During my daily browsing on the internet for snippets of news, I came across a site named Slur. The site boasts of being the self-proclaimed “marketplace to be for secrets”. After closer inspection, and reading what is being written on the site, I do have some serious questions and obvious problems with the Slur website.
Let us take a closer look at what is being said. “Slur is an open source, decentralized and anonymous marketplace for the selling of secret information in exchange for Bitcoin. Slur is written in C and operates over the Tor network with Bitcoin transactions through Libbitcoin”.
The first HUGE problem I have with this is: How the blazes do you know the information that is offered is genuine? For example: when buying ancient coins on reputable numismatic online auction houses the coins are checked by the auction house expert. Are the coins genuine? Aren’t there signs of the coin being tampered with? Etc.
Seeing that I am also an expert in source materials and other documentation analysis, I know how such a process work. First you need to check on the writing style, the ink, the paper, the syntax, etc (extensive courses at academic institutions). The documents also need to withstand rigorous testing in labs to be deemed genuine (paper that the information is written/typed/printed on, ink being used, paper quality of the time). If film is offered at auction about an event that was controversial, like the murder of JFK, the film need to be checked on authenticity (historically, emulsion grade of film, condition etc). Seeing that spotting real from fake documents is only for people with a very specific skill set, the probability that 99.9999% of the so called “secret information” will be faked is quite high.
What is to stop me from creating a whole set of documentations about “aliens landing in/near lake Tahoe” and that the US government knew about it and covered it up? Photoshopped pictures and documentation can be found everywhere of official documents. Add to that some “oldschool” scamming tricks to make a document look old and official at the same time and I’m gold baby. Let the Bitcoins come in! (Sarcastically said for those who haven’t noticed it)
So this will probably provoke some kind reaction to this by the creators saying that they are experts, which I doubt and do not believe to be true. In the off chance that they say “ well every document that is put on auction will be physically at the location of auction house” then you still lack the expertise and the know-how to determine is said documents are genuine or not. Thus my previous statement remains standing.
With this statement there comes another, maybe even bigger, issue and consequences. If said person has some kind of evidence and need to be ship the documents, you have to ship it with “signed for” option; otherwise the documents/info may not “arrive” at destination (which is another old scamming tactic). Now if the auctioneers are going to receive information etc, what is going to prevent them from making a copy for them and hold incriminating evidence over the person(s) and blackmail said person (either the person that wants to put up the document for auction or the person that the document incriminates)
This is another sign on the wall that the people at Slur may be not so “trustworthy”, which is an integral part of the Bitcoin community, as they proclaim to be. The site “slur” might also be some CIA/FBI or other federal organisations front for getting information and locations about leaks inside their own organisations.
Now there are other things on the site that makes me extremely wary. Here is another beauty of a statement on their site that blows their credibility out of the water: “There is no charge to buy or sell on the Slur marketplace except in the case of a dispute, where a token sum is paid to volunteers”. So you are claiming that information that isn’t in dispute is free of extra charge. However isn’t ALL SECRET information and EVERY document that is going to be auctioned off in some form or another “in dispute”? If you can’t verify documentation that is going to be auctioned off then it is “in dispute”.
Besides how are you going to verify the documentation when the people that are going to auction off the self-proclaimed “secret information”? Are you going to take it at face value? Nothing can go wrong with that scenario (sarcastically said). There are a large number of issues that are cropping up after the “introduction section” at the top of the slur page.
Here is another one of those strange sayings: “The Slur market is WikiLeaks 2.0. An incalculable resource for public knowledge and unfiltered access to the truth.” Comparing a marketplace to the wikileaks site is another huge mistake. First off on wikileaks you don’t buy/sell info it is given out FREELY, with due checkups and screening. Now let’s look back at the previous paragraphs. What makes you think/believe that the documents that will go up for auction are “the truth”?
Now let us say, hypothetically, that the information about a news agency is put up there for auction. Some extremist NUTJOBS win that auction and plan an attack. When the attack is done 8 people, journalists, artists etc. are all dead. Doesn’t that make the auction site an accomplice to murder?
What if someone fabricates a very good document to get a known rapist free of all charges and that said rapist begins again? What then? Doesn’t make the auction site accomplice is the rapes?
The moral factor that I have touched upon is also somewhat important. It’s not because we can do a thing that we must do it. The Bitcoin community, though far from being the solution, has been heralded as being different from the “real world” work method.
Equality, transparency, honesty, Freedom, etc are all morals that are incorporated in Bitcoin, which does not show in the Slur business strategy at all. The undercurrent of the Slur looks like a paparazzi run auction house where scammers can put up their fake photos/documents for everyone naïve enough to buy them.
I know that his is a heavy hitting critique about Slur. Nevertheless the ball is in Slur’s court now. I invite them to explain each and every point on the questions and observations that I have raised here.