Synth: Inside the Mind of the Skycoin Maestro
“I am untouchable. I could murder and eat babies and would come out unscathed. I apologize for nothing.” — Synth, Skycoin co-founder, via Telegram. Bitsonline takes you inside the rabbit-hole mind of one of the space’s most perplexing characters.
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A Different Beast
The world of cryptocurrency has been replete with unique tales of oddity and disaster these past few years. We’ve seen the bankruptcy and collapse of Mt. Gox, the fall of BitConnect’s ponzi scheme, numerous ICO exit scams, and Bitfinex continuing to produce no shortage of controversy.
Skycoin seems to be in a category of its own, however. After the recent rise to over $35 USD and the fallback to under $6, some have labelled it a classic pump and dump scam. But whether it is scam or not, that simplistic label just wouldn’t be giving the project its due credit.
Synth, Skycoin’s Fearless Leader
I for one cannot tell you if Skycoin is the real deal or not — the question, like many in the space, cannot be so easily answered. Regardless of the untruths that may have been stated, and whether or not Skycoin turns out to be an elaborate swindle, the entire episode has provided more than its fair share of entertainment. The majority of the credit for that undoubtedly goes to one of the crypto’s three co-founders, Brandon Smietana, who primarily goes by his online handle, Synth. We’ll dive into his brain with some of his topical viewpoints, starting with the cryptocurrency market:
“Other than a few selected digital coins, most of those available today hold no value at all. In 2019, the regulations will centralize the market into just a handful of leading, real coins. Then, people will be able to trade them using only a few major and controlled exchanges. So when you take down all the worthless coins, and stop using exchanges that aren’t safe, it might be easier to mass adopt in 2019.”
And on blockchain:
“I think ultimately, blockchain will be used to create a trans-national or supra-national financial or economic order above the nation state. It is essentially impossible for governments to regulate or control and will increasingly be essential for invest and international trade. Blockchain makes the nation state unnecessary for enforcing legal and financial contracts or mediating ownership rights between people.”
A search of Synth’s comments on Telegram’s Skycoin channel shows someone who may be just as well suited for writing fiction as developing a cryptocurrency. He summarizes what Skycoin is to him:
“All my dreams have been destroyed. From being in crypto too long. I am cynical and jaded. From having seen the reality. Which is also why Skycoin is the way it is.”
One of his bold claims is that Goldman Sachs is the real owner of Bitfinex. He freely gives his opinions on controversial matters and makes no attempt to appease either side of an argument. On one of the more persistent dramas in the crypto world, he opines on Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: “Bitcoin Cash is as fake as USD Tether.”
Oh, and space mania will soon sweep the public, he posits:
“I think the elite is split between group that wants to keep people on Earth and hide all the space stuff (keep projects secret and in the military/government) and a group that wants a space gold rush and full public participation in the space mania.
They privatized space already and have built dozens of privately owned space ports in the United States already.”
Trouble in Paradise
The most recent Skycoin drama involving an (alleged) armed robbery sounded less like crypto news and more like a B-level crime tale. Insider trading going on in a private channel purportedly named “Skycoin Deluxe” added to the mystery, though Synth now claims he was merely joking about the whole thing. He has even bragged about doxxing the individual who posted an audio recording of him detailing this claim.
“We had a meeting with guy from the Club of Rome yesterday and he had meeting with consensus [sic — Consensys] and he asked them about Skycoin and he said they were scared.
The companies all left Ethereum because we had zero fees and gave them their own blockchain. And there were large clients.
[…] Skycoin is under attack on a lot of sides. Just like Bitcoin and Ethereum were in the early days. A lot of people are threatened.”
The reported robbery deserves a bit more investigation, of course. Skycoin has described the alleged thieves as members of a Skycoin marketing team. One of them says they were an outside investor group, involvement in marketing not confirmed or denied, and they posted their own account of the kidnapping/robbery story. It is outlined by him or her as an in-person meeting and confrontation, but not a violent one.
The investor says Brandon and Steve, another Skycoin co-founder, initially sold their group 100,000 Skycoin over-the-counter (OTC). When they went to access it, they discovered their wallets were locked. Describing the Skycoin team’s ability to lock the wallets of others as “a serious violation of the decentralization principle of the industry,” they went to visit Brandon in person, by which time the price of Skycoin had already taken a tumble. They say no force or threats were used, only that they wanted their money back as they had lost faith in the project as well as in the integrity of the team. Brandon repaid them about 80 percent of their original purchase, not including losses due to the price of SKY falling.
A purported police report of the incident has surfaced, filed by Synth’s girlfriend, which frames the incident as a violent encounter that has been publicized. Perhaps it’s all true, or perhaps it was filed to get ahead of the story and control the narrative. None of the aforementioned can be corroborated, so the information is left here for you to review and judge for yourself. Both sides do say Brandon and his girlfriend left China shortly after the incident, so it’s doubtful the police case will go far. In any event, the aforementioned investor expressed full willingness to cooperate with the police if asked to do so.
Synth detailed his side of the incident further in a video interview not long after, along with providing other various updates on the project. He states here, and has before, that he doesn’t store any of his cryptocurrency holdings in his house or in the country where he resides. What this means exactly is unknown, as this doesn’t correlate with how decentralized crypto works in terms of “where” it is located. But, semantics.
The aforementioned interview is less of a briefing to investors and more like a high-octane video diary entry. He delves into security briefings he has had with either a current or former Blackwater employee, being unable to convince his girlfriend (or his wife; he’s not quite sure) how much danger they’re truly in, and how much pain he’s in from the injuries suffered at the behest of his captors. All replete with maniacal laughter mildly reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker, fitting for the standard format of a Skycoin interview with Synth.
And, speaking of the Joker, Synth projects a collapse, too, of sorts:
“When the US empire collapses, starting with the dollar, the US government will be unable to finance its global network of military bases. US dollar international trade flows are decreasing and it will cause a budget crisis. Then the US and private companies will start bringing out new industries and technologies (which are difficult to copy or very expensive), that were developed in the 1980s but held back, in order to maintain its export balance.”
Next Bitcoin or Next Bust?
One of the main hooks of Skycoin is right on its front page, namely that original Bitcoin and Ethereum developers are involved in the project and that their purpose is to “fulfill Satoshi’s original vision.” This naturally begs for further inquiries.
Synth fully expects Skycoin to eventually overtake Bitcoin, explaining, “All of the founders of Skycoin developed it because they wanted something better than Bitcoin. A perfected Bitcoin, to replace Bitcoin when it falls.”
On top of this, Synth says a government-backed bank and exchange for Skycoin is coming:
“We are getting government-backed bank and exchange. Anything that brings in money. We are going to float crypto municipal bonds and infrastructure investment bonds and just do whatever we want. I am going to have fifteen or thirty governments harassing me to do the same thing for them.
I just received the greenlight. On everything.”
More than just a coin, the project is advertised as a decentralized Internet, complete with peer-to-peer cloud storage and messaging and all encrypted and built on a custom-built programming language called CX. Money transfers are all private and untraceable. It does vary from Satoshi’s original vision in that Skycoin is 100% premined, and most of it isn’t even on the market yet. More on that later.
Skyminers are the backbone of the Skywire network. Per Synth, just call it Skynet. There isn’t actual mining involved as we are typically familiar with in a Proof-of-Work. Users do however accumulate Coin Hours, the currency with which bandwidth is paid for. To get a Skyminer going, you can buy the hardware required for it from Skycoin or build one yourself.
If you choose to buy a Skyminer, be ready to shell out 1 BTC. You will receive the kit, then 1 BTC worth of Skycoin minus the hardware cost of the kit.
Coming back to decentralization, we now examine supply. At this point, any notion this ecosystem may be wholly decentralized comes crumbling down. Author Christian Ott did a thorough analysis of supply; the bottom line is that 100 million Skycoin were created on the genesis block and 25 million are currently available for distribution. More won’t be released until that full 25 million is in circulation — the current number rests at 9 million). Somewhat similar to Ripple’s distribution in that regard, most are not on the market, at least not yet, ultimately leaving investors at the mercy of the Skycoin brass.
SPACO announced a partnership late last year with Skycoin to develop Obelisk, which Skycoin’s website describes as “a new kind of consensus algorithm solving the fundamental flaws with PoW & PoS.” One Reddit user says the development of it seems to be dormant, though this writer cannot attest to that claim. Obelisk has yet to be implemented, in the very least.
Grand Plans for Skycoin’s Future
Onto the more grandiose plans at hand. Satellites are supposedly in the works. “Once we launch the satellites,” Synth explains, “we cant change the orbit. Without an ion thruster or some type of propulsion. Skycoin is still a minimum of three years before we can do any serious and profitable space economic projects. Except for marketing. We can probably launch a satilite sooner for marketing.”
And next on the docket? Call ’em “sky kites“:
“I also designed a sort of “space kite.” Which is like a rectifying antenna and can do signal reflection/amplification and downshifting (passive reflector. Resonate, phase shift and retransmit).
Its like a kite that is similar to the old satellites. The older satellites were just giant antennas that receive a signal, downshift and retransmit it to another ground station.”
Seem a little far-fetched? Not at all, since Skycoin has received funding from state intelligence. Though Synth isn’t quite sure why:
“There are a lot of coins funded by intelligence agencies. Skycoin has even received money on this. We received at least $150,000 in early bitcoin from some people I know are intelligence agency people. I still don’t know why.”
Deep Thoughts, by Brandon Smietana
It all sounds like fiction, but who are we to truly know? Whether or not there is much more to come or our time with Skycoin has an impending expiry date, it is nonetheless worth noting the story while it’s here. Let’s savor a few more colorful quotes from Synth before we go.
These quotes are pulled from Skycoin’s Telegram channel, where you can find far more for your reading enjoyment, in addition to heaps of voice recordings which continue to be posted on a regular basis.
Synth explains the “scam” that is democracy:
“‘Democracy’ was always sort of a scam. It never worked. Its like pro-wrestling. Democracy is a slogan, ‘Hope! Change!’, ‘Change you can believe in!’, no one asks ‘What change?’ You can basically tell public you are going to do all this stuff, then once elected do the opposite and no one cares. The public wont even notice.
Corporations even run actors in elections under fake names and have them elected in state/local elections, to pack the government, to get them to sell off the water rights or stop competing cable company from getting zoning rights. No one actually cares or even notices.”
“Mathematically, there is no way to solve the problems (demographic problems), so the only choice is to let the structure collapse on itself. Then hoard and privatize anything that may be useful in the upcoming conflict in the decline of the empire, then the financial, corporate interests will try to establish some kind of new order on ashes of the old.”
The United States government performing psychological operations on the public:
“The US government actually has military bases doing psychological operations against the American public. They acquired 2chan and 4chan and probably 8chan. Then they were promoting ‘Its the jews!’ and Nazi anti-seminitic memes as PSYOP. Then using the memes and movements they created, to have NGOs demand censorship and get the websites removed from google.”
“Soon governments will be able to read the thoughts of their slaves! In real time and punish them accordingly. Once it can be measured, it can be controlled.”
“Darwinism is an occult ideology; it’s the idea that societies and individuals evolve or progress through conflict. ‘Conflict = progress,’ its satanism/luciferian belief system and darwinism is just that occult belief system applied to biology.
That belief that progress is through conflict. Satan means sa-tor-ee, or ‘The divider.’ The progression of society to a higher level of complexity, means that more groups will possess power and therefore be in conflict. A higher order and more powerful organizing principal must emerge from the conflict and chaos.”
And Synth on modern freedom and slavery:
“The reality of the world is that people are living under a consortium of various armed criminal gangs. Those who are prepared to protect their fiefdoms and belief systems with force and violence will exsterminate and rule over those who are not.
Those who will not defend and struggle for their freedom, do not deserve it.”
“The Matrix” is a documentary, he says:
“I think the Matrix was a documentary. There were military documents in the 1980s, that eventually they would be able to minimize electronics to the point that they could be implanted into the human body and brain. That eventually that people would neuro-lace themselves and then live most of their lives in a simulation. Then eventually people would just live in tubes in a simulation, because they preferred it to the real world.
And that is one “solution” to over population and lowering the resources that each person uses. I think someone read that document and made a movie about it.”
Some of it sounds more like a bad soap opera than a next-level project in development. Likely not the next great thing, maybe a money pit, and probably not worth the financial risk. And Skycoin is not decentralized at all, especially if the team can lock a user’s wallet at any time. Though perhaps I have been unfair, and “Skynet” will become all Synth claims it will one day be, in which case myself and all the other “haters” will regret not having invested while we still had the chance. Either way, this writer is tuned in and watching.
In response to someone suggesting Synth may abandon the Skycoin project, his response was blunt and his resolve clear:
“The investors would have me murdered. I am chained to Skycoin until the end of this bubble, like Sisyphus chained to the boulder.”
What’s your take on Synth? Be sure to let us know what you think about Skycoin’s lightning rod maestro — sound off in the comments below.
Images via CoinMarketCap, Skycoin, Pixabay, The Trusted Travller, ezgsa
Note: This piece reflects the writer’s personal opinion and does not represent the editorial policy or views of Bitsonline as a whole.”