Wall Street Journal Article: Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund Makes Monster Bet on Bitcoin
Updated Jan. 2, 2018 7:57 p.m. ET One of the biggest names in Silicon Valley is placing a moonshot bet on bitcoin. Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars of the volatile cryptocurrency, people familiar with the matter said. The bet has been spread across several of the firm’s most recent funds, the people said, including one that began investing in mid-2017 and made bitcoin one of its first investments. Founders and Mr. Thiel, 50 years old, are well-known for early investments in companies like Facebook Inc. that sometimes take years to come to fruition. The bitcoin bet is quickly showing promise. Founders bought around $15 million to $20 million in bitcoin, and it has told investors the firm’s haul is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars after the digital currency’s ripping rise in the past year. It isn’t clear if Founders has sold any of its holdings yet. The bet hasn’t been previously reported. Bitcoin vaulted last year from a fringe area of Wall Street interest to the most talked-about asset in the financial world. The currency, essentially a digital form of money with no government or central bank behind it, started 2017 trading around $1,000, then shot to near $20,000 as individual and institutional investors alike ramped up speculating on its rise. From its all-time high reached in mid-December, the price chopped almost in half over the rest of the month. Prices as of late Tuesday afternoon were up 10% to $14,783, after ending 2017 at about $14,000, according to research site CoinDesk. Bitcoin spiked after The Wall Street Journal reported Founders’ investment. Relatively few mainstream investors have bought large sums of bitcoin, scared off by concerns about cybersecurity and liquidity, as well as more mundane fears of investment losses. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon famously called the digital currency a “fraud,” while Bridgewater Associates founder Raymond Dalio said it was a bubble. Even some of those who do own it are cautious about speaking too publicly, lest they draw the attention of hackers. The late-year price plunge has also spooked some. On Dec. 22, the prominent investor Michael Novogratz said he was delaying launching a crypto-focused hedge fund for outside investors, stating “we didn’t like market conditions for new investors.” South Korea announced last week it would crack down on cryptocurrency trading, an ominous sign given that the country at one point accounted for as much as one-fourth of global bitcoin trading activity. Founders began buying in for its investors before the recent volatility, the people familiar with the matter said. The billionaire Mr. Thiel is an outspoken libertarian who co-founded digital payments service PayPal Holdings Inc. and made headlines as a prominent booster of President Donald Trump. He serves on the president’s technology advisory council. Mr. Thiel previously ran a multibillion-dollar hedge fund focused on global macroeconomic trends, and had some success navigating the financial crisis before racking up investment losses by investing in havens and missing out on the subsequent rebound. Bitcoin 101: What It Is, How to Invest The virtual currency bitcoin continues surging to new highs as a frenzy of investors get in on the action. WSJ's Paul Vigna explains what you need to know, and how to invest should you want to join the mania. Photo: Alexander Hotz/The Wall Street Journal. What You Can Buy With Bitcoin: A $10 Pizza for $76 Bitcoin is a virtual currency, but very few people use it to actually pay for things because of transaction fees and its rising value. WSJ's Thomas Di Fonzo takes to the streets of New York to try to spend bitcoin at brick-and-mortar establishments. As a venture capitalist, Mr. Thiel and Founders fund are among the most successful in Silicon Valley. Founders has more than $3 billion under management and has taken stakes in more-than 100 companies, including Facebook, Airbnb Inc., SpaceX and Lyft. More recent investments include the crypto-focused hedge funds Metastable Capital and Polychain Capital, which puts money into blockchain companies. Mr. Thiel made the decision to buy up bitcoin together with Founders’ other investment partners, a person familiar with the matter said. In an October onstage interview at an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Thiel described cryptocurrencies as “charismatic.” “While I’m skeptical of most of them, I do think people are a little bit underestimating bitcoin, specifically, because it is like a reserve form of money,” Mr. Thiel said. “If bitcoin ends up being the cyber equivalent of gold, it has great potential.” By buying bitcoin outright, as opposed to backing other companies doing business in the space, Founders would seem to be breaking with its investing tradition, an investor said. But in communications with investors, Founders representatives have sought to cast the investment as a high-risk, high-reward wager similar to its other venture bets, the people familiar with the matter said. The representatives have told firm backers that a cascade of cash into technology companies has stretched their valuations to historic highs, making stakes in startups as dangerous a risk as ever. Bitcoin, on the other hand, could multiply several times over in the coming years. Thanks to its rise, the bitcoin investment is already estimated as the most valuable in the Founders’ most recent, $1.3 billion venture fund. People close to the firm said that the fund hasn’t made many investments yet. Founders has also warned investors that bitcoin does share one potentially perilous similarity with more traditional venture capital investments: The digital currency could be worth nothing, or close to it, in the end. Corrections & Amplifications Bitcoin reached its all-time high in mid-December. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that it reached the level in November.
[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] Big time article in Wall Street journal today.
The following post by Turbodiesel67 is being replicated because some comments within the post(but not the post itself) have been silently removed. The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link: np.reddit.com/ Bitcoin/comments/71z7he The original post's content was as follows:
WSJ has a glowing interview/article with Balaji Srinivasan about the future of Bitcoin. Nothing about a bubble, nothing about frauds or scams. This is a tacit endorsement by the best financial paper in the world. The paper describes bitcoin and the blockchain in general as the "internet of money" and describes how it is revolutionizing everything in finance. It goes on to describe how China is trying to manipulate bitcoin in order to facilitate their own currency tied to the renminbi, or to capture bitcoin for themselves. WSJ explains how china created the great firewall shortly after the internet was invented, and now they're trying to do the same with blockchains and crypto... China isn't banning bitcoin. They plan on regulating it themselves. This is the most positive sign I have seen around bitcoin in a long time. Wall Street journal putting out a positive article about BTC is a huge progress.
01-23 19:03 - 'Who to blame for the 100 billion crash in Bitcoin and all cryptos? Coinmarketcap.com (legit article from Wall Street Journal)' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/MgKx removed from /r/Bitcoin within 125-135min
Compatible EHRs Should Compare Notes On The Pandemic
In the case of COVID-19, the testing results of citizens can be vital for public welfare and personal rights. Authorities worldwide are calling healthcare institutions to provide secure and legit access to health status information. Citizens themselves would also need trustworthy and reliable proof for their own health condition and full control over their privacy. However, current EHR systems are revealing serious deficiencies in terms of its interoperability, immutability, compliance, and the cost. There is, therefore, an urgent need for the collection of trustworthy and standardized encrypted medical records that can be safely shared between multi parties. This is where blockchain technology comes in and becomes the de facto choice for such an implementation.
The Most Feasible Choice For EHR reform: The Public Blockchain
This public blockchain-based E-HCert App provides an archival solution for COVID-19 RT-PCR (real time-polymerase chain reaction) and antibodies tests (Rapid Test) records, which will be utilized to enhance the hospital’s COVID-19 management and response at the end of May 2020. When a Cyprus citizen goes to the hospital and undergoes RT-PCR and antibodies tests, the testing records will be uploaded onto the VeChainThor Blockchain, and the immutably recorded results are then shown in the E-HCert Native App. As E-HCert fully complies with the GDPR, the App enables the owner to have complete control over their profiles, and use it to prove his or her health status when trying to return to work, take a flight abroad, and get authorized for other activities.
Enabling The Next Wave Of Digital Health Reform
COVID-19 has prompted an expansion of industrial power in healthcare. A recent report found that 33 of the 50 US-based hospitals examined were working with Amazon, Google, or Microsoft. The Wall Street Journal said the internet giants are also wrestling for control in health-care markets. Compared with traditional technologies, blockchain provides better opportunities for companies to review their healthcare data systems, optimize the workflow design, while simultaneously enabling every patient to safely hold their records and share it immediately with any party in the world.
Bitcoin hit the $400 cost in November 2015 — something it hadn't done in a year. Expression of bitcoin was arriving at the more standard budgetary distributions around then. An article from Bloomberg gave an account of this cost increment in positive terms once in a while observed from a main standard money related distribution. It expressed, "Bitcoin is having some fantastic luck. Recently we brought up that the virtual money was on a gigantic series of wins. It's up almost 40 percent over the most recent three days." The Bloomberg article noticed that examiner Gil Luria of Wedbush Securities composed the accompanying to customers prior in 2014: "We accept bitcoin and its related blockchain innovation can possibly upset the current money related foundation throughout the following scarcely any years. We accept the estimation of the bitcoin cash (BTC) will profit by this pattern and consequently are starting inclusion of GBTC with an OUTPERFORM rating and $40 value target." Simultaneously in November of 2015, Paul Vigna of The Wall Street Journal wrote in his section, "The cost of bitcoin is flooding, traverse the $400 mark just because since last November, in the midst of an eruption of exchanging action and a flood enthusiasm for the innovation basic the digital money." Bitcoin arrived at a high of $768 in June, 2016, and GBTC moved to a high of $135 around a similar time. At that point bitcoin hit an extremely unpredictable period as an ongoing hack of a bitcoin trade drove costs down. This is characteristic of the benefit, which is obviously not for the tame and preservationist. In any case, is it in any event, something that a speculator ought to consider? https://preview.redd.it/apz11co31gi41.jpg?width=669&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=13b9a4211f28f0cee15b8172e17e5dba634bc86e Would you be able to Make Money With Bitcoin? Bitcoin is most normally alluded to as an "advanced cash." It's not a physical instrument, however similarly as physical instruments, for example, dollars and coins can be utilized, it can work in its computerized structure as a money to pay for buys. In all actuality, there may not be many retail shops that really acknowledge bitcoin, yet the rundown is developing. It incorporates Overstock.com, Dell, Microsoft, Reeds Jewelers and even the Sacramento Kings. You can even utilize a Visa Mastercard that can be utilized to charge buys that are consequently charged from a shopper's bitcoin wallet. At the point when you order bitcoin as a cash and contrast it with other money venture alternatives, for example, the U.S. dollar or yen, actually bitcoin was the world's best-performing cash in 2010, 2011, 2102, 2013 and 2015. What occurred in 2014? It was the most noticeably awful performing cash! This further shows the unpredictability of bitcoin. Bitcoin as an Alternative Investment Since the estimation of bitcoin can be named in a dollar esteem and can vary up or down dependent on economic situations, it's a type of cash as well as it tends to be seen as a speculation vehicle also. I used to advise individuals not to put resources into anything in the event that you couldn't discover its cost in either a paper or through a trade. Actually bitcoin is exchanged on trades all through the world on a 24-hour premise. You'll generally know the estimation of bitcoin in dollars or your nearby money. In any case, before you bounce in and purchase bitcoin or think about it as a venture, it's essential to perceive that bitcoin or any speculation ought to be a piece of a monetary methodology or plan that depends on your present circumstance, just as your objectives, targets and judicious resource assignment techniques.
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the 30th monthly Bitcoin news recap. For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com A recap of Bitcoin in May 2019 Adoption
Imagine if there was one desk that all stories could cross so that, at 4am, a media plan could be decided upon and disseminated where all news outlets coordinated to set the goalposts of debate and hyper focused on specific issues to drive a narrative to control how you vote and how you spend money; where Internet shills were given marching orders in tandem to what was shown on television, printed in newspapers and spread throughout articles on the World Wide Web. https://i.imgur.com/Elnci0M.png In the past, we had Operation Mockingbird, where the program was supremely confident that it could control stories around the world, even in instructions to cover up any story about a possible “Yeti” sighting, should it turn out they were real. https://i.imgur.com/121LXqy.png If, in 1959, the government was confident in its ability to control a story about a Yeti, then what is their level of confidence in controlling stories, today? https://i.imgur.com/jQFVYew.png https://i.imgur.com/ZKMYGJj.png In fact, we have a recent example of a situation similar to the Yeti. When Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch met on the TARMAC to spike the Hillary email investigation, the FBI was so confident it wasn’t them, that their entire focus was finding the leaker, starting with searching within the local PD. We have documentation that demonstrates the state of mind of the confidence the upper levels of the FBI have when dealing with the media. https://i.imgur.com/IbjDOkI.png https://i.imgur.com/NH86ozU.png The marriage between mainstream media and government is a literal one and this arrangement is perfectly legal. https://i.imgur.com/OAd4vpf.png But, this problem extends far beyond politics; the private sector, the scientific community, even advice forums are shilled heavily. People are paid to cause anxiety, recommend people break up and otherwise sow depression and nervousness. This is due to a correlating force that employs “systems psychodynamics”, focusing on “tension centered” strategies to create “organizational paradoxes” by targeting people’s basic assumptions about the world around them to create division and provide distraction. https://i.imgur.com/6OEWYFN.png https://i.imgur.com/iG4sdD4.png https://i.imgur.com/e89Rx6B.png https://i.imgur.com/uotm9Cg.png https://i.imgur.com/74wt9tD.png In this day and age, it is even easier to manage these concepts and push a controlled narrative from a central figure than it has ever been. Allen & Co is a “boutique investment firm” that managed the merger between Disney and Fox and operates as an overseeing force for nearly all media and Internet shill armies, while having it’s fingers in sports, social media, video games, health insurance, etc. https://i.imgur.com/zlpBh3c.png https://i.imgur.com/e5ZvFFJ.png Former director of the CIA and Paul Brennan’s former superior George Tenet, holds the reigns of Allen & Co. The cast of characters involves a lot of the usual suspects. https://i.imgur.com/3OlrX7G.png
In 1973, Allen & Company bought a stake in Columbia Pictures. When the business was sold in 1982 to Coca-Cola, it netted a significant profit. Since then, Herbert Allen, Jr. has had a place on Coca-Cola's board of directors. Since its founding in 1982, the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference has regularly drawn high-profile attendees such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Johnson, Andy Grove, Richard Parsons, and Donald Keough. Allen & Co. was one of ten underwriters for the Google initial public offering in 2004. In 2007, Allen was sole advisor to Activision in its $18 billion merger with Vivendi Games. In 2011, the New York Mets hired Allen & Co. to sell a minority stake of the team. That deal later fell apart. In November 2013, Allen & Co. was one of seven underwriters on the initial public offering of Twitter. Allen & Co. was the adviser of Facebook in its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in February 2014. In 2015, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Time Warner in its $80 billion 2015 merger with Charter Communications, AOL in its acquisition by Verizon, Centene Corporation in its $6.8 billion acquisition of Health Net, and eBay in its separation from PayPal. In 2016, Allen & Co was the lead advisor to Time Warner in its $108 billion acquisition by AT&T, LinkedIn for its merger talks with Microsoft, Walmart in its $3.3 billion purchase of Jet.com, and Verizon in its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo!. In 2017, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Chewy.com in PetSmart’s $3.35 billion purchase of the online retailer.
Previous conference guests have included Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren and Susan Buffett, Tony Blair, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Allen alumnus and former Philippine Senator Mar Roxas, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Quicken Loans Founder & Chairman Dan Gilbert, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, financier George Soros, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, BET founder Robert Johnson, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, NBA player LeBron James, Professor and Entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun, Governor Chris Christie, entertainer Dan Chandler, Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, Diane Sawyer, InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur Wences Casares, EXOR and FCA Chairman John Elkann, Sandro Salsano from Salsano Group, and Washington Post CEO Donald E. Graham, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and Oprah Winfrey.
https://i.imgur.com/VZ0OtFa.png George Tenet, with the reigns of Allen & Co in his hands, is able to single-handedly steer the entire Mockingbird apparatus from cable television to video games to Internet shills from a singular location determining the spectrum of allowable debate. Not only are they able to target people’s conscious psychology, they can target people’s endocrine systems with food and pornography; where people are unaware, on a conscious level, of how their moods and behavior are being manipulated. https://i.imgur.com/mA3MzTB.png
"The problem with George Tenet is that he doesn't seem to care to get his facts straight. He is not meticulous. He is willing to make up stories that suit his purposes and to suppress information that does not." "Sadly but fittingly, 'At the Center of the Storm' is likely to remind us that sometimes what lies at the center of a storm is a deafening silence."
https://i.imgur.com/YHMJnnP.png Tenet joined President-elect Bill Clinton's national security transition team in November 1992. Clinton appointed Tenet Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council, where he served from 1993 to 1995. Tenet was appointed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. Tenet held the position as the DCI from July 1997 to July 2004. Citing "personal reasons," Tenet submitted his resignation to President Bush on June 3, 2004. Tenet said his resignation "was a personal decision and had only one basis—in fact, the well-being of my wonderful family—nothing more and nothing less. In February 2008, he became a managing director at investment bank Allen & Company. https://i.imgur.com/JnGHqOS.png We have the documentation that demonstrates what these people could possibly be doing with all of these tools of manipulation at their fingertips. The term for it is “covert political action” for which all media put before your eyes is used to serve as a veneer… a reality TV show facade of a darker modus operandum. https://i.imgur.com/vZC4D29.png https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol36no3/html/v36i3a05p_0001.htm
It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever costs. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the US is to survive, longstanding American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated means than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.
Intelligence historian Jeffrey T. Richelson says the S.A. has covered a variety of missions. The group, which recently was reorganized, has had about 200 officers, divided among several groups: the Special Operations Group; the Foreign Training Group, which trains foreign police and intelligence officers; the Propaganda and Political Action Group, which handles disinformation; the Computer Operations Group, which handles information warfare; and the Proprietary Management Staff, which manages whatever companies the CIA sets up as covers for the S.A.
…Those operations we inaugurated in the years 1955-7 are still secret, but, for present purposes, I can say all that’s worth saying about them in a few sentences – after, that is, I offer these few words of wisdom. The ‘perfect’ political action operation is, by definition, uneventful. Nothing ‘happens’ in it. It is a continuing arrangement, neither a process nor a series of actions proceeding at a starting point and ending with a conclusion.
CIA FBI NSA Personnel Active in Scientology: https://i.imgur.com/acu2Eti.png When you consider the number of forces that can be contained within a single “political action group” in the form on a “boutique investment firm,” where all sides of political arguments are predetermined by a selected group of actors who have been planted, compromised or leveraged in some way in order to control the way they spin their message. https://i.imgur.com/tU4MD4S.png The evidence of this coordinated effort is overwhelming and the “consensus” that you see on TV, in sports, in Hollywood, in the news and on the Internet is fabricated.
Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' Thus the uninformed reader will most likely develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'
When you find yourself feeling like common sense and common courtesy aren’t as common as they ought to be, it is because there is a massive psychological operation controlled from the top down to ensure that as many people as possible are caught in a “tension based” mental loop that is inflicted on them by people acting with purpose to achieve goals that are not in the interest of the general population, but a method of operating in secret and corrupt manner without consequences. Notice that Jeffrey Katzenberg, of Disney, who is intertwined with Allen & Co funds the Young Turks. He is the perfect example of the relationship between media and politics.
Katzenberg has also been involved in politics. With his active support of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he was called "one of Hollywood's premier political kingmakers and one of the Democratic Party's top national fundraisers."
Last week, former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile entertainment company WndrCo was part of a $20 million funding round in TYT Network, which oversees 30 news and commentary shows covering politics, pop culture, sports and more. This includes the flagship “The Young Turks” program that streams live on YouTube every day. Other investors in the round included venture capital firms Greycroft Partners, E.ventures and 3L Capital, which led the round. This brings total funding for Young Turks to $24 million.
Hollywood activism long has been depicted as a club controlled by a handful of powerful white men: Katzenberg, Spielberg, Lear, David Geffen, Haim Saban and Bob Iger are the names most often mentioned. But a new generation of power brokers is ascendant, including J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, cited for their personal donations and bundling skills; Shonda Rhimes, who held a get-out-the-vote rally at USC's Galen Center on Sept. 28 that drew 10,000 people; CAA's Darnell Strom, who has hosted events for Nevada congresswoman Jacky Rosen and Arizona congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema; and former Spotify executive Troy Carter, who held three fundraisers for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (Carter also was a fundraiser for President Obama).
Viacom, after splitting off from Les Moonves Les Moonves ' CBS , still holds Paramount Pictures, and that movie studio in December agreed to acquire DreamWorks SKG, the creative shop founded by the Hollywood triumvirate of Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg (a former exec at The Walt Disney Co.). DreamWorks Animation had been spun off into a separate company. Now it's time for Freston to make back some money--and who better to do a little business with than George Soros? The billionaire financier leads a consortium of Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Entertainment II LLC, which together are buying the DreamWorks library--a collection of 59 flicks, including Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, and American Beauty.
Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos. Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%. The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women. For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text: By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers. Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited. He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape. Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail. Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers. The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein. In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.” Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again. Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works. 7 men and a headless parrot The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford. Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.” After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk. In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive. All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real. In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.” Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said. Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing. “Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?” A victim becomes a hacker Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California. But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015. Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.) By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued. On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia. Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras. Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail. “This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit. A chance to sway the Israeli election Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal. According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.) “Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote. Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out. “Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked. “Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered. Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images. “Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning. Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening. Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.” ‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’ The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish. You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business. One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos. Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements. Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said. Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.” Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men. “I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew. “Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.” “I call it our hot list,” he added. Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men. Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.” The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women. Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans. Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O. Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims. The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents. Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it. ‘We keep it. We keep everything’ Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men? Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room. “I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’” During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found. Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011. The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern. After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story. “I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed. A Weinstein cameo On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls. The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan. Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion. The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back. While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz. ‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’ One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies. “The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.” “Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.” “Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?” “Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.” “And you don’t have anything on me, right?” “I do not, no,” Kessler said. “Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.” What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed? Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too. “You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said. Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3. Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct. Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage. On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv. Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.” In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent. In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.” “No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.” “Thank you very much,” Kessler responded. Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”) Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients. ‘I just pulled it out of my behind’ The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. “I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.” Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines. Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion? Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.” Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them. By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse. Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said. But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands. In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.” The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler. As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said. Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.” He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
How to manage your online/offline purchases and why it matters
Privacy when using a debit/credit card. It's something very few think about but has, and will continue to have, far reaching concerns that are virtually impossible to correct. When you use your card, a couple things happen. The business where you made your purchase opens a profile tied directly to you and stores that indefinitely. Along with the business, your bank also gathers a significant portion of information to store indefinitely. Here's a few things that the business and bank know when you make a purchase. Business
Debit/Credit card information
The bank your card(s) are with
Itemized list of your purchases
Location of store
If you have a store rewards account, which many people do, you can add these to the list
Store you shopped at
Debit/Credit card you used
Amount of the transaction
Over time, your profile at these companies build. Full itemized purchase history, exact date and time of every purchase you've ever made down to the second, and every card you've used to buy everything. Your bank doesn't have quite as many details, but they know almost as much. Once you realize all of the information that you give off by inserting or swiping or tapping a piece of plastic, it starts to become slightly concerning. The thoughts of identity theft typically spring the the forefront and for good reason. 284 data breaches across a dozen different industries, releasing billions (with a B) of personal records and credentials is astoundingly tragic. Almost 17 million people experienced identity theft in 2017. You can walk into any local Starbucks, look around, and know that at least one person in the building has personally experienced identity theft. It's shockingly common. Even though someone can open credit cards in your name or impersonate you when opening a new account, many of these things are fixable given enough blood, sweat, and tears. The real dangers are things that are unfixable once they start. Think about these scenarios for a moment.
What if United Healthcare purchases data from Walmart and sees you purchase a 24 pack of Coca Cola once a week and have for the last six months. They might deem that to be "too unhealthy" and raise your premiums because you're a higher risk for diabetes. Maybe your dental insurance sees that too and raises premiums because you're more likely to need work done on your teeth.
What if you apply for a customer facing job at your local retail shop but they see you have weekly transactions at a therapist for the last 5 weeks. Because of that, they think you'll be too unstable or unpredictable and would rather not have you potentially causing problems with customers or management.
What if you're shopping from a hotel but they have information that says you've made purchases at Apple, Nordstroms, and the new a high end Mongolian restaurant in town. They decide to add $30 to your nightly rate because data shows people who shop at these places are wealthier on average and won't question the slight upcharge for simply having money.
A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. More than that, Staples appeared to consider the person's distance from a rival brick-and-mortar store, either OfficeMax Inc. or Office Depot Inc. ODP 2.56% If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price.
Orbitz Worldwide Inc. has found that people who use Apple Inc.'s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see.
For example, Travelocity reduced the prices on 5 percent of hotel rooms shown in search results by around $15 per night for smartphone users. Interestingly, Cheaptickets and Orbitz gave unadvertised “Members Only” discounts of about $12 per night on 5 percent of hotels rooms to users who were logged-in to their accounts on the site.
Expedia and Hotels.com conduct what marketers and engineers call A/B tests to steer a subset of their users toward more expensive hotels. [...] In this case, visitors to Expedia and Hotels.com were randomly assigned to groups A, B or C based on the cookies stored on their computers. Users in groups A and B were shown hotels with an average price of $187 a night, while users in group C were shown hotels with an average price of $170/night.
Home Depot served almost completely different products to users on desktops versus mobile devices. A desktop user searching Home Depot typically received 24 search results, with an average price per item of $120. In contrast, mobile users receive 48 search results, with an average price per item of $230. Bizarrely, products are also $0.41 more expensive on average for Android users.
How to combat this
In store, it's fairly simple. Good old fashioned cold hard cash reigns supreme. There's no way to tie your purchase directly to your (assuming you don't give them a rewards account). Their system will still log the transaction, but it won't have your name sitting right beside it, which is the entire point. For those that don't want to carry "tons of cash" with them, a non reloadable* vanilla prepaid Visa card is great alternative. For a small fee (usually $5 - $7), you can go to the gas station, buy a card, and preload a few hundred bucks on to a card to use in whatever store you please. Transactions can be tracked by the card number but it's still fairly limited compared to a bank card due to no name attached which, again, is the entire point. However, if you just toss your prepaid card in the trash, someone can pick it up and that cards transactions with the information on the back of the card. *You need a non reloadable card because reloadable ones typically ask for SSN. Online purchases are just as easy but they require a couple other steps. You can use a service such as Privacy.com or Blur to generate prepaid cards on the fly to use for online purchases. You link your bank or card to them and simply go to the website to generate a card when you make an online purchase. These are great because (for Privacy.com) you can use any name and email address you want. For Blur, you use their specific address. It feels good when you can use Bobbert McBobsen at 123 Main St in Beverly Hills when buying your new rice cooker online. *These services are generally US only. Unfortunately, there isn't really a similar service in other parts of the world. Like in store, you can purchase a non reloadable vanilla Visa card at your local shop, load it up, and use it online to similar effect. A third option, for the retailers that accept it, is cryptocurrency. Most of them are not truly private but offer substantially more privacy compared to your Chase credit card. Bitcoin is the most commonly accepted but others are starting to show up as well. For most people, prepaid cards are simpler and work in just about every case, unlike crypto.
It's well worth the time and effort to build new habits around using cash or prepaid cards. Not only for today but for your future. Never forget that once your information is out there, there's no taking it back. With that said, don't stress or worry about the past. The overwhelming majority has used debit/credit cards or signed up for rewards accounts but starting today, you no longer have to feed the machine. As your data ages with nothing new coming it, it becomes less valuable, less accurate, and less trustworthy to companies. The saying "the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is right now" applies just as well to privacy. For those interested in keeping up with my privacy posts, I keep them all over at /gimtayida
About Caitlin - Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, gubernatorial appointee, 2018-present - Chairman & president of enterprise blockchain company, Symbiont, in 2016-2018, which was named FinTech Company of the Year 2017 by CustodyRisk - Women in Finance Award for Excellence in Blockchain 2016 by MarketsMedia - Inc. list of 10 business leaders changing the world through tech in 2016 - Blockchain evangelist since 2014 and bitcoin since 2012; served on Morgan Stanley’s internal blockchain working group - 22 years of corporate finance experience, 1994-2016 (Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Salomon Brothers); Managing Director 2001-2016 - Started & ran 3 successful businesses in pensions and insurance; was a top-rated equity research analyst; worked directly for the co-CEOs - Institutional Investor list of most influential people in pensions (“Pension 40”): 2015, 2014, and 2013 - Numerous publications, press and speaking engagements (examples: WSJ, FT, CNBC, II Journal) - Harvard Law School (JD, 1994), Kennedy School of Government (MPP, 1994), University of Wyoming (BA, 1990)
Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency, WSJ–While the falling crypto marketplace throughout 2018 has hurt investor wallets, it may provide some relief come tax season. According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 21, the plummeting value for Bitcoin and altcoins in the current bear market, with BTC prices having their worst month in November since August 2011, provides a According to a Wall Street Journal () article published the first day of the year, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology provide few tangible uses.The article analyses the cryptocurrency bull run experienced in 2017 and how the most popular virtual currency performed during 2018. Bitcoin - The latest news about Bitcoin from the WSJ MoneyBeat Blog. Up-to-the-minute news and analysis on deals, markets and finance around the world. Bitcoin is enjoying its best start to a year since 2012, with enthusiasts pointing toward hopes for more widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies as a factor fueling the rally. In the Morning Risk Report, the Wall Street Journal emphasized that law enforcement agencies and financial organizations that are describing bitcoin as a terrorism financing tool are exaggerating the risks involved in digital currencies including bitcoin.. Bitcoin as Terrorism Money Narrative Pushed by Governments. Since the beginning of 2016, law enforcement agencies including the FBI and
Important Article of Wall Street Journal About Arif Naqvi and Sharif Brothers
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