Bitcoin Machines - The World’s Leader in Bitcoin ATMs
What Is a Bitcoin ATM and Is There One Near Me? Blocks ...
Bitcoin ATM Map – Find Bitcoin ATM, Online Rates
List of Physical Stores where you can Buy or Sell bitcoin
There are a number of foreign currency exchanges and other places where there's a "storefront"/branch and an actual teller or other staff where you can just walk up and do a bitcoin buy and/or sell. But I don't think there's ever been a list of them compiled. Lots of location discoveries get shared on social media, like this one, bu there is just no comprehensive list anywhere. So that's what I'ld like to do here. If you know of a location please comment with the name or some details. Physical stores and Trading Spaces Europe, Middle East, and Africa:
Pundi X ecosystem handled a total of 26,380 crypto transactions valued at 3.9 million in USD during the 1st quarter of 2019. Registered XWallet users have increased to 179,982 as of April 10. XPOS has been shipped to 30 countries.
By integrating a collection feature, we are making XWallet a virtual mini-XPOS. Users can be part of the XPOS merchant network by becoming verified merchants from the XWallet app. Staking and conversion are also integrated into XWallet app and available for KYC verified users.
XPOS Handy, a more affordable version of XPOS, is now in production. 2,000 units will be produced. The team is also looking into expanding XPOS into traditional POS units platforms and has started working on one of the top two POS brands for integration. Product Development Overview
Due to the conversion, the token removal in 2019 will reflect the result of both NPXS / NPXSXEM utilization and NPXS / NPXSXEM conversion to FX. For example, the amount of Q1 token removal will be announced in the first week of May 2019 and the execution will take place in the second week of May.
Below is a summary of the Q&A with community members.
Q: How many live working XPOS are there in the world right now? Understand the plan was 100,000 in 2021. But recent news is only talking about someone maybe buying 1000 in 2021.
Is the delay in scaling XPOS because of the licenses which Pundi X doesn’t have yet? If yes, when can we expect it to be approved or denied?
Zac: The pick up rate during Q1 isn’t moving as fast partly due to the bear market. Another contributing factor of which some of you may be aware, is that we have been working on obtaining the relevant FCC and CE certifications for the XPOS as it’s a requirement by most governments. We are pleased to announce that the XPOS has been officially certified. It’s in fact the first blockchain based POS device that has been given the CE certificate. And with this, we will begin to accelerate to get the XPOS compliant with the different markets and increase the activation rate of the XPOS. For example, in Dubai, we are working with the local credit bureau to apply for an approval with the local regulators using our CE Certificate as the base document. The same goes for Korea’s KC certification. So yes, a lot of things have been moving behind the scenes and one thing that is clear is whatever we do, it is to play the long-term game. Hence, we had to make sure that we have all the relevant required certification for the XPOS before we take it to the next level of deployment.
Q: How many XPOS transactions (by coins) have been done so far (since the start)?
Zac: The XPOS and XWallet have handled a total of $3.9M USD in Q1 outbound transaction.
Q: Will there be a major partnership such as with Uber or Amazon to use the XPOS? Any strong partnerships in the works for the XPOS?Any upcoming big deals for the xpos ? Like Starbucks, etc? And did Pundi X ever get in contact with Kroger?
Zac: As always, similar to other business deals, due to confidentiality agreements, we do not comment on major partnerships until it’s firmed up or announced first by our counterparties. One thing for sure, we are working hard to engage established global enterprises (especially those) with a large distribution network and footprint. In addition to that, we are exploring the expansion of our XPOS solution footprint by integrating the XPOS into one of the Top 2 point-of-sale manufacturers. We will share the process and details once we have completed the testing.
Q: Any updates on a Pundi X collaboration with Dubai government?
Zac: We are in the process of getting the XPOS certified with the local government authorities. And now that the XPOS has the CE certificate, it will accelerate the approval process in Dubai.
Q: When is the XPOS capable of handling credit card payments?
Zac: We have reached out to various parties that can provide and activate these services and that includes meeting the CEO of MasterCard, Mr Ajay, in person. He has seen our XPOS and from what I could tell, he was impressed.
Q: When will you add XRP to XPOS?
Zac: The XPOS is a digital currency-neutral device. When there’s enough demand and a real need from an organization or company, we would not hesitate to add it to our XPOS ecosystem.
Q: When will the XPOS have WePay, AliPay, Samsung and Apple pay?
Zac: XPOS itself is hardware-ready for these payment methods. To activate these services, we will be required to comply with the local regulations in different jurisdictions and work with the providers of payment gateways.
Q: Can we get a merchant map, similar to bitcoin ATMs?
Zac: The team is working on this. In the first phase, we will have a list of the featured merchants. We are targeting to have a “lite” version of this “featured merchant” map ready by end-May. We are finalizing the name but you can call it the X-MAP where you can locate your favourite XPOS merchants or X-Merchants.
Q: Does Pundi X have plans to support stable coins?
Zac: Our XPOS merchants already have access to the stable coin feature, but for regular consumers, the option to have stable coin is not available yet. However we foresee turning on this feature soon.
Q: China and Thailand should be supplied with XPOS via some partner. The news was big but that was over a year ago. What’s the status in these two key markets?
Zac: China’s stance against Cryptocurrency is still a no-go. The news that was mentioned a year ago refers to our license distributor called XPOT (they had a kick off event a year ago where Mr. Prachuab Chaiyasan, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand was one of the attendees). XPOT is our licensed distributor and I believe they are still in discussion with the local governments and pending the environment to change. Regarding Thailand, we are in talks; with possible partnerships in this market. Please stay tuned.
Q: What are the current legal issues Pundi X is facing in USA, Germany and Canada?
Zac: Regulatory bodies are still ambiguous about their policies toward cryptocurrencies. As previously mentioned, we will continue to monitor the situation in the different markets and be compliant so that as soon as there is clarity in the market, we will be in a prime position to move in.
Q: When is Pundi X expanding to India? I was at your Mumbai Meetup but we are still waiting
Zac: We are awaiting RBI’s permission too, as crypto is still frowned upon by the local authorities.
Q: A long time before the public token sale, at the pre-sale stage, Pundi X said they have a working product and simply needs the funding to pay for a huge production and then give out XPOS devices for free. The cost per device is somehow USD 200–300, depending on order volume and a USD 3,000 investment would yield a minimum of 10 XPOS Devices. After enough funds raised, the token sale got capped and more funds raised. Then the XPOS got remodeled and went for sale. What happened with the initial idea of giving 10,000+ devices out for free?
Zac: As previously mentioned, pre-public token sale participants who purchased > 30 ETH are entitled to a free XPOS. If you haven’t claimed yours, please reach out to us. Also in the pipeline, we are working with some non-profit organizations to provide free XPOS for their usage.
On the XWallet
Q: Will you add a stable coin to XWallet?
Zac: Yes, we will. Someone has asked the same thing about XPOS. It will likely be added around the same time for XPOS, XWallet and XPASS.
Q: Can we add the bank transfers to XWallet? Basically to liquidate on the XWallet for sending money to my bank account?
Zac: This is my personal favorite feature to have and it’s on my wishlist. In order to support fiat, we need to have a Payment Service License / E-Money License / Stored-value license in a jurisdiction that supports a particular fiat. For example, if it’s EURO, we will need to apply for a license or lease it via a partner for this to work. We are definitely exploring the different possibilities but we are unable to elaborate more on when, or if it is happening, as this also requires more talks with the different local jurisdictions. Q: Turkish holders would like to ask when can we partner with master / visa and integrate with XWallet? Zac: As mentioned earlier, we have reached out to various parties that might be able to activate these services.
On Q3 to Q4 Plans
Q: What’s the plan for Q3 and Q4 for this year?
Zac: There are tons of things we are working on for Q3 and Q4.I will broadly separate it into: Developer ecosystem — The developer ecosystem allows traditional and tech companies to onboard themselves into the XPOS and XWallet ecosystem, such as listing of their custom tokens, advertising etc. These services will all require the usage of NPXS and NPXSXEM tokens. Partnerships — We are likely to partner with incumbent retail chain stores payment companies, incumbent POS companies that have deep distribution network to help expand the reach of XPOS, XWallet, XPASS, etc. Governmental level efforts — We started off with Dubai and since then, several other governments have shown interest. We see this as an opportune time to engage forward-thinking governments to build a blockchain ecosystem in their city and country. Our Team: we will continue to invest and grow our R&D team capabilities as they represent the heart of Pundi X. If any engineer or developer is keen to help us to scale, please get in touch with us. We are actually looking for engineers as I speak.
On NPXS and Token Removal
Q: What is the quarterly token removal from the NPXS usage of the XPOS and the burned amount for Q1 2019.
Zac: Good question. Some holders may be aware that token removal includes the result from the conversion. The amount of Q1 token removal will be announced in the 1st week of May and we will execute the removal in the 2ndweek of May.
Q: Pundi X has mentioned a monthly coin burn and a monthly buy back. Why hasn’t this happened yet?
Zac: It is not monthly. We are doing a quarterly token removal.
Q: People feel that the current token burn isn’t as transparent as many wish. What can be done to improve this process and make it more transparent? The biggest upset was after the ULTRA festival where Pundi X just wrote “we ain’t allowed to talk numbers.”Could there be a daily or weekly ticker? Is that possible?
Zac: That’s a good suggestion. While a daily ticker might be challenging, we certainly can try exploring incorporating a ticker update towards all token removal or scheduled for the next one.
Q: Zac, you have mentioned previously that someone was trading against NPXS. What did you guys do about this problem?
Zac: There are trading teams, market makers, financial institutions that profit from the drop and rise of token prices in the crypto market and it’s not something that is unique to NPXS. In fact, the traditional stock markets have similar challenges as well. We have taken the “the best defense is a good offense” strategy which is to continue to strengthen our tokens; such as create more use cases, drive more adoption and more distribution to ensure our tokens are well positioned and stronger than ever.
Q: Why do you not do any great marketing and generate publicity for NPXS, e.g., advertise on television stations in major and in different countries? I generally see marketing as very important to the company’s success. And I hope to see real partnerships, not just with small shops or restaurants.
Zac: We rarely engage in paid partnerships as it doesn’t necessarily produce the best ROI in terms of investment and in this market condition, we believe in being financially prudent. Being in a decentralized environment, we consider ourselves as a community-driven company.The impact of organic press coverage driven by our community is always stronger. We do want to be seen on all major news channels and we will do that via “thought leadership brand building.” As a testament to our growing reputation, recently, we were invited to speak at the Fintech Ideas Festival event and be on the same stage as the senior executives and CEOs of Wells Fargo, COO and CTO of Bank of America and other large institutions. We see this as the right step forward in growing our brand appeal to the masses.
On the QEX Fund
Q: Any update on the QEX fund?
Zac: The QEX fund is led by Vic Tham,CEO and Fen Chao Yong, COO, at Quantum Energy Asset Management, also known as QEAM. Other than being the CEO of QEAM, Vic is also Pundi X’s Chief Investment Officer. From what we know, they are in the midst of raising funds, book building, analyzing potential projects & companies and strengthening the portfolio for QEX. It’s an ongoing effort for this year and a very exciting one. We are extremely excited to see potential breakthrough projects that could benefit our ecosystem. And if anyone has questions or interests, please do reach out to Vic Tham and his team at QEAM.
On Function X
Q: What is the update on devs program for the Function X ecosystem?
Zac: Many keen developers are eagerly waiting for it, and I know Billy who has posted this question is one of them. We are working on it right now, we can’t commit on the dates yet but developer support is a big part of our ecosystem. We are working tirelessly, and sometimes “sleeplessly” to get this out.
Q: Did you use “investors”/ token holders funds to develop Function X? And instead of giving the 65% FX tokens to NPXS and NPXSXEM holders, you are getting them to choose between NPXS/NPXSXEM and FX token?
Zac: 65% of the FX tokens from Token Generation Event (TGE) is already allocated for NPXS / NPXSXEM token holders, via staking and/or conversion. There are two separate projects with teams working on it. For the XPOS ecosystem to flourish, it requires a more scalable platform/solution which is the Function X ecosystem. The Function X foundation will be announced in Q3 and hopefully it will be a pleasant surprise. We will have a solid team to grow the Function X ecosystem.
Q: Will Pundi X be less focused on NPXS once FX goes live?
Zac: No, we think it’s mutually beneficial. If I may use an analogy, it’s like Google Search and Android, one product will lift the other up. The other example would be salt and pepper. When used in combination, it will drastically improve the taste of any particular dish.
Q: What is the relationship between the future f(x) coin and the future NPXSFX token? Is the former used in the FX ecosystem (XPhones) and the latter used in the XPOS ecosystem? If so, would buying something using the XPhone going to burn FX coins, NPXSFX tokens, both or none?
Zac: Think of the role of f(x) coin like how ETH is. Everything or any service that’s taking place in the Function X ecosystem will require the f(x) coin. For NPXS which will be ported over to the Function X blockchain once the Function X mainnet is up and running, its utility will remain the same. Any payment-relevant services or activities on the Function X blockchain will require NPXS, which on the Function X mainnet will be tentatively called NPXSFX.
Q: For FX Tokens, the lock up of 1 year is too long for us to wait. Can we change the option to shorten the duration?
Zac: The mechanism in place has been designed for the long term, so unfortunately, we can’t change the option. Users have the choice whether to convert his NPXS and NPXSXEM, or not, into f(x) coin, if a user chooses to convert he will receive 12% immediately and 8% each month for the next 11 months.
Q: Will F(x) be available to those who couldn’t stake or convert? Will it be before the staking period end or after? When will F(x) be available to purchase on an exchange for those in countries who were not allowed to stake? Will it be during the staking period or after?
Zac: Soon we hope. As per our policy, we are unable to comment on listing dates, but with our established relationships with exchanges, we do hope it will be quick.
Q: We were all impressed by the Uber Dapp demos running on F(x), but these days Tron and EOS are getting a lot of press about Dapps too. What advantages will F(x) have over those platforms?
Zac: Each platform will have its own advantages, we welcome the competition and hope that more popular apps such as the decentralized Uber app can be conceived from Function X.
Q: Why is there no cap on f(x) tokens? When will you explain how the tokenomics will work?
Zac: I would encourage all to have a look at our concept paper on functionx.io and the Medium blog post as the details are explained thoroughly there.
Q: Have you already secured deals with other companies like Sony, Samsung, etc with the Function X OS to build other blockchain phones? Or do you plan to keep the Function X software to just the 5000 phone you already made?
Zac: The 5,000 XPhones serves as a proof-of-concept, for manufacturers and developers to have a test drive. We want to partner with hardware/smartphone companies and telcos to build their own version of the blockchain phones with Function X. And we are still working hard to engage with the companies to push for future blockchain phones and strengthen our Function X ecosystem.
Q: Will the XPhone work as a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) device like the XPOS Handy?
Zac: The XPhone comes preinstalled with the XWallet and with that, it can double up as a lite version of the XPOS with QR code and NFC Support.
Q: When will XPOS Handy be ready?
Zac: XPOS Handy will be available in the coming weeks.
World History Timeline of Events Leading up to Bitcoin - In the Making
A (live/editable) timeline of historical events directly or indirectly related to the creation of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies *still workin' on this so check back later and more will be added, if you have any suggested dates/events feel free to lemme know... This timeline includes dates pertaining to:
Forms of money
Widely accepted economic systems
Widely accepted forms of government
Inventions which advanced FinTech
Inventions in computer science and related technology
Inventions which connected the world via transportation, communication and information
Development of cryptography and cyberwar
Notable Social Movements
Hyperinflation and National Debts
Ancient Bartering – first recorded in Egypt (resources, services...) – doesn’t scale Tally sticks were used, making notches in bones or wood, as a form of money of account 9000-6000 BC Livestock considered the first form of currency c3200 BC Clay tablets used in Uruk (Iraq) for accounting (believed to be the earliest form of writing) 3000 BC Grain is used as a currency, measured out in Shekels 3000 BC Banking developed in Mesopotamia 3000 BC? Punches used to stamp symbols on coins were a precursor to the printing press and modern coins ? BC Since ancient Persia and all the way up until the invention and expansion of the telegraph Homing Pigeons were used to carry messages 2000 BC Merchants in Assyria, India and Sumeria lent grain to farmers and traders as a precursor to banks 1700 BC In Babylon at the time of Hammurabi, in the 18th century BC, there are records of loans made by the priests of the temple. 1200 BC Shell money first used in China 1000-600 BC Crude metal coins first appear in China 640 BC Precious metal coins – Gold & Silver first used in ancient Lydia and coastal Greek cities featuring face to face heads of a bull and a lion – first official minted currency made from electrum, a mixture of gold and silver 600-500 BC Atbash Cipher A substitution Cipher used by ancient Hebrew scholars mapping the alphabet in reverse, for example, in English an A would be a Z, B a Y etc. 400 BC Skytale used by Sparta 474 BC Hundreds of gold coins from this era were discovered in Rome in 2018 350 BC Greek hydraulic semaphore system, an optical communication system developed by Aeneas Tacticus. c200 BC Polybius Square ??? Wealthy stored coins in temples, where priests also lent them out ??? Rome was the first to create banking institutions apart from temples 118 BC First banknote in the form of 1 foot sq pieces of white deerskin 100-1 AD Caesar Cipher 193 Aureus, a gold coin of ancient Rome, minted by Septimius Severus 324 Solidus, pure gold coin, minted under Constantine’s rule, lasted until the late 8th century 600s Paper currency first developed in Tang Dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty, 960–1279 c757–796 Silver pennies based on the Roman denarius became the staple coin of Mercia in Great Britain around the time of King Offa 806 First paper banknotes used in China but isn’t widely accepted in China until 960 1024 The first series of standard government notes were issued in 1024 with denominations like 1 guàn (貫, or 700 wén), 1 mín (緡, or 1000 wén), up to 10 guàn. In 1039 only banknotes of 5 guàn and 10 guàn were issued, and in 1068 a denomination of 1 guàn was introduced which became forty percent of all circulating Jiaozi banknotes. 1040 The first movable type printer was invented in China and made of porcelain ? Some of the earliest forms of long distance communication were drums used by Native Africans and smoke signals used by Native Americans and Chinese 1088 Movable type in Song Dynasty China 1120 By the 1120s the central government officially stepped in and produced their own state-issued paper money (using woodblock printing) 1150 The Knights Templar issued bank notes to pilgrims. Pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value. 1200s-1300s During the 13th century bankers from north Italy, collectively known as Lombards, gradually replace the Jews in their traditional role as money-lenders to the rich and powerful. – Florence, Venice and Genoa - The Bardi and Peruzzi Families dominated banking in 14th century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe 1200 By the time Marco Polo visited China they’d move from coins to paper money, who introduced the concept to Europe. An inscription warned, "All counterfeiters will be decapitated." Before the use of paper, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Several coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants in China, if they became rich enough, found that their strings of coins were too heavy to carry around easily. To solve this problem, coins were often left with a trustworthy person, and the merchant was given a slip of paper recording how much money they had with that person. Marco Polo's account of paper money during the Yuan Dynasty is the subject of a chapter of his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, titled "How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made Into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over his Country." 1252 Florin minted in Florence, becomes the hard currency of its day helping Florence thrive economically 1340 Double-entry bookkeeping - The clerk keeping the accounts for the Genoese firm of Massari painstakingly fills in the ledger for the year 1340. 1397 Medici Bank established 1450 Johannes Gutenberg builds the printing press – printed words no longer just for the rich 1455 Paper money disappears from China 1466 Polyalphabetic Cipher 1466 Rotating cipher disks – Vatican – greatest crypto invention in 1000 yrs – the first system to challenge frequency analysis 1466 First known mechanical cipher machine 1472 The oldest bank still in existence founded, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy 1494 Double-entry bookkeeping system codified by Luca Pacioli 1535 Wampum, a form of currency used by Native Americans, a string of beads made from clamshells, is first document. 1553 Vigenere Cipher 1557 Phillip II of Spain managed to burden his kingdom with so much debt (as the result of several pointless wars) that he caused the world's first national bankruptcy — as well as the world's second, third and fourth, in rapid succession. 1577 Newspaper in Korea 1586 The Babington Plot 1590 Cabinet Noir was established in France. Its mission was to open, read and reseal letters, and great expertise was developed in the restoration of broken seals. In the knowledge that mail was being opened, correspondents began to develop systems to encrypt and decrypt their letters. The breaking of these codes gave birth to modern systematic scientific code breaking. 1600s Promissory banknotes began in London 1600s By the early 17th century banking begins also to exist in its modern sense - as a commercial service for customers rather than kings. – Late 17th century we see cheques slowly gains acceptance The total of the money left on deposit by a bank's customers is a large sum, only a fraction of which is usually required for withdrawals. A proportion of the rest can be lent out at interest, bringing profit to the bank. When the customers later come to realize this hidden value of their unused funds, the bank's profit becomes the difference between the rates of interest paid to depositors and demanded from debtors. The transformation from moneylenders into private banks is a gradual one during the 17th and 18th centuries. In England it is achieved by various families of goldsmiths who early in the period accept money on deposit purely for safe-keeping. Then they begin to lend some of it out. Finally, by the 18th century, they make banking their business in place of their original craft as goldsmiths. 1605 Newspaper in Straussburg c1627 Great Cipher 1637 Wampum is declared as legal tender in the U.S. (where we got the slang word “clams” for money) 1656 Johan Palmstruch establishes the Stockholm Banco 1661 Paper Currency reappears in Europe, soon became common - The goldsmith-bankers of London began to give out the receipts as payable to the bearer of the document rather than the original depositor 1661 Palmstruch issues credit notes which can be exchanged, on presentation to his bank, for a stated number of silver coins 1666 Stockholms Banco, the predecessor to the Central Bank of Sweden issues the first paper money in Europe. Soon went bankrupt for printing too much money. 1667 He issues more notes than his bank can afford to redeem with silver and winds up in disgrace, facing a death penalty (commuted to imprisonment) for fraud. 1668 Bank of Sweden – today the 2nd oldest surviving bank 1694 First Central Bank established in the UK was the first bank to initiate the permanent issue of banknotes Served as model for most modern central banks. The modern banknote rests on the assumption that money is determined by a social and legal consensus. A gold coin's value is simply a reflection of the supply and demand mechanism of a society exchanging goods in a free market, as opposed to stemming from any intrinsic property of the metal. By the late 17th century, this new conceptual outlook helped to stimulate the issue of banknotes. 1700s Throughout the commercially energetic 18th century there are frequent further experiments with bank notes - deriving from a recognized need to expand the currency supply beyond the availability of precious metals. 1710 Physiocracy 1712 First commercial steam engine 1717 Master of the Royal Mint Sir Isaac Newton established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation (bimetalism) and putting Britain on a gold standard. 1735 Classical Economics – markets regulate themselves when free of intervention 1744 Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Founder of the Rothschild Banking Empire, is Born in Frankfurt, Germany Mayer Amschel Rothschild extended his banking empire across Europe by carefully placing his five sons in key positions. They set up banks in Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris. By the mid 1800’s they dominated the banking industry, lending to governments around the world and people such as the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Cecil Rhodes. 1745 There was a gradual move toward the issuance of fixed denomination notes in England standardized printed notes ranging from £20 to £1,000 were being printed. 1748 First recorded use of the word buck for a dollar, stemming from the Colonial period in America when buck skins were commonly traded 1757 Colonial Scrip Issued in US 1760s Mayer Amschel Rothschild establishes his banking business 1769 First steam powered car 1775-1938 US Diplomatic Codes & Ciphers by Ralph E Weber used – problems were security and distribution 1776 American Independence 1776 Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand theory helped bankers and money-lenders limit government interference in the banking sector 1781 The Bank of North America was a private bank first adopted created the US Nation's first de facto central bank. When shares in the bank were sold to the public, the Bank of North America became the country's first initial public offering. It lasted less than ten years. 1783 First steamboat 1791 Congress Creates the First US Bank – A Private Company, Partly Owned by Foreigners – to Handle the Financial Needs of the New Central Government. First Bank of the United States, a National bank, chartered for a term of twenty years, it was not renewed in 1811. Previously, the 13 states had their own banks, currencies and financial institutions, which had an average lifespan of about 5 years. 1792 First optical telegraph invented where towers with telescopes were dispersed across France 12-25 km apart, relaying signals according to positions of arms extended from the top of the towers. 1795 Thomas Jefferson invents the Jefferson Disk Cipher or Wheel Cipher 1797 to 1821 Restriction Period by England of trading banknotes for silver during Napoleonic Wars 1797 Currency Crisis Although the Bank was originally a private institution, by the end of the 18th century it was increasingly being regarded as a public authority with civic responsibility toward the upkeep of a healthy financial system. 1799 First paper machine 1800 Banque de France – France’s central bank opens to try to improve financing of the war 1800 Invention of the battery 1801 Rotchschild Dynasty begins in Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire – established international banking family through his 5 sons who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples 1804 Steam locomotive 1807 Internal combustion engine and automobile 1807 Robert Fulton expands water transportation and trade with the workable steamboat. 1809 Telegraphy 1811 First powered printing press, also first to use a cylinder 1816 The Privately Owned Second Bank of the US was Chartered – It Served as the Main Depository for Government Revenue, Making it a Highly Profitable Bank – charter not renewed in 1836 1816 The first working telegraph was built using static electricity 1816 Gold becomes the official standard of value in England 1820 Industrial Revolution c1820 Neoclassical Economics 1821 British gov introduces the gold standard - With governments issuing the bank notes, the inherent danger is no longer bankruptcy but inflation. 1822 Charles Babbage, considered the "father of the computer", begins building the first programmable mechanical computer. 1832 Andrew Jackson Campaigns Against the 2nd Bank of the US and Vetoes Bank Charter Renewal Andrew Jackson was skeptical of the central banking system and believed it gave too few men too much power and caused inflation. He was also a proponent of gold and silver and an outspoken opponent of the 2nd National Bank. The Charter expired in 1836. 1833 President Jackson Issues Executive Order to Stop Depositing Government Funds Into Bank of US By September 1833, government funds were being deposited into state chartered banks. 1833-1837 Manufactured “boom” created by central bankers – money supply Increases 84%, Spurred by the 2nd Bank of the US The total money supply rose from $150 million to $267 million 1835 Jackson Escapes Assassination. Assassin misfired twice. 1837-1862 The “Free Banking Era” there was no formal central bank in the US, and banks issued their own notes again 1838 First Telegram sent using Morse Code across 3 km, in 1844 he sent a message across 71 km from Washington DC to Baltimore. 1843 Ada Lovelace published the first algorithm for computing 1844 Modern central bank of England established - meaning only the central bank of England could issue banknotes – prior to that commercial banks could issue their own and were the primary form of currency throughout England the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt. 1848 Communist Manifesto 1850 The first undersea telegraphic communications cable connected France in England after latex produced from the sap of the Palaquium gutta tree in 1845 was proposed as insulation for the underwater cables. 1852 Many countries in Europe build telegram networks, however post remained the primary means of communication to distant countries. 1855 In England fully printed notes that did not require the name of the payee and the cashier's signature first appeared 1855 The printing telegraph made it possible for a machine with 26 alphabetic keys to print the messages automatically and was soon adopted worldwide. 1856 Belgian engineer Charles Bourseul proposed telephony 1856 The Atlantic Telegraph company was formed in London to stretch a commercial telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, completed in 1866. 1860 The Pony Express was founded, able to deliver mail of wealthy individuals or government officials from coast to coast in 10 days. 1861 The East coast was connected to the West when Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line, putting an end to unprofitable The Pony Express. 1862-1863 First US banknotes - Lincoln Over Rules Debt-Based Money and Issues Greenbacks to Fund Civil War Bankers would only lend the government money under certain conditions and at high interest rates, so Lincoln issued his own currency – “greenbacks” – through the US Treasury, and made them legal tender. His soldiers went on to win the war, followed by great economic expansion. 1863 to 1932 “National Banking Era” Commercial banks in the United States had legally issued banknotes before there was a national currency; however, these became subject to government authorization from 1863 to 1932 1864 Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first rural credit union in Heddesdorf (now part of Neuwied) in Germany. By the time of Raiffeisen's death in 1888, credit unions had spread to Italy, France, the Netherlands, England, Austria, and other nations 1870 Long-distance telegraph lines connected Britain and India. c1871 Marginalism - The doctrines of marginalism and the Marginal Revolution are often interpreted as a response to the rise of the worker's movement, Marxian economics and the earlier (Ricardian) socialist theories of the exploitation of labour. 1871 Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics – Austrian School 1872 Marx’s Das Capital 1872 Australia becomes the first nation to be connected to the rest of the world via submarine telegraph cables. 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, first called the electric speech machine – revolutionized communication 1877 Thomas Edison – Phonograph 1878 Western Union, the leading telegraph provider of the U.S., begins to lose out to the telephone technology of the National Bell Telephone Company. 1881 President James Garfield, Staunch Proponent of “Honest Money” Backed by Gold and Silver, was Assassinated Garfield opposed fiat currency (money that was not backed by any physical object). He had the second shortest Presidency in history. 1882 First description of the one-time pad 1886 First gas powered car 1888 Ballpoint pen 1892 Cinematograph 1895 System of wireless communication using radio waves 1896 First successful intercontinental telegram 1898 Polyethylene 1899 Nickel-cadmium battery 1907 Banking Panic of 1907 The New York Stock Exchange dropped dramatically as everyone tried to get their money out of the banks at the same time across the nation. This banking panic spurred debate for banking reform. JP Morgan and others gathered to create an image of concern and stability in the face of the panic, which eventually led to the formation of the Federal Reserve. The founders of the Federal Reserve pretended like the bankers were opposed to the idea of its formation in order to mislead the public into believing that the Federal Reserve would help to regulate bankers when in fact it really gave even more power to private bankers, but in a less transparent way. 1908 St Mary’s Bank – first credit union in US 1908 JP Morgan Associate and Rockefeller Relative Nelson Aldrich Heads New National Monetary Commission Senate Republican leader, Nelson Aldrich, heads the new National Monetary Commission that was created to study the cause of the banking panic. Aldrich had close ties with J.P. Morgan and his daughter married John D. Rockefeller. 1910 Bankers Meet Secretly on Jekyll Island to Draft Federal Reserve Banking Legislation Over the course of a week, some of the nation’s most powerful bankers met secretly off the coast of Georgia, drafting a proposal for a private Central Banking system. 1913 Federal Reserve Act Passed Two days before Christmas, while many members of Congress were away on vacation, the Federal Reserve Act was passed, creating the Central banking system we have today, originally with gold backed Federal Reserve Notes. It was based on the Aldrich plan drafted on Jekyll Island and gave private bankers supreme authority over the economy. They are now able to create money out of nothing (and loan it out at interest), make decisions without government approval, and control the amount of money in circulation. 1913 Income tax established -16th Amendment Ratified Taxes ensured that citizens would cover the payment of debt due to the Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, which was also created in 1913.The 16th Amendment stated: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” 1914 November, Federal Reserve Banks Open JP Morgan and Co. Profits from Financing both sides of War and Purchasing Weapons J.P. Morgan and Co. made a deal with the Bank of England to give them a monopoly on underwriting war bonds for the UK and France. They also invested in the suppliers of war equipment to Britain and France. 1914 WWI 1917 Teletype cipher 1917 The one-time pad 1917 Zimmerman Telegram intercepted and decoded by Room 40, the cryptanalysis department of the British Military during WWI. 1918 GB returns to gold standard post-war but it didn’t work out 1919 First rotor machine, an electro-mechanical stream ciphering and decrypting machine. 1919 Founding of The Cipher Bureau, Poland’s intelligence and cryptography agency. 1919-1929 The Black Chamber, a forerunner of the NSA, was the first U.S. cryptanalytic organization. Worked with the telegraph company Western Union to illegally acquire foreign communications of foreign embassies and representatives. It was shut down in 1929 as funding was removed after it was deemed unethical to intercept private domestic radio signals. 1920s Department stores, hotel chains and service staions begin offering customers charge cards 1921-1929 The “Roaring 20’s” – The Federal Reserve Floods the Economy with Cash and Credit From 1921 to 1929 the Federal Reserve increased the money supply by $28 billion, almost a 62% increase over an eight-year period. This artificially created another “boom”. 1927 Quartz clock 1928 First experimental Television broadcast in the US. 1929 Federal Reserve Contracts the Money Supply In 1929, the Federal Reserve began to pull money out of circulation as loans were paid back. They created a “bust” which was inevitable after issuing so much credit in the years before. The Federal Reserve’s actions triggered the banking crisis, which led to the Great Depression. 1929 October 24, “Black Thursday”, Stock Market Crash The most devastating stock market crash in history. Billions of dollars in value were consolidated into the private banker’s hands at the expense of everyone else. 1930s The Great Depression marked the end of the gold standard 1931 German Enigma machines attained and reconstructed. 1932 Turbo jet engine patented 1933 SEC founded - passed the Glass–Steagall Act, which separated investment banking and commercial banking. This was to avoid more risky investment banking activities from ever again causing commercial bank failures. 1933 FM Radio 1933 Germany begins Telex, a network of teleprinters sending and receiving text based messages. Post WWII Telex networks began to spread around the world. 1936 Austrian engineer Paul Eisler invented Printed circuit board 1936 Beginning of the Keynesian Revolution 1937 Typex, British encryption machines which were upgraded versions of Enigma machines. 1906 Teletypewriters 1927 Founding of highly secret and unofficial Signal Intelligence Service, SIS, the U.S. Army’s codebreaking division. 1937 Made illegal for Americans to own gold 1938 Z1 built by Konrad Zuse is the first freely programmable computer in the world. 1939 WWII – decline of the gold standard which greatly restricted policy making 1939-45 Codetalkers - The Navajo code is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered - "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."—Howard Connor 1940 Modems 1942 Deciphering Japanese coded messages leads to a turning point victory for the U.S. in WWII. 1943 At Bletchley Park, Alan Turing and team build a specialized cipher-breaking machine called Heath Robinson. 1943 Colossus computer built in London to crack the German Lorenz cipher. 1944 Bretton Woods – convenient after the US had most of the gold 1945 Manhattan Project – Atom Bomb 1945 Transatlantic telephone cable 1945 Claude E. Shannon published "A mathematical theory of cryptography", commonly accepted as the starting point for development of modern cryptography. C1946 Crypto Wars begin and last to this day 1946 Charg-it card created by John C Biggins 1948 Atomic clock 1948 Claude Shannon writes a paper that establishes the mathematical basis of information theory 1949 Info theorist Claude Shannon asks “What does an ideal cipher look like?” – one time pad – what if the keys are not truly random 1950 First credit card released by the Diners Club, able to be used in 20 restaurants in NYC 1951 NSA, National Security Agency founded and creates the KL-7, an off-line rotor encryption machine 1952 First thermonuclear weapon 1953 First videotape recorder 1953 Term “Hash” first used meaning to “chop” or “make a mess” out of something 1954 Atomic Energy Act (no mention of crypto) 1957 The NSA begins producing ROMOLUS encryption machines, soon to be used by NATO 1957 First PC – IBM 1957 First Satellite – Sputnik 1 1958 Western Union begins building a nationwide Telex network in the U.S. 1960s Machine readable codes were added to the bottom of cheques in MICR format, which speeded up the clearing and sorting process 1960s Financial organizations were beginning to require strong commercial encryption on the rapidly growing field of wired money transfer. 1961 Electronic clock 1963 June 4, Kennedy Issued an Executive Order (11110) that Authorized the US Treasury to Issue Silver Certificates, Threatening the Federal Reserve’s Monopoly on Money This government issued currency would bypass the governments need to borrow from bankers at interest. 1963 Electronic calculator 1963 Nov. 22, Kennedy Assassinated 1963 Johnson Reverses Kennedy’s Banking Rule and Restores Power to the Federal Reserve 1964 8-Track 1964 LAN, Local Area Networks adapters 1965 Moore’s Law by CEO of Intel Gordon Moore observes that the number of components per integrated circuit doubles every year, and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975 he revised it to every two years. 1967 First ATM installed at Barclay’s Bank in London 1968 Cassette Player introduced 1969 First connections of ARPANET, predecessor of the internet, are made. started – SF, SB, UCLA, Utah (now Darpa) – made to stay ahead of the Soviets – there were other networks being built around the world but it was very hard to connect them – CERN in Europe 1970s Stagflation – unemployment + inflation, which Keynesian theory could not explain 1970s Business/commercial applications for Crypto emerge – prior to this time it was militarily used – ATMs 1st got people thinking about commercial applications of cryptography – data being sent over telephone lines 1970s The public developments of the 1970s broke the near monopoly on high quality cryptography held by government organizations. Use of checks increased in 70s – bringing about ACH One way functions... A few companies began selling access to private networks – but weren’t allowed to connect to the internet – business and universities using Arpanet had no commercial traffic – internet was used for research, not for commerce or advertising 1970 Railroads threatened by the growing popularity of air travel. Penn Central Railroad declares bankruptcy resulting in a $3.2 billion bailout 1970 Conjugate coding used in an attempt to design “money physically impossible to counterfeit” 1971 The US officially removes the gold standard 1971 Email invented 1971 Email 1971 First microcomputer on a chip 1971 Lockheed Bailout - $1.4 billion – Lockheed was a major government defense contractor 1972 First programmable word processor 1972 First video game console 1973 SWIFT established 1973 Ethernet invented, standardized in ‘83 1973 Mobile phone 1973 First commercial GUI – Xerox Alto 1973 First touchscreen 1973 Emails made up more than ¾ of ARPANET’s packets – people had to keep a map of the network by their desk – so DNS was created 1974 A protocol for packet network intercommunication – TCP/IP – Cerf and Kahn 1974 Franklin National Bank Bailout - $1.5 billion (valued at that time) - At the time, it was the largest bank failure in US history 1975 New York City Bailout - $9.4 billion – NYC was overextended 1975 W DES - meant that commercial uses of high quality encryption would become common, and serious problems of export control began to arise. 1975 DES, Data Encryption Standard developed at IBM, seeking to develop secure electronic communications for banks and large financial organizations. DES was the first publicly accessible cipher to be 'blessed' by a national agency such as the NSA. Its release stimulated an explosion of public and academic interest in cryptography. 1975 Digital camera 1975 Altair 8800 sparks the microprocessor revolution 1976 Bretton Woods ratified (lasted 30 years) – by 80’s all nations were using floating currencies 1976 New Directions in Cryptography published by Diffie & Hellman – this terrified Fort Meade – previously this technique was classified, now it’s public 1976 Apple I Computer – Steve Wozniak 1976 Asymmetric key cryptosystem published by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. 1976 Hellman and Diffie publish New Directions in Cryptography, introducing a radically new method of distributing cryptographic keys, contributing much to solving key distribution one of the fundamental problems of cryptography. It brought about the almost immediate public development of asymmetric key algorithms. - where people can have 2 sets of keys, public and private 1977 Diffie & Hellman receive letter from NSA employee JA Meyer that they’re violating Federal Laws comparable to arms export – this raises the question, “Can the gov prevent academics from publishing on crypto? 1977 DES considered insecure 1977 First handheld electronic game 1977 RSA public key encryption invented 1978 McEliece Cryptosystem invented, first asymmetric encryption algorithm to use randomization in the encryption process 1980s Large data centers began being built to store files and give users a better faster experience – companies rented space from them - Data centers would not only store data but scour it to show people what they might want to see and in some cases, sell data 1980s Reaganomics and Thatcherism 1980 A decade of intense bank failures begins; the FDIC reports that 1,600 were either closed or received financial assistance from 1980 to 1994 1980 Chrysler Bailout – lost over $1 billion due to major hubris on the part of its executives - $1.5 billion one of the largest payouts ever made to a single corporation. 1980 Protocols for public key cryptosystems – Ralph Merkle 1980 Flash memory invented – public in ‘84 1981 “Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses and Digital Pseudonumns” – Chaum 1981 EFTPOS, Electronic funds transfer at point of sale is created 1981 IBM Personal Computer 1982 “The Ethics of Liberty” Murray Rothbard 1982 Commodore 64 1982 CD 1983 Satellite TV 1983 First built in hard drive 1983 C++ 1983 Stereolithography 1983 Blind signatures for untraceable payments Mid 1980s Use of ATMs becomes more widespread 1984 Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust bailed out due to overly aggressive lending styles and - the bank’s downfall could be directly traced to risk taking and a lack of due diligence on the part of bank officers - $9.5 billion in 2008 money 1984 Macintosh Computer - the first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse 1984 CD Rom 1985 Zero-Knowledge Proofs first proposed 1985 300,000 simultaneous telephone conversations over single optical fiber 1985 Elliptic Curve Cryptography 1987 ARPANET had connected over 20k guarded computers by this time 1988 First private networks email servers connected to NSFNET 1988 The Crypto Anarchists Manifesto – Timothy C May 1988 ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network 1989 Savings & Loan Bailout - After the widespread failure of savings and loan institutions, President George H. W. Bush signed and Congress enacted the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act - This was a taxpayer bailout of about $200 billion 1989 First commercial emails sent 1989 Digicash - Chaum 1989 Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau built the prototype system which became the World Wide Web, WWW 1989 First ISPs – companies with no network of their own which connected people to a local network and to the internet - To connect to a network your computer placed a phone call through a modem which translated analog signals to digital signals – dial-up was used to connect computers as phone lines already had an extensive network across the U.S. – but phone lines weren’t designed for high pitched sounds that could change fast to transmit large amounts of data 1990s Cryptowars really heat up... 1990s Some countries started to change their laws to allow "truncation" 1990s Encryption export controls became a matter of public concern with the introduction of the personal computer. Phil Zimmermann's PGP cryptosystem and its distribution on the Internet in 1991 was the first major 'individual level' challenge to controls on export of cryptography. The growth of electronic commerce in the 1990s created additional pressure for reduced restrictions. Shortly afterward, Netscape's SSL technology was widely adopted as a method for protecting credit card transactions using public key cryptography. 1990 NSFNET replaced Arpanet as backbone of the internet with more than 500k users Early 90s Dial up provided through AOL and Compuserve People were leery to use credit cards on the internet 1991 How to time-stamp a digital doc - Stornetta 1991 Phil Zimmermann releases the public key encryption program Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) along with its source code, which quickly appears on the Internet. He distributed a freeware version of PGP when he felt threatened by legislation then under consideration by the US Government that would require backdoors to be included in all cryptographic products developed within the US. Expanded the market to include anyone wanting to use cryptography on a personal computer (before only military, governments, large corporations) 1991 WWW (Tim Berners Lee) – made public in ‘93 – flatten the “tree” structure of the internet using hypertext – reason for HTTP//:WWW – LATER HTTPS for more security 1992 Erwise – first Internet Browser w a graphical Interface 1992 Congress passed a law allowing for commercial traffic on NSFNET 1992 Cpherpunks, Eric Hughes, Tim C May and John Gilmore – online privacy and safety from gov – cypherpunks write code so it can be spread and not shut down (in my earlier chapter) 1993 Mosaic – popularized surfing the web ‘til Netscape Navigator in ’94 – whose code was later used in Firefox 1993 A Cypherpunks Manifesto – Eric Hughes 1994 World’s first online cyberbank, First Virtual, opened for business 1994 Bluetooth 1994 First DVD player 1994 Stanford Federal Credit Union becomes the first financial institution to offer online internet banking services to all of its members in October 1994 1994 Internet only used by a few 1994 Cybercash 1994 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol released by Netscape. Making financial transactions possible. 1994 One of the first online purchases was made, a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese 1994 Cyphernomicon published – social implication where gov can’t do anything about it 1994-1999 Social Networking – GeoCities (combining creators and users) – had 19M users by ’99 – 3rd most popular after AOL and Yahoo – GeoCities purchased by Yahoo for $3.6B but took a hit after dotcom bubble popped and never recovered – GC shut down in ‘99 1995-2000 Dotcom bubble – Google, Amazon, Facebook: get over 600M visitors/year 1995 DVD 1995 MP3 term coined for MP3 files, the earlier development of which stretches back into the ‘70s, where MP files themselves where developed throughout the ‘90s 1995 NSFNET shut down and handed everything over to the ISPs 1995 NSA publishes the SHA1 hash algorithm as part of its Digital Signature Standard. 1996, 2000 President Bill Clinton signing the Executive order 13026 transferring the commercial encryption from the Munition List to the Commerce Control List. This order permitted the United States Department of Commerce to implement rules that greatly simplified the export of proprietary and open source software containing cryptography, which they did in 2000 - The successful cracking of DES likely helped gather both political and technical support for more advanced encryption in the hands of ordinary citizens - NSA considers AES strong enough to protect information classified at the Top Secret level 1996 e-gold 1997 WAP, Wireless Access Point 1997 NSA researchers published how to mint e cash 1997 Adam Back – HashCash – used PoW – coins could only be used once 1997 Nick Szabo – smart contracts “Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks” 1998 OSS, Open-source software Initiative Founded 1998 Wei Dai – B-money – decentralized database to record txs 1998 Bitgold 1998 First backdoor created by hackers from Cult of the Dead Cow 1998 Musk and Thiel founded PayPal 1998 Nick Szabo says crypto can protect land titles even if thugs take it by force – said it could be done with a timestamped database 1999 Much of the Glass-Steagal Act repealed - this saw US retail banks embark on big rounds of mergers and acquisitions and also engage in investment banking activities. 1999 Milton Friedman says, “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that's missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash - a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A.” 1999 European banks began offering mobile banking with the first smartphones 1999 The Financial Services Modernization Act Allows Banks to Grow Even Larger Many economists and politicians have recognized that this legislation played a key part in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007. 1999-2001 Napster, P2P file sharing – was one of the fastest growing businesses in history – bankrupt for paying musicians for copyright infringement
A small college president asked me to come up with an idea for how they can become more entrepreneurial and attract a different kind of student. I thought about proposing a small business incubator, with potentially several of the businesses being able to collab. For example, an accounting business could do taxes for all of the other businesses. One business could take over a dining hall, and feed the workers in the other businesses. One business could manufacture and run Bitcoin ATM machines. Not to mention starting businesses in the local community, perhaps things like a dance club or theater group that primarily serve the students but also the community. So, because I love me some bitcoin, and I think it would be a fun "gimmick" if nothing else, I was thinking whether it would make sense to tie these shops together under bitcoin. I'd imagine something like students getting paid in bitcoin, paying for lunch with bitcoin, paying for tutoring with bitcoin, etc. For that to work, I was thinking the students would need some kind of app downloaded and installed on all of their phones, and there would need some kind of backup system with cards for students without a smart phone, or people in the community. Then, since these would all be businesses, there would need to be some kind of easy to use ledger system, so that income could be counted efficiently, but not all deposits would be income, nor all withdrawals payments. After all, sometimes people would need to loan money to each other, and other times they'd be paying each other for tutoring. Payments for food would need to be categorized differently than payments for gas to drive for work. Some payments, like the gas, would be in dollars and have to be converted to bitcoin, so there might need to be a physical credit card tied to a bitcoin account. So my questions are: 1) Is there some kind of fully functional ledgepayment app for android and iphones that would assist in categorizing different payments, run on the lightning network (because we would need to support small payments), where payments could be categorized in the app, or with a browser for students without androids/iphones, and the data could be downloaded in a friendly way for a tax accountant? 2) Is there a convenient way to integrate that with a physical credit card for dollar denominated purchases? 3) Would there be any significant tax implications for the students or business owners? 4) Is it just too soon in Bitcoin's evolution to attempt something like this? I'd appreciate any other (constructive) thoughts as well. I certainly don't have it all figured out in my head, I just started thinking about it tonight, and figured y'all, who preach adoption, would have good ideas on how to facilitate adoption.
My girlfriend and I will be departing from the USA and starting a new life in Ho Chi Minh City in two weeks. I'm creating this post to wrap my head around the visa logistics and make sure we're not making any mistakes. If anything mentioned here doesn't make sense, please let me know. Advice on anything at all is appreciated! Otherwise, this post can serve as a resource for others looking to do the same, as visa laws change frequently in Vietnam. I'll update the post with any recommendations you provide.
Visa and work permit
We are both ESL teachers with bachelors degrees, TEFL certifications, and 1-year of experience in Korea. Additionally, we teach part time online and are considered independent contractors. We will be applying for a 1 year business visa. From my understanding, if you intend to work in Vietnam a business visa is necessary. We plan on using http://vietnamvisapro.net/ for the visa on arrival letter. It is listed as $120 for a 1-yr business VOA letter which is the cheapest I've found online so far. Please let me know if you know of a cheaper way to get the letter! That site also lists a $135 stamping fee for the 1 year visa, which is paid on arrival at the airport to the govt. I'm not sure if this is up to date but whatever the cost is, it is unavoidable. We plan on continuing our online teaching while also teaching part time in Vietnam. To teach in person in Vietnam, you need a work permit. A Vietnamese company can sponsor the work permit, but needs to see a bachelors degree, TEFL or CELTA cert, criminal history check (we got ours done in the states but I've heard you can do them in Vietnam after a short time of being there). Also I've heard a health check is needed but I assume that can be done in Vietnam as well (after being hired). I'm unsure whether a work permit is needed to work remotely in Vietnam (as an independent contractor or a remote employee of a US company) . I assume a work permit is only needed if working for a Vietnamese company (and thus not necessary for an independent contractor). The independent contractor should still have a business visa though, if living in Vietnam. Please correct me if this is wrong.
An international drivers permit (IDP) or Vietnamese drivers license is required to drive legally in Vietnam. Due to time constraints with renewal of my US license I am not able to get the IDP before going to Vietnam. I may try to have it shipped to me there or see how difficult it is to get the Viet license. Mostly I plan on trying to avoid motorbikes (at least until I feel more comfortable). Uber is cheap and a bicycle is viable for short trips.
Health insurance This is an area we haven't researched well enough. If anyone knows of good health insurance plans for expats I'd appreciate the information. We will not have US health insurance. As a side note, on a trip to Vietnam last year I visited a private hospital in HCMC for some infected bug bites. The doctor spoke English well and prescribed me some meds. I spent $30 on the whole ordeal (no insurance) and while it appeared a bit dirtier than a western hospital, I was pretty happy with the whole experience.
Taxes- I'm assuming that local work in Vietnam will be taxed locally, while remote work as an independent contractor (paid to a US bank account) will be taxed by the US. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Housing- we have a local air bnb booked for the first two weeks while we hunt for a place to live. We want to be near the center of HCMC, not necessarily district 1 but somewhere nearby. High speed internet and a place with a backup generator in case of power outages is a must, considering we will be teaching online and losing poweconnection is a big no no. I'm thinking that having a Vietnamese friend or assistant help us find housing is a good idea to get a fair price and ensure good communication. But considering our internet/power needs, we may end up in an apartment that caters specifically to westerners. Recommendations on housing are welcome!
Cell phone service is cheap in Vietnam compared to the US. That's about all I know. I'll be looking to get a sim card for my unlocked smart phone as soon as we arrive. Recommendations on good carriers are appreciated!
Money and Banking- I've read that it is possible for expats to open bank accounts in Vietnam. I plan on opening a local bank account if there aren't too many hurdles to jump through (unless Bitcoin takes over and we don't need banks anymore;). Recommendations for banks appreciated. Otherwise I'll be using my card at ATMs and paying the international fee.
Postal Services- I've heard residential mail is unreliable. Does anyone have a good P.O. box?
Exporting- I have e-commerce business partners in the US with interest in Vietnamese products. From what I know Vietnamese products are cheap, but shipping to the US is expensive. If anyone knows about the local manufacturing/trade/export business in Vietnam feel free to send me a message and maybe we can work together. In fact, if anyone is doing business in Vietnam I'd love to hear from you. Depending on the opportunities, I'm planning to transition from teaching to business.
Friends! We love meeting good people, that's what life is all about. We're both in our 20s (but we love old people too, ha!) We'll be arriving on August 16th and if anyone wants to get a coffee or beer, I'm down!
Am I missing anything important? Let me know, thanks for reading!
For one week every year in the town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, something truly remarkable happens. Libertarians of all stripes and shades travel from around the world, from Mexico to Canada, from Australia to Great Britain, and create the society that they want to see. It is called the Porcupine Freedom Festival, or Porcfest for short. There are no cops, there are no rulers, and the only laws that exist are the laws that exist between men as they deal with each other as equals. Gadsden flags ("Don't Tread on Me") and Market Anarchist flags (gold and black bisected) were waved instead of the usual Red White and Blue. Almost one in every three men had a sidearm strapped to their legs. People were excited about Bitcoin as a currency, and hopeful for the future. I arrived on Wednesday night at around 11:30, and I did not have a campsite. I drove up and parked along the side of a path, and walked down a hill where I saw a large collection of party-goers hanging out in the rain beside a campfire. I walked down and met up with a friend of mine from London, named Harold. He stared at me for a second before drunkenly hugging me and making sure that I was provided with a beer. He then introduced me to his group of friends. "This is Edward Snowden, everybody," he declared to those he was talking with. They laughed. I suppose I do bear some resemblance to the famed whistleblower, but I doubt my accomplishments will hold much light in comparison. Still, it wasn't the worst nickname I have been given. Harold then led me to Jonathon, who is a man from French-Canada. Both of them had visited me at my house earlier in the week I had loaned Harold one of my tents earlier in the week when he, along with Jonathon, had visited my house on their way to New Hampshire. They were being given rides by our friend Phillip, who was attending with his wife and his two daughters. While Phillip had opted for a hotel, they had opted for a campsite. The tent that I had loaned him was apparently flooded. As such, Harold asked if he could sleep in my car. Jonathon, on the other hand, had brought his own setup, and it was very dry, and didn't need to use my vehicle for such things. I consented, and we decided to see if any food was available this late at night. We found a vendor in a tent selling ice-cream. They accepted Bitcoin. I decided to try their ice cream, which they assured was made without the permission or license of the state. It was delicious and did not kill me. We then wandered by to the fire with our ice cream. There was a man in nothing but a loincloth sitting on a picnic table, and he seemed to be selling moonshine. There were a few young men enjoying some cannibis. There was no more beer. I decided to go to bed. The next morning, I met a man and a woman who were sitting on top of a large boulder that I'd apparently parked next to. They were watching the sunset, and I was told that if you sat on that rock, you'd have an amazing view. I took their word for it before I took a waddle around the campsite. It amazed me the sheer number of men walking around with all manner of firearms. The most common were hip-holstered openly carried pistols, but there were also several men wielding shotguns and semi-automatic (assumedly) sporting rifles. There was also a tent that I found with a class on constructing an AR-15. The class was 700 dollars. You kept the AR-15 you had built when the class was over. The amount of vendors that were operating was also pretty interesting. There were hot-dog vendors, a bacon-pancake vendor, vegan and paleo specific foods, raw honey, and even entire bars and saloons with a wide assortment of strange spirits. Other businesses included gold and silver trade, a Bitcoin ATM, blueprints for automatic weapons, unlicensed tattoo parlors, unlicensed casinos, and even a strip-club called the Thunderdome (I would give you the scoop on the happenings in there, but I abstained; those who did not inform me that I did not miss out on much). We went on a beer run and headed away from the campsite past another campsite (one with a Christmas theme) and into the town of Jefferson. Even though it was less than 5 miles away from the campsite, few here seemed to know what Porcfest was. When told that Libertarians really liked New Hampshire, one local resident replied, "Why? There's nothing here." Their pizza was good, their cigarettes (what Jonathon called "Darts") were cheap, and their alcohol was about what you'd expect at a gas station. I spent that day talking with Jonathon, the Canadian man who I loaned my bed eariler in the week. He was 19 years old, and had been all over the world. He was well-travelled, and had spent his adult life so far travelling the world. He paid for this with undefined Bitcoin-related riches, no doubt an early investor. Harold was a man in London who is an organizer for a Libertarian club and also heads the Anarcho-Capitalist Steam group, with over 800 members. We did Karaoke that night, and though most of the singers were about what you expect at a Karaoke event (with me butchering Tainted Love by Soft Cell), Phillip from Ohio blew the crowds away with his rendition of Frank Sinatra's hit My Way, which spoke to the hearts of the freedom-loving crowd. Phillip was classically trained and had attended 4 years of voice school, and I sympathized with the act that followed his. The event was not a contest, but he won it anyway. On Friday morning, I woke up early with Jonathon and Harold and we attended a safety brief for the range. A local gun range had agreed to allow us to shoot on their range, and an NRA instructor gave the classic safety rules to everyone, just in case they weren't aware of them previously. We then drove in a caravan over to the range, and were treated to a wide selection of highly powerful automatic weapons. For 25 dollars, you could get a 30 round magazine of 5.56 or 7.62 and safely fire it at a paper target through an M16 or an AK-47. I decided to skip that and fire a .50 caliber Desert Eagle. It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to firearms, I've fired my fair share of fully-automatic weapons when I was in the infantry. From Ma Deuces to Saws, I've fired a lot of weapons. The Desert Eagle was, by far, the most absurdly over-powered. Needless to say, I'd like to own one. .22 ammunition was free to shoot, so after firing the Deagle as it's called in the Counter Strike community, I went up and went plinking with a variety of .22 caliber rifles and pistols while my friends went crazy with M16s. A gay dance party was held on Thursday night at the camp-site. I was told by one persona attending that it was easy to tell the gay people from the straight people there. "The gay people are dressed normally," I was told. I bought a cookie from a pair of sisters who were no older than 6 years. It was delicious, but 1 dollar for a cookie is a bit expensive in retrospect. Who can say no to kids selling cookies? Certainly not many of the people there. Even those who ate Paleo would taste a cookie if a 6 year old tried to sell it to them. The Paleo diet is very interesting, as many of the people at this event would eat only paleo food. The diet of low-grain and primitive blueprints doesn't, on the surface, have anything in common with Libertarian philosophy or politics, so why was it that they were in such showing at the event? I may never know. Another oddity was the amount of Libertarians with beards. I do not refer to your typical goatee, but I instead talk of fully-blown lumberjack beards. Perhaps it's the fashion in New Hampshire, it'd certainly be in keeping with their reputation. I took Jonathon and a man who runs a video-blog (Lengthyournarther on YouTube, but let's call him Steve) out to lunch. The wings had something to be desired, and the pizza seemed manufactured, but then again, Western New York sets the bar high in this regard, and I consider myself a connoisseur in this respect. When we got the bill, Steve decided to pay for his share with a 1 troy-ounce silver coin with a buffalo on it. Silver was regarded as acceptable all across Porcfest, but in the town of Lancaster, it wasn't as readily accepted. I, however, do accept Silver as a method of payment, and was more than willing to pay on his behalf for the shiny coin. Gold was also completely acceptable in Agora Valley (one name for the campsite), but neither of these were nearly as popular as Bitcoin. Everything was for sale if you had bitcoin, from guns to poker-chips to sex. There was a bitcoin ATM machine, and bitcoin stickers, and bitcoin shirts. I got a free shirt from a 12 year old that ran a booth. He surveyed me on my experience with bitcoin, and provided me a knife, an umbrella, a t-shirt, along with other goodies. It was, by any metric, a completely fair trade for me. On the last night, I was getting rather tired. Too much alcohol and not enough sleep will get any man, and if you combine sunburn with these you get a man who is quite tuckered out. I attended a few folk-music concerts, saw a man get an entire tent hopping as a one-man band, and saw a large wooden porcupine get lit up in a bonfire. I went to bed early before my eyesockets got too heavy. When I woke up on Sunday Morning, however, it was all gone. The booths were getting packed up, many people had already left, and people were wandering around cleaning up after themselves. I said goodbye to my friends, and after packing up my things, I began the long ride home. At first, I was feeling rather somber for the fact that I would have to return to New York, a land of statism and silliness. The thought of leaving New Hampshire, where seat-belts are considered optional, was pretty depressing, but then I remembered some wisdom passed by Dr. Suess. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". Just over three days I spent in New Hampshire, partying and rallying with all manner of free people. That was enough to render me completely exhausted, but a younger man might want a bit more. For one week, in the tiny town of Lancaster, in Coos (pronounced "Koo-Ah-s") County New Hampshire, a Libertarian society existed. It was amazing due to what I saw, but also the things I didn't. It was liberating with what I could do, and also what I didn't have to do. It was amazing to be accepted as an individual, while being part of a larger group. It gave me a glimpse of what a Libertarian society could be, and hopefully, what such a society will be.
So many thoughts come, in my hunger to record the shape of that which ails me. Memories, imprinted like typewriter keys on the wet, spongy mass of the brain, feel transient, like ancient scrolls or commandments inscribed on crumbling slate, eroded by desert winds in unfathomably ancient ages. The memories of a man, fragmented in time - wet with horror and delusion. For some reason, softer memories of childhood rise to the surface sometimes, like leaves in a dirty backyard pool, only to become too raw and shamefully unclothed when exposed to the sunlight of a middle aged man’s temperament. I remember games of Checkers with my great Grandfather, Ildor Hearst, who appears in my mind’s eye as a-kind-of Russian Santa Claus, wirey beard and carven forehead. He was a stern man, and would always be ranting his archaic religious views. Prostheletising the fall of modern Babylon and the age of the Nihilist. He would play Checkers with me, sharp movements, wooden circles slammed down with impunity. He never let me win. Saw his dominance as a matter of instruction and learning. As I look back nostalgically, sometimes, I yearn for Great Grandfather Ildor’s black and white mentality of good and evil, lightness and darkness... and an over arching confidence in the eventual triumph of mankind. Rather than the bleak reality of the post modernist distopia in which I live. I recall vividly, after those intense games, once Ildor had imparted his thorny wisdom, I would be granted relaxation and be free to play with my own toys, scattered around my grandparents wooden floor boards; Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers, Wonder Woman, Spider Man and He-Man. Mine was always a multicoloured world of complex morality and democratic voices ... all of which ran into muddy paradigms that seemed totally outside the circle of Great Grandad’s moral compass. These days, as a real estate Agent, I am occasionally gifted limited insights into a checkerboard like world of manipulation and sinister intentions, but mine is to perceive the evil of global finance, and the general unfairness of land ownership and rabid, unchecked capitalism...but with no delusion of an interventionalist God to pull us out of the hole we humans have dug for ourselves. My name is Vilson Hearst, and I am a Real Estate Agent for Steel City Real Estate in Hexton, Australia. Perhaps you think yourself free from the real estate game. Perhaps, you are a fool. Perhaps you are satisfied with your lot in life, making a simple way for yourself, with a mortgage and a family, (if you should be so lucky to afford to get into the housing market at all that is). Then, could be that you are living a student lifestyle, paying rent, constantly paying off another cunning man’s mortgage, or worse still, perhaps you have abandoned the fight, to cower in your parents basement, with the real world slowly closing in on you, as you desperately try to escape into a world of Hollywood movies, video games or creepy pasta. You are all in the real estate game, wether you like it or not. There is a broader game of capital and estate, which is increasingly complex, and even those like myself who’s job it is to ‘follow the money’ sometimes are completely lost at sea in the Darwinian struggle of the global free market. Studying finance at Bourkeley University,.. I did my PHD thesis about money and the aquisition of power. I spent a solid year, studying the major players in global banking, watched the Chinese ICBC rise to become the wealthiest banking institution in the world. I tracked the strange and secretive trails of the richest investors, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, watching money transfer around the globe in secret trust funds, private meetings of powerful elites in Shanghai—as the Chinese World Trade Centre “Tower Three” was built, in the image of the destroyed Twin Towers of New York, (which is no coincidence, given it was constructed by the same architecture group; Skidmore Owings and Merril, (who also constructed the replacement One World Trade Centre.)) I studied Wikileaks and other whistleblower organisations. Gained secret documents, and learned of meetings between wealthy individuals; John Fallon, the chief executive of Pearson Education, the company which controls half the worlds schooling institutions— made a private deal in 2015 with Indra Nooyi and Paul Bulcke, Chairman and CEO of Nestle and PepsiCo, the owners of the majority of global food and confectionary. You wonder why our children are so desperately obese. I was constantly surprised by the familiarity of these billionaires with one another. For instance, you might not know, that Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto, the sinister company who has come to dominate a stronghold on global agriculture, (and who, among more nefarious acts, was responsible for manufacturing the deadly ‘Agent Orange’ poison in Vietnam and causing countless generational mutations).. just happens to be close friends with the CEO of Lockheed Martin, the dominant power in weapons manufacturing and ultimately what people mean when they talk about the ‘military industrial complex’. Guns don’t kill people. Corporations do. But you knew that already. Other minutes from meetings by the powerful, would have many questioning what the leaders of certain organisations could possibly have to discuss with each other,... such is the nature of the unheard of D40 meeting in a chateau in Shandong Province; where Barry Lam, chairman and founder of Quanta computers, the name behind the majority of computing technology, was recently in discussion with Carlos Brito, the CEO of InBev; the name behind all the major alcohol players—Ian Read, the CEO of Pfizer, who basically controls the entire legal drug market, Mark Zuckerberg and the CEO Of Alphabet Inc— who own Google and most of the rest of the internet. Now these meetings bare direct relationships with the stock trading happening in the World Trade Centre Tower Three in China. The minutes from these meetings contained discussion both controversial and amazingly nuanced, and the complexity of the global solutions some of these key players in the tech revolution were coming up with would’ve gone over the heads of even the top IQ holders from 98 percent of high schools in the world. Nonetheless, some of the darker plans by these shady monopolies would terrify you, more than you could possibly know. To understand Australian land ownership, the problem becomes more of a global puzzle. The figures who own the most land globally, are, the King of Saudi Arabia, The Pope and the Catholic Church, Hugh Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster certainly has a cut, and of course, the Queen of Britain herself, Elizabeth ...(who currently owns about a sixth of the worlds land, some 6.6 Billion Acres, more commonly known as the Commonwealth Realm, (which includes two thirds of Antarctica, Time Square in New York, Canada, New Zealand and of course ... Australia.) These people, i’ve learned, are not particularly interested in the debate around land ownership coming to the forefront of the global conversation, and billionaire media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Packer have filled their bank accounts, making it their mission to keep just such subjects off the family dinner table, with distractions like ‘My Kitchen Rules’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ filling Australian television channels. The question of wether anyone owns land in Australia, or if it is in fact all owned by the Queen of England, is a contentious one, particularly when you factor in the confounding elements such as the status of Norfolk Island, which at one time was, on a technicality, not owned by anyone except for the fictitious body ‘The Crown’ (until being taken over by the Australian Capital Territory, in 2015). Then when you consider the original claim of the British that the Australian nation was unoccupied or ‘Terra Nullius’ when Europeans arrived, a truth widely held as fact until the precedent of the Mabo Decision in the Torres Straight islands in 1992. This decision returned some land ownership rights back to certain aristocratic lineages of the native people. However, the paradox leaves a complex and enduring problem for the future of land ownership in Australia and what that exactly entails. In Hexton, the most rapidly developing city in Australia, corporate billionaires have their stakes in national land ownership, yet meanwhile... National Parks, Botanical Gardens and other public spaces are unapologetically ‘Crown lands’, a fact which is still testified by the names of the spaces; Kings Domain, Queen’s Square, and other titles which clearly and proudly display the heritage of monarchic ownership deeply entrenched within the Australian property market. Of course, even within the field of Australian National Real Estate, the individual estate agent becomes bogged down even further in matters of local estates, so that these important issues take second stake to the sales and acquisitions of the day. Steel City Real Estate, the company I work for, is a nation wide brand, but our particular office in Albert Park consists of about nine agents. I spend most of my time competing with the golden boy of Steel City, Greg Leisdadt. Greg has consistently won the monthly sales targets in our office for over a year. His desk is covered in trophies, awards, and framed certificates adorn the walls behind him. I’m not sure what words could aptly describe Leisdadt; his wolf-like eyes, both evil and mesmerising. A cannibal grin consisting of Colgate super white teeth, and those gelled locks of amber hair which hang impossibly, like an arch villain over his forehead. Greg oozes saleable confidence which grates my own nervous disposition sufficiently towards constant despair. The only force which makes the constantly eclipsing day to day victories of Leisdadt bearable to me is Natasha Valuvjdavo. She is the agent who sits on the adjacent table to me in the office. I confess, for some time, I was profoundly attracted to Natasha, and had to stop myself from gushing and fawning over her. She is a demure, and assertive brunette, her crimson lips could kill a boat full of sailors. Unfortunately, she is engaged to a man named Fred, who is something of a wet blanket, yet I must discard my jealousy and confess that for whatever reason, Natasha seems happy in her domestic life. My only solace in this, being that Greg Leisdadt, the man who has everything, although persistently flirtatious, has never made a dent in Natasha’s self security. She is thankfully not attracted to him. But now I should refrain from being sidetracked and talk about the subjects which, you, the reader, more likely desire to hear of. For my tale is no idle blathering of romantic ennui, or global conspiracy—but rather the trauma of my profession, does persist— in both being exposed to the ruthless game of money/power, but moreover being haunted by knowledges both gothic and Victorian. For there is no other game in town, where one is more exposed to unwanted or haunted real estate; the devil hounded, and the wished forgotten. There are the houses that are impossible to sell, because of brutal or public bloody murders that have occurred to the prior occupants. Wether psychological or other, the frequency of those who purchase such forbidden and damned abodes —then in no matter of time, flee and sell at carelessly lower settlement costs, with tales of unhallowed things returned to life, or clanking noises in the basement...why... this simple fact of the real estate market is as common as there is. A story as old as time. Now perhaps I could spend months repeating the folk lore surrounding that dilapidated and spiritually unsaveable address; that run down, trash infested garden, and collapsing terrace roof of no 13 MacArthur Street. But this could take a conceivably longer time period, and I shall reserve my energy for the most disturbing and horrific of these preternatural experiences. Though I should briefly mention Vernon tower, for though this wasn’t the property which near drove me to insanity, it factors too far into the disturbing tapestry of the veiled or hidden real estate scene. Now, Vernon tower, is an enormous building in South Hexton. Our agency deals more with rentals than with sales of the apartments in that old, and curious piece of architecture. Built as early as 1866, there has always been something profoundly wrong with Vernon towers. Of course, it is me who has to deal with most of the tennants of that foreboding block, for it is the Hearst legacy to be fated just such dull luck. Thus it is always, I, who takes the phone calls from disgruntled students and drug addicts; Vernon Tower is unprecedentedly cheap, due to its history. Yet the impoverished clientele still have no issue burning my ear off; to complain of strange mechanic noises, or those bizarre phosphorescent green lights. Then there was the girl who tried to sue us, after her seizure from what she claimed to see inside the laundry room. That manner of description I can scarce repeat for its absurdness and high strangeness. But let me get to the more dreadful incident which frightens me even to recall. Indeed, it had all begun with that infernal property in Elwood, which I was in terse competition to sell... pitted unwittingly against the undefeated Super-Agent, Greg Leisdadt. The spectacularly immense mansion on Ormond Road, was once occupied by billionaire Serbian entrapaneur Dimitrije Stojanovic, who I’m told partially drafted the architectural plans for the immense mansion himself, before he had it constructed on the corner of Ormond and Radkin Streets. The nature of the oddities surrounding that place however, extend not from the architectural style of the lot itself, (mind you those odd modernist geometric pylons, stepped piers and sail-like rooves do lend a kind of funereal gothicness to the address.) However, it was the murder of Stojanovic which caused true fluctuations of interest in the property. Given the public knowledge of the horrendous murder, the property value was incalculably lower than its market worth. It seemed the image of the alleged burglar breaking into Stojanovic’s window, and bludgeoning him to death in the lounge room with a heavy trophy or statue of some kind— somehow grinding his skin off as with multiple teeth, or a spiked club—stayed in the public mind, thanks to Channel 9’s ‘A Current Affair’ and their sensational program about the incident. For interest in the property remained uncharacteristically low. Perhaps the fact that the murderer has yet to be identified or captured by police, nor the murder weapon found, hasn’t helped the matter. Now, as I have mentioned this was not the first time our staff had dressed up a ‘murder property’. But the truly disturbing elements began to happen during the time the property came under my tenure. Now, I should proclaim sincerely that I am by no means a superstitious man, I admonish my readers to believe that I was just as skeptical about the soon to be foretold events as you, had I not experienced them myself, I should fiercely doubt my own sanity. I should also divulge a little more information about Dimitrije Stojanovic himself, (the owner of the grand mansion) as the web of intrigue very much seems to hinge on his professional history. Stojanovic made his billions in Silicon Valley, working in many aspects of the tech industry, investing timely in companies like Facebook and crypto currencies like Bitcoin, when the time was right. in the move to Australia it seems that his ambition was to try out his own company idea in the developing market of Hexton, where the game was not already dominated and over exposed. With this intent he came out, built his immense mansion in Elwood, Moonsmoth, and immediately started channeling his money into the development of something called .....‘DigiTown’. Now being neither a tech expert myself, nor expecting such of my audience, I will explain the fundamentals of the ‘DigiTown’ concept in the same manner it was explained to me by Neil Druton, a four eyed nerd with an immense forehead who was one of the developers working for Dimitrije Stojanovic, before he died. I had decided to interview Druton, to get the background on the Stojanovic case to find a more positive angle for investors. I figured if I could distract the buyer from the details of the murder, and big talk the profile of Stojanovic himself, “the prolific entrapaneur”, this might flatter the egos of other wealthy entrapaneurs to buy it out. Druton told me he had been working for Stojanovic for about six months, mostly at the office Space Dimitrije was renting in Southbank. He described Stojanovic as ruthless, and borderline insane, but nonetheless he spoke of ‘DigiTown’ with respect, a ‘unique’ and ‘brilliant’ project, which would have been at the forefront of the tech industry, if it had ever been finished. Put in layman’s terms, Druton explained that the project had a great deal in common with Bill Gates plans for a ‘smart city’ but on a more achievable scale. I could tell Druton was oversimplifying the description for my sake, no doubt parroting Dimitrije’s marketing pitches for investors. But he described it like this; ‘Imagine a kind of augmented portal, with a built infrastructure and virtual architecture planned by white collar professionals, a crypto currency run communal space, overlayed over a modern city space, where your own request portal is linked to different reference cubes; Town Square, Library Cube, Media Station, Entertainment Centre, Eateries, telematics and roads authority, and these all function via the same channels as an actual city.’ ‘So you mean, instead of one social media interface trying to network everything, the actual infrastructure of a city is built out within the media itself?’ I asked. ‘Yeah pretty much’ Druton replied, seeing I had sensed the practical nature, adaptability, and profitability of the software, all over the world. ‘ATMs, shops, business, smart cars and machinery— all worked into the same dual augmented system. Superimposed as a direct collorary.’ It got me thinking paranoid, and I asked Druton earnestly; ‘Do you think if another rogue in the tech industry knew about Stojanovic’s idea, it would have been a groundbreaking idea enough to have killed him over?’ Druton went silent, and sweated a little from his pimpled forehead. I didn’t need to hear him answer the question, it was written all over his shrivelled face. I spent a good couple of months doing my research on Dimitrije’s mansion. (I would’ve loved to cover up the existence of the current owner of the mansion). Rich heiress Stacey White bought the house, and lived in it for a month before she got spooked— and decided to resell it. I made sure to get the story straight, offering Stacey a hot cup of Bush tea, and asking her precisely what she saw. Here’s what she told me; ‘I was alone, in that creepy mansion, at night,... and I got a weird feeling. There was a strong wind, and it was dark. The gum tree in the front yard bends a lot in the wind, and sometimes the branches whip against the side of the house. I was just getting used to that noise, but this time it was something different, almost lost in the whistling wind. It was a lower kind of ...moaning. A deep, pained groan. I got up to check I hadn’t left something on in the kitchen. I went to turn on the light switch but the globe burnt out. That’s when it happened. Almost like a mini-earthquake, but there was this strange energy. Then the gas stove just lit up, a green flame. It wasn’t on, but the kitchen was illuminated in a kind of underwater hue. Then—-(Stacey began to gasp and sob)—-then... in the darkness — I saw it!! A green head! Half a Human head, but mangled, half the skull bashed in, shimmering like I was looking through glass. It spoke to me ....in a voice that made the room cold. Just—-(she broke down into tears, suppressing a scream). H—his lips... cold, green lips. Steam coming from his mouth. He said — he said—- ‘Beware the Wagluh’. As this point she became incommunicable. I felt an increasing sickness in the ensuing weeks, the cause was unknown, but chiefly matched my mental state. It must’ve been around this time when I first saw the strange rune which had been spray painted on the abandoned building in Elwood. I was doing my rounds, why I should’ve noticed the strange glyph remains beyond my understanding, yet there it was. A curious, green shape, interrupted by a stark arrow and a kind-of ladder shape above it. I was becoming increasingly stressed and agitated by the competitive sale of Dimitrije’s mansion. My manager Herron Del Ray had been hounding me to make a sale, it had been months since I had successfully got a down payment from a client. Del Ray had threatened redundancy in no uncertain terms, and the stress was beginning to erode my total mental well being. In conversations with my beautiful colleague Natasha around this time, I found her to be kind, but not particularly helpful. Her advice was that if I was going to beat Leisdadt, I would have to compete with him at his own game. She told me on one particular occasion I should just lie to clients about the gruesome murder in the house, or omit it from the description altogether. This was both against my moral compass, and senseless, for the case was so popular, I felt sure that any potential investor would know of it, to omit it would only anger them. That same day I got a call from a potential buyer named Greame De Montague. Leisdadt watched me like a hawk as I took the call, giving me a cunning look. The stare flustered my nerves, but choking through the phone I agreed for an inspection with De Montague. He would be the fifth buyer I had spoken to, all four previous investors had abandoned their inquiries when learning more about the murder, or after having seen the contract of sale. I calmed myself the day of the appointment by speaking soft mantras to myself under my breath. I knew I had to push this client to a final purchase, and my job security depended on it. Greg Leisdadt was leaning against the bronze statue of a Cheetah in our office as I was leaving, mocking me with the words ‘Good luck, Vilson old boy.’ It was a cold autumn day, and brown leaves blew around the streets in gusts of curdled wind. I had arranged to meet Mr De Montague on Beach Avenue, so that we might walk down to Ormond Street and view the mansion. As an eerie coincidence the corner we agreed to meet was precisely at the point that odd rune was sprayed on the abandoned building in Elwood. Greame De Montague was standing on the corner as I arrived in my light grey sedan. He was standing in front of the odd rune, as though the symbol itself had somehow marked his presence in an unexplainable yet mystical time stamp. I couldn’t see his car parked anywhere. He was wearing a very curious oufit, particularly for Australia, although the weather was reasonably cool that autumn day. He wore a kind of black velvet robe, cut in the shape ...not unlike an Orthodox Jew’s regalia. It tarried at the bottom into a sort of deep purple cape. On his head he wore a buckled Capotain, and in his hand, a decorated staff. I wondered if his clothing indicated the excesses of vanity of the social media age, or if he was perhaps a foreign prince of some kind. I stepped out of the car, and approached De Montague with my hand extended. I could see now he had a strange face, with slanted owl-like eyebrows, and a fluffy round beard that gave him an almost koala-bear-shaped head. Mr De Montague raised his hand and met my embrace, shaking my hand with a firm clasp. ‘It’s lovely to meet you Greame. I have a feeling you are going to love this property.’ ‘Please. Call me Lord De Montague.’ The stern man insisted, ‘I descend from Carpathian royalty, the son of a Duke.’ ‘Very well M’lord.’ I replied, my tone accidentally tinged with irony, ‘Have you come ...very far today?’ I asked trying to distract from my faux pas with a bluff of small talk. I couldn’t help staring at the strange Necklace around De Montague’s neck. It seemed to be made of solid gold, and was comprised of a chain of large charms, each coin depicting deities from Ancient Asian and Mesopotamian religions. I began walking, unsure what to say but deciding to lead De Montague down towards Ormond Street. There was a terrifying stillness on the street that day. The sun dried grass seemed frozen in time, and the grey sky moaned geriatrically, with the energy of a tired giant trying to fend off the vast abyss of Space. I noticed that De Montague was not moving, but had instead stopped firmly in his tracks. His face gave off a distinct lack of pathos. ‘Mr Hearst.’ Lord De Montague’s grainy voice echoed; ‘This is the wrong way.’ I turned and looked back at him confused, but De Montague quickly supplanted my curiosity ‘We should walk down Vautier Street. It comes out closer to the property on Ormond.’ By my own calculations, the distance was exactly the same, but as I was in a desperate state of flattery, I decided to humour the strange, old man, though I now questioned wether my client might be an eccentric madman, who merely thought he was born of Royalty, in his delusions. Nonetheless, I followed De Montague and we wandered down the leafy, terraced streets. ‘Tell me something Mr Hearst’ De Montague began to speculate; ‘Have you ever heard the expression ‘Old Money’?’ I looked at him trying to gage his meaning; ‘Yes, of course.’ I replied. ‘The man who owned this mansion’, De Montague continued in a practiced refrain; ‘It is my understanding he was one of the new breed. Wouldn’t you say? Those who make their fortunes on the gamble— or the changing technologies of the world, but haven’t yet come to fully comprehend the system as it works. As it has always worked.’ ‘I’m afraid I haven’t come to fully appreciate your meaning.’ I replied with honest perplexion. ‘My ancestors were very interested in Asian spirituality’ De Montague continued in a seemingly distracted soliloquy, ‘The De Montagues have migrated for some time you see. Sharing something in common with the Romani people of Europe. I have had ancestors who have lived, over the centuries, in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines. Do you know what is the one thing these vastly different cultures all have in common?’ ‘I do not’ I confessed. ‘Reverence for ones ancestors, and respect for ones elders, and an overwhelming policy of acceptance towards the natural systems that have always existed.’ ‘That’s very interesting’ I replied, gawking about anxiously and wondering where the conversation was leading. ‘I have only more recently come to adapt the principles of the Japanese Shinto religion into my philosophy Mr Hearst. However I think we could all take a page out of that discipline, and it’s superior attitude towards the unknown. You know, in some sense the Shinto practitioners had an almost scientific approach to their spirituality. Certainly, like with the Eastern superstitions, the Shinto perceived a longing towards extra sensory insights into a hidden or secret world supposed to lie beneath the surface of our material life. However, we can say that the Shinto practitioners never got into the awkward and complex dogma of hierarchical worship. Rather, they merely approached each of their animistic inhabitations of spirit that they encountered with the proper fear and respect that one should properly apply to creatures or Gods we fail to yet understand.’ ‘It’s an interesting religion.’ I said, still utterly confused as to what the eccentric prince was attempting to convey. ‘I see you’ve mistaken my warning.’ De Montage continued in a more stern and serious tone, as we passed rows of trimmed hedges and decorative fences. ‘It is right to fear that which we don’t understand Master Hearst. We ought to treat our material supervisors with more respect. Now, I confess, it has never been the object of my ancestors to worship the unseen. Only a fool wishes to make a slave of themselves to a devil they don’t know. But respect, awe, fear, that is different. That is the core of wisdom. Now.... I confess to you... My own aristocratic ancestors, have had more of a vested interest in acquiring artefacts and precious minerals that can absorb such unknown energies. To tap into the mechanisms of nature and the outer spheres of unseen chemistry, that is where one can find the tools to bring about the acquisition of power!’ I began to become totally speechless, realising now, that I was in the presence of a lunatic. We were still about five minutes from the Serbian’s property, and De Montague now began to rave in such a strange and sinister manner, that he appeared some demented imp, his lecture was so insane. ‘So it was for the ones who claimed the future. Those beings with silken robes of silver, who sought the forbidden wisdom from beyond the abysses of Space and time. They are like the watcher, and we are but the conduits to their ancient digital powers. Yet if you could perceive the outlines of the Shapeshifter, who is the lost among us all, and he who brings the bitterness from the original tragedy. Then, perhaps you could understand what the Hindu’s really worship, in the form of their metamorphosising God of many evolutionary attributes.’ Mr De Montague suddenly stopped, slamming the steel cap of his staff upon the cracked concrete, and turned to me; ‘Mr Hearst, this is my warning for you! You cannot outwit the darker destinies of the force that itself conjures black holes. Have due reverence for the unseen beast which lurks beneath, and threatens your soul with eternal mutilation. Stand down from that property, and abandon your research into the disappearance of that accursed Serbian. I send this warning as a friend, and wether or not you take it up, I tell you that your colleague Greg will still make the sale, whichever path you choose.’ De Montague suddenly scowled like a rabid dog, grabbing my hand and thrusting the handle of his cane upon my palm. ‘Cursed child— I have the power of the Chiromancer, and that which is engraved upon your line of fate, makes it clear. But there is still time to evade the mark of this warning.’ Suddenly, I shrieked, for my palm began stinging with pain, and I realised that the silver etched handle of the staff was unfathomable degrees hot. I pulled my hand away before the impression became irreversible; ‘Ouch, you burnt my hand!’ I cried. De Montague then seemed satisfied that his message had been delivered. He immediately hoisted back his staff, then let out a sound almost like a wolf’s growl. Then he seemed to perform a magicians trick of some form. For he cast the staff down at my feet, but as it fell there, a glimmer of light played a trick on me. I stepped back in fear, for that which lay across my feet, was no longer that of carven wood, but a coiled brown snake, who raised itself and hissed through fangs, and quivering forked tongue. I turned and dashed out of the snakes attack perimeter. I gazed down at my stinging palm, to see with terror and trepidation that the burn mark in my hand imprinted from the image on the cane— it was the same strange glyph that was painted on the house. Panting and sweating, tripping over my clumsy feet, as I rotated again to survey the scene, I saw now with incredulity the brown snake remained upon the pavement, but De Montague himself was long gone. The hoax plagued me for hours afterward, I had been pranked it seemed, by some rich and bored eccentric trickster, who never intended to view the property at all. Or he was an escaped lunatic from Bourkeley Asylum perhaps. As I was already in the area, after a sufficient down time, when my heartbeat had reduced and my manic paranoia dissipated —I resolved to continue to Ormond Street anyway. When I got to the property my fading anger was rebuked, for I saw two cars parked outside the late Serbian’s mansion. ‘Leisdadt’ I cursed. As I walked up the modern staircase, I saw a cheerful looking man m, wearing a scarf, leaving, who Greg had obviously just shown around the property. He seemed fearfully optimistic about the place, and I continued cursing under my breath until I reached the hallway where Greg was standing, smugly, with a clipboard. He seemed even more satisfied when I came to the door; ‘You better watch out for that one’ Greg said in a tone that sent me into a rage; ‘He seems very keen. What happened to your 4’oclock?’ ‘Someone pulled a prank on me’ I cursed. I began to wonder if Greg had organised the incident with the charlatan somehow. Leisdadt tried hard to refrain from breaking out into a grin, ‘That’s a shame. Your luck has to come up one day Hearst.’ Leisdadt chuckled, but then seemed to remember something— ‘I thought you signed off on the clearance papers anyway Hearst.’ He said, ‘After Stacey White complained about the dead guy’s stuff still laying around, I thought you had the house completely emptied.’ ‘What of it?’ I asked. Greg leaned over to the ornately decorated mantle piece, pulling open the dresser drawer below the mirror and revealing a stack of haphazard papers and letters. ‘Can you take care of these?’ He insisted coldly, ‘I’ve got a last minute potential sale of that impossible property, 13 MacArthur Street. Can you believe my luck? We haven’t had a buyer for that place in years.’ I scowled into my neck as Leisdadt left via the rear entrance of the mansion. Grumbling and moving towards the papers, I cursed myself for so easily being persuaded to do what Greg could’ve done himself. I mumbled, calling myself a sucker under my breath as I leafed through the papers. Then, I turned over something which captured my interest. It was a sleek black diary, and as I turned the pages I came to realise that it had evidently belonged to Dimitrije. I flicked through the musty pages, seeing that the entries of the private journal dated up until the Serbian’s disappearance. I began to read with fascination and morose intrigue; Here is the transcript of the more interesting parts of Dimitrije's diary: http://textuploader.com/dh4w4 Dimitrije Stojanovic died on the 13th of October, 2016. The strange diary had a terrible effect on me. I became deeply paranoid that I was wedged within a catastrophic and deep conspiracy. Though I couldn’t fully understand the map laid out by the corners of my discoveries, there was enough of a pattern that I knew there was some terrible logic beneath it all. I found the references to Vernon Towers and the architect ‘Von Marrickville’ extremely intriguing and began to further my own research on the property which was already familiar to me. I had always known that Vernon Towers was an old heritage building. But I had never researched the buildings actual construction. So it was, that I found out more about the strange creator, borrowing a book about the eccentric architect Veda Von Marrickville from Hexton library. The book was fascinating. Von Marrickville, it turned out was a fairly prolific architect of the day, who was commissioned to build a series of buildings around Hexton city. Of particular interest to me, where the four or five buildings Von Marrickville built in a kind of arc around Port Phillip Bay, pointing towards Valsbury docks. Von Marrickville was a Dutch native who came out to Australia in 1834, one of the key buildings on the Port Phillip Bay side of Hexton was Vernon Towers, which I read to my astonishment was funded by a wealthy nobleman named Aaron De Montague. I couldn’t find out much about the De Montague family or their history in Australia, but I was beginning to think it must have been the same family as the De Montague whom I had met. Von Marrickville describe Vernon Towers as an ‘occult conduit’ and layered it with engraved symbology. He suffered a tragic fate, and wound up raving as an inmate in Bourkeley Asylum. Since reading the diary, I have begun to experience strange anomaly. I visited Vernon towers myself, looking for a particular architectural feature. To my surprise and terror I saw one of the green glyphs mentioned by Dimitrije. I tried to track down De Montage, however have not seen him since that odd encounter. Searching for families of that name, the only people I could come across in Hexton was a family living in Brunswick. When I went to visit I found them to be a strange family of Indonesians who incidentally suffered from an unusual diverse range of diseases. The youngest daughter suffered autism, whilst her brother was an extreme Down syndrome case, and the mother herself had mental health issues. I concluded that these De Montagues probably bore no relation to the man I had met, if indeed he hadn’t lied about his name. Then there was the day I found that bizarre egg. It was about the size of a milk carton, all speckled and grey, but it was broken in half, as though it had hatched. Yet I was positive no animal could have produced the egg, and could only assume that it was a student art project or installation of some kind. In any case, it seemed unrelated to the other strange occurrences. I feel as though my sanity has completely abandoned me, torn more and more towards the point of collapse. Leisdadt has sold the Serbian’s property, and I haven’t been to work for a week, for fear of the consequences with my boss. But worse, I’ve started to smell a.... to sense something. Something that I recognise from Dimitrije’s descriptions in his diary. How is it possible to sense the form of something that you have never seen. To know it sometime. To dream of a shrieking thing that soars through a red sky. That mosquito like head. Immense lizard like body, bone and ribs, like a sharks egg. Black leather wings. There was a brown parcel that arrived in the mail. The statue inside matches the description given by Dimitrije. It’s so hideously disfigured. Does it represent the swimming demon in my dreams? I examined the edges closely, and the inscription which seems to be flecked with blood. Could it be the murder weapon they used to bludgeon the Serbian? What of his shredded corpse, what tore his body apart? As I sit, hailed up in my lounge room trying to distract my mind with escapist television, and recording this journal on my IPad. I fear something unfathomable which seeks my destruction. I can hear noises, am I hallucinating? Dear God! That banging outside the house.
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