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> However, in a later conversation, he warned that they could be used for money laundering and ransomware payments.

Maybe I just don't get it but I found this article unintentionally hilarious.

First, the idea of running a distributed ledger to keep track of burger points. This is the tech equivalent of using a bazooka to address an ant problem.

Second, the idea of money laundering and ransom ware...imagining Colombian drug lords cleaning narco dollars into Russian burger points, and my hard drive ending up infected...you can have your files back in exchange for 100 Whoppers in St. Petersburg.

is this what a block chain bubble looks like?




Say what you will, at least the whoppercoins are backed by something that has survived the test of time, the whopper.



You cut the best part


Whopper coins being tied to whoppers is a one-way street. You can't just take some two week old whoppers to an ATM and feed the bread and patty into the machine to get whopper coins.


Idk that video of the Big Mac that never decomposed after being left out for months shows some compelling evedence in the other direction...


C'mon now, everyone knows that ATM machines prefer stray cats.


True, but at least the WhopperCoins are backed by food (on-demand food at that) which will always have value to the human race, thus be in demand and have some market value. Not sure if the same can be said for the ruble. As long as WhopperCoin can't hyperinflate, they may have something here. Haven't looked at WhopperCoin's issuance algorithm yet so no idea if that's the case.


Cash being tied to goldbars is a one-way street. You can't just take some two week old goldbars to an ATM and feed the goldbars into the machine to get cash.


dollar to whopper is also one way street


You can't tell me what I can't do!


Garnishing whopper wages only makes them more delicious.


> First, the idea of running a distributed ledger to keep track of burger points. This is the tech equivalent of using a bazooka to address an ant problem.

They aren't running it. They are using the Waves platform, which has very easy 1-click asset creation. Waves is also Proof of Stake, so there's no mining involved.

This gives the transparency benefits and distribution benefits, without any of the overhead.

Regarding distribution, waves platform has a culture of airdrops in it.

I find Waves fun. Between leasing, the decentralized exchanges, the airdrops, the dividends, and finding out about the assets that got airdropped or dividended to you, I find myself in the app quite often unintentionally. The airdropped assets are mostly worthless, but the descriptions of the assets are interesting. I would say the fun aspect is different than other cryptocurrencies. Its like finding random stuff in Skyrim, keeps me coming back.

For reference, I buy Waves and purchase Waves Community Tokens (WCT) on the decentralized exchange. Most airdrops go to WCT holders, they just take a record of the blockchain and send to all address with WCT balances.

I lease my remaining Waves to the pools FountainPerpetua and WavesGo. There are plenty of other pools to lease to.

Pools give payments in the form of Waves, because thats what they earn, but they also have the option of giving payments in other assets too, they just need to remain competitive.

So I typically earn Waves, Waves Community Tokens and Miners Rewards tokens.

The WavesGo pool gives WavesGo tokens which are actual shares and actual securities.

WavesGo pools distributes more of its own earnings to all WavesGo holders. You can buy and sell more WavesGo shares on the decentralized exchange.


Thanks for this comment -- it was very high quality and led me to spend 2 hours reading about this stuff. It looks pretty cool and I'm going to give it a shot. Reading about the fountains and several other community aspects really does make this seem unique and fun


The latter point isn't necessarily as crazy as it sounds. I remember there was something about money laundering through Second Life currency. In the end, does it really matter how you do it, if it works?

Your first point is a little funny, until you remember all those people who also kept saying that BTC isn't the only thing and replacing fiat currency isn't the only goal. I don't see a problem with it, other than being somewhat wasteful.


Tide laundry detergent is a popular black market currency

http://nymag.com/news/features/tide-detergent-drugs-2013-1/


Prisoners use >> cans of mackerel << as currency: https://www.wired.com/2011/01/st_prisoncurrencies/ .


Are whoppers a scarce resource?


Scarcer than US dollars.


The Heinlein prediction of Crazy Years and "barter-only hamburgers" is a bit later to come around than originally projected, but the curve does not seem totally wrong ...


Do they have to be?


>I remember there was something about money laundering through Second Life currency.

I don't think this was ever actually a thing, some people just speculated about the possibility.


Both WOW Gold and Second Life "linden dollars" were and are major black market currency tools online. A cursory google search would prove your statement quite false but here's some sources anyway:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2014/03/26/bitcoin...

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/money-laundering-online


Neither of those articles contains anything even hinting towards my statement being false. Their contents are merely speculation.

I've got a decent amount of experience with this, and I'm certain there's never been any large scale money laundering activity using Linden dollars. The idea is simply ridiculous, the economy isn't large enough to support it.


Sorry, was the arxiv paper[0] linked in the Wired article not sufficient? I'm not regional expert on this subject myself so if you've got contrary information I'd be interested in reading it. It's my assumption Wow's economy is much larger than SL's, and I'd also assume that in aggregate these different digital economies are more than large enough to hide transactions. That's speculation on my own part, though, and if you have any actual evidence other than claiming "decent experience" I'm interested.

I'm not sure what the definition of "large scale money laundering" is in this situation.

[0][https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1310/1310.2368.pdf


Did you actually look at the paper? The primary sources are videogame cheating forums like Ownedcore, not really where I'd go for money laundering advice. The posts seem to be mostly related to laundering stolen ingame money, not funds acquired elsewhere.

There's also one entirely speculative post (again from a videogame cheating forum) proposing a completely unrealistic, and ridiculously expensive approach to money laundering by buying and reselling videogame money.

The paper seems to have been written by mostly clueless people with little understanding of these communities or money laundering.


You've sufficiently attacked the source, but I'll reiterate that I'm not looking to pick a fight here, I'm asking for actual evidence or even a supportive argument for what you're saying. I've heard for many years that money laundering is common with online currencies, but as I've said I'm not an expert. If you're that much less clueless and have more understanding please share it. There's a lot of discussion in crypto threads that assumes the opposite of what you're saying so it'd be nice to have the tools to disprove incorrect assumptions.

Bitcoin mixing is also pretty expensive but people still do it, and prior to bitcoin or bitcoin mixing existing presumably people were using a more expensive alternative.


>I'm asking for actual evidence or even a supportive argument for what you're saying

It's hard to prove a negative, there's simply no evidence at all that anyone has ever used videogame money to launder the proceeds of unrelated crimes.

The idea also sounds fundamentally unlikely as videogame currency markets are pretty small¹ and actually getting the currency sold is a long and risky process.

>I've heard for many years that money laundering is common with online currencies

It is. But when people have purpose built solutions like Liberty Reserve and Perfect Money, nobody chooses to waste their time and money on messing with videogame currencies.

>Bitcoin mixing is also pretty expensive but people still do it, and prior to bitcoin or bitcoin mixing existing presumably people were using a more expensive alternative.

Bitcoin mixing has historically been very cheap, right now it still is below 1% cost if you're mixing more than a couple of coins at a time.

¹even for WoW, I used to sell gold


I recently signed up for a Starbucks Rewards card in Argentina. I had to state that I was not a "Politically Exposed Person (PEP)", and I had to provide my full name, passport number, date of birth, profession, civil status (married, divorced, widowed, single), and street address. Do they think I'm going to launder money by buying lattes?

https://starbucksrewards.com.ar/register


US Starbucks Cards can be used in certain other countries[1], and international money transfer would be a plausible excuse for requiring such information. However, that doesn't seem to be the case for Argentine Starbucks cards[2].

[1] "Most Starbucks, Evolution Fresh and Teavana stores in North America including Puerto Rico accept your Starbucks Card. Certain Starbucks-branded locations may not permit you to use the Starbucks Card for payment, including some airport, grocery and bookstore locations, or stores in Guam and others located outside continental North America." https://www.starbucks.com/about-us/company-information/onlin...

[2] "La Starbucks Card activada en Argentina no podrá ser utilizada en tiendas Starbucks ubicadas fuera de Argentina. La Starbucks Card activada fuera de Argentina no será válida en Argentina.", which Google translates as "The Starbucks Card activated in Argentina can not be used in Starbucks stores located outside Argentina. The Starbucks Card activated outside Argentina will not be valid in Argentina." https://starbucksrewards.com.ar/tos/card


> Do they think I'm going to launder money by buying lattes?

That is exactly what happens. Prepaid debit cards and gift cards were and maybe still are both major tools for cross-border money laundering of drug proceeds because they have not been treated with the same scrutiny by customs and border guards as cash. With gift cards, you would buy them in one country, take them to another (typically US), and sell them (on Craigslist, eBay, etc) for $0.98 on the dollar. So it is a very inexpensive and low risk way of international money laundering.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-regulations-moneylaun...


What better way to learn Blockchain then through a silly marketing campaign using someone elses money.

The devs get to put down on their resume "real" block chain experience.

I write this, because, if you look up block chain on indeed, you'll see some insane requirements.

5 years+ "blockchain experience."

Ok, yeah, that's going to be real common. Five years ago most people weren't aware of block chain.

Now, distributed database, "maybe."


You see this for every skill though. I remember jobs requiring 5 years of Rails experience before Rails was that old and DHH commenting somewhere that he wouldn't qualify.


Do they do that because they don't actually want to fill the job?


You'll see insane requirements everywhere. The real insanity is taking these requirements seriously.


Between this and that famous KFC pop-up[0], I'm starting to think that fast food restaurants are at the forefront of abusing new technology for dumb purposes.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/assholedesign/comments/6mevf4/kfc_g...


I bet you will love KFC's newest VR-endeavour [0].

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3PJQ_E7Se0


OMG, I thought that was a critical art piece or something, but it's actually really by KFC?!

https://www.vrroom.buzz/vr-news/games/kfcs-training-game-sic...

https://www.vrroom.buzz/vr-news/games/kfcs-training-game-sic...


Organized crime has used xbox multiplayer to communicate with each other to evade wiretaps[0], criminals have used tide as a currency[1], why not Burger King, too?

[0] https://www.computerworld.com/article/2470702/cybercrime-hac...

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/03/why-are...


The best form of communication to circumvent surveillance is not Signal, it's some Japanese MMORPG that no one has ever heard of or ever think of monitoring.


It's questionable whether the ledger is even distributed.

I read everything I could find on the platform though and couldn't find anything but marketing speak.

https://wavesplatform.com/

They do link to their github, but that's a bit deeper dive than I have interest for at the moment.


It reminds me of those stories from the 90s bubble, when companies would just add ".com" to their name to inflate their value.

Are Russians really curious enough about blockchains for this to be effective, or did Burger King's marketing team just decide a $10,000 bitcoin proof-of-concept is more effective than spending an equal amount on traditional advertising?


If it cost them 10,000$. I bet they'll make it back just on the devs/geeks who want to get in on the silliness of it, id say minimum 2000 devs in Russia would buy a whopper to get some whoppercoin, 2000x5$ = 10,000. Make money back and get exposure haha


Waves is a proof of stake platform, there are several large pools staking.

I mean maybe thats marketing speak if you don't understand it.

The cool thing about waves is that its fun, and that you can lease to people that want to be pools and earn fun stuff. The questionable thing is if the leasing has resulted (or will result) in consolidation making it not distributed.


Proof of steak ? (I'll get my coat)


I mean if you found a relevant context to say it then you might have a good pun. People have made it before.


...you use a computer to look at pictures of cats.

That computer would be the greatest Wonder of the Ancient World, if it could be transported back in time, and powered (solar?) The computational power we all waste each day is almost beyond comprehension.

I read a novel where it was illegal to not spend your spare CPU cycles modelling hurricanes.


Haven't people been laundering money via in-game virtual items in different MMO games before? This is just another seemingly "frivolous" channel that humans can do unofficial exchange in.


This is the tech equivalent of using a bazooka to address an ant problem.

BK is a very sophisticated logistics operation - they probably employ some smart techs. This is just them having some fun, and why not?


I like looking at the shitload of server racks and cables in the side room of the Burger King joint in my mall, it's like they have a cyborg or some monster plugged into a liquid nutrient bath back there. Yum, gonna order some chicken fries.


My guess is that you are more likely to see a bitcoin-rich Russian teenage hacker than a Colombian drug lord. I think it's smart to try to get a cut of the ransomware business.


Russian Intelligence: You're quite skinny for a guy who eats so many whoppers. Who are you working for?


He goes by the name Special Sauce. That's all I know.


Russian Government.


I remember reading that iTunes cards can be quite an effective way to do ransomware payment. It seems funny but if it works, why not?


Sounds Gibsonesque (or Stephensonesque).


No kidding. I can't decide whether this is more techno-culturally weird in the Gibsonian way, or more iconoclastically post-modern in the Stephensonian way.


What would be the Sterlingesque way?


Being able to distribute the cost of tracking rewards points sounds like a fair and smart use case


>is this what a block chain bubble looks like?

Maybe, but if it was a "tulip coin" then definitely


Watch out for people with bags full of burgers


Someone call Neal Stephenson.


Or maybe we're seeing the silliest version of Snowcrash come to life.




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