My Opinions – Edition 1

Welcome to the first edition of My Opinions. I decided to start writing these little sections for a few reasons. One being that I have not really expressed my views on such topics before and feel it would not only benefit my thinking, but maybe, benefit yours.

What I will discuss in this edition:

1. TOR – The Onion Router

2. Bitcoin and its counterparts

3. The NSA

4. Scams within the Bitcoin community

So, let's get started shall we?

TOR – The Onion Router

The Onion Router (hereafter referred to as TOR) is a very complex and intriguing piece of technology. It allows it's users to connect to “nodes” around the globe, masking their true identity. Now while some of you may think that it is only used for “illegal” activities, TOR has some very legitimate uses, now more than ever regarding the NSA invasion. TOR has been pretty much hidden from the spotlight for most of it's lifetime, that is until recently when the infamous “Silk Road” was taken down by the U.S Government, which used TOR as it's way of accessing the “hidden site”. Once silk road fell, the then not so popular routing software, had gained media attention, albeit not good attention.

Since the demise of silk road, TOR has kept flourishing to this day, and it's more legitimate uses are being known. With the very real invasion of privacy from the United State's NSA, people are flocking to software like TOR and personal VPNs (Virtual Private Network) in order to secure their privacy.

TOR comes bundled (now) in what is called the “TOR Browser Bundle”. It consists of a modified Firefox browser specifically for the TOR network and the TOR client named Vidalia. You click on the “Connect to TOR” button and then you are now hidden while you browse the web. You also can view what are known as “Hidden sites”. These are sites that are only accessed through the TOR network.

With all of it's security, TOR is not without it's flaws. The connection is often very slow, and you cannot access some sections of websites that require plugins like Flash and Java (YouTube). Also, since the silk road incident, some believe that the Network has the NSA hosting relays in order to monitor traffic. While I do not know if this is true or to what extent it has gone, it is definitely something to keep an eye out for.

All in all, I believe that TOR is a great and free way to keep your identity hidden throughout the web. If you wanted added security, you could use a Virtual Private Network like on top of the TOR network. This will ensure maximum protection from prying eyes.

Bitcoin and Its Counterparts

Bitcoin is a great innovation. Born from an idea, has now grown to new heights. When Bitcoin was born in 2010, I don't think anybody expected it to achieve what it has. Except maybe Satoshi himself. The digital currency that once had probably 3GH/s on it, now has grown to almost 6 million Terra hashes. More and more businesses are accepting it, and it has gained mainstream attention.

As with most things, Bitcoin, being open source, has brothers and sisters now. Alternate currencies have flooded the market. These currencies range from complete clones, to whole new structure. A lot of these “coins” were/are made for the sole purpose of gaining money fast (pump and dump) by the developers. But many of them were designed and created for legitimate purposes.

Currencies like – Franko, Crpytogenicbullion, Megacoin, Litecoin, Primecoin, Devcoin and Namecoin, to name a few, have active developers behind them and are constantly bringing forth new ideas and services for their currencies. For example: Primecoin is a currency that is based on “primes”. It's uses besides being a valid currency is purely scientific. It is a proof-of-work coin that searches for prime numbers in the blockchain. Another, Devcoin, is used to fund artists, writers, developers for their work. It is merge mined with Bitcoin and I believe it is one of the most legitimate currencies on the market. Not because it has fancy logos, or because it has super random block rewards, but because it is a charity coin, aimed at helping out creative minds and developers for what they do best.

The rush of these currencies creation seems to have slowed down. Many find the abundance of these currencies to be spam, and a stain on the Cryptocoin scene. But it is merely a matter of opinion. The strong ones will survive and the weak will die out. There has been some very interesting achievements witnessed in my time within this culture. To me it is more than a hobby, it is a lifestyle. I enjoy it not because I am making money, although that is a bonus, but because it is sort of an adventure. Every day something new arises within this world. Be it a new groundbreaking currency, or a service that has never been done before. It truly is amazing.


The NSA has gained a lot of media attention over the past while. These folks are invading every corner of the internet that they can get their filthy hands into. Innocent people are being violated and their rights revoked.

It is bad enough that this group is invading us. But they have taken it offshore, into governments across the world. Spying on everything that they deem necessary. This has to be stopped! Thankfully many organizations have reached out to the population with services like private email (, TOR, free VPN's for those who cannot afford their own, and software like Bitmessage and PGP. Each of these are there for your use. Most of them do not ask for money, as most of them are NFP (not for profit) organizations. But, they do have donation pages (most of which accept Bitcoin) if you wish to donate to them.

I believe it is vital that these organizations exist, and is also vital that more of them be born. We are at war. Although we are not on the streets with physical weapons, we can combat them using things like PGP encryption, hidden email like Riseup and Safemail, and taking the proper precautions while surfing to ensure your protection and privacy. At the end of this article, I will leave a list of links to visit if you want to obtain some of what I have spoke of.

Scams Within The Bitcoin Community

Even though Bitcoin has its legitimate users and followers, of course there are those who wish to undermine its image. Scams, have become a very big problem within the Bitcoin community. From phishing attacks to outright lies, scamming has plagued this scene since its birth.

On the main forum for Bitcoin ( they have a trust system. While this system is not without its flaws, it does give you an idea of what to expect from that particular individual. The reason that the scams are so prominent in this community is due to the anonymity of the Bitcoin protocol. People can get away with scamming, simply because they cannot be traced (without a lot of work).

Always be vigilant when trading and/or buying within this community. Escrow is of utmost importance when dealing with trades and buying goods. There are many people and services available to you for escrow, some are free. I recently had a bad experience with a user, and lost over 2000$ worth of Bitcoins. I have learned my lesson, and will always take the necessary precautions when buying from now on.

So, the bottom line is: Stay vigilant, Stay alert and use your brain. If something seems too good to be true, then it usually is.

Useful Links: - TOR website - Riseup main site - Web Proxy‎ - VPN service that accepts Bitcoins - Learn about Bitcoin

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