Cypherpunklabs: A Skeptic’s Lesson

Trust

Unlike most Bitcoiners or libertarians, I believe in the concept of trust. In fact, I like trusting people. I believe in friends and family and expecting the best from people you love. This has hurt me several times in life, but is always worth it; be it in the form of a valuable lesson or a lifetime partner.

Cypherpunklabs

I loved the idea of Cypherpunklabs. This is the “company” that Daniel started. The main objective of Cypherpunklabs was to spin up anonymous relay and exit nodes on the Tor network and spin up Bitcoin & Monero nodes. If you want my full thoughts on why I think this was a good thing, read this article. TL; DR Tor anonymization is good for journalists, whistleblowers, and dissidents.

A Storm’s (and Some Hurricanes) a-Brewin’

After my own personal issues, I stopped checking my onion site or writing as much. There was every intention of returning, but priorities changed.

Myths, Legends

The volumetric magnitude of absolutely legendary stories — that no one questioned — became difficult to accept in light of ambiguous business practices and an inability to come up with such a small amount of money.

  • Experience

Net Worth

Normally, net worth isn’t a concern for me, as I am not, and none of my friends are, “rich.” Daniel asking for a random $100 here and there along with the complete, temporary shut down of all nodes, all servers, and all communications seemed to be related to financial issues. While struggling financially at first is normal with any venture, Daniel had some particular claims that were at odds with the situation:

  • he regularly mixed 10 BTC at a time
  • he couldn’t sign any early coins because “IRS”

Experience

Here are a few examples of the impressive feats of knowledge Daniel has claimed over the past year. While these could be true — as they’re impossible to verify — the sheer breadth of knowledge is all-consuming:

  • friend’s with Satoshi’s wife
  • determined vulnerability to take down all BTCcore nodes (also Lightning Network vulnerabilities and Signal vulnerabilities)
  • created a neighborhood-wide meshnet to identify intruders in the area
  • used to work for the NSA/FBI
  • ability to turn a welding machine into a power generator (?)

The First Excuse

Of course, the first thing to do was to check the cypherpunklabs website at this point, and sure enough, it was down (the HTTPS version is still down, but the HTTP version is now up). I then checked my own onion site, which was also down. Off to the twitter account, where I discovered this hodgepodge of reasons for two weeks of downtime:

The Second (More Private) Excuse

I’m not going to share DMs here because I want to provide Daniel with an opportunity to come clean and be honest with the public-at-large. That is a decision he will hopefully make on his own. But I can, without sharing any personal details about Daniel, describe what was expressed as the reason.

  • take responsibility for spending money inappropriately
  • start the company

Moar

In the DMs shared by the mutual, Daniel talks about his large stash of coins. If these coins exist, it leaves one scratching their head and wondering why he failed to pay the mutual ~$2.5k, why he took the entire network and website down for over two weeks, why he never created the company, and why he consistently would request anywhere from $100 to $400 at a time from his business partner.

  • he was going to be running upwards of 1/3 of all Tor exit nodes
  • he had spoken to @ pokkst about a massive purchase of 50 BCH worth of exit nodes

Intentions

I don’t understand Daniel’s intentions. No one does who has viewed the DMs and that’s okay, because that makes me believe there wasn’t malintent involved. Something went wrong, something got out of control — because the initial concept of the business wasn’t bad. That’s okay, sh*t happens.

It’s Important To Admit

It isn’t only important for Daniel to admit to the public what honestly happened, it’s important that I, as someone who speaks constantly about fraud and staying safe, acknowledge when I’ve been led astray.

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