reporting it would undermine their entire facade, or they will double down and pursue it even further because admitting they got swindled by garden variety tricks would be admitting they're not as smart as they think they are and cognitive dissonance is a real bitch.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:49 PM on November 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


A dismissed, and dejected, ex-Navy SEAL. Suicidal. Suffering from PTSD. Down on his luck. Decides he will use all of what remains of his savings and his Veterans benefits to bid on his own assassination. He then lies in wait for the would be crypto-killers.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:50 PM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


BTC/USD is through the goddamn roof. Malware? Senate hearing? Mankilling?

I am afraid science fiction is becoming swiftly obsolete.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:00 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


^Getting more evenly distributed every day.
posted by wuwei at 8:28 PM on November 18, 2013


bitcoin is at an all time high just like the stock market is at an all time high. There are ungodly massive quantities of cash from the Federal Reserve chasing tangible (and intangible) assets and relatively few want to invest much in real estate right now for obvious reasons.

Why gold is only 1270 is the biggest mystery to me.

As for Assassination Politics it was in its day one of the greatest all time USENET posts ever but a Death Wish to believe in it. Jim Bell's story after that is just awful; he should have posted it with a nym and laid low.
posted by bukvich at 9:24 PM on November 18, 2013


The quantitative easing program that the Federal Reserve is doing is only buying assets, it's a swap. They buy mortgage bonds, banks get reserves. "relatively few people want to invest much in real estate right now" is not true at all, just look at the housing prices in San Francisco or the other coastal cities.

Whenever the Federal Reserve buys Treasury securities (tsy) back (bonds, notes, bills) it actually takes interest payments out of the economy. Think about it like this:
Say you are holding a tsy. You get interest payments. Those come from the federal government, it's "new" money injected into the system. If the Fed buys the tsy back from you, then you get a cash value, but you _don't_ get those interest payments.

Here's a good writeup on the problem: http://moslereconomics.com/2012/09/14/qe/
posted by wuwei at 10:00 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why gold is only 1270 is the biggest mystery to me.

There's only so much crazy libertarian money to go around. That's the risk in speculating in a commodity which has no inherent value.
posted by empath at 11:49 PM on November 18, 2013


I thought Breakfasttoast Crumblesnacks was the accepted pronunciation.
posted by asok at 2:19 AM on November 19, 2013


Assassination markets are obviously just anarcho-capitalists running off the deep end, but..

What about DIY assassinations? Iraq war vets with military training. Technology might simplify murder. etc.

What about "assassinations" paid by "likes"? Just some serial killer who reads the news and assassinate certain interesting persons, like the latest cop that killed a puppy or bank CEO or whatever, trying to attain ever more "likes".

Aren't these both far more likely than anyone actually fulfilling even one contract from this website?

I do wonder if assassination might ever become a "thing" again if governments continue to loose legitimacy. It's doubtful at present, but who knows 20 years down the line.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:31 AM on November 19, 2013


Um, slight problem also, Bitcoin is not anonymous? It's pseudononymous, and wherever actual money flows into or out of the transaction graph, there also is your Mastercard # ->Bitcoin wallet lookup table. It's most definitely not hard anonymous cryptocash as envisioned by Jim Bell.
posted by ianso at 4:27 AM on November 19, 2013


Yes, but with tumblers (aka money laundering), and the smart use of proxies, throwaway accounts, and curtains made of dogs, Bitcoin can get awfully close to anonymous.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:21 AM on November 19, 2013


What? We can't have the fucking proles doing this! They don't even have contacts at the FBI, or license to hire PMCs, or Nobel peace prizes, or, or anything! This is terrible!
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:31 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


See: Slashdot, Reddit, any programmer convinced he'd be the one surviving the apocalypse/libertopia rather than being one of the fleshy masses herded by the guys who beat him up in high school

Also: latin majors, library science majors, Guys Who Are Published Authors, literature people, etc. etc.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:34 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do wonder if assassination might ever become a "thing" again

I wasn't aware that it ever stopped being a thing.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:18 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


For Christ's sake, why do people insist on making this all so complicated?

Look, you just kidnap Liam Neeson's daughter. And you leave a note that says something to the effect of:

Got your daughter! And there's nothing you can do about it. You'll never even find me because I'm in my undisclosed location. Ha ha ha, you suck. -- Dick Cheney.

Done, and done. No messing around with stupid bitcoins.
posted by Naberius at 6:38 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Doesn't Neeson ('s character) save his profound distrust for non-Americans?*

*I've only seen the first one, so excuse me if the second invalidates this.
posted by biffa at 9:18 AM on November 19, 2013


Doesn't Neeson ('s character) save his profound distrust for non-Americans?*

He admits to having investigated his ex-wife's new husband, who appears to be American.
posted by Etrigan at 10:11 AM on November 19, 2013


I also laugh at the idea that some sort of active assassination market would improve things for the common man. You know who has piles of money and the amoral willingness to use it in any way to improve their standing, regardless of the consequences? Corporations. And even if those went away, all it's going to do is put even more power in the hands of the wealthy. You couldn't use the assassination markets to fight them, because there's no transparency and you'd have no idea who was doing what, and because a rich oligarch on a country estate surrounded by bodyguards is much harder to kill than say, a union leader.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:02 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bingo
posted by wuwei at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2013


A company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what who it is.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:49 PM on November 19, 2013


I like how the concept of laundering money is neglected. It's as if someone/group who would have the ability to pull off an assassination just figured 'financially astute' would be a dump stat.

Pro tip: the difference between an assassination and just a regular murder is successfully covering the money trail.

Seriously, this is so basic they don't even teach it at bad guy school. For proper villains this is like arts and crafts: it's only really mentioned at summer camp.
posted by Blue_Villain at 12:56 PM on November 19, 2013


The fact that Bernanke is so seethingly hated suggests the people who are into this -- a subset of the people who are into Bitcoin -- are all Ron-Paul-and-Alex-Jones "The Federal Reserve how the Illuminati Banksters Control The World" types. This doesn't surprise me even a little.
posted by edheil at 1:00 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mitrovarr: "This will be taken down ages before it succeeds in actually getting anyone killed. I mean, obviously. The only thing law enforcement must be waiting for at this point is for better charges to be built up."

One flaw in your thinking: "the authorities" must be both deeply upset about the assassination, and in a position to do anything about it.

Take down the dictator of Ittybittytania; I don't see the CIA/M6/Mossad/Kremlin2000 spending too much effort on it. Take down a truculent Iranian cleric; they'll only be pissed that their drone program lost a funding reason.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:28 PM on November 19, 2013


empath: "The ignorance of history required to believe that a campaign of assassination will lead to an era of peace is mind boggling.

Well, one assasination did bring down the Austrian empire, German empire, Russian empire and Ottoman Empire.
"

I don't recall any of those leading to an era of peace. Quite the opposite, in fact.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:29 PM on November 19, 2013


Ghostride The Whip: " 1. People always fuck up somewhere (witness the Dread Pirate Roberts takedown)"

I spent waaaaay too much time trying to relate Princess Bride's storyline to your point. Hint, to save other clueless people the time.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:37 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sangermaine: "Can you all please stop the posts about Shyamalan? This post isn't about him."

How do you know we aren't considering offing him?

Hey, Metafilter, I'ma let you finish, but I just thought up the best crowdsource of all time!
posted by IAmBroom at 2:55 PM on November 19, 2013


Can you all please stop the posts about Shyamalan? This post isn't about him

How do you know we aren't considering offing him?


Whoa.... wait, what now?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:08 PM on November 19, 2013


Oh, please, there are way worse directors than Shymalan. Bay, Ratner, Levy, Dugan, Boll... try aiming for film-makers whose movies are real crimes against humanity first.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:27 PM on November 19, 2013


Shyamalan is a good, maybe even great director who needs to never again be allowed to actually write the movies he directs.
posted by griphus at 6:38 PM on November 19, 2013


I think maybe the other way around.
posted by empath at 7:26 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, Shyamalan. Ok.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:20 PM on November 19, 2013


IAmBroom: One flaw in your thinking: "the authorities" must be both deeply upset about the assassination, and in a position to do anything about it.

I don't really think so. The website is upfront about the purpose and it's completely illegal, so the authorities could shut it down and arrest everyone involved at any time, completely legitimately. And there are agencies such as the secret service that will see it as a threat and take their jobs extremely seriously. I suspect it'll be shut down as a security measure, long before anyone actually gets assassinated.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:16 AM on November 20, 2013


Oh, please, there are way worse directors than Shymalan. Bay, Ratner, Levy, Dugan, Boll... try aiming for film-makers whose movies are real crimes against humanity first.

On that note, Uwe Boll actually chose to make a holocaust movie. I have no words.
posted by jaduncan at 3:16 AM on November 20, 2013


The fact that Bernanke is so seethingly hated suggests the people who are into this

How about that one is equating "votes" with "money"? This "money" that is "listed" - is it a valid cryptographic listing? I can't tell from the website.

The whole darn thing could be fake (performance art?) or even an elaborate frame job? Jr. Al Queda to have law enforcement spend time chasing shadows.

Killing leadership doesn't dismantle the bureaucracies and the thicket of laws that underpin the "grievances" being expressed.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:58 AM on November 20, 2013


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