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The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market
Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets. The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1. However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.
Demand for U.S. Dollars
Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4. https://preview.redd.it/d4xalwdyz8p51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f0556c6aa6b29016c9b135f3279e8337dfee2a6 https://preview.redd.it/wucg40kzz8p51.png?width=653&format=png&auto=webp&s=71257fec29b43e0fc0df1bf04363717e3b52478f This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate. https://preview.redd.it/6956j6f109p51.png?width=487&format=png&auto=webp&s=ccea257a4e9524c11df25737cac961308b542b69 Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions. Source: Bloomberg Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.
The Rise of Crypto Dollars
Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13. https://preview.redd.it/3vq7v1jg09p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f11b5f5245a8c335ccc60432873e9bad2eb1e1 An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.
In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero. J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications. Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19. https://preview.redd.it/lgb1f2rw19p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=040bb0deed0499df6bf08a072fd7c4a442a826a0 These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.
There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation.Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry. There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish. In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world. Thank you. Reference:  How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia  The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist  Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath  Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers  Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS  Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider  McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company  Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates  Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC  Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters  Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis  The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg  Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com  Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes  New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk  Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank  Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan  Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News  Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS  Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
Hello you downy shitbirds. I have decided to take on the role of getting the first, of what will likely be a very short-lived, ASX_Bets competition started. I feel that by 'running' the competition, I might be able to make it less shitty and cringeworthy than some of you. Firstly, the name. I know Rene Rivken is not exactly the most contemporary reference, and I had considered other names, like the Bradbury Cup (still not super recent, but probably a better predictor of what I see happening with this competition). The reason I went with Rivken is in 2001, Rene Rivken had a meeting with the CEO of Impulse Airlines (I don't remember them either) who told Rivken that Impulse was likely going to merge with QANTAS. Rivken leaves the meeting, and HOURS LATER buys 50,000 QANTAS shares. He is convicted of insider trading, after making $2,664.94 on the trade. This is just a beautiful story, and I think it needs to be memorialised. Ok, now that we've got that out of the way. The rules are fairly straight forward:
On 18 May (yes, 18 May - you can wait one fucking week) you must purchase no more than AUD$1,000 (including brokerage) worth of any Australian financial product. Evidence must be provided in the form of a screenshot. Just take a screenshot and upload it to imgur and link it. Don't DM me.
I will make a new thread every Friday evening, where EVERYONE MUST POST their weekly trades by Sunday 6.00pm. If you baghold for the week, you can just provide an update on the value.
This is a YOLO competition. Pick one product and roll with it, sell, repeat. I don't actually care about it being a YOLO competition per se, I just don't want to have to keep track of 10 different stocks and the buying and selling. You can hedge outside of the competition if you must.
You lose any value that is not rolled into your next trade. I.e. if your first trade is 1k - 1.2k, your next trade must be worth 1.2k. You can take profits, but that value is lost moving forward. This is because I am not Rain Man and won't keep track of all your leftovers. This is also to prevent the inevitable "I saved $86 in week 1, $47 in week 2, and here is some random penny stock trade that I made with leftovers that went +900% and now I win." - Everything must be on the table in the weekly updates.
The competition will end at 6.01am AEDT Saturday, 27 June. The winner will be the person with the highest total MARKET VALUE at that point. If you are still holding your products, fine. You don't have to sell, but the market value will be used to determine their value. Not your vibe; not what you think they're worth; not what they might be worth at expiry.
The following are all acceptable products to trade:
e-minis, whatever the fuck that is
I'm not sure if we should allow US options. Please discuss (I have ended the competition assuming we are). I think this should be a level playing field competition and many people don't have US Options accounts, so happy to go either way. Let me know what you all think. Everything is up for debate (including the cup name), but at least now we have a starting point for those discussions.
Look-it: FOREX TRADING DASHBOARD IN NOTION + CTRADER EMBED
For forex traders out there, I've found that you can actually embed a web cTrader in Notion! SIMPLE DARK MODE SIMPLE LIGHT MODE If you like my setup, BUY ME A COFFEE! 🎉. I'm dying for a good cup of store bought brewed coffee, not instant coffee from home. I would really appreciate your latte treat. What are shown on the Long Version?
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in ON. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in ON. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
I was going through old emails today and came across this one I sent out to family on January 4, 2018. It was a reflection on the 2017 crypto bull market and where I saw it heading, as well as some general advice on crypto, investment, and being safe about how you handle yourself in cryptoland. I feel that we are on the cusp of a new bull market right now, so I thought that I would put this out for at least a few people to see *before* the next bull run, not after. While the details have changed, I don't see a thing in this email that I fundamentally wouldn't say again, although I'd also probably insist that people get a Yubikey and use that for all 2FA where it is supported. Happy reading, and sorry for some of the formatting weirdness -- I cleaned it up pretty well from the original email formatting, but I love lists and indents and Reddit has limitations... :-/ Also, don't laught at my token picks from January 2018! It was a long time ago and (luckliy) I took my own advice about moving a bunch into USD shortly after I sent this. I didn't hit the top, and I came back in too early in the summer of 2018, but I got lucky in many respects. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan-4, 2018 Hey all! I woke up this morning to ETH at a solid $1000 and decided to put some thoughts together on what I think crypto has done and what I think it will do. *******, if you could share this to your kids I’d appreciate it -- I don’t have e-mail addresses, and it’s a bit unwieldy for FB Messenger… Hopefully they’ll at least find it thought-provoking. If not, they can use it as further evidence that I’m a nutjob. 😉 Some history before I head into the future. I first mined some BTC in 2011 or 2012 (Can’t remember exactly, but it was around the Christmas holidays when I started because I had time off from work to get it set up and running.) I kept it up through the start of summer in 2012, but stopped because it made my PC run hot and as it was no longer winter, ********** didn’t appreciate the sound of the fans blowing that hot air into the room any more. I’ve always said that the first BTC I mined was at $1, but looking back at it now, that’s not true – It was around $2. Here’s a link to BTC price history. In the summer of 2013 I got a new PC and moved my programs and files over before scrapping the old one. I hadn’t touched my BTC mining folder for a year then, and I didn’t even think about salvaging those wallet files. They are now gone forever, including the 9-10BTC that were in them. While I can intellectually justify the loss, it was sloppy and underlines a key thing about cryptocurrency that I believe will limit its widespread adoption by the general public until it is addressed and solved: In cryptoland, you are your own bank, and if you lose your password or account number, there is no person or organization that can help you reset it so that you can get access back. Your money is gone forever. On April 12, 2014 I bought my first BTC through Coinbase. BTC had spiked to $1000 and been in the news, at least in Japan. This made me remember my old wallet and freak out for a couple of months trying to find it and reclaim the coins. I then FOMO’d (Fear Of Missing Out”) and bought $100 worth of BTC. I was actually very lucky in my timing and bought at around $430. Even so, except for a brief 50% swing up almost immediately afterwards that made me check prices 5 times a day, BTC fell below my purchase price by the end of September and I didn’t get back to even until the end of 2015. In May 2015 I bought my first ETH at around $1. I sent some guy on bitcointalk ~$100 worth of BTC and he sent me 100 ETH – all on trust because the amounts were small and this was a small group of people. BTC was down in the $250 range at that point, so I had lost 30-40% of my initial investment. This was of the $100 invested, so not that much in real terms, but huge in percentages. It also meant that I had to buy another $100 of BTC on Coinbase to send to this guy. A few months after I purchased my ETH, BTC had doubled and ETH had gone down to $0.50, halving the value of my ETH holdings. I was even on the first BTC purchase finally, but was now down 50% on the ETH I had bought. The good news was that this made me start to look at things more seriously. Where I had skimmed white papers and gotten a superficial understanding of the technology before FOMO’ing, I started to act as an investor, not a speculator. Let me define how I see those two different types of activity:
Investors buy because the price is less than the value they see in the investment. Speculators buy because they think that someone will pay more in the future than they are paying now.
Investors trade on information (The white paper was really well-written, had a clear technical advantage over other alternatives, and addresses a need that I can understand and value.) Speculators trade on sentiment. (Buy the rumor! Sell the news!)
Investors usually look at the investment and themselves and can describe why they purchase in those terms (ABC-Coin provides (service) that isn’t addressed yet and matches (requirements) for an investment.) Speculators usually describe why they bought something in terms of how other people think (I think that other people think that the price will rise, so I want to get ahead of that.)
Investors don’t necessarily check the price every day. The can, and very often I do, but it isn’t required because fundamentals don’t often change on a dime. Speculators need to be glued to a price feed, because sentiment very often changes on a dime.
Investors like ideas, people, business plans, and market opportunities. Good ones are like Spock. Speculators like trends. They are tribal.
Investors have a longer time horizon than speculators. In cryptoland, the notion of a “longer” time horizon is still laughably small (months) compared to traditional markets, but it certainly isn’t weeks or days or hours, which is whre speculators often live.
So what has been my experience as an investor? After sitting out the rest of 2015 because I needed to understand the market better, I bought into ETH quite heavily, with my initial big purchases being in March-April of 2016. Those purchases were in the $11-$14 range. ETH, of course, dropped immediately to under $10, then came back and bounced around my purchase range for a while until December of 2016, when I purchased a lot more at around $8. I also purchased my first ICO in August of 2016, HEAT. I bought 25ETH worth. Those tokens are now worth about half of their ICO price, so about 12.5ETH or $12500 instead of the $25000 they would be worth if I had just kept ETH. There are some other things with HEAT that mean I’ve done quite a bit better than those numbers would suggest, but the fact is that the single best thing I could have done is to hold ETH and not spend the effort/time/cost of working with HEAT. That holds true for about every top-25 token on the market when compared to ETH. It certainly holds true for the many, many tokens I tried to trade in Q1-Q2 of 2017. In almost every single case I would have done better and slept better had I just held ETH instead of trying to be smarter than Mr. Market. But, I made money on all of them except one because the crypto market went up more in USD terms than any individual coin went down in ETH or BTC terms. This underlines something that I read somewhere and that I take to heart: A rising market makes everyone seem like a genius. A monkey throwing darts at a list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies last year would have doubled his money. Here’s a chart from September that shows 2017 year-to-date returns for the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and all of them went up a *lot* more between then and December. A monkey throwing darts at this list there would have quintupled his money. When evaluating performance, then, you have to beat the monkey, and preferably you should try to beat a Wall Street monkey. I couldn’t, so I stopped trying around July 2017. My benchmark was the BLX, a DAA (Digital Asset Array – think fund like a Fidelity fund) created by ICONOMI. I wasn’t even close to beating the BLX returns, so I did several things.
I went from holding about 25 different tokens to holding 10 now. More on that in a bit.
I used those funds to buy ETH and BLX. ETH has done crazy-good since then and BLX has beaten BTC handily, although it hasn’t done as well as ETH.
I used some of those funds to set up an arbitrage operation.
The arbitrage operation is why I kept the 11 tokens that I have now. All but a couple are used in an ETH/token pair for arbitrage, and each one of them except for one special case is part of BLX. Why did I do that? I did that because ICONOMI did a better job of picking long-term holds than I did, and in arbitrage the only speculative thing you must do is pick the pairs to trade. My pairs are (No particular order):
I also hold PLU, PLBT, and ART. These two are multi-year holds for me. I have not purchased BTC once since my initial $200, except for a few cases where BTC was the only way to go to/from an altcoin that didn’t trade against ETH yet. Right now I hold about the same 0.3BTC that I held after my first $100 purchase, so I don’t really count it. Looking forward to this year, I am positioning myself as follows:
ETH will still be my core holding. It is the “deepest in the stack” crypto investment that I have. “Deep in the stack” is a programming term that gets at the idea that most software is built on other software. If you just think about your notebook, you have your OS, and programs run on that. But even inside the OS there is a stack. The bottom of your stack is the kernel, and on top of that are the drivers, protocols, and other layers that allow the programs to talk to the OS, the hard drive, the screen, the mouse, your printer, etc. You can change your mouse or printer easily. Changing things deeper in the stack becomes harder and harder. ETH is deep in the crypto stack, so is very hard to dislodge – Around 60 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap run on top of Ethereum, so getting rid of Ethereum is something that would take a long time to do.
DNT, QTUM, ZRX, and OMG are all, to varying degrees, “deep in the stack” tokens that, once established, will be very hard to dislodge.
That said, I am peeling away some of my holdings into USD right now, because big changes are afoot and they are going to cause market disruptions. I’m going to come right out and admit that this is speculative, but I’m also going to back it up with some non-speculative facts.
The SEC has been sending out hundreds of subpoenas to cryptocurrency organizations over the past 3-4 months. These subpoenas are simply asking for information and nobody has been charged with any crimes or misdoings, but it is clear that the SEC is getting together information so that they can begin to regulate cryptoland. When that happens, other countries will follow, and that means:
Some tokens will be deemed outright scams and people will be prosecuted.
Some tokens will be deemed securities and will be regulated.
Some tokens will not be deemed scams or securities and will continue as they have.
Looking at this, it is clear to me that the tokens that escape prosecution and regulation should do better, but the short-term impact will be brutal and ugly. It would not surprise me at all to see a 50% drop in overall market cap within Q1-Q2, with Q1 being more likely.
Cryptoland has always been a bit nuts, but it is more nuts now than I have ever seen it. Back in 2011-2014 it was a freaks-n-geeks show where people were all about the technology and I would sit around for a 3-day weekend installing a *nix VM on my Windows machine so that I could compile the most recent source and run a CUDA SHA-256 routine rather than thrash my CPU. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you wouldn’t have even thought about being involved.
Now, people see Bitcoin advertisements in their Facebook feed and think “I gotta get on the BTC train!” before going to Coinbase and buying some with a credit card. They don’t know anything about crypto, and they are getting eaten alive – It is no coincidence that BTC peaked after the Thanksgiving holidays when people sat around the table and Janice got Uncle Mike and Cousin Bob all excited as she talked about going to Cancun for Christmas because of her crypto winnings. Huge amounts of fiat got transferred from newbies to BTC whales during this period, and once the whales were done, BTC had dropped from $20,000 to $12,000. It’s now back at $15,000, but for people who bought at a higher level, this sucks. As a result many have moved from BTC to ETH, with the single biggest money flow in crypto in December being the BTC à ETH flow. As a result, it’s no coincidence that ETH is at all-time highs now. The thing is, though, that even most people that moved from BTC to ETH really have no idea what they are doing. They are acting on buzzwords and emotion. They are speculators and are going to get crushed.
The stock market is quite high right now, but people are starting to worry that it is too high and that we are going to enter into a period of inflation again. This has caused gold to go up a lot the last quarter and is likely also responsible a bit for the rise in cryptos. If this view is correct, then cryptos stay stronger than if that pressure wasn’t there. If wrong, then cryptos will swing down as money exits cryptoland for more traditional markets.
I am spending most of my time and money on the arbitrage effort. The nice thing about arbitrage is that it works as the markets go up, and it works as the markets go down. When markets are too volatile, however, arbitrage can get very messy and dangerous, with each trade generating a loss instead of a profit, so I am working right now to tune the algorithms to take into account rate-of-change and add in some circuit breaker triggers. Once this is done I will expand those operations.
I am getting much more serious about systems security.
I have a Nano Ledger and recommend that anyone with >$1000 of crypto have one. The Trezor is also supposed to be good, but I haven’t used it.
I will set up a dedicated *nix notebook that is used for nothing except my crypto work. All it takes is one keylogger to get on your PC/Mac and your crypto is gone. What is on your Nano Ledger will be OK, but they will sweep out your exchange account or Coinbase account faster than you can type. A standard Linux installation with Chrome and nothing else is as about as secure as you can get in the civilian world.
If you don’t use LastPass or a similar password manager yet, you need to do that. Your password to LastPass should be at least 16 characters long and should not have a recognizable English word in it. If you think that “Iluvu4evah” is a secure password, you’re wrong.
Hackers know that “4”=”for” and “u”=”you”. Writing a script to substitute those in is trivial if they want to write the script, but it’s much easier for them to download one of the many, many programs out there that already do this.
If your password contains any string of numbers from anything that can be associated with you at any time in your life, it is insecure. Take those numbers out of the character count because they are an insignificant barrier to cracking your account.
The good news is that you probably won’t be targeted, but if you ever mention online that you are doing anything significant in crypto, that chance increased enormously.
*Never* talk with *anyone* about how much you have in crypto. You’ll notice that I haven’t here. There is no reason to tell even a family member how much you have unless you are sharing a tax form. Sure, you may trust them, but all it takes if for someone to overhead someone else mention at a party that a relative got into crypto a long time ago and made a bunch of money. That person can also then be subjected to the $10 hack and force you to send all your crypto to them.
Your password to LastPass (Or equivalent.) should look something like this -> 6k0jQMoziX&D#4W8
Yes, it’s a headache. Imagine your headache, though, were you to open your account one day and find all of your money gone.
Looking at my notes, I have two other things that I wanted to work into this email that I didn’t get to, so here they are:
Just like with free apps and other software, if you are getting something of value and you didn’t pay anything for it, you need to ask why this is. With apps, the phrase is “If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product”, and this works for things such as pump groups, tips, and even technical analysis. Here’s how I see it.
Technical analysis (TA) is something that has been argued about for longer than I’ve been alive, but I think that it falls into the same boat. In short, TA argues that there are patterns in trading that can be read and acted upon to signal when one must buy or sell. It has been used forever in the stock and foreign exchange markets, and people use it in crypto as well. Let’s break down these assumptions a bit.
i. First, if crypto were like the stock or forex markets we’d all be happy with 5-7% gains per year rather than easily seeing that in a day. For TA to work the same way in crypto as it does in stocks and foreign exchange, the signals would have to be *much* stronger and faster-reacting than they work in the traditional market, but people use them in exactly the same way. ii. Another area where crypto is very different than the stock and forex markets centers around market efficiency theory. This theory says that markets are efficient and that the price reflects all the available information at any given time. This is why gold in New York is similar in price to gold in London or Shanghai, and why arbitrage margins are easily <0.1% in those markets compared to cryptoland where I can easily get 10x that. Crypto simply has too much speculation and not enough professional traders in it yet to operate as an efficient market. That fundamentally changes the way that the market behaves and should make any TA patterns from traditional markets irrelevant in crypto. iii. There are services, both free and paid that claim to put out signals based on TA for when one should buy and sell. If you think for even a second that they are not front-running (Placing orders ahead of yours to profit.) you and the other people using the service, you’re naïve. iv. Likewise, if you don’t think that there are people that have but together computerized systems to get ahead of people doing manual TA, you’re naïve. The guys that I have programming my arbitrage bots have offered to build me a TA bot and set up a service to sell signals once our position is taken. I said no, but I am sure that they will do it themselves or sell that to someone else. Basically they look at TA as a tip machine where when a certain pattern is seen, people act on that “tip”. They use software to see that “tip” faster and take a position on it so that when slower participants come in they either have to sell lower or buy higher than the TA bot did. Remember, if you are getting a tip for free, you’re the product. In TA I see a system when people are all acting on free preset “tips” and getting played by the more sophisticated market participants. Again, you have to beat that Wall Street monkey.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus, think about it this way: If TA was real, Wall Street would have figured it out decades ago and we would have TA funds that would be beating the market. We don’t.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus and that its real and well, proven, then you must think that all smart traders use them. Now follow that logic forward and think about what would happen if every smart trader pushing big money followed TA. The signals would only last for a split second and would then be overwhelmed by people acting on them, making them impossible to leverage. This is essentially what the efficient market theory postulates for all information, including TA.
OK, the one last item. Read this weekly newsletter – You can sign up at the bottom. It is free, so they’re selling something, right? 😉 From what I can tell, though, Evan is a straight-up guy who posts links and almost zero editorial comments. Happy 2018.
NOTE: I did not write this article below. I simply copy and pasted the article. Please click the following link to view the entire article. The article includes charts and images which were not transferred to the text below. https://steemit.com/cryptocurrency/@lennartbedrage/the-ripple-xrp-effect-fundamental-analysis The Ripple(XRP) Effect - Fundamental Analysis: lennartbedrage44 in cryptocurrency ripple.jpg Lately, there’s been a tremendous amount of buzz around Ripple(XRP), but is it only because of the massive growth we’ve seen in the past few 30 days, or is there something more? In this article, I’ll dive into a brief back ground of Ripple, objectively examine the arguments for and against it, explore its potential from a economic standpoint, then close with potential threats to your investment and a summary. Meet Ripple(XRP)- Released in 2012, Ripple aims to enable “secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks” through their real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) and currency exchange and remittance network. Ripples distributed open-source internet protocol consensus ledger was created as basic technology for interbank and regulated financial institutions to integrate Ripple into their own systems. This differs from the Bitcoin full node and other crowdsourced altcoin consensus networks in several ways: Ripples common shared ledger is a network of independent validating servers which compare their transaction records, rather than the full network of nodes coming to consensus prior to each transaction, enabling faster transaction speeds. Although their protocol is open source, it was not created as a plug & play solution, like bitcoins full-node software, nor does it rely on crowd-sourced support. Unlike Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other Alt-coins, Ripple is recognized as legal tender by several governments, which gives it instant liquidity via financial institution, as well as purchasing power over material goods. Because of this, it cannot be evaluated in the same ways as other coins, which are largely evaluated based on assumptions & speculation. In terms of value, it’s more like cash than a commodity. Because of this, it is evaluated in a much different way than Ethereum(ETH) and other alt-coins with intrinsic value, but is accepted much more rapidly because it’s easy for the mass-market to understand. Remember: without market acceptance, there is not value, regardless of how innovative something may be. Just 4 short years after its release, on 01MAY17, Ripple announced that a consortium of 47 banks have successfully completed a pilot implementation of Ripple in Japan, making it the first country in the world to enable domestic and international real time money transfers via the cryptocurrency. This event lead the XRP value to sky-rocket from $0.051580 USD to an all-time high of $0.430085 in just 16 days… but why? Is it 100% speculation, or is there something else going on here? “It’s not a real cryptocurrency!” Or is it? Well, those whom bring this argument to the table are probably referencing facts that I’ve mention during my introduction to Ripple: Its a centralized and regulated crypto-currency which does not need global consensus for transfers, and it is built specifically for (and potentially by) financial institutions. Though a lot of the Anarcho-Capitalists may want to steer clear of this one due to its highly regulated nature, regular capitalist may believe these core differences to be its greatest strengths: Regulated - As I mentioned in my analysis on Ethereum(ETH), Bitcoin’s lack of regulation was likely he reason (or at least, that’s what they told us) that the proposed ETF failed to pass the SEC’s evaluation several months ago. If adhering to some sort of trusted regulatory standards, this could drive federal confidence, which in turn drive bank and lending institution faith…trickling all the way down to the consumers. This insures rapid mass market acceptance. Consensus - As mentioned before this is much different process than Bitcoin’s global consensus, which means that transaction times are nearly instant regardless of volume transferred. Additionally, all transfers adhere to distributive ledgers DLT standards, which is a requirement for many financial institutions to be insurable. Institutional Management - You’ve probably guessed this one already. Although the demand and speculative value is driven at some capacity by ‘the people’, this currency is about as close to the World bank and SWIFT as you can get. This is largely due to the amount Deliberate - It feels like a big bank, because it is. Ripple was built specifically for the financial markets, which is why they specifically targeted regulatory compliance. shutterstock_289877267_long_read_cover_large.jpg Economic Value As mentioned in the last point, Its easy to see that Ripple offers tremendous value to financial-institutions and retail investors. These two groups make up 358 billion (numbers from 2013) non-cash cross-country annual transactions, and the FOREX market which sees more than $5.1 trillion $USD each day. Per a report released by Capgemini and The Royal Bank of Scotland, this is growing at an average rate of about 7.5% each year globally, though China and other Emerging Asian economies have been leading the charge at around 21%. Seems like a lot, right? Well, for sake of uncovering the immediate value of XRP, we will zoom into the recent adopters of the distributed ledger technology: Japan, India, and the Central Europe, Middle East & Africa(CEMEA) regions. Japan.jpg Japan is the third largest economy in the world by nominal GDP ($6.11 trillion), fourth by purchasing power parity(PPP) and second largest developed economy. Currently, their GDP per capita is roughly $48,412 (vs $56,430 in US) and their major trade partners include the US, China, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea. Japan GDP.png Aside from the speculation that they maybe soon pressure their trade partners (excluding the US and China) to adopt a system which allows for instant, near free transfers of funds, here’s where it gets interesting for the immediate future: Japan has already started accepting Ripple(XRP) as legal tender. If Ripple raises to just 25% of the overall transaction volume of P2P, P2B & B2B within Japan itself (represented in the chart by Other Services, Real Estate, Retail, Transport, Communications, Finance & Utilities) which is equal to about 20% of their overall economy, Ripple would be handling roughly $1.27 trillion USD in Japan – alone - every year. To put that in perspective, the current (at the time of writing) market capitalization of Bitcoin(BTC) is $30.7 billion USD (or >0.4%). Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple is legal tender which means that it can be exchanged for material goods and services, which means that it’s likely to have explosive acceptance in the local area. India.jpg India-based Axis Bank announced in April that they will soon begin leveraging distributed ledger tech for cross-border transactions and to make banking simple and convenient for their customers. About 15 days’ prior, another large financial institution, Yes Bank, also announced that they would be adopting Ripples ledger for the same reasons. If Ripple continues to grow in acceptance at this rate in India, we could see another economy, roughly 1/3 the size of Japan’s ($2.074 trillion USD) add to Ripples annual transaction value. Now, from an economic stand point, this is most interesting because agriculture represents more than 50% of India’s employment, which means that India would be the 2nd case of consumer trading Ripple for staple foods. India GDP.png It is likely that Ripple will not handle as large of a percentage of overall transaction volumes in India because only two major banks have adopted this currency and it is not the only Crypto. The latter is probably one of the most important variables, as this means that Ripple will be duking it out for market dominancy. As all of my projections are fairly conservative, I would estimate that Ripple will handle roughly 10% of India’s over all transaction volume in the next 365 days, equal to roughly $311.1 billion USD. One last thing that I would like to mention is that India is literally the ‘I’ in BRIC and roughly 13% of the BRIC countries total output. If the BRIC comes to fruition, India may be able to convince it’s other close trade partners to jump on the XRP-Train as well. Dubai.jpg Abu Dhabi Bank, the National and largest bank of the UAE, has already begun offering cross-border transaction services with Ripples distributive ledger technology as well. As they deal extensively with their middle eastern neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, the UAE is likely to set a trend for other CEMEA countries to follow. UAE GDP.png This might be a surprise to some people, but Dubai’s largest industry is the energy sector (shocker!) followed closely by Real Estate and their Finance industry (double shocker!). Although their GPD is much smaller than Japan and India’s (about $370 billion USD), I am anticipating Ripple to handle a larger percent of the UAE’s transaction volume (31.11%), especially in the finance, Real Estate, Retail and Logistics industries. This is due largely to the fact that their population is only roughly 9.157 million, but most Abu Dhabi nationals are very financially inclined (or at least heavy spenders). Potential Threats As this threatens SWIFT (unless they are completely on board) and the US dollars’ supremacy in the economic & financial markets, I would not be surprised to see a false flag attack, in which the NSA attacks Ripple and blames it on North Korea or China. Frankly, this would be a cake walk compared to Stuxnet or WannaCry and they could probably hand the task to an MIT intern. Where semi-centralization is Ripples strength in terms of transaction speed and regulation, it is also the biggest security flaw and may open it’s user to some heart ache, hair loss and heavy drinking over the next several years. Possibility So, what is possible in terms of value over the next few years? Well, if we consider the following scenario: XRP accounts for roughly 20% of Japan, India full GDP, but 31.1% UAE’s GDP ($7.152 Trillion USD) total exchange volume in the next 2 years Max XRP Supply stays at 100 billion No other countries adopt XRP (not likely) No hacks or other catastrophic events remove confidence Exclude speculation, demand, rallies, and GDP growth projections for each country Then we’re looking at each Ripple(XRP) market capitalization over ~$1.75 Trillion USD, making each coin $17.52 in real value. This means that if you were to invest today at $0.362794, your ROI would be about 4,989%. That said, I think that it’s likely it will go over $30 in the next 2 years, due to speculators flooding the markets and other countries signing up. Again, these are conservative numbers are based on total transaction value in USD equivalent. For those whom subscribe, I will update as new variables are available to my appraisal Bottom Line Although it was most definitely created by an insider of the banking industry and does not ‘feel like a crypto’, I personally feel that due to its rapid market acceptance, liquidity and position as legal tender in 3 large economies, Ripple(XRP) is both primed for explosive growth in the near future and likely to be one of the safest value based Crypto-investments we can make today. Another thing, China is the anchor of the West Pacific, so we should all watch their evaluation of Ripple, very closely. If they were to jump on the XRP-Train, you are likely to see Australia, South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore do the same. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share & subscribe, as I have kept my proprietary models and will update as major events and additional countries begin to adopt this currency. If you feel that I have missed something or am just flat out wrong, please be sure to let me know in the comments below! Planned articles for the next 14 days: ICO advice from a Venture Capitalist (Follower Request) Paper Wallets (Follower Request) VIVA Analysis (Follower Request) Segregated Witness(Segwit) : Friend or Foe? A Kraken ate my gains... Fundamental Analysis: Stellar Lumens(XLM) Dual-Citizenship and Banking in Panama Rich vs. Wealthy All analysis, numbers and projections are my own. Core information was gathered from reliable sources, such as the World Bank, IMF, CIA world fact book, eia.gov and more.
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I'm coming at this with years of RO experience, and the advice of friends who play at the top of WoE, PvM, and PvP. I have also been a GM on 3 servers and an admin on one, and asked for advice from two friends who have been admins on their own successful low rate servers. Additionally, I have some experience with editing the source files and redesigning the game a bit, not that I will get much into that, but I do know what is and isn't possible. I also have experience from other games such as WoW (as a world and arena PvPer at the highest levels), and from political and economic games such as EVE and bloc. Finally, I have some real life knowledge of economics (though I wouldn't call myself an economist) due to being a FOREX trader. All of that and more has lead to my understanding of game design, some of which I can apply here. I realize that this is a long post, but that's because I got the input from several people and put (a little bit of) effort into explaining the reasoning. If any of these things are being discussed in other threads, pardon me and just let me dump all of my opinions into one place, as they are largely interconnected. Most of my suggestions are based on sustainable gameplay, sustainable economy, rewarding players for their decisions, and giving players more freedom. I tried to keep the changes, for the most part, quite vanilla. I have some much better ideas that require customization, but most players recoil at the thought of customization in RO. I'll start with the unquestionable and move to the debatable.
No donor or normally unavailable items with unique stats.
This means there should be no items with dex on mid or lower. No upper headgears with more than 3 dex, etc. Basically, no overpowered donor items or ones that disrupt normal player balance. Adding a single dex to a build can be incredibly imbalanced, which is why I used dex as an example, but this applies to lots of stats. Not only can it be imbalanced, but it causes item inflation as well. When players no longer need to hunt for gear (because they replace it with donor or custom quest items), lots of gear becomes either worthless and thus overupgraded to abnormal degrees or obsoleted. On the same token, this means not allowing BG items to be used outside of BGs, including in WoE or anywhere else. It's devastating to the economy. WoE is a competition between guilds, not just to conquer castles, but to acquire enough resources to do it. IMO the only items players should be able to donate for are cosmetic, and perhaps things like battle manuals and maybe bubble gum, which have no direct impact on gameplay other than to reduce the grind. But really, cosmetic items should be enough if you're clever. There's one suggestion on this down in the zeny sink section.
Set strict rules for GMs to follow, and don't give them more power than they need.
First of all, the rules for the players should be plainly laid out. If a player doesn't break a rule, they can't be punished. I have been on servers with no clear rules and arbitrary punishments.
Exploitation should generally be handled by patching the exploit, not punishing the player. The game is full of accepted exploits. If a player happens to abuse one you don't like, you need to at least warn them to stop before punishing them, and ideally just fix the exploit. My entire 30 man guild has been banned from a server without warning for soil farming. Don't be like that.
Each GM should have specific responsibilities, and not overreach them.
GMs should always give the minimum punishment that might remedy a problem. For example, in the case of player harassment, a player should be asked first, human to human, to stop. Then warned. Then a 1 minute mute. Then a 30 min mute, etc. I have seen GMs on servers skip all the steps and go straight to an hour mute or jail or something retarded like that. If you can defuse a situation by respectfully asking a player to stop, that's the best option.
GMs should never punish players for being disrespectful to them. GMs don't deserve respect. No one who is power tripping should be a GM. Again, I say this as a person who has been a GM on 3 servers and an admin on one. GMs should never do anything to players for something the player did to the GM, period. The GM only exists to solve problems in the game and between other players, not to start trouble by existing.
All GM actions should be logged, and ideally an alert system set so that if certain high level GM actions are taken (stat changes, item creation, etc), the admins are notified.
GMs should report and explain every action they take, in a thread in the secret GM-only section on your forums once you make them. They should also be required to post evidence to support decisions to jail or ban players, if they have to poweresponsibility to do such things. It's not that much work, and this is how it worked on Rapture.
If all of that sounds paranoid to you, then you're going to end up with GM problems. Even if you trust your GMs with your life, you need to set guidelines. You can't read their minds, even if they are your best friends. They are going to use their own discretion, and that might vary widely from your own decisions, unless you give them strict guidelines. Not only will this make the GMs better, but it'll give you more confidence in their decisions when players complain, and allow you to handle the inevitable drama better, thus preserving the playerbase. I have seen a GM go on /vg/ and talk shit to the players there, unbeknownst to the admin.
A PvP room where consumables (with the possible exception of conc/awakening/berserk pots) are disabled, and where all buffs are removed upon entering.
The main interest of many other players, is PvP (not GvG/WoE). Unfortunately, PvP is often woefully underrepresented in server design decisions. PvP is incredibly disinteresting when using dex food and potion spamming, and when getting SL/Assump/etc from outside. Leave the consumable spam and buff stacks to WoE and PvM. Also, please don't use a shitty map for the PvP room. You can, of course, have two PvP rooms, so this shouldn't be a controversy. On RaptureRO, there was also a 3v3 PvP arena tournament, which was incredibly fun. Takes some scripting though and isn't top priority.
A draw range of 18+, preferably around 20 to 24.
I'm referring to /conf/battle/client.conf area_size. The default is 14, which is an antiquated value meant to reduce stress on PCs made back in 2000. There are actually mobs that can aggro from outside of your view range, which is quite dumb. There is no reason to use a lower draw range, except for artificial difficulty. Successful servers like Rapture, ProjectRage, Destina, etc, had an increased the draw range without issue. Newer players won't even notice a difference. If you are afraid of client lag in WoE (there shouldn't be any, but just in case) you can simply script an NPC to automatically change the area_size value before and after WoE. It doesn't require a reset of anything, not even an @reloadscript.
Turn up the party exp bonus.
Simple enough, makes it worth leveling as a party instead of leeching yourself with a hunter (the normal method for leveling most things as fast as possible).
Take proactive steps to limit zeny inflation and promote a player-driven economy.
Zeny inflation is one of the biggest problems for the longevity of any RO server. The game was not designed in a way to have a stable economy. You must tweak a few things to get something workable. I'll talk about item inflation a bit later:
Marginally reduce the sell price of some high value drops, such as Witherless Rose. Don't completely destroy the value of certain farming spots. Balance them with others instead. If you ask, you can get opinions on the best spots to farm zeny.
Do not put SP items (grape juice, blue pots, etc) on a vendor; these items need to be sold by players to promote an economy.
Make the healer and warper charge a moderate amount (say, 5k zeny) at level 79+. Do not make it 99 only or players will be incentivized to stop at level 98 (yes, this happens on some servers). You can also make the price of this scale with level instead.
Put an NPC next to the healer NPCs that gives rank 10 Bless/Agi. This one might sound questionable, but any good player will make an acolyte alt just to buff themselves. If you make an NPC to do it instead, you can charge a reasonable cost to eat up zeny.
The warper NPC should give free warps to towns, a moderate charge for dungeons, and a heavy charge for quest-gated dungeons. Say, 2k zeny for normal dungeons, but 50k or 100k for dungeons that require a quest. Giving players an advantage for bothering to clear quests is a good way to allow players to make choices about how they want to level, rather than simply picking the unquestionably best method to do it. If they have to choose whether or not it's worth doing the quest first, then you get players being rewarded for making choices.
Include a stat/skill reset NPC with a moderate yet flat reset cost (say, 1mil to reset both). This allows players to switch builds regularly for PvP, PvM, and WoE, and will promote use of the feature, which will eat up their zeny. Otherwise they'll just make multiple characters of the same job just for different parts of the game, which is obnoxious. The lower the cost, the more people will use it, to a certain point. Try to strike a balance of maximal zeny-wastage, which I think will be around 1mil.
If you do implement a PvP arena, you can add betting to it. Make the betting negative-sum, and you've got an easy zeny sink.
Sell tradeable costume hat boxes for a high price. Basically a box that has a random costume hat inside. The better looking ones should be rarer. Here's a huge list of hats, some of which aren't even on ratemyserver: http://nn.nachtwolke.com/dev/viewlist/ You can also change the drop table of the boxes periodically, so that the hats in the boxes have a limited time availability. Many players will eat that shit up. You can also sell these hat boxes for IRL money to fund the server. You can also have weaker MVPs drop the hat boxes to promote competition over them, which works with the PvP on MVP map idea which I'll discuss in a minute.
Roll out content in waves
It's a suggestion I heard elsewhere and it's a good one. Start with trans disabled and less dungeons available. Gradually release more as the server grows and people hit higher levels. This is a good idea for a few reasons:
Reduces item inflation (antiquated items become useful if they are the only ones available. No one wants a chain if they have a lunakaligo. That's bad.
Reduces player stratification. With less content available, the better players won't be able to skip the leveling phase as easily. e.g. I won't be able to just leech myself in Thor or nameless if the dungeons are still unavailable. Older dungeons have lower exp per hp ratios.
The previous point has the added benefit of allowing newer players (later into the lifetime server) to catch up faster.
Allows for more competition. RO has an exponential growth of power, and by limiting that growth, it keeps players on a more even playing field, economically and otherwise.
Makes a healthier economy. The items that lower level players acquire are more likely to be useful to the higher level players. (e.g. the chain).
Allows for more server longevity by virtue of the fact that you have content to release over time.
Consider splitting the server into a pure-WoE server and a non-WoE server
This might at first sound unappealing by splitting up the playerbase, but it allows you to more easily design both servers to fit their respective playerbases. Also keep in mind that many of the players from each server will play on both servers. Only a minority will be exclusive to one.
You don't need to make any concessions on white/blue pots for the WoE players on the non-WoE server.
The WoE server can include BGs, leaving the non-WoE server blessedly BG-free to focus on world PvP and PvM.
The WoE server can make consumables and gear either easily obtainable through BGs, or for free from NPCs for pure WoE.
You can rebalance certain cards and abilities to fit each server. For example, Incantation Samurai card isn't quite as overpowered outside of WoE.
You can put a short cool down on potions in the non-WoE server (2-10 seconds).
Potion spamming completely trivializes a large portion of the game's content and reduces the skill ceiling dramatically. It reduces the importance of healing abilities, eliminates the need for mana efficiency, imbalances PvP (asura spam is a lot harder when you can't just mash blue pots, for example. The same goes for SinXs and White Smiths with white pots, and so on). In PvP, abilities that are not 1HKOs become nearly worthless, due to white pot spam. This reduces ordinarily incredibly complex jobs like champ, to nothing more than asura-machines. Additionally, no pot spam means that if a champ wants to spam asura in PvM, he needs a Professor. This concept applies to other classes as well. In WoE, potion spamming is necessary to survive. In the rest of the game, though, potion spam ruins much. No WoE means no need for pot spamming. The rest of my suggestions assume that you aren't going with this suggestion, so bear that in mind.
Reduce the number of dialogue windows that common NPCs have. I shouldn't have to talk to a healer to get healed, nor a buffer. When I click on a warper, I should immediately see the options of Town, Dungeon, PvP, etc, not some stupid introductory box. The Kafra NPC has an unnecessary box or two of dialogue before you can get your bank open as well.
Be careful with nodelay. I have played on servers where their nodelay software prevented snipers from using double strafe above about 185 aspd. Don't break the game in an attempt to prevent exploits.
Make white and blue herbs more abundant. The best WoE players have been playing WoE for years and aren't going to grind for hours every day to be prepared for WoE at the end of the week. You can work this into the PvP on MVP maps idea that I'll discuss in a minute, or you can just make the herbs drop from more high level mobs that players will want to kill for other reasons.
Change or nerf MVP cards, or replace them on the drop table with another item entirely. Don't just reduce their drop rate. Making MVP cards incredibly rare does not make them any less broken. In fact, it makes how broken they are even more apparent when it's the only one on the server. A better solution is to change the card to have heavy drawbacks from using it, or designing a cool new effect from scratch (one time we made Osiris card allow you to cast a spell that summoned a zombie minion to fight for you, it was pretty cool). If you want a server that lasts a long time, you WILL eventually have people running around with Thanatos cards, GTB cards, and Ghostring cards. It happens faster than you might expect.
Reduce the respawn timer on some MVPs. Ifrit spawns once every 12 hours, which is a long time on a high pop server. If you're going to enable PvP on MVP maps, then this is an especially viable change. You can reduce drop rates to compensate of course.
Increase the spawn rate of regular mobs on maps except for a few (bio 3), then reduce drop rates, exp rates, and possibly total mob hp to compensate. I know there's a thread about this but I'm just going to dump my thoughts into here. This will A) Increase the difficulty of clearing dungeons and reliance on parties, and B) reduce the tediousness of trying to find mobs to farm on many, many maps. And IMO, AoE farming isn't overpowered in any case compared to alternative single-target farming strategies, so a blanket spawn rate increase is a good idea imo. I would actually be happy to see more AoE farming options.
Keep drop rates generally higher than exp rates. 5x exp and 20x drops (including cards) is more fun than 10x exp and 10x drops imo. I say this because I think it's more interesting when gear is a tool to facilitate leveling, than when leveling is a tool to facilitate farming gear. I can explain that reasoning in more detail if you ask. Also, gear can break when over-upping it, so the inflation is less of a problem. Leveling is also less tedious than farming gear, and can be done while farming gear for that matter.
Reduce the base def on some of the newer gear (think variants, diabolos, new world stuff, orlean's gloves, etc) so that it needs to be over-upgraded to be unquestionably better than older gear. That, or make the stats on the gear scale with upgrades (if possible depending on item). This will largely remove the problem of old gear being hands-down worse than newer gear, and also help alleviate item inflation. Think of it this way: older gear used to become better linearly with exponential increases in investment (due to over-upping), and that regulated item inflation. I.E. you always had a reason to over-up your gear. Contrarily, newer gear tends to be good by virtue of stats inherent to the item, and so players have no need to risk over-upping, and item inflation occurs more rapidly.
PS: Yeah you can't upgrade Orlean's gloves, but it could at least become a decision between +1 dex vs. +2 dex and -1 vit or -1 def, or something, instead of just "yeah these are better than or equal to regular gloves in every way". There's literally no reason to farm gloves because you don't need gloves to farm Orlean's gloves. That's how it works for a lot of older gear, and it's not a good thing. Ideally, newer gear should scale better than older gear, but not be better inherently. You won't be able to do it with everything, but every bit helps to stave off inflation and inevitable server death.
PvP enabled on MVP maps.
This is controversial, but hear me out. I think this can, by itself, increase the longevity of a server dramatically, while solving a plethora of problems as well. MVPs are a scarce resource, and players often compete for them. Normally this leads to a meta of trying to out-grief other players. Instead, with PvP enabled, you could fight for the MVP. It changes the competition into a meaningful part of the game, rather than a rat race. This will be especially important on a high population server. And remember the costume hat idea? Now people can fight for the boxes that low level MVPs drop, creating competition over the usually worthless MVPs, and reason to go out and play the game. Particularly challenging content, like bio3, will be extremely difficult to clear if players are trying to kill you. This will encourage diplomacy and cooperation between players (as seen in sandbox games like EVE, DayZ, etc). Either you work with the other group, or you become rivals. This is good for the health of a server. The increased difficulty will also increase the longevity of the server by reducing the rate at which players clear the content and collect the gear. There's the other added benefit of making it more of a challenge to reach max level in places like Abbey3. You might want to turn on PvP in Thor1 for the same reason. Again, players can choose to work together or make enemies while leveling in these high level zones. And, again, the increased difficulty increases server longevity by reducing the average rate at which players progress. Finally, you can have mobs on PvP maps drop white and blue herb boxes, and spawn on timers. This way, players can compete for the resources they need in WoE, rather than grind for days. You can use regular white/blue herb boxes, or use WoE-only potion drops and have them drop in somewhat higher quantities. The more generalized the drop is, the fewer should drop, to have a smaller impact on the overall economy. Players who don't WoE can simply sell the WoE pots to WoE players, so they have just as much reason to compete for the mobs. Since the WoE players need these resources to win WoE, they'll fight each other for the resources between WoEs, reducing the boredom. It also gives every high level player a thing to look forward to doing: world PvP. Something that pretty much never gets old. Just make sure that the mobs are scarce enough that you don't make it too easy to collect herbs/pots. It's supposed to be a supplementation to normal farming, to make it easier in a fun/competitive way. This change will have no impact on low level players. I have seen this done and it works beautifully. If you're imagining constant fighting between players on every MVP map, you're forgetting that there are dozens of MVP maps. Most maps are usually empty, especially at certain times of day. You will probably need to turn off teleporting and memo on non-dungeon maps to prevent things like champs from running in with asura in relative impunity. As far as players who are disinterested in PvP go, remember that there are instanced dungeons now. There are also dungeons in which it's highly unlikely that you'll run into other players due to quest requirements: Thanatos, Vesper, Ktullanux, probably a few others I'm forgetting. You could just turn PvP off on those maps for that matter. You also have the option of disabling PvP on some other MVP maps if you feel that's necessary.
If you go with my last suggestion, I'd LOVE it if you simply don't include BGs on the server. In my opinion, BGs are a terrible and trivialized bastardization of RO PvP. They're tedious and unfun, and unnecessary when you have world PvP, a PvP room, and WoE. However, if you're going to include BGs, then:
Allow players to choose which team they join, so players can actually play with their friends.
Don't disable skills like body relocate in the BG.
If you don't make whites/blues easier to obtain on the world map: Allow consumables for WoE to be bought with BG badges. I know this is literally 100% contradictory to what I said in the first suggestion, but you need to understand that there is a community of WoE players who have been going server to server for years, WoEing. If you don't add easy ways for these top WoE players to get white/blue pots, they won't play the server, period. So either you need to use my suggestion of making white/blue herbs easier to obtain on the world map (or from PvP zones), or make it so you can get them from BGs, or something else. But the bottom line is that you need to have an easier way than normal to get whites/blues for WoE. This is a consequence of an aging playerbase and is unavoidable. That said, don't make it trivially easy. That destroys the economy. You have to strike a balance, and especially make the resource TRADEABLE.
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I'm also looking for a round-table of Bitcoin insiders for another article. I'd like to go ahead try to put the MSM's "bubble" obsession to bed and focus on the implications of the underlying Bitcoin protocol/network/currency and the corresponding implications for Gold, Charity, Remittance, FOREX, et cet. PM me or respond here and I'll send you a list of questions. Attribution will be given to all participants and answers will only be abbreviated inasmuch as it's required for smooth, conversational transition. Yahoo!, Google, AOL, Morningstar, MSN Money, et cet re-syndication likely. Thanks, Kyle
I am a painter, one of those wannabe kind working on convenience store to fund art school fee and other bills. Not a grand beginning for the story, I know, but that’s life..
Graduating from school was easy, granted the school standard isn’t that great, climbing up from being nameless artist is not. A slump after slump and I found myself stuck with the same routine of working late night behind counter waiting for the next customer. Filling the downtime with dreams of all kinds of landscape I could have painted during the day. Sadly most of it didn’t came out as good as I imagined in reality, a little bit off color here and there, fuck up with the perspective and other stuff.
So here I am; Staring at another empty canvas a few minutes before going to work, bills loitered on my feet; I don’t even bother to open them. All my attention are focused on the canvas, my supposed masterpiece to pay for all the failed ones.
Money from my parents’ death insurance have all but dried up now, I only had this empty canvas and a few others as the only way to bail out from being homeless. My family home occupied quite a large plot of land, and taxes…
There’s advice from my friend to rent some room to counteract the bills, but the thought of someone else walking inside our house, using my parents bedroom and shits on their toilet is no go for me. My social anxiety really hits at it worst.
Discarding all negative thoughts from my head. I closed my eyes; Clenching it tightly even. Brain worked hard to fill the empty dark space with a majestic landscape. Yet, what I saw is the most lackluster imagination ever.
My workplace, just a normal convenience store with nagging manager behind the counter. His face grimmed as if telling me to swap with him so he can smoke cigarette in the back alley. The only reason I was able to stand his tyranny is because of the higher than average payroll, and as if this jackass knew about it, he would work us twice as hard to take advantage of it.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s the reason why no one applied the job vacancy for another clerk. There’s only three of us working regularly apart from him. Me, James, the day-specialist, and Tom, our one way drive for all customer support. Things are okay between the three of us, our mutual dislike for the manager may be a small grease on our relationship.
James are studying for his night class law school. Already garnering enough money to last until graduation and job hunting. I once asked him why he didn’t just put the pedal on the gas and look for a more comfortable workplace; to which he answer “The moment some miserable sap took that vacancy offer you will not see me near this place again; To be honest, the only reason I’m staying is because of you and Tom. I’m still leaving after graduating though.”
Tom is one of those people seem to be bred for the purpose of customer support. Outgoing, cheerful, not blowing up when the customer asked stupid questions. On his day off he would be climbing mountains or snorkeling some mythical saltwater filled with fishes and coral I have never seen before.
His souvenir for me is always a dozen of landscape photos, which is a gold pile for me. I always found it to be pretty funny, a landscape painter who is afraid of going outside because he can't paint while someone is watching, or worried that someone might be; So he only could sit inside his room, staring at his friend’s photos before magically transferring it into the canvas. Oh, how the wolf would howl at the moon. Desiring it despite incapable of reaching it. There’s often times I began to question my life choices, but I no longer have any money to start learning other trades. So here I am, sitting on plastic chair with eyes closed in front of empty canvas hating my boss and contemplating my life. Nope, this isn’t going to work. Not today at least. I put the canvas cover back, covering my failure of creating some art worthy of a penny once again. Barely stood up before my hand phone vibrate on my desk. A message from James asking me if I’m available to replace him right now, a few hours before schedule. Apparently he just remembered an important assignment due tomorrow, and that Stalin-reborn-and-worse doesn’t allow him to work on it during downtime.
Sure, why not, I’m not doing anything productive anyway. Might as well get some extra cash.
The day was uneventful. Average number of customer, average number of unclear scolding, average number of extra hours to pay for not-so-average bills.
Tom, being an amazing person that he is. Offered a night out at local bar nearby after we closed the store. Being a poor sob that I am, rarely went out to night entertainment and currently near bankruptcy, almost instantly refuse his good intentions. The keyword is ‘almost’ , as he finished his sentence with two first drinks on his tab. Free alcohol during rough times is as good as water for fishes, and I am a big, thirsty fish right now.
The bar itself is nothing stellar, no young underage kids doing drugs or puking in the corner. Although I have to give A+ for their beverages collection.
So here I am, trying not to abuse Tom’s kindness, ordered a simple drink before he does it for me; No mixes, no fancy name, just your normal convenience store middle-class alcohol I recognized on their shelf.
The bartender gives me a stern look, as if asking what I’m doing there.
“Easy there John, he is with me. Be kind to him.” said Tom from behind me.
The so-called John just grunted and went to grab some glasses for both of us while pointing to a table in the middle of the room.
“What’s the deal with him?” I asked Tom after we sit on our destined table.
“I forgot to tell you, John only serve to old-timer and their friends. Visit a few times and perhaps he will acknowledge you as customer; if not?, better don’t try to come here without me. John is a bit eccentric, but nothing could beat his drinks.” Now, that’s one weird business practice. I want to ask more about it, but Tom was already busy answering greetings from fellow customer. So I had to satisfy my curiosity with a good look around the bar. Wondering how good his drinks is to be able to maintain steady flow of customer with low rate of first-timers.
A good bump on the table made me turn my head with the acceleration of Ferrari. John’s face is right in front of me once again with previous stern look, making me wonder if that’s his normal expression. His eyes are locked at me, silently ordered me to stay still on my chair and be nice.
“Thanks John, you are quick as always!” Tom already finished his greetings and nonchalantly tapping John’s shoulder without a care of showdown between us.
“Umm.. I haven’t ordered yet.” My brittle voice slowly raise a question in response of three unknown liquor John brought. Trying my best to avoid the rage of the bartender in front of me.
“Those two are your initiation drink. John will measure your worth and bravery for a fair price of half the usual, which of course, went into my tab. A great deal is it not?” Tom smirked on me, as if he just shared a surefire way to get rich quick on Forex.
I normally would jump at any deal for half the price, being as broke as homeless right now; But still,I am not that desperate enough to just accept suspicious drink for someone who is staring dagger on me, at least if he’s not twice as big as I am and the drink is payed by someone to console me.
The first drink torches my throat, and I can't remember the second one, as well as the rest of the night.
Tom’s laugh and John’s face is all I could remember before everything went fuzzy. although John’s smiling face is somewhat disturbing enough for me to doubt its accuracy. Made me seriously reconsider the value of gap moe.
I woke up the morning after with serious hangover and lack of water in my system; After bumping into all edges on my house furniture, I finally reach the fridge and get a nice cool bottled water to reinvigorate it.
Not too soon after finishing the whole bottle, I heard my phone ringtone from somewhere inside the house. I followed the sound into my bedroom, where the phone just laid itself on the bed.
The screen showed the current call is from Tom, as well as plethora of missed call and message. 13:04 is current time, damn that was one serious hangover.
I raised the phone to my ear and accept the call. Almost missing the ear-hole due to how dizzy I am still.
“Yo Tom, what’s up?”
“Your goddamn ass is up. Where the hell have you been!? “
“Well, maybe I have a hangover? Because last night someone took me to a bar and serve me some weird stuff.”
“Don’t you read my message man!? Barry is dead, they found him laid on top of the counter with store’s money scattered on top of him! The police is looking for you right now because you didn't answer their call!”
“Barry? Barry who?”
“Barry our shitty manager you slowpoke! Our boss is dead and you better call the police station right-”
I couldn’t hear what else Tom had to say, as the phone dropped to the floor as soon as I opened the canvas on the side of my bed.
Someone had moved it here from my study room, and only managed to pull cover over half of it, revealing obvious sign of a painting hidden beneath it.
A monstrous and horrifying painting, the exact same layout as I imagined it before going out to work yesterday, albeit with one addition.
A body, laid atop the counter, with blood dripping from it onto the floor. His eyes look directly to me from inside the painting with the same grim; death grim.
My knees gave out and fell to the floor. My eyes directly in front of a scratch of red paint on bottom corner of the painting. A signature.
The third part of "Sockets" that was deleted by /r/nosleep mods because it was considered "torture porn." I can't say I blame them.
Good afternoon, readers! My name is Rudolph Baylor. I am composing and submitting this narrative of last night’s events from my, and our, friend Iia’s Reddit account for reasons I will momentarily reveal. For the sake of full disclosure, I must admit I am the man with whom Iia has been working. Now that we are on the same page, I will provide a bit of personal backstory heretofore unknown to you all. As I mentioned above, I am Rudolph Baylor. I’m 52 years old. In what now seems like a past life, I was a day-trader who made quite a bit of money in the forex markets during the early growing-pains of the Euro adoption. I’m by no means a King Midas, but I’ll just say I’ve been quite fortunate. One of the problems with making enough money in a few years to last one’s lifetime is trying to fill the following years with purpose. I ended up doing what many, many people have done when searching for purpose: I trawled the Internet. Most of this trawling was to kill time. I make no effort to hide that fact. As a man uninterested in the hedonia that drives others to seek social and sexual interactions, I sought intellectual stimulation on the World Wide Web. Between 2002 and 2011, I read hundreds of thousands of journals, followed the rise and fall of popular online fora, and became a prolific contributor to Wikipedia. If this sounds like a boring life, you may compliment yourself on having good analytical instincts. The problem was, my options were (and are) limited. Some of you may have gathered, based on Iia’s accounts of our time together, that I have a superhuman ability to ignore pain. Unfortunately, there is nothing superhuman about it. Congenital analgesia carries great risks - not only to my physical well-being, but to my pride; not being able to feel pain means not being able to feel the pressure of my bladder or bowels. I make timed trips to the restroom every day to prevent an accident. Leaving the controlled environment of my home carries more unpredictability than I wish to endure. You can imagine how difficult my school years were; especially when the only physical sensations I seem to be able to feel involves tickling. I’ve digressed. In an effort to make this biographical tirade short, I will endeavor to get, as they say, to the point. The latter portion of my Internet research time became highly specialized as I developed a strong interest in herpetology - specifically gecko lizards. Those wishing for an explanation as to why those animals resonated so deeply within me will come away disappointed. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine. The best I can come up with is that it is simply a manifestation of body dysmorphia resultant from my experiences as a child with my medical condition. My self-diagnosis of body dysmorphia led me to research the condition and seek out biographical accounts of other sufferers. The vast majority of those accounts were from victims of eating disorders, and, more recently, from transgender individuals. Very few people claimed to experience a feeling of belonging to another species. The few I did encounter, mostly on websites such as Tumblr and Reddit, labeled themselves as x-kin, with the x representing the animal with which they identified. Therefore, in the parlance of our times, I guess I am a geckokin. Assuming I’d only be happy once I at least attempted to “become” that which I felt so close to, I placed the Craigslist ad, met Iia, and everything went basically according to the two stories that preceded this one. Now, as for why this is being posted from Iia’s account, the answer is very simple: I followed him home, knocked him out, and have tied him to his kitchen table. Why am I telling you all of this? For those asking that question, good for you! From one inquisitive mind to another, I appreciate your investigative drive. I’m telling you all of this to raise awareness of what happens when someone with a severe mental disturbance has no choice but to act on his urges. If I were to admit my geckokin nature to a professional, all it would lead to would be an attempt to “treat” my condition rather than help me embrace who I really am. I know who I am; or, at least who I will be. It’s unfortunate for Iia that he needs to experience what I’m certain will be a great level of discomfort, but all great leaps forward in societal progress have their casualties. On some level, I’m sure he will understand. It’s fortunate that Iia doesn’t have neighbors nearby. He just won’t stop screaming. How he managed to find an apartment building that’s in such horrendous disrepair astounds me; one would think that being one of the only tenants in a building that has 70-something apartments would be an indication to avoid signing a lease. Still, I won’t pretend to understand the rationale behind his decisions. I’m sure he didn’t understand why I asked him to do what he did to me. Such a busy night ahead of us! The next phase of my transformation is more dangerous than the work Iia did on me and I wouldn’t trust anyone other than myself to do it. Still, I need to practice on at least one other person so I don’t get it wrong and really hurt myself in the process. So far, I’m working to get Iia’s transformation up where mine is. I’d already taken out all but two of his teeth. As he said in his first story, those molars are a bitch. I got the last one in the upper right-hand quadrant with the hammer. I warned him that his sobbing would make him aspirate some of the bone chips. Did he listen? No. In his blubbering, he inhaled a couple shards of tooth and I had to wait a half hour until he stopped coughing them up. The molar on the bottom was a wisdom tooth. Iia has a really big mouth. His wisdoms came in with room to spare. I remembered the success he had with standing on the chair and pulling mine out, so I got up on the table, grabbed the tooth with the pliers, squeezed as hard as I could, and pulled. I must have been squeezing too hard. The pliers crunched through the tooth and gripped the root and when I pulled, only the root came out. It sounded pretty awful, a bit like crumbling a styrofoam coffee cup. Iia screamed and screamed. I used the edge of the pliers to shave down the gum line around the shattered tooth and knocked away the remaining bone. I took advantage of his wide-mouthed howling and hammered two of the same type of metal tooth-pins he’d installed into my mouth yesterday. They broke through the bottom of the bleeding sockets in his gums and secured themselves deep within his jaw. I had to knock him unconscious again to do the rest. Once the new teeth were in and Iia was coming to, staring at me in wide-eyed horror as realized he wasn’t waking up from a run-of-the-mill nightmare, I realized I’d forgotten the chisel to do his nose and ears. The only silverware he had was plastic. No real knives. Who doesn’t have knives? I sighed in annoyance. Then I realized I had the right tools with me all along! I’d been so busy focusing on my next moves that I’d neglected the new teeth given to me just yesterday. I bit Iia’s nose as hard as I could. I felt the cartilage crush as the tiny needles lining my gums broke through. The pins anchoring the teeth to my jaw held, I’m happy to note, and I pulled back sharply. The nose came with me. I was very surprised by how good a job I did when I estimated how far the pins needed to be to ensure proper adhesion. The holes in Iia’s face gurgled with blood as he worked to breathe through them. I knocked him out again, untied him, turned him over on his stomach, and restrained him. Ugly, flatulent sounds filled the room as the blood that had accumulated inside his sinus cavity got pushed out through the nose holes. I bit off his ears. Now Iia and I had achieved the same level of our gecko transformation. I found two straws in his cabinet and inserted them into his nose holes. Air traveled freely through them, so I untied him, removed his clothing, turned him again onto his back, and restrained him. It was time to work on the aforementioned dangerous part of the transformation. Geckos have cloacas. Put as simply as needed, they eliminate all their waste from one hole. I assume that the easiest way to replicate this would be to route one’s urethra through the colon and allow all waste to be expelled through the anus. While this is an entirely makeshift cloaca, I’m not deluded enough to believe there is a better way for me to accomplish such a thing at my nearly nonexistent level of medical knowledge. To my dismay, upon inspecting Iia, I discovered I’d overestimated the size of an adult penis. I’d always known mine was larger than average and I knew that would make it easier to properly route what needed to be routed. Iia’s penis, however, was less than a quarter of the size of my own. It stuck out from his pubis like a pink, fleshy lightswitch. Some of it I attribute to his terror and some to his recent loss of blood, but the unfortunate truth is that Iia’s member is woefully undersized. The look on his face when he regained consciousness and saw me holding and inspecting his penis would have been funny if I wasn’t so concerned about whether or not I could get this to work. I really, really needed a knife. Rummaging through Iia’s drawers, I found a vegetable peeler. The blade turned out to be very sharp. I grazed my forearm with it and happily discovered the edge was keen enough to remove hair. I truly sympathized for Iia at this moment. I didn’t want to strike him in the head again, as I didn’t want to contribute to any lasting brain damage should he live through his whole process. So, I chose to leave him awake as I ran the peeler up and down his penis, removing thin strips of skin. Much like the sound of my voice changed when my own nose was removed, so too had Iia’s. The few actual words he exclaimed sounded filtered through a very bad head cold. His screams, however, were mostly unaffected. These screams continued after I’d finished peeling when he saw that I held the thin cord of his urethra. I felt quite a bit of relief when I found it could stretch further than Iia’s tiny penis had suggested. Iia passed out from exhaustion or shock moments later. Right now, I’m taking the time to finish this account of my evening and research the best way to approach the colon and begin the urethral routing. I will likely update you all with another story tomorrow to let everyone know how the last few bits of the process fared. Aren’t we lucky that these stories are considered fictional? I’ll wait and work here worry-free. Enjoy Friday, everyone!
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