My reasoning for investing heavily in High-Performance Blockchain (HPB)
OLD STUFF I rewrote the post after my discovery of how the network traffic works. The answer in short, unfortunately, is NO. But R* can detect it. I will assure you. From several tests, there are NO distinguishable traffic from the UDP protocol, in a public lobby that allows you to identify a modder, if you are being harassed by one. However, I tested two mod menus on my decoy account (I have two Steam accounts, and two Rockstar Social Club Accounts). The one thing that is significant is that there is a suspicious communication to the Rockstar servers. Mod menus generate DTLSv1.0 packets. Sent to Rockstar's servers at "18.104.22.168 prod.ros.rockstargames.com". Playing the game legitimately, no DTLSv1.0 packets are sent. But if you load a mod menu, Rockstar knows. The problem is, it is traffic going to the dedicated Game Service Servers. You, as a random person in a public lobby, will not be able to see it. TLDR... Let Rockstar catch and ban modders. You will never find them They are doing a pretty decent job. According to MPGH chatter, since four days ago a lot of the mod developers are pulling out of implementing money hacks into the game. As they cannot find a way to get past R* Anticheat yet. http://www.mpgh.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=414 I tested the one with the "Safe Money Drop". My decoy account got banned for 30 days. But you could be a real creepster. And tell people with unprotected (no VPN no proxy) internet connections, what city and state they live in. That still works. How to do that? I tested it on 5 different people already, all my friends. In-game, you have to be following the player around. The closer you are with the player, the more bytes are generated and sent between your IP and theirs. That helps you distinguish their IP from anyone else's. Now
Start Wireshark capture Statistics Endpoints Bytes Tab (Sort by highest) Your highest NON-LOCAL IP on ports 6672 (UDP, most players have traffic through this) is the player's IP
Using that IP, you can choose to either click the Name Resolution Checkbox on the bottom left of the Endpoints window. Or, you can just Google it. The potential of this vulnerability? DO NOT DO THIS Lets say you wanted to be a douchelord or something, and you don't like another player. Keep GTA V running in Windowed Mode, fire up wireshark, start capture. Locate the player IN-GAME and follow him around for at least one or two minutes. After you positively identified the player's IP (using the bytes-captured method on port 6672), you can attack it with a subscription DDoS/DoS Botnet provider. Also known as a "stresser" or "booter" for obvious reasons. (Note: they only accept either BitCoin or PayPal, I hate both of them). A few examples... (1) Defiance Protocol (2) Thunder Stresser (3) PolyStress (4) Stress3d.me (5) DataBooter (6) ExoStresser What does it do if you choose to do this? Well, first of all, even though they are known as booters or stressers, they initiate a Denial of Service attack on the victim machine. That means even if you left the session (you better), you can initiate the attack. It will shutdown their entire home network for a X amount of ms, just enough to kick someone, including the host of the lobby, out of the session. All you need to know to launch the attack is... (a)The IP address of victim machine (b)The Port you want to attack (port 6672) (c)The method of attack (chose one that is relevant to the protocol), like TCPStorm, DOMINATE, SYNFLOOD, etc. Seriously, don't do it. All I figured out is how to stalk my friends on GTA V. I have yet to even learn how to decrypt the captured GVSP data. If you want to catch modders on your own, you need to crack that hash. Seems like there is a new key generated a session. Hopefully R* in GTA VI will patch this vulnerability. GOOD LUCK, DON'T DoS people, and GO sign up for a VPN or Proxy, RIGHT NOW. Stuff Online on DTLSv1.0 Traffic https://wiki.wireshark.org/DTLS DTLS is a SSL Protocol that is compatible through UDP. It can be used to create SSH Tunnels back to R* Servers. Since the last thing a mod developer wants to do is give R* all of your info willingly, I am assuming that this DTLS traffic is part of the anticheat mechanism implemented by R*. DTLS traffic, as of yet, cannot be filtered by capture alone. However, you simply just look at the packet, and then filter the UDP traffic and port to display the majority of DTLS traffic. Example Packet Summary: Modder Machine To RockstaTake Two Interactive, New York, New York Upon Use of a Mod
Frame 204: 151 bytes on wire (1208 bits), 151 bytes captured (1208 bits) on interface 0 Interface id: 0 Censored TO Avoid MAC Ban Encapsulation type: Ethernet (1) Arrival Time: Jan 19, 2017 18:23:39.836486000 Pacific Standard Time [Time shift for this packet: 0.000000000 seconds] Epoch Time: 1484879019.836486000 seconds [Time delta from previous captured frame: 0.002543000 seconds] [Time delta from previous displayed frame: 0.002543000 seconds] [Time since reference or first frame: 1.598633000 seconds] Frame Number: 204 Frame Length: 151 bytes (1208 bits) Capture Length: 151 bytes (1208 bits) [Frame is marked: False] [Frame is ignored: False] [Protocols in frame: eth:ethertype:ip:udp:dtls] [Coloring Rule Name: UDP] [Coloring Rule String: udp] Ethernet II, Censored TO Avoid MAC Ban Internet Protocol Version 4, Src: 10.0.1.113 (10.0.1.113), Dst: prod.ros.rockstargames.com (22.214.171.124) User Datagram Protocol, Src Port: 58016 (58016), Dst Port: 61457 (61457) Datagram Transport Layer Security
Modder Machine To Victim Machine Upon Giving Him All Weapons from Mod Menu. Victim is from Miami, Florida
Frame 210: 101 bytes on wire (808 bits), 101 bytes captured (808 bits) on interface 0 Interface id: 0 Censored TO Avoid MAC Ban Encapsulation type: Ethernet (1) Arrival Time: Jan 19, 2017 18:23:39.887777000 Pacific Standard Time [Time shift for this packet: 0.000000000 seconds] Epoch Time: 1484879019.887777000 seconds [Time delta from previous captured frame: 0.000169000 seconds] [Time delta from previous displayed frame: 0.000169000 seconds] [Time since reference or first frame: 1.649924000 seconds] Frame Number: 210 Frame Length: 101 bytes (808 bits) Capture Length: 101 bytes (808 bits) [Frame is marked: False] [Frame is ignored: False] [Protocols in frame: eth:ethertype:ip:udp:gvsp] [Coloring Rule Name: UDP] [Coloring Rule String: udp] Ethernet II, Censored TO Avoid MAC Ban Internet Protocol Version 4, Src: 10.0.1.113 (10.0.1.113), Dst: c-75-74-37-8.hsd1.fl.comcast.net (126.96.36.199) User Datagram Protocol, Src Port: vision_server (6672), Dst Port: vision_server (6672) Source Port: vision_server (6672) Destination Port: vision_server (6672)
These are the settings you must have on Windows Firewall, on Windows 10. Make one rule for INBOUND and one for OUTBOUND. You can do this while playing the game. Set them to enabled and change session. You should be on a new lobby with MUCH LESS PLAYERS. Keep Lobby-Surfing until you end up alone or the other people leave. My Wireshark capture tells me that the only other player in the game is connected to me via UDP 35464. He eventually left. Leaving me in a session by myself. It won't guarantee you a solo lobby anymore, but it makes it much rarer for packed lobbies with modders and jet griefers. If you are feeling lonely, then disable those firewall rules and switch session again. I still have a UDP connection via 6672 despite the rules. My wireshark picks up no traffic at all though. Hmm interesting. If you block your traffic it now generates DTLSv1.0 traffic (like modder traffic) to Rockstar at 188.8.131.52. There is also a lot more TCP traffic through Port 80 (but its still obfuscated). And it is going through my blocked UDP ports in the new firewall rules. It basically SSH tunneled through UDP directly to R*. So it's just me and their gameserver. No one else. Well the admins know I am not cheating. They prolly think I have a lousy internet connection or a jerk of a admin (they think) who doesn't want me to use UDP gaming ports. I am not worried at all. If you wanna sell all of your shit without being picked on. Then do this,
enable the firewall rules both inbound and outbound, sell your shit, and then disable them and switch sessions again so you won't be lonely anymore.
Here are the packet captures that I am WILLING to share. Basically it shows two things. R* Will open a SSH tunnel secret in at least TWO conditions (1) If you are modding. There will be a SSH Tunnel created using the DTLSv1.0 protocol on your UDP ports. Telling R* what you are doing if your game traffic looks suspicious (2) If you are using the firewall glitch, the game will get around your Windows Software Firewall and start connecting to R* with the SSH tunnel.
For #2 if you check on my packet capture links, even though I told Windows Firewall to block that UDP port, packets were sent through anyways as DTLS traffic. I have yet to be banned for this. This ensures that R* can still save my data. And you get to have less populated and/or totally alone sessions so you can play the damn game! And here is a example of normal traffic. Me and three of my friends in a 4-player Survival Game
Edit: Uploaded a 38 minute video, soloing biker deliveries without interference from other players. Works as long as I end up being the only player in the session, no new players can join because I blocked my ports
Other Possible Ramifications (Very Bad If It's True!) Not to freak everyone out. But it MAY be possible, for someone with actual hacking talent (not me), to drop a Staged Meterpreter Shell into your computer, assuming that he or she knows your IP address through the discovery on Wireshark. They can then... (1) Have the payload on execution rewrite a critical system file in your computer (2) Download the remaining stages of the payload (3) Slowly compromise other system processes on your computer (4) Gain root-access (Administrator in Windows) (5) Start executing commands as Root/Admin (6) Do creepy shit like use your webcam to take a picture of your face. Or steal your saved payment information in your browser cookies for Amazon, etc. I typically would picture our typical home networks like this in a typical game lobby on GTA Online Me
Laptop running GTA V My Router and Firewalls My Public IP (UDP Port 6672) My ISP
ISP routing path Your ISP Your Public IP (UDP Port 6672 and/or other) Your Home Router and Firewalls Your Computer
The problem with the UDP protocol, is that it has very little verification and checksumming. It just keeps spamming packets, making it viable for low latency applications (gaming). If I can make a virus or reverse shell look like typical game data, then it SHOULD get through your firewall, and automatically get forwarded by your router to your computer. As long as I am connected to you, all the validation is authentic. As long as I am connected to you, either in a game mode, or through the public lobby! If those conditions are met. Then it's going to look like regular traffic to your network. I have yet to even try this. I did managed to reencode a standard reverse shell payload (msfvenom) and infected myself with it (successfully SSH tunneling through my own router from the WWW against my Linux installation). However, my Windows variant failed to execute due to Windows User Account Controls. Windows Defender was futilely, furiously searching for this "virus", and eating up all my hard drive usage (100% while playing GTA) until I finally removed it after running a scan with HitmanPro (a heuristics second-opinion scanner that hunts for files that exhibit virus/malware like activity). PSA: DO NOT USE WIRESHARK TO MONITOR GTA V TRAFFIC, R* EULA HAS RECENTLY BEEN CHANGED, DEPENDING ON SEVERITY IT MAY BE A INSTANT PERMANENT BAN At 4:30 AM PST, January 22nd, my account received a permanent ban as I was with my friends on their yacht looking through the scope of a sniper rifle in the middle of a Piracy Prevention Match. As it turns. Sniffing network traffic via Wireshark may or may not be a ground for a ban. Regardless of whether or not I am doing it right now. I even double checked the vague Rockstar Games EULA to make sure. https://www.rockstargames.com/eula
You agree not to: reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, display, perform, prepare derivative works based on, or otherwise modify the Software, in whole or in part;
Well I attempted to! And I violated a good half of those.
cheat or utilize any unauthorized robot, spider, or other program in connection with any online features of the Software;
"Spider" (I am guessing they are referring to internet crawlers), but "other program"? Yeah Wireshark fits the bill.
TECHNICAL PROTECTIONS: The Software may include measures to control access to the Software, control access to certain features or content, prevent unauthorized copies, or otherwise attempt to prevent anyone from exceeding the limited rights and licenses granted under this Agreement. Such measures may include incorporating license management, product activation, and other security technology in the Software and monitoring usage, including, but not limited to, time, date, access, or other controls, counters, serial numbers, and/or other security devices designed to prevent the unauthorized access, use, and copying of the Software, or any portions or components thereof, including any violations of this Agreement. Licensor reserves the right to monitor use of the Software at any time. You may not interfere with such access control measures or attempt to disable or circumvent such security features, and if you do, the Software may not function properly. If the Software permits access to Special Features, only one copy of the Software may access those Special Features at one time. Additional terms and registration may be required to access online services and to download Software updates and patches. Only Software subject to a valid license can be used to access online services, including downloading updates and patches. Except as otherwise prohibited by applicable law, Licensor may limit, suspend, or terminate the license granted hereunder and access to the Software, including, but not limited to, any related services and products, at any time without notice for any reason whatsoever.
The Secret UDP SSH Tunnel (DTLSv1.0), got it. R* Anticheat. Check. Don't fuck with it? Naw mang, sorry, totally lost it. Well... if I straight up spilled the beans on how your anticheat works, including what it could possibly do and can't do, and how it might work, I'd guess you'd be pretty mad at me too. Especially since posting on Reddit is the equivalent of me following you around IRL with a megaphone, screaming in public in earshot "Don't trust him! He is reading your shit! He's looking through your gameplay traffic right now. And he knows everything!!!!"
Remember what I said about DDoSing people that are discovered on Wireshark? If you do this, and the victim knows the right people to call, I wouldn't be surprised if G-Men in suits knock on your door. At first, I thought, that was it. Then I decided to go Google "GTA V Banwave" and set the time to one week ago. What I saw was a real trip. A huge spike in fake bans and urgent warnings, "PSA's" all over YouTube It's something related to the latest iteration of Mod Menus that have been popping up. I have not seen so much panic run through the forums of UnknownCheats and MPGH in my life. New versions, updates, and customized variants of Mod Menus have been popping up on a daily basis. And with a detection period from launch, of at most, a week long. That is, the day that the new mod menu gets uploaded, to the point that users start to report they are getting banned for it, can be up from a week from now. R* anticheat went into overdrive. Developers have been scaling back on implementing the money drop feature for fear of triggering instant bans for their users (hence the lack of money drops recently). Then I noticed something... The prevailing issue of "Persistent Mods" and possible "Memory Corruption" implicating innocent players I am talking about mod menus that permanently break a lobby's features like free roam missions, like CEO or Bikers, but this time, it can carry over betweens lobby sessions. I saw my first variant earlier this week and shrugged it off. Then I saw my second one today. Some modder was caging me and my friends and trying to flatten us with Bugattis. Normally I would just join another session and any wacky attachment would fall off. But now the damage, errors, and bugs caused by mod menus can "carry-over" with me. I realized that I couldn't change my Outfits via the "Style Menu" for the second session in a row, I could not eat snacks to regenerate health, nor could I equip body armor. In some cases, I couldn't register as a CEO and start my missions, even though I already SWITCHED to a new lobby. After fully restarting the game from Steam, the "mod persistence" ceased. I had full control of my character again. Because we are talking about starting over again with fresh untainted memory. First instance of discussion of innocent bans recentlyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKYnCDolKSc This video claims that you should be avoiding public lobbies on the PC like the plague or apocalypse. IDK if you have to be THAT extreme. Just don't interact too much with modders. Or try glitching yourself into a solo public lobby via the firewall glitch. This is really sad though. This guy is a victim of a modder, and he gets a ban for it, probably from memory corruption caused by the modders that Rockstar's Anticheat picked uphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1IEs-Bf7Is I am certain that if you react quickly enough, you will NOT get flagged by the modder's actions. You just need to do a full restart of the game. Not your PC. Just the game on Steam. So don't enjoy a modder's company for too long, no matter how pleasant they may appear. Holy fuck dude. The game still costs $60 on Steam. After all these years. I'll just wait until my decoy account gets unbanned. I'll see you guys in 30 days. Fortunately, it is NOT a MAC Ban. I logged into my decoy account. Decoy account still has a one month suspension.
The Knight's Templar is still active, but operates differently than how people think. It never really ended, it just went underground. Most of the visible groups are not the genuine article of the real thing. A lot of them actually just work regular jobs, pretty much anything they can get their hands on and live as frugally as possible foregoing many comforts. Even if they have a gig working at McDonald's or something and most of their money has gone to rent and food and they literally have pennies left, every extra red cent after that is handed over to the Templars and stored to gather interest. Even pennies on the ground are picked up. People like this are referred to as "Gatherers". They keep it in physical cash, in banks, digital currency, and even vast vaults of precious metals, and it's stored in different places all over the world. They're behind some, not all, of the tungsten filled gold bars. They've been sneaking as much gold as they can. They know about the Annunaki and have been gathering gold for wealth purposes, but also specifically for their return, but they're not sure exactly what Annunaki do with it. They own probably most of the digital currency in the world. Even if it's "owned" by an individual, they are more than likely affiliated with the Templars. They mine the hell out of it. They tap into the electricity grid and bypass meters to steal power to fuel their mining rigs. They're built from scavenged computer parts. They have some hidden ones all over the place, and even tap into the utilities down in sewers. They do a lot of things to save money and wanted to use sewage for liquid cooling of their rigs, but if they messed it up they would have lost the rig and had a foul smelling mess to clean up. They pirate a lot of movies and games so they can have some entertainment in order to save money. Some of them do it as a hobby to bring a little joy to the others in their group, and also release it to the rest of the world in torrents. They do a lot of dumpster diving, scavenging of all sorts, and are expert couponers. Lots of can recycling as well. They used to gather up cans and bottles from the areas surrounding Michigan, but a lot of people were getting in on that and the areas around it started getting bare. After a while the fuel cost for transport started not being worth it. They do a lot of Ebay, Craigslist, car, and real estate flipping. They've been known to sabotage properties and whole neighborhoods to decrease property value then buy them at a cheaper price, fix them back up again, then sell them. A few properties have been done like this multiple times. Some of the gathering of wealth is done by criminal activity. It involves things where people won't get hurt, like cigarette smuggling, and selling counterfeit goods. Some of the smash and grabs of jewelry stores are them. That type of thing is covered by insurance, so they see no harm done. Other things are specifically insurance fraud, but "good luck proving anything". They've gotten exceedingly efficient at it. They've robbed their own stores before. Another thing they've done is had their own real estate appraiser to artificially inflate the value of properties then intentionally burn them down and collect a big profit from the insurance payout. They've kept valuable coins, bars, and artwork in private residences which they insured, then had one of their own "burglarize" the place and collect insurance for it. They also just rob criminals who have just robbed others. Sometimes they give it back to the victim if they can find them, but don't go out of their way investigating things. Some have intentionally gone to prison to make money on the economy in there. They're trying to cool it on the more unethical practices though and it's just something they've gotten carried away with. They used to follow the 10 commandments to a T, but started getting loose with it over the centuries as long as it involved gathering wealth. At times things have been taken too far and have made the news before and there was collateral damage, but they try the best they can to keep the unethical activity within their group and just exploit the system. They've been doing this a long time and they've become a bit out of touch from society even though they've also been walking among everyone else. Some of them are so hardcore that all they do is work multiple jobs and have no hobbies other than work. Some of them work themselves too hard or get injured and they start using drugs to keep them going. It keeps them going for a little while longer, but it has a detrimental effect in the long run. Some get hooked and can't stop, then feel the guilt about the money that they should be saving going towards their addiction instead of "back home". They try to eat just basic but healthy food, and sometimes splurge on some dollar menu, but feel guilty about that too. They're allowed some minor comforts like this to keep up morale, but the guilt gets to them later because of the way they were raised. They have different people within their group. There's military, intelligence, scribes, scientists, engineers, doctors. There are people who live full time in underground facilities. There are some who do about 50/50, and others who live full time on the outside. They refer to the surface as the "outs" just like prison slang. Anyone who takes up work involving going on the outside undergoes combat training. The underground facilities are built circular like a ring within a ring reminiscent a bull's-eye. There's Faraday shielding all around it and hardened for EMP. Living quarters are the outside ring. The first inner ring is where they do their farming. The food isn't anything special, just basic organically grown stuff. Whatever isn't grown is bought in bulk in vast quantities. Lots of stored food in huge warehouses. The "dot" at the center is their armor and military stuff. There's an elevator which goes down and that's where all their research and development is. They have archives down there too. Lots of ancient documents and scrolls. Mostly religious related. Their military typically wears Urban Camo pattern. Their weapons are just regular guns, but usually the best the outside has to offer. They make some of their own, but it's usually just mixed parts and slight improvements on what's already been made. They do have better ammunition though, which is what they tend to focus on. One thing they have is plastic explosive instead of gunpowder and striking the primer produces something like piezoelectric charge which detonates it. It has a higher muzzle velocity around double what conventional ammo has and they also have armor piercing bullets. There's no hiding behind cover with this stuff. They've experimented with Teflon coating them and supposedly have something better than Teflon, but that was a while ago. They have something like "Power Armor" that they refer to as "Exosuits". It looks a lot like the Cyborg Ninja suit from Metal Gear Solid 2, only it has an inch thick ballistic glass lens for the eyes in a cross shape. No swords. It's in the black and grey colors like Urban Camo. It's slim enough to be worn under clothes if you buy them a large enough size. It's a one piece armored suit that augments strength and speed. It's quiet enough to walk around without anyone noticing, but you can hear the motors if you put your ear up to them or have a sensitive enough microphone. The suit can pressurize itself for either high g-forces in aircraft, or for stopping blood flow in case a projectile made its way thought. It can have movements programmed in as presets, like a higher and more efficient jump. It can also help steady aim from recoil of firearms. The joints are flexible material. It has built in fully automatic guns and mini explosive homing rockets. There's a non lethal pneumatic "blast" to knock people down in if it's needed. It has a built in air compressor to recharge it, but it takes a while. There's removable ballistic shields that can attach to the forearms. It protects against small arms, fire, and even plasma. The armor is something like a carbon fiber frame with various layers of different materials to protect against different things while still being lightweight. It has built in visual enhancement as well as acoustic amplification. It's also air and water tight and there's also a sonar system, and an integrated rebreather. It specifically built to protect against nuclear, biological, and chemical threats. It sounds stupid, but it also has rocket boots. It's a single use charge that can get someone over a wall or other obstacle. The whole suit runs on batteries. It has a 12 hour run time with all the systems active. It has a backup hydrogen power cell for emergencies that can be refilled with water if need be. Distilled water is preferable, but tap water will work. They have their own Navy which includes aircraft and boats. They just take old things like F-16s and B-2 bombers, gut them, and retrofit them with their own technology and are vastly superior to any F-22 or F-35. The boats are pretty much the same way and are stored in cliffs by the coast. They keep the shells this way to that the visual appearance is the same to keep everything else more hidden. They have a few underground facilities. Most of them are for storing gold and technology. There's a main facility below the equator. Its exact location is classified. These types of facilities are protected by automated turrets and patrolling drones. They kind of look like R2-D2, but not quite. A little more refined. They have nanotechnology, but don't believe in bio modification like genetic engineering. They practice eugenics and selective breeding. They don't believe in marking their bodies with scarring or tattoos, but some of them do so they can maintain cover in society. There was some conflict between MIB and the Knight's Templar, but it was due to misunderstanding and compartmentalization. They have advanced technology and this was a part of it. Weapons, armor, anti gravity, etc. Not as good as MIB stuff though. They don't have time travel, but there was an attempt at utilizing it for manipulating digital currency, specifically bitcoin to make more money. They believe this is what got the MIB on their back and raided. They describe it like a SWAT team on steroids. They have technology and intelligence gathering and still didn't see us coming. They figured the MIB raid was about confiscation. Some people died, but everything got cleared up. Someone gave them some intel that if they literally just set their weapons down the conflict would stop without getting fired upon anymore and it went exactly that way. They're not sure where that intel came from. They have their own intelligence gathering like CIA, and also take part in assassination. It's mainly about protecting the technology and wealth by any means necessary. The technology is more about protecting the wealth, and the research they put into the weaponry was to protect it even from the governments if they needed to. They weren't going to take the chance of being wiped out and having the wealth taken again. They do some work loosely with the Vatican, but it's mostly religion related. They do believe in a supernatural God and Christ, but they also acknowledge a science based element to it all. They follow the Ten Commandments and a lot of the old scripture, but adapt to life on the outside. They tend to not curse and use foul language unless they're trying to blend in. They live a lot like ultra conservative orthodox Catholics, but try to blend in on the surface as much as possible. So much so that something like doggy style sex would be considered kink to them. For them, sex is only for the purpose of procreation and that's it. There's no sex out of wedlock. When people who have been working on the outside come back they sometimes get scolded as being degenerates. Not always seriously. A life of frugality sounds pretty hard, but they're raised this way their whole life with their parents and their parent's parents living like this going back generations. Small bits of joy and splurging go a long way. They used to live their lives more out of balance with no splurging or entertainment whatsoever, only wealth gathering, but take a more balanced approach these days. The balanced approach has increased wealth generation by about 10% over a couple decades. That doesn't sound like much, but they track everything down to the smallest hundredth decimal and this is a big change for them. By allowing them to spend more money, they've had the effect of making more money. It's proven that happy workers are more productive works. The rumors of them having artifacts they've been holding onto are true. The "Holy Grail", "Spear of Destiny", and a "Piece of the Holy Cross". This is something that's compartmentalized even from most of them, but one thing about it is those whom know about these artifacts are sure that they're not literal and are more than likely just codenames for something else. What exactly they are is unknown at this time, but the one constant is that they're ancient.
Shades Of Grey Markets: How Government Overregulation Creates Counter-Economic Opportunities
"The basic law of Counter-Economics is to trade risk for profit. Having done so, one naturally (acting to remove felt unease) attempts to reduce the risks. If you reduce your risks while others continue to face the higher risks, you naturally out-compete and survive longer. And you profit." Samuel Edward Konkin III, An Agorist Primer. ................ In 2008, I took a software development gig at a startup in Santa Monica, CA called LP33 (lp33.tv). The company had originally been named MyAWOL (My Artists WithOut Labels). The “My” prefix was a not-so-subtle nod to MySpace, the giant (at that time) of the social media industry. Facebook had opened to the public in 2006, but was still an outlier in the space. Venture capitalists around the world, at that time, were dumping money on startups promising to create “The MySpace of X.” MyAWOL had been founded by music industry veterans and sought to become the premier social network for independent musicians - “The MySpace of Indie Artists.” For the past several years, the most exciting label for a startup is “The Uber of X.” Unlike MySpace, Uber is seeing its market share continue to grow and is expanding into other areas. UberEats, for instance, is Uber’s own entry into the already established (and crowded) “Uber of Food Delivery.” The ubiquity of smartphones and mobile broadband connections has given birth to such startups as “The Uber Of Stylists” (TheGlamApp.com), “The Uber of Dog Walking” (Rover.com), “The Uber Of Car Rental” (Turo.com), and even “The Uber Of Car Rental For Uber Drivers Who Need To Rent A Car To Use To Drive For Uber” (HyreCar.com). It is remarkable how quickly the outlaw antics of Uber are swept aside when such antics generate profits. It was (over-) regulation on the part of government that, ostensibly, led to Uber’s creation. It was overreaction on the part of regulatory agencies that clearly led to the creation of “The Uber Mystique.” Uber has achieved victory in the vast majority of battles it has fought with governments determined to keep the service out of certain jurisdictions. In the cases where Uber has retreated, new “Grey Market” opportunities have arisen in the space left by Uber’s absence. Uber’s brief history serves as a case study which proves that Agorist theories - put forward by Samuel Konkin in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s - give a powerful framework for a peaceful supplanting of government coercion by non-violent, market means. Although Uber was created in San Francisco, its first significant battle was fought in New York City, the Mecca of the taxicab industry in the United States. Overregulation created the space for driver demand. Overreaction on the part of Las Vegas authorities, in their dealings with Uber, created a public relations scenario that allowed Uber to finally gain a foothold in my lucrative hometown. In Austin, TX, overreaction by government eventually ended with Uber (and competitor, Lyft) deciding to pull up stakes and remove themselves from the municipality. The market demand created by the ensuing vacuum incubated what may turn out to be the Facebook to Uber’s Myspace. The tale of these three cities is a harbinger of the new economic paradigm that lies just on the horizon. Those who understand the paradigm will have great economic opportunity in the coming years. The Counter-Economy is vast. Our brief study of economics tells us that this should be no surprise. The more controls and taxation a State imposes on its people, the more they will evade and defy them. Since the United States is one of the less (officially) controlled countries, and the CounterEconomy here is fairly large, the global Counter-Economy should be expected to be even larger — and it is. Samuel Edward Konkin III, An Agorist Primer Uber launched in New York City in May of 2011, a year after the app first went live (in San Francisco). Uber arrived on the scene in the middle of the latest battle in a taxicab civil war that had already been raging for a century. Their arrival tipped the scales in favor of the Counter-Economy. The metered cab industry first began in New York City in 1907. Immediately, grey market “illegal” cabs began plying their trade on the streets. The grey market grew alongside the white market. In Los Angeles, these illegal cabs were known as “jitneys” (a slang term for a nickel, which was their fare in the early days). By the 1930s, the grey market cabs of New York had acquired the moniker “wildcat taxis.” The wildcats were known for providing drastically reduced fares, and the licensed drivers complained that they were losing business to these illegal competitors. This claim was demonstrably unfounded, however, because by the 1960s licensed drivers (medallion holders) had a lucrative enough business that they began restricting their activities to the hub of Manhattan - refusing rides to certain “types” of people and to certain destinations. The wildcats (now known as “gypsy” cabs - a name still used today) became the primary operators in the outer boroughs - mainly Brooklyn and Queens. In 1967, as a reaction to lobbying by medallion holders, the city ordered that medallion cabs paint their taxis yellow (gypsy cabs must paint their cars some other color) so that riders could immediately distinguish between the two. The reaction was swift. Gypsy drivers turned over or burned no less than 14 licensedmtaxis in Brooklyn. The mayor, John Lindsay, offered full police protection to medallion holders but simultaneously voiced his opposition to the law that gave birth to New York’s famous Yellow Cab. In 1971, the city created the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). In a moment of foreshadowing that would echo through the decades, the new TLC Chairman, Michael Lazar, suggested that the gypsies could become legal by simply no longer taking “street hails” and only picking up fares who had called ahead and scheduled rides. The gypsies in The Bronx organized protests of the initiative. The protests turned violent when firefighters, responding to a blaze set by the protesters, were attacked with bottles and bricks. The initiative eventually went through - creating the livery, or Black Car, industry - but the gypsies never fully left the streets. In 2011, New York was in the middle of the implementation of the Green Cab system. A green cab is a cab licensed only to operate in the outer boroughs where the yellow cabs do not. In other words, the green cabs (or “borough cabs”) were the city’s attempt to “license the unlicensed.” Yet another battle between the state and the grey market was in full swing. The TLC began doing undercover enforcement in the boroughs, pulling over and citing gypsy drivers. The gypsies, in turn, began forming “crews” to hold onto turf and as protection against the TLC. Puncturing the tires of TLC vehicles and chasing off green cabs became necessary crew activities. Enter Uber. In 1987, Michael Lazar, the former TLC chairman who established the livery laws, was indicted on federal racketeering charges, fined $200,000, and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Lazar’s weapon in New York’s taxi wars, regardless of its impact in 1971, has turned out to be the “sword pulled from the stone,” that has enabled Uber to triumph. Uber’s model – pre-arranged rides – falls squarely within the boundaries of the livery system. Lazar’s weak attempt at stifling the gypsies gave Uber the foothold it needed. The 2011 green cab program, one of Michael Bloomberg’s final acts as mayor, pushed the gypsy drivers - now in fear of losing their livelihood – right into Uber’s arms. The city tried for 5 years, unsuccessfully to oust Uber. Uber stuck to its guns and “hacked” the livery system. Now there are millions of weekly Uber rides in New York City (not to mention deliveries from UberEats and UberRush). Uber’s fleet is more than 3 times the size of the entire licensed taxi fleet. Uber drivers, many of them former gypsy drivers, are averaging between $30,000 and $60,000 per month. Had the city simply left the outer boroughs alone, the story might have been different. A yellow cab medallion, in 2011, could only be purchased at auction (the city didn’t issue new medallions). Medallions were going, at auction in 2011, for a million dollars a piece. Had the gypsies been allowed to keep their turf unmolested, Uber would have had to fight battles on 2 fronts against the yellow cabs and the TLC in Manhattan and against the gypsies in the outer boroughs. As it happened, however, the city’s overregulation united the grey market and shifted the balance of power in a Hundred-Year War. Everyone is a resister to the extent that he survives in a society where laws control everything and give contradictory orders. All (non-coercive) human action committed in defiance of the State constitutes the Counter-Economy. (For ease of analysis, we exclude murder and theft, which are done with the disapproval of the State. Since taxation and war encompass nearly all cases of theft and murder, the few independent acts really should be classified as other forms of statism.) Since anything the State does not license or approve of is forbidden or prohibited, there are no third possibilities. Samuel Edward Konkin III, An Agorist Primer In October of 2014, two representatives from Uber had a meeting with Bruce Breslow, the Director of Nevada’s Department of Business and Industry. Up until that time, Uber had stayed out of Vegas, a market dominated by a cartel of politically powerful taxicab companies that some call the last vestiges of “Old Las Vegas” (aka The Mob). The taxicab lobby effectively neutered the Las Vegas Monorail (the largest, privately owned, public transportation system in the US) by preventing expansion to McCarran Airport. Instead, the end of the futuristic train’s line is across the street from the airport, at MGM Grand Hotel - ample distance to prevent it’s use by air travelers. The taxi cartel is also well known in Vegas for shaking down strip clubs – charging a per-head fee for every patron brought, by taxi, to a club. The shakedown is so noxious that clubs find it more profitable to maintain fleets of complimentary limousines and party buses than to pay off the cab drivers. The Uber representatives were meeting with Breslow to see where the state itself stood on the company’s planned entry into Sin City. Breslow told the representatives that they could either apply with the Nevada Transportation Authority as a common carrier (like a limousine company) or they could register with the aforementioned Taxicab Authority as a taxicab company. The representatives thanked Breslow for his time and walked out of the office. Two days later, Breslow, a registered Uber user himself, received an email – sent to all registered Uber users in Nevada – with the subject line “Your Uber is arriving now, Las Vegas!” Uber’s legal department, after reviewing Nevada’s laws, had ascertained that Uber, as a ride-sharing company, was not required to be regulated as either a limousine or taxicab company. They turned on their app and drivers hit the Las Vegas Strip. The Taxicab Authority hit back. Masked Authority agents in unmarked SUVs, armed with assault rifles, used Uber’s app to tail suspected drivers. When the drivers stopped at the passenger’s destination, the agents swarmed from their cars, like movie terrorists with a neon backdrop. Drivers were arrested. Cars were impounded. A Nevada judge issued a preliminary injunction banning Uber from Nevada. Instead of fighting a protracted battle in the courts, Uber sent a battle-tested team of lobbyists into Southern Nevada and began to fight in the court of public opinion. Suddenly there were political fundraisers for Nevada politicians, hosted by Uber, being thrown in hip Downtown Las Vegas. Twitter and Facebook ads filled Nevadans’ news feeds. By the summer of 2015, just months after that meeting in Breslow’s office, Uber had secured enough legislative votes to begin service again in Las Vegas. Their only concession, a new 3% excise tax levied against all cars for hire – including taxis. Not only did the taxicab cartel lose market share to Uber’s grey market tactics, but Uber convinced the state to punish the cartel for fighting by stealing 3% more of its revenue. The goonish tactics of the corrupt state agencies swayed public opinion toward Uber and the grey market. The other business is Information. The Internet explosion has led the American State — for now, at any rate — to throw up its tentacles at regulation of the Information industry. Every legislative session, however, brings new attempts to tax and control the [Internet]. But consider this well: should the Counter-Economy lick the information problem, it would virtually eliminate the risk it incurs under the State's threat. That is, if you can advertise your products, reach your consumers and accept payment (a form of information), all outside the detection capabilities of the State, what enforcement of control would be left. Samuel Edward Konkin III, An Agorist Primer Uber arrived in Austin, Texas in 2014. Unlike Las Vegas and New York City, Austin didn’t have a highly established taxi industry. However, the growing tourist base (mainly attendees of the SXSW and Austin City Limits music festivals) created a demand for more readily accessible transportation. Uber filled the void perfectly. Austin is a young, tech-savvy town that took to Uber like a duck to water. The Uber drivers I have had in Austin have been some of the most pleasant of any with whom I’ve ridden. But…statists gonna state. Allegations of sexual assault by drivers and (of course) lobbying by cab companies became the impetus for the city fathers to demand that Uber fingerprint all their drivers (just like the taxi drivers). Uber balked at this suggestion and raised the stakes in the gunfight. Uber funded a referendum. Were Uber to win the vote, the company would be forever exempt from fingerprinting requirements. Uber played the state’s game…and Uber lost. Austin voters did not grant the exemption. As a result, Uber (and competitor Lyft) pulled up stakes and left Austin for good. In their wake, they left 10,000 unemployed drivers and even more riders without wheels. The vacuum created by the Uber departure, combined with Austin’s peculiar culture, gave birth to a fateful experiment. In a Facebook group called Arcade City, individual drivers and riders began arranging rides privately. Riders would make a request in a post, drivers would reply with a specially formatted driver bio (called a “collage”), and the rider would pick the driver they wanted by sending a private message. Soon, thousands of rides – and quite a bit of press – were being generated. This grey market activity attracted the curiosity of a team of software developers working in the cryptocurrency Blockchain space. The developers saw an opportunity to combine Uber with Bitcoin, creating a completely “unregulatable” platform for ride-sharing (or house sharing, or “anything-sharing”) where the Blockchain handled both payment and reputation management. Stark differences in vision between the original Austin community and the developers saw a fracturing of the project. The Austin ride-share group has kept the Arcade City name and has launched an app that moves the functionality off of Facebook and onto their own platform. The developers started Swarm City (named after the term for the nodes on their network – “the swarm”) and have been slowly rolling out their platform. Both projects embrace the grey market ethos and provide virtually no handhold for regulatory authorities. By trying to overregulate Uber, Austin created a hydra-like, unregulatable replacement. Konkin’s vision of Agorism is not a prescription for ideological action. It is, instead, a description of the world in which we live. The Counter-Economy is growing stronger every day as technology makes the State obsolete. Every attempt by the State to overregulate creates a niche for creative entrepreneurs to avoid that regulation. Soon, a point of critical mass will be reached. A free society is the goal of many people, not all of them agorists or even libertarians. Agorists can see nothing but a free market in a free society; after all, who or what will prevent it? Samuel Edward Konkin III, An Agorist Primer. https://archive.is/Am9pM
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