The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite • Matthew Ball

Source: matthewball.vc

Published January 13, 2020

Technology frequently produces surprises that nobody predicts. However, the biggest developments are often anticipated decades in advance. In 1945 Vannevar Bush described what he called the “Memex”, a single device that would store all books, records and communications, and mechanically link them together by association. This concept was then used to formulate the idea of “hypertext” (a term coined two decades later), which in turn guided the development of the World Wide Web (developed another two decades later). The “Streaming Wars” have only just begun, yet the first streaming video took place more than 25 years ago. What’s more, many of the attributes of this so-called war have been hypothesized for decades, such as virtually infinite supplies of content, on-demand playback, interactivity, dynamic and personalized ads, and the value of converging content with distribution.

In this sense, the rough outlines of future solutions are often understood and, in a sense, agreed upon well in advance of the technical capacity to produce them. Still, it’s often impossible to predict how they’ll fall into place, which features matter more or less, what sort of governance models or competitive dynamics will drive them, or what new experiences will be produced. By the time Netflix launched its streaming service, much of Hollywood knew that the future of television was online (IP TV had been deployed in the late 1999s). The challenge was timing and how to package such a service (it took another 10 years for Hollywood to accept all of their channels, genres and content needs to be collapsed into a single app/brand). The popularity of video game broadcasting and YouTubers still elude many in the media industry, as does the idea that the best way to monetize content might be to give it away for free and charge for optional $0.99 items of no consequential value. The acquisition of media conglomerate Time Warner by landline internet giant AOL was set in 2000 based on the idea media and tech/distribution needed to converge, but was unwound in 2009 after it failed to produce much benefit. Nine years later, it was then bought by mobile internet giant AT&T under the same premise.

While many technologists imagined some sort of “personal computer”, its attributes and timing were so unpredictable that Microsoft dominated the PC era that began in the 1990s rather than the mainframe domineer IBM. And while Microsoft clearly foresaw mobile, it misread the role of the operating system and of hardware, hence the rise of Android and iOS globally (and Microsoft’s shift from the OS layer to the app/services one). In a similar sense, Steve Jobs’ priorities for computing were always “right”, they were just too early and focused on the wrong device. More broadly, the two most dominant cases of the early Internet were instant messaging and email, and yet the importance of social apps/networks was still unexpected until the late 2000s. And for that matter, all of the prerequisites for building Facebook existed pre-Y2K, but Facebook didn’t come along until 2005 – and even then, it was an accident.

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, many of those in the technology community have imagined a future state of, if not quasi-successor to, the Internet – called the “Metaverse”. And it would revolutionize not just the infrastructure layer of the digital world, but also much of the physical one, as well as all the services and platforms atop them, how they work, and what they sell. Although the full vision for the Metaverse remains hard to define, seemingly fantastical, and decades away, the pieces have started to feel very real. And as always with this sort of change, its arc is as long and unpredictable as its end state is lucrative.

To this end, the Metaverse has become the newest macro-goal for many of the world’s tech giants. As I outlined in February of 2019, it is the express goal of Epic Games, maker of the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. It is also the driver behind Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR and its newly announced Horizon virtual world/meeting space, among many, many other projects, such as AR glasses and brain-to-machine interfaces and communication. The tens of billions that will be spent on cloud gaming over the next decade, too, is based on the belief that such technologies will underpin our online-offline virtual future.

Ultimately, you’ll find many of the same items in the offices of Big Tech CEOs. However, the most well-worn is likely to be a copy of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which first described and essentially coined the terms “Metaverse” and “Avatar”. And there are many reasons why.

CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS THE “METAVERSE”?

The most common conceptions of the Metaverse stem from science fiction. Here, the Metaverse is typically portrayed as a sort of digital “jacked-in” internet – a manifestation of actual reality, but one based in a virtual (often theme park-like) world, such those portrayed in Ready Player One and The Matrix. And while these sorts of experiences are likely to be an aspect of the Metaverse, this conception is limited in the same way movies like Tron portrayed the Internet as a literal digital “information superhighway” of bits.

Just as it was hard to envision in 1982 what the Internet of 2020 would be — and harder still to communicate it to those who had never even “logged” onto it at that time — we don’t really know how to describe the Metaverse. However, we can identify core attributes.

The Metaverse, we think, will…

  • Be persistent – which is to say, it never “resets” or “pauses” or “ends”, it just continues indefinitely
  • Be synchronous and live – even though pre-scheduled and self-contained events will happen, just as they do in “real life”, the Metaverse will be a living experience that exists consistently for everyone and in real-time
  • Be without any cap to concurrent users, while also providing each user with an individual sense of “presence” – everyone can be a part of the Metaverse and participate in a specific event/place/activity together, at the same time and with individual agency
  • Be a fully functioning economy – individuals and businesses will be able to create, own, invest, sell, and be rewarded for an incredibly wide range of “work” that produces “value” that is recognized by others
  • Be an experience that spans both the digital and physical worlds, private and public networks/experiences, and open and closed platforms
  • Offer unprecedented interoperability of data, digital items/assets, content, and so on across each of these experiences – your Counter-Strike gun skin, for example, could also be used to decorate a gun in Fortnite, or be gifted to a friend on/through Facebook. Similarly, a car designed for Rocket League (or even for Porsche’s website) could be brought over to work in Roblox. Today, the digital world basically acts as though it were a mall where every store used its own currency, required proprietary ID cards, had proprietary units of measurement for things like shoes or calories, and different dress codes, etc.
  • Be populated by “content” and “experiences” created and operated by an incredibly wide range of contributors, some of whom are independent individuals, while others might be informally organized groups or commercially-focused enterprises

There are a few other ideas that may be core to the Metaverse, but are not widely agreed upon. One of these concerns is whether participants will have a single consistent digital identity (or “avatar”) that they will use across all experiences. This would have practical value but is probably unlikely as each of the leaders in the “Metaverse era” will still want their own identity systems. Today, for example, there are a few dominant account systems – but none have exhaustive coverage of the web and they often stack atop one another with only limited data sharing/access (e.g. your iPhone is based around an iOS account, then you might log into an app using your Facebook ID, which itself is your Gmail account).

There is also disagreement on how much interoperability is required for the Metaverse to really be “the Metaverse”, rather than just an evolution of today’s Internet. Many also debate whether a true Metaverse can have a single operator (as is the case in Ready Player One). Some believe the definition (and success) of a Metaverse requires it to be a heavily decentralized platform built mostly upon community-based standards and protocols (like the open web) and an “open source” Metaverse OS or platform (this doesn’t mean there won’t be dominant closed platforms in the Metaverse).

Another idea relates to the fundamental communications architecture of the Metaverse. This is described in more detail later in the piece, but while today’s Internet is structured around individual servers “talking” to one another on an as-needed basis, some believe the Metaverse needs be “wired” and “operated” around persistent many-to-many connections. But even here, there’s no consensus around exactly how this would work, nor the degree of decentralization required.

It’s also helpful to consider what the Metaverse is often, but incorrectly, likened to. While each of these analogies is likely to be a part of the Metaverse, they aren’t actually the Metaverse. For example, The Metaverse is not…

  • A “virtual world” – Virtual worlds and games with AI-driven characters have existed for decades, as have those populated with “real” humans in real-time. This isn’t a “meta” (Greek for “beyond”) universe, just a synthetic and fictional one designed for a single purpose (a game).
  • A “virtual space” – Digital content experiences like Second Life are often seen as “proto-Metaverses” because they (A) lack game-like goals or skill systems; (B) are virtual hangouts that persist; (C) offer nearly synchronous content updates; and (D) have real humans represented by digital avatars. However, these are not sufficient attributes for the Metaverse.
  • “Virtual reality” – VR is a way to experience a virtual world or space. Sense of presence in a digital world doesn’t make a Metaverse. It is like saying you have a thriving city because you can see and walk around it.
  • A “digital and virtual economy” – These, too, already exist. Individual games such as World of Warcraft have long had functioning economies where real people trade virtual goods for real money, or perform virtual tasks in exchange for real money. In addition, platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, as well as technologies such as Bitcoin, are based around the hiring of individuals/businesses/computational power to perform virtual and digital tasks. We are already transacting at scale for purely digital items for purely digital activities via purely digital marketplaces.
  • A “game” – Fortnite has many elements of the Metaverse. It (A) mashes up IP; (B) has a consistent identity that spans multiple closed platforms; (C) is a gateway to a myriad of experiences, some of which are purely social; (D) compensates creators for creating content, etc. However, as is the case with Ready Player One, it remains too narrow in what it does, how far it extends, and what “work” can occur (at least for now). While the Metaverse may have some game-like goals, include games, and involve gamification, it is not itself a game, nor is it oriented around specific objectives.
  • A “virtual theme park or Disneyland” – Not only will the “attractions” be infinite, they will not be centrally “designed” or programmed like Disneyland, nor will they all be about fun or entertainment. In addition, the distribution of engagement will have a very long tail
  • A “new app store” – No one needs another way to open apps, nor would doing so “in VR” (as an example) unlock/enable the sorts of value supposed by a successor Internet. The Metaverse is substantively different from today’s Internet/mobile models, architecture, and priorities.
  • A “new UGC platform” – The Metaverse is not just another YouTube or Facebook-like platform in which countless individuals can “create”, “share”, and “monetize” content, and where the most popular content represents only the tiniest share of overall consumption. The Metaverse will be a place in which proper empires are invested in and built, and where these richly capitalized businesses can fully own a customer, control APIs/data, unit economics, etc. In addition, it’s likely that, as with the web, a dozen or so platforms hold significant shares of user time, experiences, content, etc.

(If you want a simpler way to think about the Metaverse, you can imagine it as the Nightmare Before Christmas – you can walk into any experience or activity, and potentially address almost any of your needs, from a single starting point or world that’s also populated by everyone else you know. This is why hypertext is such a key example. But what’s important is to recognize the Metaverse isn’t a game, a piece of hardware, or an online experience. This is like saying is World of Warcraft, the iPhone, or Google is the Internet. They are digital worlds, devices, services, websites, etc. The Internet is a wide set of protocols, technology, tubes and languages, plus access devices and content and communication experiences atop them. Metaverse will be too.)

CHAPTER 2: WHY DOES THE METAVERSE MATTER?

Even if the Metaverse falls short of the fantastical visions captured by science fiction authors, it is likely to produce trillions in value as a new computing platform or content medium. But in its full vision, the Metaverse becomes the gateway to most digital experiences, a key component of all physical ones, and the next great labor platform.

The value of being a key participant, if not a driver, of such a system is self-evident – there is no “owner” of the Internet today, but nearly all of the leading Internet companies rank among the 10 most valuable public companies on earth. And if the Metaverse does indeed serve as a functional “successor” to the web — only this time with even greater reach, time spent, and more commercial activity — there’s likely to be even more economic upside. Regardless, the Metaverse should produce the same diversity of opportunity as we saw with the web – new companies, products and services will emerge to manage everything from payment processing to identity verification, hiring, ad delivery, content creation, security, and so forth. This, in turn, will mean many present-day incumbents are likely to fall.

More broadly, the Metaverse stands to alter how we allocate and monetize modern resources. For centuries, developed economies have transformed as the scarcity of labor and real-estate waxed and waned. Under the Metaverse, would-be laborers who choose to live outside cities will be able to participate in the “high value” economy via virtual labor. As more consumer spending shifts to virtual goods, services, and experiences, we’ll also see further shifts in where we live, the infrastructure that’s built, and who performs which tasks. Consider, for example, “Gold Farming”. Not long after in-game trade economies emerged, many “players” – often employed by a larger company and typically in lower-income countries — would spend a workday collecting digital resources for sale inside or outside the game. These sales were typically to higher-income players in the West. And while this “labor” is typically menial, repetitive, and limited to a few applications, the diversity and value of this “work” will grow as the Metaverse itself does.

CHAPTER 3: BUILDING THE METAVERSE

The Metaverse will require countless new technologies, protocols, companies, innovations, and discoveries to work. And it won’t directly come into existence; there will be no clean “Before Metaverse” and “After Metaverse”. Instead, it will slowly emerge over time as different products, services, and capabilities integrate and meld together. However, it’s helpful to think of three core elements that need to come into place.

(One way I try to think about these three areas from a procedural perspective is via the Book of Genesis – first, one must create the underlying universe (“concurrency infrastructure”), then s/he must define its laws of physics and rules (“standards and protocols”), then s/he must fill it with life (“content”) that’s worthwhile, evolves, and iterates against selection pressures. God, in other words, doesn’t create and design the world as though it were a miniature model, but enables one to grow across a mostly blank tableau etc.)

Concurrency Infrastructure

At a foundational level, the technology simply does not yet exist for there to be hundreds, let alone millions of people participating in a shared, synchronous experience. Consider Fortnite’s 2019 Marshmello concert. An astounding 11MM people experienced the event in real time. However, they did not do so together. In truth, there were more than 100,000 instances of the Marshmello concert, all of which were slightly out of sync and capped at 100 players per instance. Epic can probably do more than this today, but not into several hundred, let alone millions.

Not only does the Metaverse require infrastructure that currently does not exist, the Internet was never designed for anything near this experience. After all, it was designed to share files from one computer to another. As a result, most of the Internet’s underlying systems are oriented around one server talking to one other server or an end-user device. This model continues today. There are billions of people on today’s Facebook, for example, but each user shares an individual connection with the Facebook server, not with any other user. Accordingly, when you access content from another user, you’re really just pulling the latest information that Facebook is giving you. The earliest form of pseudo-synchronous programs were text chats, but you’re still just pushing largely static data to a server and pulling the latest information from it when/where/how/as it’s needed. The Internet simply wasn’t designed for persistent (versus continuous) communication, let alone persistent communication that is synchronized in precise real time to countless others.

To operate, the Metaverse requires something more akin to video conferencing and video games. These experiences work because of persistent connections that update each other in real-time and with a degree of accuracy that other programs don’t generally need. However, they tend not to have high levels of concurrency: most video chat programs max out beyond a few people, and once you hit 50, you tend to need to “live stream” a broadcast to your viewers, rather than share a two-way connection. These experiences neither need to be, nor are they, exactly live.

To this end, part of the reason that the battle royale genre is only recently popular in video games now is because it’s only recently possible to play live with so many other users. Although some games with highest concurrencies have existed for more than twenty years, such as Second Life or Warcraft, they essentially spoofed the experience by “sharding” and splitting users into different “worlds” and servers. Eve Online, for example, can technically have more than 100,000 players “in the same game”, but they are split across different galaxies (i.e. server nodes). As a result, a player only really sees or interacts with a small handful of other players at any one time. In addition, traveling to another galaxy means disconnecting from one server and loading another (which the game is able to narratively “hide” by forcing players to jump to light speed in order to cross the vastness of space). And if/when Eve Online did get to battles involving hundreds of users, the system slowed to a crawl. And this still worked because the gameplay dynamic was based on predominantly large-scale, pre-planned ship-based combat. If it was a “fast-twitch” game such as Rocket League or Call of Duty, these slowdowns would have been unplayable.

A number of companies are working hard to solve this problem, such as the aptly named Improbable. But this is an enormous computational challenge and one that fights against the underlying design/intent of the Internet.

Standards, Protocols, and their Adoption

The Internet as we experience it today works because of standards and protocols for visual presentation, file loading, communications, graphics, data, and so forth. These include everything from consumer-recognizable .GIFs filetypes to the websocket protocol that underlies almost every form of real-time communication between a browser and other servers on the internet.

The Metaverse will require an even broader, more complex, and resilient set of S&Ps. What’s more, the importance of interoperability and live synchronous experiences means we’ll need to prune some existing standards and “standardize” around a smaller set per function. Today, for example, there are a multitude of image file formats: .GIF, .JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, .TIFF, .WEBP, etc. And while the web today is built on open standards, much of it is closed and proprietary. Amazon and Facebook and Google use similar technologies, but they aren’t designed to transition into one another — just as Ford’s wheels aren’t designed to fit a GM chassis. In addition, these companies are incredibly resistant to cross-integrating their systems or sharing their data. Such moves might raise the overall value of the “digital economy”, but also weakens their hyper-valuable network effects and makes it easier for a user to move their digital lives elsewhere.

This will be enormously difficult and take decades. And the more valuable and interoperable the Metaverse is, the harder it will be to establish industry-wide consensus around topics such as data security, data persistence, forward compatible code evolution, and transactions. In addition, the Metaverse will need altogether new rules for censorship, control of communications, regulatory enforcement, tax reporting, the prevention of online radicalization, and many more challenges that we’re still struggling with today.

While the establishments of standards usually involve actual meetings, negotiations, and debates, the standards for the Metaverse won’t be established upfront. The standard process is much messier and organic, with meetings and opinions changing on an ad hoc basis.

To use a meta analogy for the Metaverse, consider SimCity. In ideal circumstances, the “Mayor” (i.e. player) would first design their mega-metropolis, then build from day one to this final vision. But in the game, as with real life, you can’t just “build” a 10MM person city. You start with a small town and optimize for it first (e.g. where the roads are, schools are, utility capacity, etc.). As it grows, you build around this town, occasionally but judiciously tearing down and replacing “old” sections, sometimes only if/when a problem (insufficient supply of power) or disaster hits (a fire). But unlike SimCity, there will be many mayors, not one — and their desires and incentives will often conflict.

We don’t know exactly what the Metaverse will need, let alone which existing standards will transfer over, how, to what effects, when, or through which applications and groups. As a result, it’s important to consider how the Metaverse emerges, not just around which technological standard.

The ‘On-Ramp’ Experience

Just as the standards for the Metaverse can’t simply be “declared”, consumers and businesses won’t embrace a would-be proto-Metaverse simply because it’s available.

Consider the real world. Just making a mall capable of fitting a hundred thousand people or a hundred shops doesn’t mean it attracts a single consumer or brand. “Town squares” emerge organically around existing infrastructure and behaviors, to fulfill existing civilian and commercial needs. Ultimately, any place of congregation — be it a bar, basement, park, museum or merry-go-round — is attended because of who or what is already there, not because it’s a place in of itself.

The same is true of digital experiences. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, didn’t work because it announced it would be a “social network”, but because it emerged first as a campus hot-or-not, then became a digital yearbook turned photo-sharing and messaging service. As with Facebook, the Metaverse needs to be “populated”, rather than just “populable”, and this population must then fill in this digital world with things to do and content to consume.

This is why considering Fortnite as a video game or interactive experience is to think too small and too immediately. Fortnite began as a game, but it quickly evolved into a social square. Its players aren’t logging in to “play”, per se, but to be with their virtual and real-world friends. Teenagers in the 1970s to 2010s would come home and spend three hours talking on the phone. Now they talk to their friends on Fortnite, but not about Fortnite. Instead, they talk about school, movies, sports, news, boys, girls and more. After all, Fortnite doesn’t have a story or IP – the plot is what happens on it and who is there.

Furthermore, Fortnite is rapidly becoming a medium through which other brands, IP, and stories express themselves. Most famously, this includes last year’s live Marshmello concert. However, such examples have rapidly expanded since. In December 2019, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released a clip of the hotly-anticipated film exclusively in Fortnite as part of a larger, in-game audience-interactive event that included a live mocap interview with director J.J. Abrams. What’s more, this event was explicitly referenced in the opening moments of the film. The band Weezer produced a bespoke island where fans could get an exclusive first listen to their new album (while dancing with other “players”. Fortnite has also produced several themed “limited-time modes” involving the likes of Nike’s Air Jordan and Lionsgate’s John Wick film series. In some cases, these “LTMs” transform part of Fortnite’s map into a mini-virtual world that, when entered, changes the aesthetics, items and playstyle of the game to resemble another. This has included the universe of the game Borderlands, Batman’s hometown of Gotham, and the old west.

To this end, Fortnite is one of the few places where the IP of Marvel and DC intersects. You can literally wear a Marvel character’s costume inside Gotham City, while interacting with those wearing legally licensed NFL uniforms. This sort of thing hasn’t really happened before. But it will be critical to the Metaverse.

More broadly, a whole sub-economy on Fortnite has emerged where “players” can build (and monetize) their own content. This can be as small as digital outfits (“skins”) or dances (“emotes”). However, it has rapidly expanded into creating all new games and experiences using Fortnite’s engine, assets, and aesthetics. This includes everything from simple treasure hunts, to immersive mash-ups of the Brothers Grimm with parkour culture, to a 10-hour sci-fi story that spans multiple dimensions and timelines. In fact, Fortnite’s Creative Mode already feels like a proto-Metaverse. Here, a player loads their avatar — one specific to them and which is used in all Fortnite-related experiences — and lands in a game-like lobby and can choose from thousands of “doors” (i.e. space-time rifts) that send them to one of thousands of different worlds with up to 99 other players.

This speaks to the longer term-vision for the game, one that creative director Donald Mustard is increasingly clear about. Fortnite isn’t the Metaverse, but nothing is closer to the Metaverse today in spirit and it is clear how the “game” might eventually underpin one.

Epic Games’ Epic Game Plan

The best example of Fortnite’s potential is demonstrated by its ability to persuade many supposed competitors into cooperation (or early “interoperability”) with one another. Today, Fortnite works across each major entertainment platform – iOS, Android, PlayStation, Nintendo, PC, Xbox — allowing full cross-play that spans multiple identity/account systems, payment methods, social graphs, and typically closed ecosystems. For years, this was heavily resisted by the major gaming platforms as they believed that enabling such an experience would undermine their network effects and reduce the need to buy their proprietary hardware. As a result, a friend with Call of Duty on PlayStation could never play with their friend with Call of Duty on Xbox, even though both Sony and Microsoft knew they wanted to.

Similarly, it’s unusual for IP owners to allow their characters and stories to be intermingled with other IP. This does happen from time to time (e.g. there are several Marvel v DC comic book crossovers and video games). But it’s particularly rare to see it crossed over in an experience they don’t control editorially, let alone one based around unpredictability (not even the creative team behind Fortnite knows what it will do in 2021) and with such a wide range of IP.

This organic evolution can’t be overemphasized. If you “declared” your intent to start a Metaverse, these parties would never embrace interoperability or entrust their IP. But Fortnite has become so popular and so unique that most counterparties have no choice but to participate – in fact, they’re probably desperate to integrate into the “game” – just as P&G can’t say “eh, Facebook isn’t for us”. Fortnite is too valuable a platform.

At the same time, Epic is bringing far more than a plausible on-ramp to its efforts to build the Metaverse. In addition to operating Fortnite — which was in theory a side project — Epic Games also owns the second largest independent gaming engine, Unreal. This means thousands of games already operate on its “stack” of tools and software (to simplify things), making it easier to share assets, integrate experiences, and share user profiles. Over time, the sophistication of Epic’s gaming engine has grown so significant it now powers a variety of traditional media experiences. Disney’s The Mandalorian was shot and fully rendered in Unreal, with director Jon Favreau able to literally enter its digital sets to frame a shot and position characters. If Disney so chooses, audiences could freely investigate much of these sets — most of the environment and assets already exist. And outside film and TV, Unreal is increasingly being used for live events, too: Unreal powers Fox Sports’s NASCAR set, for example.

Still, the Metaverse requires everyone to be able to create and contribute ‘content’ and ‘experiences,’ not just well-staffed corporations and technically skilled individuals trying to make games or movies. To this end, Epic acquired the company Twinmotion in April of last year. The company was/is focused not on VFX engineers or game designers, but on offering intuitive, icon-based software that enables “architecture, construction, urban planning and landscaping professionals” to produce realistic, immersive digital environments based in Unreal “in seconds”. According to Epic Games Founder/CEO Tim Sweeney, this means that there are now three ways to create in Unreal: the standard “coding” engine itself, the more simplified and “visual” Twinmotion, and Fortnite Creative Mode for those with no experience in programming and design. Over time, each option is likely to become more capable, easier to use and integrated.

Another increasingly important part of Epic’s offering is its “Online Services” suite, which allows developers to immediately support cross-play across Sony + Microsoft + Nintendo + PC + iOS + Android and leverage Epic’s account systems/social graph (which has 1.6B player connections). This itself isn’t that unique — Microsoft spent $400MM acquiring PlayFab and millions more to support Xbox Live, while Amazon has bought both GameSparks and GameLift in order to sell services to game developers that need lots of servers and tools for their online games to work. Valve doesn’t offer server infrastructure, but its Steamworks solution gives developers match-making and account services for free — but only for the Steam Store, Valve’s core business. This reveals Epic’s play with Online Services. Unlike today’s market leaders, Epic doesn’t charge. It’s also available free to any engine, any platform, and any game. And it operates at the scale of Fortnite’s player network, allowing any title to leverage the world’s largest player graph to kickstart their userbases. There is obviously value in such an offering, but to Epic, it is “more valuable if free” as it extends the company’s already enormous social graph, makes it much easier for more games to “talk to” one another, and enables players to more seamlessly jump from experience to experience. All of this, too, diminishes Epic’s reliance upon Fortnite when it comes to building the Metaverse. And while Epic Online Services are still in private beta, the company has suggested it will be publicly available in Q2 2020 and should support “hundreds or thousands of games in 2020”. Note, too, that this all reduces Epic’s reliance on Fortnite in its long-term efforts to build the Metaverse.

Epic also operates one of the largest (albeit a still small) digital game store – which means players already access a wide variety of digital content and experiences through Epic. Few consumers were clamoring for greater fragmentation of digital content, and most were reasonably happy with market leader Steam. However, Epic Games Founder/CEO Tim Sweeney has been vocal about the fact that today’s standard 30% commissions for digital content sales (e.g. iOS or Amazon or Google Play) are not just usurious, they prevent the creation of a real digital world economy. Just imagine, for example, if credit card fees weren’t 0.5-2.5% but up to 60-20x as much; whole sectors of the physical economy wouldn’t be able to operate (such as a coffee shop or grocery store). To this end, Epic charges only 12% (which includes the 5% Unreal licensing fee, too, making it only 7% for many customers). Notably, rumors persist that Sweeney had fought for even lower fees but settled with his board at 12% – a sum he himself admits doesn’t always cover operating costs. This doesn’t mean there isn’t an overall business here – and operating a storefront will doubtlessly help build the Metaverse – but Sweeney’s efforts seem much broader. He openly implores Google and Apple, which generate several thousand times the revenue of Epic’s fledgling store, to match Epic’s rates.

CHAPTER 4: WHO ELSE CAN BUILD THE METAVERSE?

Although the Metaverse has the potential to succeed the Internet as a computing platform, its underlying development process is likely to share little in common with its antecedent. The Internet came from public research universities and US government programs. This was in part because few in private business understood the commercial potential of a World Wide Web, but it was also true that these groups were essentially the only entities with the computational talent, resources, and ambitions to build it. None of this is true when it comes to the Metaverse.

Not only is private industry fully aware of the potential of the Metaverse, it probably has the most aggressive conviction in this future, not to mention the most cash (at least when it comes from a willingness to fund Metaverse R&D), the best engineering talent, and greatest desire for conquest. The major tech companies don’t just want to lead the Metaverse, they want to own and define it. There will still be a large role for open-source projects with non-corporate ethos — and they will attract some of the most interesting creative talent in the Metaverse — but there are only a few likely leaders in the early Metaverse. And you’ll recognize each one.

Microsoft is a good example. The company has hundreds of millions of federated user identities via Office 365 and LinkedIn, is the second largest cloud vendor in the world, has an extensive suite of work-related software and services that span all systems/platforms/infrastructure, clear technical experience in massive shared online content/operations, and a set of potential gateway experiences via Minecraft, Xbox + Xbox Live, and HoloLens. To this end, the Metaverse offers Microsoft the opportunity to reclaim the OS/hardware leadership it ceded during the handoff from PC to mobile. But more importantly, CEO Satya Nadella understands Microsoft, at a minimum, needs to be wherever work happens. Having successfully adapted from enterprise to consumer, PC to mobile, and offline to online, all while maintaining a dominant role in the “work” economy, it’s hard to envision Microsoft won’t be a primary driver in the virtualized future of labor and information processing.

Although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not explicitly declared his intent to develop and own the Metaverse, his obsession with it seems fairly clear. And this is smart. More than any other company, Facebook has the most to lose from the Metaverse as it will build an even larger and more capable social graph and represent both a new computing platform and a new engagement platform. At the same time, the Metaverse also allows Facebook to extend its reach up and down the stack. Despite several efforts to build a smartphone OS and deploy consumer hardware, Facebook remains the one FAAMG company stuck purely at the app/service layer. Through the Metaverse, Facebook could become the next Android or iOS/iPhone (hence Oculus), not to mention a virtual goods version of Amazon.

Facebook’s Metaverse advantages are immense. It has more users, daily usage and user-generated content created each day than any other platform on earth, as well as the second largest share of digital ad spend, billions in cash, thousands of world-class engineers, and conviction from a founder with majority voting rights. Its Metaverse-oriented assets are also growing rapidly and now include patents for semiconductor and brain-to-machine computing interfaces. At the same time, Facebook has a very troubled track record as a platform for where third-party developers/companies can build sustainable businesses, as a ringleader in a consortium (e.g. Libra), and in managing user data/trust.

Amazon is interesting in a few regards. Most obviously, it will always want to be the primary place in which we buy ‘stuff.’ Whether that’s bought inside a game engine, a virtual world, or web browser is irrelevant (it already sells inside Twitch). In addition, the company already has hundreds of millions of credit cards, the largest share of ecommerce globally (ex-China), is the world’s largest cloud vendor, operates numerous different consumer media experiences (video, music, ebooks, audiobooks, video game broadcasting, etc.) and third-party commerce platforms (e.g. Fulfilled by Amazon, Amazon Channels), is building what they hope will be the first major gaming/rendering engine purpose-designed for the cloud computing era, reportedly working on AR glasses, and is the leader in in-home/office digital assistants.

More importantly, Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos feels very strongly about underlying infrastructure plays. The web, for example, runs on AWS (Amazon’s best business). 80% of its revenue is actually via “Fulfilled by Amazon,” where the company sells, packages, and delivers products sold by other businesses, instead of Amazon buying and then selling the inventory directly (like most retailers). And while the goal of Elon Musk’s private aerospace company, SpaceX, is to colonize mars, Bezos has been clear his goal with Blue Origin is to facilitate the buildout of space infrastructure similar to early web protocols and his AWS, so that “we could build gigantic chip factories in space and just send little bits down.” To this end, Amazon is likely to be more supportive of a truly “open” Metaverse than any other FAAMG company — it doesn’t need to control the UX or ID because it benefits from enormous increases in back-end infrastructure usage and digital transactions.

The Internet is a mine of data and the Metaverse will have both more data and perhaps greater returns on it than today’s web. And no one monetizes this data better at global scale than Google. In addition, the company is not just the market leader in indexing both the digital and physical world (nearly 10,000 employees contribute to its mapping initiatives), but it is also the most successful digital software and services company outside of China. It also operates the most used operating system on earth (Android), as well as the most open of the major consumer computing platforms. Though unsuccessful, Google was first to really run after the wearable computing opportunity via Google Glass, and is making an aggressive move into digitizing the home via Google Assistant, its Nest suite of products and FitBit. Accordingly, the Metaverse is likely the only initiative that can unite all of Google’s sprawling investments to date, from edge computing on Stadia, to Project Fi, Google Street View, its extensive purchases of dark fiber, wearables, virtual assistants and more.

Apple is unlikely to drive or operate the underlying Metaverse. True, it operates the second largest computing platform of the modern era (and by far the most valuable one), as well as the largest game stores on the planet (which also means it pays more to developers than anyone else on earth). In addition, the company is investing heavily into AR devices and “connective tissue” that will aid the Metaverse (e.g. beacons, Apple Watch, Apple AirPods). However, building an open platform for creation — where everyone can access the full range of user data and device APIs — is antithetical to Apple’s ethos and business strategy. All of which is to say, Apple is more likely to be the dominant way the Western world engages with Metaverse rather than the operator/driver. As with the Internet, this will probably work out pretty well for everyone.

If the Metaverse requires a broad interplay of assets, experiences, and common APIs, Unity will have a foundational role. This engine is used by more than half of mobile games and is even more widely deployed in real-world rendering/simulation use cases (e.g. architecture, design, engineering) than Unreal. And while director Jon Favreau produced Disney’s The Mandalorian in Unreal, he also produced and shot the photo realistic Lion King in Unity. It also operates one of the largest digital ad networks (a nice side effect of powering 10B daily minutes of mobile entertainment). However, it’s not yet clear what role Unity will have in driving the Metaverse. It doesn’t have a store, a user account system, or a real direct-to-consumer experience. Most of its ancillary (i.e. non-engine or advertising) services have not been widely adopted. In addition, most (though not all) Unity-powered games are relatively simple mobile titles rather than those likely to serve as gateways to the Metaverse. However, its inevitable influence over standards, playtime, and content creation are so large that it’s difficult to imagine it won’t be acquired by and integrated into a major technology player with a wider range of assets and advantages.

In the past, an acquisition of Unity was hard to justify. Even though the company is enormously valuable, any would-be acquirer has to keep Unity fully platform-agnostic in order to preserve its market share, developer support, and influence (e.g. Google couldn’t make Unity exclusive to or best on Android/Chrome exclusive without losing hordes of developers). This doesn’t mean turning Unity into a proprietary engine can’t be strategically smart. The value destroyed by such a decision and the premium required to buy Unity is likely to make such a move prohibitive. But if the goal of a Unity acquisition is to ensure a foundational role in the new Internet, an acquirer instead has an incentive to keep the engine open/available across platforms, and the price can easily become irrelevant.

If Epic has a viable path to the Metaverse, Valve must too. Valve’s Steam is orders larger than the Epic Games Store in terms of users, revenue, and playtime. It owns several of the most popular, long-running multiplayer games (Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, DotA). The company also has a lengthy history in content and monetization innovation (it was the first to experiment at scale with AAA free-to-play games and with player-to-player marketplaces). Valve has also spent years developing and releasing VR hardware, generates billions in profits each year, and is privately owned by a team of technologists focused on open-source technologies with a disdain for closed ecosystems. At the same time, Valve’s engine, Source, has seen limited adoption, and unlike Epic, it does not seem to be corralled around uniting its capabilities and assets to create the Metaverse.

Others

While it’s convenient to think of a single lead company or experience ushering in the Metaverse, the process itself will really be led through a Cambrian explosion of different “things” coming together (not that there can’t be a leader or big winner). To this end, there is also a myriad of start-ups trying to build early, proto-Metaverse styled experiences. Ubiquity6, as an example, hopes to use millions of individual content creators to “map” the real world then build smartphone/AR/VR-accessible digital experiences atop these maps. The similarly named Singularity6 is building a virtual world that, unlike Fortnite, is intended to develop into a Metaverse from day one. Other companies, such as Genvid (a portfolio company), are building SDKs that allow anyone to build server-rendered experiences that millions can participate in together using livestreams with light client-side interactivity. While this lacks several of the key attributes of the Metaverse today, such as individual “presence”, it begins amassing enormous volumes of “players” into fully shared virtual environments that aren’t currently possible via cloud or locally-rendered gaming.

Magic Leap seems to believe that by owning the hardware layer, it can be the core driver of the Metaverse (Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson is the company’s Chief Futurist). In fact, most of the FAAMG companies seem to believe that glasses will be a key gateway into our digital future and are collectively investing billions into the form factor. With this in mind, Snapchat, which boasts a large and heavily-engaged social graph and has strongly anchored itself around cameras, glasses, location-based experiences, and digital avatars, could have a key role in the Metaverse (especially if acquired).And for all of its uniqueness, Fortnite isn’t even the only Fortnite — there are several other online “games” that share many of the same attributes, behaviors, and potential. Minecraft and Roblox, for example, both boast more than 100MM monthly users (Fortnite probably has fewer) and have also been able to mash up various intellectual properties (such as Marvel and DC). What’s more, these “games” are even more reliant on user-generated content and user-led experiences — there is no underlying game-like goal such as “winning” or “surviving” in Minecraft, the “game” is creation (which isn’t to say that users haven’t created many “games” with game-like goals). In 2019, Roblox says it will have paid out more than $100MM to its game creators around the world (a group that ranges from single “developers” to studios of “10 or 20 people”). The company also notes that it doesn’t even pay these developers directly — unlike the iOS app store — they receive direct payment from users. And in the fall of 2019, Roblox launched its “Developer Marketplace”, which allows developers to monetize not just their games, but also the assets, plug-ins, vehicles, 3D models, terrains, and other items they produce for these games. Meanwhile, many other games, such as Grand Theft Auto Online (which has an estimated 50MM+ monthly active players), has added socializing-oriented modes (such as a casino) where users can create, operate, or participate in activities purely for the sake of “hanging out”.

Building Together

Ultimately, too much of the Metaverse remains unclear for us to have strong convictions on who will lead it or how they’ll get us there. And in truth, it’s most likely the Metaverse emerges from a network of different platforms, bodies, and technologies working together (however reluctantly) and embracing interoperability. The Internet today is a product of a relatively messy process in which the open (mostly academic) internet developed in parallel with closed (mostly consumer-oriented) services that often looked to “rebuild” or “reset” open standards and protocols.

To this end, it’s hard to imagine any of the major technology companies being “pushed out” by the Metaverse and/or lacking a major role. Not only will the Metaverse grow the pie by too much, big transitions tend to disrupt when they’re hard to see and incumbents are slow to respond or capital constrained. None of this is true today (which doesn’t mean market share won’t shift, or that some companies, such as Epic, won’t surge to the forefront).

At the same time, it’s likely that China’s forked Metaverse will be even more different from (and centrally controlled compared to) the Western one. And here, the tech/media conglomerate Tencent (which also publishes most of the Western games released in China, as well as those of Japan’s Nintendo and Square Enix), is an obvious anchor. The company also owns a reported 40% of Epic Games.

1v1v1v1v1v1…

The visions, technologies, and capabilities I’ve described above still feel like science fiction – even if they come to be, they’re decades away. At the same time, many of the pieces are starting to come together. Thus, the questions are ones of who and why and to which ends. And so, it’s helpful to return to the (lengthy) creation of the World Wide Web. Imagine if instead of being designed by nonprofits and technologists looking to share research files and messages, it was designed to sell ads or collect user data for profits.

This is why it’s so important to Sweeney for his company to lead early efforts to establish the Metaverse — he fears who might instead. “As we build up these platforms toward the Metaverse, if these platforms are locked down and controlled by these proprietary companies, they are going to have far more power over our lives, our private data, and our private interactions with other people than any platform in previous history,” Sweeney said in May 2017. Two months later, he was even more explicit: “The amount of power possessed by Google and Facebook. President Eisenhower said it about the military-industrial complex. They pose a grave threat to our democracy.” As “founder and controlling shareholder of Epic”, Sweeney “would never allow” Epic to “share user data…with any other company. We [won’t] share it, sell it, or broker access to it for advertising like so many other companies do.”

There may not be 100 players, but it’s still a battle royale.

Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew).

THE CENTRAL BANKERS’ LONG COVID: AN INCURABLE CONDITION • Philosophical Salon

Source: Philosophical Salon

Sheep spend their entire lives being afraid of the wolf, but end up eaten by the shepherd. (Popular proverb)

By now it should be clear that COVID-19 is, essentially, a symptom of financial capital running amok. More broadly, it is a symptom of a world that is no longer able to reproduce itself by profiting from human labour, thus relying on a compensatory logic of perpetual monetary doping. While the structural shrinking of the work-based economy inflates the financial sector, the latter’s volatility can only be contained through global emergencies, mass propaganda, and tyranny by biosecurity. How can we break out of this vicious cycle?

Since the third industrial revolution (microelectronics in the 1980s), automated capitalism has been engaged in abolishing wage labour as its own substance. We have now passed the point of no return. Due to escalating technological advance, capital is increasingly impotent vis-a-vis its mission of squeezing surplus-value out of labour-power. With the unleashing of artificial intelligence this truly becomes mission impossible – game over.

This means that the foundations of our world no longer reside in the socially necessary labour contained in commodities such as cars, telephones, or toothpaste. Rather, they reside in highly flammable debt-leveraged speculations on financial assets like stocks, bonds, futures, and especially derivatives, whose value is securitised indefinitely. Only the religious belief that the mass of these assets produces value prevents us from seeing the yawning abyss beneath our feet. And when our faith dwindles, divine providence intervenes by sending us into collective hypnosis through apocalyptic tales of contagion and attendant narratives of salvation.

Yet, reality is stubborn, and keeps knocking on our door. As the financial tumour spreads through the social body, capital opts to unleash its Leviathanic doppelganger, a vampire that feeds on global emergencies and business models anchored in digital technology with the potential to securitize the entirety of life on earth. The writing is on the wall, a ‘soft dictatorship’ is already staring at us. Today, resisting the tide means defending the inviolable dimension of human dignity, a non-negotiable starting point for the construction of an alternative social project. There is still time, but we need critical awareness, courage, and collective awakening.

Pandexit in the land of unicorns

How close are we to Pandexit? The following excerpt from a recent Bloomberg piece has the most likely answer: “For anyone hoping to see light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel over the next three to six months, scientists have some bad news: brace for more of what we’ve already been through.” To unpack this statement, let us surmise that our future is characterised by the following events: 1. Central banks will continue to create inordinate amounts of money, mostly destined to inflate financial markets; 2. The contagion narrative (or similar) will continue to hypnotise entire populations, at least until Digital Health Passports are fully rolled out; 3. Liberal democracies will be dismantled, and eventually replaced by regimes based on a digitised panopticon, a Metaverse of control technologies legitimised by deafening emergency noise.

Too dark? Not if we consider how the health crisis rollercoaster (lockdowns followed by partial openings alternating with new closures caused by mini-waves) looks increasingly like a global role-play, where actors pass the buck to make sure the emergency ghost continues to circulate, albeit in a weakened capacity. The reason for this depressive scenario is simple: without Virus justifying monetary stimulus, the debt-leveraged financial sector would collapse overnight. At the same time, however, rising inflation coupled with supply-chain bottlenecks (especially microchips) threatens a devastating recession.

This catch-22 appears impossible to overcome, which is why the elites cannot let go of the emergency narrative. From their perspective, the only way out would seem to imply the controlled demolition of the real economy and its liberal infrastructure, while financial assets continue to be artificially inflated. The latter comprises cynical tricks of financial greenwashing such as investment in ESG securities, an environmentally disguised loophole to legitimise further debt expansion. With all due respect to the Greta Thunbergs in our midst, this has nothing to do with saving the planet.

Rather, we are witnessing the accelerating dissolution of liberal capitalism, which is now obsolete. The outlook is objectively depressing. Global financial and geopolitical interests will be secured by mass data harvesting, blockchain ledgers, and slavery by digital app peddled as empowering innovation. At the heart of our predicament lies the ruthless evolutionary logic of a socioeconomic system that, to survive, is ready to sacrifice its democratic framework and embrace a monetary regime supported by corporate-owned science & technology, media propaganda, and disaster narratives accompanied by nauseating pseudo-humanitarian philanthro-capitalism.

By appealing to our personal sense of guilt for ‘destroying the planet’, the coming climate lockdowns are the ideal continuation of Covid restrictions. If Virus was the scary appetiser, a generous portion of carbon-footprint-mixed-with-energy-scarcity ideology is already being served as main meal. One by one we are being persuaded that our negative impact on the planet deserves to be punished. First terrified and regimented by Virus and now shamed for harming Mother Earth, we have already internalised the environmental command: our natural right to live must be earned through compliance with ecological diktats imposed by the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, and ratified by technocratic governments with their police. This is capitalist realism at its most cynical.

The introduction of Digital Health Passports (only a year ago ridiculed as conspiracy theory!) represents a critical juncture. The tagging of the masses is crucial if the elites are to gain our trust in an increasingly centralised power structure sold as an opportunity for emancipation. After crossing the digital-ID Rubicon, the crackdown is likely to continue smoothly and gradually, as in Noam Chomsky’s famous anecdote: if we throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately come out with a prodigious leap; if, on the other hand, we immerse it in lukewarm water and slowly raise the temperature, the frog will not notice anything, even enjoying it; until, weakened and unable to react, it will end up boiled to death.

The above prediction, however, needs to be contextualised within a conflictual and deeply uncertain scenario. Firstly, there is now evidence (however heavily censored) of genuine popular resistance to the pandemic psy-op and the Great Reset more widely. Secondly, the elites appear deadlocked and therefore confused as to how to proceed, as demonstrated by several countries opting to de-escalate the health emergency. It is worth reiterating that the conundrum is, fundamentally, of economic nature: how to manage extreme financial volatility while holding on to capitals and privileges. The global financial system is a huge Ponzi scheme. If those who run it were to lose control of liquidity creation, the ensuing explosion would nuke the entire socio-economic fabric below. Simultaneously, a recession would deprive politicians of any credibility. This is why the elites’ only viable plan would seem to lie in synchronizing the controlled demolition of the economy (collapse of global supply-chain resulting in an ‘everything shortage’), with the rolling out of a global digital infrastructure for technocratic takeover. Timing is of the essence.

Emergency addiction

With regard to a potential recession, financial analyst Mauro Bottarelli summarised the communicating-vessels logic of the pand-economy as follows: “a state of semi-permanent health emergency is preferable to a vertical market crash that would turn the memory of 2008 into a walk in the park.” As I tried to reconstruct in a recent article, the ‘pandemic’ was a lifeboat launched to a drowning economy. Strictly speaking, it is a monetary event aimed at prolonging the lifespan of our finance-driven and terminally ill mode of production. With the help of Virus, capitalism attempts to reproduce itself by simulating conditions that are no longer available.

Here is a summary of Covid’s economic rationale. The September 2019 bailout of the financial sector – which, after eleven blissful years of Quantitative Easing, was again on the verge of a nervous breakdown – involved an unprecedented expansion of monetary stimulus: the creation of trillions of dollars with the magic wand of the Federal Reserve. The injection of this inordinate amount of money into Wall Street was only possible by turning the engine of Main Street off. From the point of view of the short-sighted capitalist mole, there was no alternative. Computer money created as digital bytes cannot be allowed to cascade onto economic cycles on the ground, as this would cause an inflationary tsunami à la Weimar 1920s (which ushered in the Third Reich), only much more catastrophic for a stagnant and globally interconnected economy.

Inevitably, the (cautious) reopening of credit-based transactions in the real economy has caused inflation to rise, hence further impoverishment on the ground. The purchasing power of salaries has been dented, along with revenues and savings. It is worth recalling that commercial banks are positioned at the interface between the magical world of Central Banks digital money, and the emergency-swept wasteland inhabited by most mortals. Thus, any wild expansion of Central Bank reserves (money created out of thin air) triggers price inflation as soon as commercial banks leak cash (i.e. debt) into society.

The purpose of the ‘pandemic’ was to accelerate the pre-existing macrotrend of monetary expansion, while postponing inflationary damage. Following the Federal Reserve, the world’s central bankers have created oceans of liquidity, thus devaluing their currencies to the detriment of populations. While this continues, the transnational turbo-capital of the elites keeps expanding in the financial orbit, absorbing those small and medium size businesses it has depressed and destroyed. In other words, there is no such thing as a free lunch (for us). The Central Bank’s money-printer works only for the 0.0001% – with the help of Virus, or a global threat of equal traction.

At present, it looks as if central bankers are indulging in the noble art of procrastination. The Fed’s board will convene again in early November 2021, with taper (reduction of monetary stimulus) announced to start in December. However, with the Covid bubble deflating, how will the elites deal with zero interest rates and direct deficit financing? In more explicit terms: what new ‘contingent event’ or ‘divine intervention’ will get them out of trouble? Will it be aliens? A cyber-terrorist attack on the banking system? A tsunami in the Atlantic? War games in Southeast Asia? A new War on Terror? The shopping list is long.

In the meantime, ordinary people are caught in a suffocating double bind. If credit needs to be made available to businesses, Central Banks must keep a lid on inflation, which they can do only… by draining credit! Runaway inflation can be avoided only by containing the disruptive effects of excessive money creation; that is, by bringing work-based societies to their knees. Most of us end up squashed between price inflation of essential goods, and deflationary liquidity drainage via loss of income and erosion of savings. And in a stagnant economy with inflation off the chart, each suppressed business transaction is channeled into financial assets.

A tool preventing liquidity from reaching the real economy is the Federal Reserve’s Overnight Reverse Repo facility (RRP). While continuing to flood financial markets with freshly printed money, thanks to reverse repos the Fed mops up any excess of that very cash it pumps into Wall Street. Effectively, a zero-sum game of give and take: at night, financial operators deposit their excess liquidity with the Federal Reserve, which delivers as collateral the same Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities it drains from the market during the day as part of its QE purchases. In August 2021, the Fed’s usage of RRP topped $1 trillion, which led the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to double the RRP limit to $160 billion, starting from 23 September 2021.

Here, then, is the elephant in the room: how will the Fed’s taper square with reverse repos of this astronomical magnitude? Is the much-anticipated reduction of monetary stimulus even possible with a global financial bubble fuelled by zero-interest-rate leveraging and structural borrowing? But, at the same time, how can central bankers continue to expand their balance sheet, when the double whammy of stagnation and rising inflation (stagflation) is just around the corner?

The logic of this monetary mechanism is perverse. The solipsistic ‘mad dance’ of financial capital has spun out of control well beyond its customary madness, and the day of reckoning is fast approaching. Can a devastating recession be avoided? Today’s political answer would seem to mobilise the ancient wisdom that ‘extreme times call for extreme measures’, which translates as: no crime against humanity can be ruled out when systemic implosion is so stubbornly denied. Is this not what history has always taught us?

The crisis we are experiencing is not epidemiological. In the first instance, it is meant to take care of the potentially cataclysmic financial exposure to toxic risk and the associated management of inflation. Suffice it to note that central bankers do not succeed in increasing interest rates to 2%, when in the 1970s they were brought up to 20% to combat inflation. However, as Covid reminds us, financial acrobatics of the current magnitude only work under emergency cover: blockades, lockdowns, restrictions, etc. The purpose of the cover-up is twofold: 1. To conceal the sinking of the Titanic (finance-driven ‘work society’); 2. To coordinate the implementation of a colossal monetary reset based on economic depression and centralised control of people’s lives.

Digital fascism

The consequences of emergency capitalism are emphatically biopolitical. They concern the administration of a human surplus that is growing superfluous for a largely automated, highly financialised, and implosive reproductive model. This is why Virus, Vaccine and Covid Pass are the Holy Trinity of social engineering. ‘Virus passports’ are meant to train the multitudes in the use of electronic wallets controlling access to public services and personal livelihood. The dispossessed and redundant masses, together with the non-compliant, are the first in line to be disciplined by digitalised poverty management systems directly overseen by monopoly capital. The plan is to tokenise human behaviour and place it on blockchain ledgers run by algorithms. And the spreading of global fear is the perfect ideological stick to herd us toward this outcome.

As public debates are silenced by censorship and intimidation, we are being escorted to a bio-techno-capitalist dystopia whose hellish character is likely to manifest itself fully with the next global crisis. This would justify the rolling out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), which, in the words of Agustin Carstens (general manager of the Bank for International Settlements), will grant “absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that Central Bank liability [i.e., money], and we will have the technology to enforce that.” Digital cash linked to digital identity is shorthand for hi-tech monetary serfdom, which will be extended to the unemployed first (e.g., UBI recipients), and potentially to most of us. When Larry Fink (BlackRock CEO) says that “markets prefer totalitarian governments to democracies,” we should better believe him.

Separating the population on the basis of vaccination status is an epoch-making achievement typical of totalitarian regimes. If resistance is quashed, a compulsory digital ID will be introduced to record the ‘virtuousness’ of our behaviour and regulate our access to society. Covid was the ideal Trojan horse for this breakthrough. A global system of digital identification based on blockchain technology has long been planned by the ID2020 Alliance, backed by such giants as Accenture, Microsoft, the Rockefeller Foundation, MasterCard, IBM, Facebook, and Bill Gates’ ubiquitous GAVI. From here, the transition to monetary control is likely to be relatively smooth. CBDCs would allow central bankers not only to track every transaction, but especially to turn off access to liquidity for any reason deemed legitimate. The ‘digitisation of life’ project also includes an ‘Internet passport’ which, subject to periodic review, would exclude from the web anyone considered undeserving. Should the social credit score fall below a certain level, finding a job, traveling, or obtaining loans would depend on willing subjection to ‘rehabilitation programmes’. Presumably, there will be a black market for the outcasts.

A cornerstone of historical fascism was industry controlled by government while remaining privately owned. It is quite astonishing that, despite the overwhelming evidence of systematic revolving doors between public and private sector, most public intellectuals have not yet realized that this is where we are heading. Italian writer Ennio Flaiano once said that the fascist movement is made of two groups: the fascists, and the anti-fascists. Today, when most self-proclaimed anti-fascists are quietly or enthusiastically supporting the medically driven authoritarian turn, this paradox is more relevant than ever.

From conspiracy theory to successful paranoia

The epistemology of conspiracy theory drives much of today’s propaganda as a rhetoric of exclusion. The a priori rejection of ‘paranoid thinking’ leaves the official narrative as the sole bearer of truth, irrespective of empirical verification. Therefore, as argued by Ole Bjerg, “the real pathology emerges on the side of the mainstream reactions to so-called conspiracy theorists […] in the form of an epistemic state of exception, which threatens to undermine the functioning of public debate and intellectual critique.”[i] In other words, paranoia qualifies the position of those modern-day Torquemadas whose inquisition tribunals silence any ‘heretical’ thinking that dares to depart from the dogmas of emergency capitalism. The blanket accusation levelled at ‘paranoid Covid-deniers’ and ‘anti-vaxxers’ is symptomatic not only of the dissolution of the democratic bond, but especially of a top-down contagion of ideological sickness never experienced before on such a global scale.

As Jacques Lacan argued in the 1960s, capitalist power works by vanishing, by making itself secret and invisible, thereby dissimulating not only its authority but also its impotence. Everything seems to function spontaneously in capitalism, as if no-one was giving or obeying orders, but just following their spontaneous desires: “What is striking, and what no one seems to see, is that by virtue of the fact that the clouds of impotence have been aired, the master signifier only appears even more unassailable […] Where is it? How can it be named? How can it be located—other than through its murderous effects, of course.”[ii] Should this prompt us to enlist Lacan in the army of wacky conspiracy theorists? While the traditional master relies on symbolic authority, the capitalist master delegates authority to the intangible objectivity of its modus operandi. As made abundantly clear by neoliberalism, mastery is officially relinquished but simultaneously reasserted in its relinquished form, for example as ‘leadership’. And Lacan’s point is that this stratagem opens the space for deeper, more insidious forms of manipulation.

Just like corporate-owned mainstream media, today many Lacanians love to ridicule ‘conspiracy theorists’. Typically, they do so by citing Lacan’s motto that “there is no such thing as a big Other” – so, ultimately, no-one can possibly be plotting behind the curtains. Or, to quote from a recent piece by Slavoj Žižek, “there is no need to invent pandemics and weather catastrophes, since the system produces them by itself.” But these arguments miss the target, for they overlook how power functions precisely by occupying the ontological inconsistency of the big Other, manipulating it in its favour. Differently stated: if there is an unconscious, conspiracy and manipulation are inevitable. The success of any power-structure depends on its ability to weaponise the self-contradictory status of its universe of sense against the neurotic masses.

For all his Hegelianism, here Žižek misses the speculative character of (capitalist) power: systemic contradictions are the very foundation and lifeblood of any power edifice. The elementary speculative ruse of power is that it turns ontological inconsistency into condition of possibility. This is clearly visible in the ‘authoritarian turn’ of contemporary capitalism as predicated upon the ideological use of emergencies. Ultimately, these emergencies are real only insofar as they are capitalist emergencies, deployed at the right time to further the interests of capital. The assumption that they will escape or subvert the existing power structure ignores the extent to which they already function for capitalist power. My reading of Covid as a product of financial volatility is consistent with this speculative stance: pandemic contingency is capitalist necessity, and as such it was supported from the start by a formidable ideological apparatus.

The rhetoric of exclusion that animates the public discourse on Covid can be described through what Lacan, borrowing from Freud, named “successful paranoia”, which “might just as well seem to constitute the closure of science.”[iii] Essentially, “closure” refers to the positivistic belief in scientific objectivity, which is built on the rejection (foreclosure) of the ‘subject of the unconscious’ as source of questioning, doubt, and error. In the context of Lacan’s discourse theory, successful paranoia aligns with a hyper-efficient belief-system secured by the “curious copulation between capitalism and science”.[iv] The power of what today is unilaterally promoted as ‘real science’ (so real that it bans doubt, prohibits debate, and promotes censorship) is akin to the power of a new religion, as Lacan cautioned in 1974: “Science is in the process of substituting itself for religion, and it is even more despotic, obtuse and obscurantist”.[v] And capitalism banks on science & technology just as it capitalizes on health, one of the most profitable businesses in the world.

The ‘science’ we are ordered to follow is hijacked by the financial elites and their political cronies, thus working as a barrier against the awareness that ‘our world’ is crumbling. Real science, which continues to operate behind the thick curtain of censorship, would never impose dictatorial mandates like those still in place in democratic countries around the world. Blind faith in ‘Covid science’, then, betrays a desperate desire to hang on to capitalist power, inclusive of its authoritarian mutation. Yet the history of scientific progress shows that science is, fundamentally, a discourse emphatically centred on what it lacks. All major scientific advances are based on a principle of insufficiency: the awareness that truth as cause of knowledge is ontologically lacking. Or, to quote Lacan: “Il n’y a de cause que de ce qui cloche” (“There is cause only in what doesn’t work”).[vi] This is the science worth fighting for.

While the system’s driving presuppositions (the value-creating relation between capital and labour) have stopped working, the Covid decoy allows capitalism, once again, to suspend any serious enquiry into its structural sickness and ongoing transformation. The clinic of neurosis shows us the extent to which the average neurotic wants a master, whose role is to reassure them that their world lies on solid foundations. Neurotics are often so desperately attached to their power-structure that they turn into perverts to secure its functioning – like a masochist eagerly handing the whip to his dominatrix. Perversion works as a command to enjoy the power relation, and contemporary subjects often readily submit to power in a desperate bid to consolidate it. Unfortunately, the conservative structures of neurosis and perversion are often shared by ‘progressive minds’ (including liberal and radical leftists) whose commitment stops at virtue-signaling or participation in conspiracy theory shame games.

And yet, not all is lost. Despite the unstoppable convergence of science and capitalism in establishing a watertight belief-system that excludes dissent, our successfully paranoid universe will fail to totalise its structure. Paradoxically, the current crackdown on humanity may be the best chance yet for radical opposition to the coming regime of capitalist accumulation and its relentless emergency blackmail.

Notes:

[i] Ole Bjerg, “Conspiracy Theory: Truth Claim or Language Game?”, Theory, Culture & Society, 2016, pp. 1-23 (6).

[ii] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, trans. Russell Grigg (New York: Norton, 2007), pp. 177-78.

[iii] Jacques Lacan, Écrits. The First Complete English Edition, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), p. 742.

[iv] Lacan, 2007, p. 110.

[v] Jacques Lacan, Freud Forever: An Interview with Panorama, trans. Philip Dravers, Hurly Burly 12, 2015, pp. 13-21 (18).

[vi] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 11, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998), p. 22.

Facebook, the New Evil Empire • Strategic Culture Foundation

Source: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/10/07/facebook-the-new-evil-empire/

In the last few years, Facebook has become Public Enemy No. 1 in the media’s imagination, and Mark Zuckerberg is suddenly the creepy James Bond villain. Celebrated PBS filmmaker Ken Burns even ranted on a podcast that Zuckerberg was an “enemy of the state” who should be in jail.

After Facebook went down for six hours on Oct. 4, CBS late-night “comedian” Stephen Colbert joked, “Facebook did not say what might be causing the outage. Now, I’m no computer expert, but my theory is: A just God?”

It does not matter one iota that Facebook employees donated 90% of their political money to the Democrats in the last election cycle. Or that Zuckerberg donated $400 million to a “civic integrity” group that funded election monitors and health measures at the polls in 2020. It doesn’t matter how many Facebook posts they censored to please the left before the election; the outcomes weren’t favorable enough to the Democrats.

Liberal journalists compared the harm of Facebook to smoking, and Zuckerberg to a tobacco CEO. The team at “Morning Joe” used the CEO analogy after touting a poll that Zuckerberg now is less popular than Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Both sides are angry. Conservatives don’t like how much they are censored on Facebook. Liberals don’t like how conservatives are never censored enough for their tastes.

Colbert joked they’re objecting to quack medical advice; it’s where your “second cousin thinks the vaccine gives your pancreas Wi-Fi.” But they’re really upset that conservatives have used Facebook to go around the media filter. The media wants that filter imposed on Facebook. They need to “curate” information as fiercely as the “mainstream media” does.

CNN has gone so fiercely after Facebook in recent days you might think Facebook was somehow like Fox News multiplied by 100. They went live to a hearing on Oct. 5 where Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen ripped her ex-employer as “one of the most urgent threats” to the American people, and claimed that they drive children to suicide, “stoke division” and “weaken our democracy.”

The Democrats want a dramatic content crackdown. On MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Rep. David Cicilline trashed Facebook, saying it is “a monopoly, it has monopoly power, it’s too big and too powerful to care.” That sounds like a decent description of our federal government, which is much bigger than Facebook. But Cicilline warned Facebook is a business, so “it in fact puts profits before everything else.”

He insisted not only must the government force more competition into the digital marketplace, “We have to in fact pass legislation that will make Facebook accountable for amplifying toxic and dangerous content.”

So what is “toxic and dangerous”? Let’s start with what “fact-checkers” are flagging as false. If you look up the category of “Facebook Posts” on PolitiFact, you quickly find that out of 1,456 posts, 88% are “Mostly False” (182 posts), “False” (765 posts) or “Pants on Fire” (357 posts). Only 65 are “True” or “Mostly True.” If PolitiFact throws the “False” flag, Facebook suppresses the content.

The most recent posts demonstrate that PolitiFact is especially upset at vaccination misinformation, claims about the 2020 election being stolen and anyone disparaging President Joe Biden and liberals. For example, they provided a “False” rating for a Facebook post stating, “The White House ‘created a fake set for (President Joe) Biden to get his booster shot.’” (It was a set inside an auditorium.) Then, there’s “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie faked their COVID-19 vaccinations on live television.”

The watchdogs of “toxic and dangerous” Facebook content have a tilt to the left… precisely like the “mainstream media” has a perpetual slant.

Exploring Different Aspects of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) – by Muunyayo

This examination of the ADL is broken up into different parts that I’ve assembled based on a “internet black hole” I went on this evening.

  • Examination of the ADL income tax return, Form 990
  • Examination of affiliated ADL entities, found on Form 990
  • Examination of highest paid contractors, one in particular
  • Biographical information of key ADL Board members
  • Biographical information of key ADL management
  • The ADL’s largest contribution to society, their Hate Symbol Symbols of European Heritage database

The ADL 2018 Form 990 – Highlights

Form 990 is the tax return filed annually for entities exempt from income tax aka not for profit businesses. In order to maintain an entity’s tax-exempt status, it is required that they file this tax return annually, amongst other requirements. Below is the first page of the tax return, the name of the entity and it’s EIN (employer identification number) match that of information in the Guide Star database (the catechism of tax-exempt entity research for accountants and attorneys).

The next item of interest that came to me is the CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt’s annual income, especially since he only works 20 hours per week, as disclosed on the tax return.

The next item of interest, a required disclosure on Form 990, is Schedule R, disclosure of “Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships”. The tax ID number aka EIN is the unique identifier used by the IRS to pinpoint any entity. Our social security number is the equivalent of a business’ EIN. Here on this Schedule R we see two organizations that fall within IRS jurisdiction and one that is based is Israel, which does not have nexus in the United States, therefore it is outside the IRS wheelhouse.

But there are two in the US:

  • Anti-Defamation League Foundation
  • ADLF Common Fund

Now, the Anti-Defamation League Foundation files a Form 990-PF, the PF acronym for Private Foundation. The tax return itself did not raise any unexpected alarms, however, a private foundation in the State of New York is required to file an annual report with the Attorney General. The annual report includes both the Form 990-PF and a copy of audited financial statements (performed by an outside, independent CPA firm). The Notes to the financial statements disclose the guts beneath the numbers. So let’s have a look here (this is for the fiscal year end 2017):

We see the filing with the Attorney General for Charitable Organizations is made as a dual filing, between the ADL and the ADL Foundation. Standard stuff.

Next, as included with the Attorney General filing, aside from the income tax returns, are the audited financial statements. We see the audit was performed by KPMG, known as one of the “Big Four” public accounting firms. Big Four firms audit Fortune 500 companies, large charitable organizations (like the American Red Cross) and other engagements that are large in scope.

Here is the standard Auditor Report that heads audited financial statements and the notes to the financial statements:

Within the notes there are two very significant disclosures …the first is the amount of money the ADL has within it’s Net Assets. There are three categorizations used for a tax-exempt entity in Net Assets (like a for-profit entity, has line items in it’s Equity section, Preferred Stock, Common Stock, Retained Earnings, etc):

  • Unrestricted Net Assets – this amount is available to the entity to spend at will. There have been no designations placed on the funds by the source of the grant/charitable contribution as to how the funds can be used.
  • Temporarily Restricted Net Assets – this amount is comprised of charitable contributions that have stipulations attached to them, per the source of the contribution. For example, a source makes a $1 million dollar donation, within the contribution letter, it states the money can only be dispersed for rent or perhaps for purchase of new technology).
  • Permanently Restricted Net Assets – this is known as the endowment. The principal cannot be touched, however the income generated (dividends, distributions, interest earned, rents, royalties and realized gains on the sale of marketable securities) can be funneled into supporting operating activities.

Here is the breakdown of Net Assets:

Take a look at the near $107 million dollars in assets in Investments…is the ADL in operation to stop anti-Semitism? Or are their activities from a financial standpoint at the very heart of where anti-Semitism grows? Let’s look closely…

The ADL has a near $69M endowment. Pretty handsome indeed. As I mentioned before, the notes to the financial statements disclose the guts beneath the numbers. Let’s view Note 7:

There are interesting subsections within the endowment, for instance, “International Affairs and Interfaith Programs”. Money to support propaganda on behalf of Muslims, illegal immigrants – imagine the possibilities!

The most striking disclosure within the notes to the financial statements comes here, Note 3, a breakdown of the Investments line item:

I’ve attempted to highlight “Absolute Return Funds” only however I am on a mobile device and my fingers are not skinny enough. What on earth are Absolute Return Funds? Moreover, $35 million dollars are placed with these magic funds. It is common place within the internal treasury mechanism of a company, foundation, or otherwise to keep it’s cash in various investment vehicles, outside of bank accounts alone, like Treasury Notes, stocks, mutual funds, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), etc.

I worked as an auditor for a solid decade and never did I see the usage of “Absolute Return Funds” ever. Both the connotation and denotation of “Absolute” is completely against the grain of prudent accounting.

WHAT THE FUCK ARE Absolute Return Funds?

And well – hedge funds – hedge funds are the vehicle of absolute return. There is nothing more Jewish than hedge funds. So it’s befitting of the ADL to sink their coffers into hedge funds. I suppose it would be foolish to think they would invest in a farm in Nebraska or a coal mine in West Virginia. Hedge funds and the ADL – who would have guessed?

Back to Form 990 – Part VII – FIVE HIGHEST PAID CONTRACTORS

For each of the five I did research on the internet, news articles and such and also looked up the corporate filings (Articles of Incorporation/Annual Reports/etc.) and found no gleaming conflicts of interest. However, Purpose Campaign, LLC – their website spells out why the ADL would utilize this company for advocacy:

Purpose is the go-to advocacy group for the globalist class. Bloomberg Philanthropies, ACLU, UNICEF, World Wildlife Foundation (which is a UN entity), Rockefeller Foundation, Google, Nike, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the WHO, Amnesty International… networking amongst the donor class is at the heart of the ADL fundraising methods.

Now, a profile of Purpose’s Founder and CEO:

Globalist roots: keynote speaker at Davos, the Chatham House, the United Nations and the RSA. He also served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Civic Participation. Finally, he worked for McKinsey & Co, a major cog in the machine called The Great Reset.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION OF KEY PEOPLE

This examination of public filings reveals some interesting details about the ADL. During my internet browsing black hole I finally took a look at the ADL website and wanted to see it’s Board of Directors and Key Management. Some of the biographical information blew my mind:

CEO: Jonathan Greenblatt – Before ADL, Greenblatt served in the White House as Special Assistant to President Obama and Director of the Office of Social Innovation.

  • Greenblatt served in the White House and most certainly networked with influencial individuals that held decision making authority.

Senior Vice President, Policy: Eileen HershenovDirectly prior to coming to the ADL, she served as General Council and head of public policy for the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, the fifth-most visited internet site. Prior to that, she was General Council at Consumer Reports and before that, General Council at the Open Society Foundations.

  • Wikipedia is heavily biased in favor of the Left.
  • Open Society Foundations in George Soros’ outfit.

Senior Advisor to the CEO: George Selim – Prior to his appointment at ADL in 2017 as Senior Vice President of Programs, George served in the administrations of Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump. He served as the Department of Homeland Security’s first Director of the Office for Community Partnerships. Concurrently, he was selected to lead a newly created Countering Violent Extremism Task Force to coordinate government efforts and partnerships to prevent violent extremism in the United States. Before assuming these roles, George served for four years at the White House on the National Security Council Staff where he focused on policy development and program implementation matters for both domestic and international security threats. Prior to his work at the White House, George served as a Senior Policy Adviser at the DHS Office for Civil Rights.

  • The DHS and National Security Council under the Biden administration have made it priority to target domestic White supremacist extremism.
  • The ADL works closely with major social media networks on the monitoring of hate speech, at a minimum.
  • The ADL, DHS, FBI and the Establishment at large relish the thought of a nationwide political dissident roundup.

Vice President, Law Enforcement & Analysis: Greg Ehrie – a 29-year veteran of government service. Having spent 22 years with the FBI, he most recently served as Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Field Office, managing all FBI investigations throughout the state of New Jersey. He has served in a variety of roles, including as the supervisor of the New York Office’s Domestic Terrorism squad, and later as the Section Chief of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Operations Section, where he was responsible for all domestic terrorism investigations throughout the U.S. and oversaw the operations of the National Joint Terrorism Task Force.

  • The FBI has evolved into a subversive operation, entrapment of “right wing” dissidents, as seen recently with the leadership within the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers and the stunt to kidnap the governor of Michigan.
  • The ADL provides training on antisemitism to the FBI.
  • The FBI has made it priority to shut down political dissidents.
  • This man working at the ADL after his high level position within the FBI is very alarming.

Vice President, Technology: Larry Chertoff -Earlier in his career, Larry worked on Wall Street where he led large teams developing innovative custom software at firms including Thomson Financial, Societe Generale, Shearson Lehman Brothers, and Smith Barney. Larry Chertoff is the brother of Michael Chertoff.

  • Michael Chertoff was the co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act
  • Michael Chertoff was United States Secretary of Homeland Security to serve under President George W. Bush
  • Michael Chertoff served on the Board of BAE Systems, a major arms contractor that benefits from the annual defense spending budget.

Vice President, Center for Technology and Society: Dave Sifry – Dave joined ADL in 2019 after a storied career as a technology entrepreneur and executive. He founded six companies including Linuxcare and Technorati, and served in executive roles at companies including Lyft and Reddit. In addition to his entrepreneurial work, Dave was selected as a Technology Pioneer at The World Economic Forum.

  • Technorati was huge in the aughts.
  • The World Economic Forum = the Great Reset

Conclusion on the Leadership base: globalist, one world order people completely inline with the Zionist agenda. No surprise there, yet the expanse of the penetration into so many facets of economic, legal, financial, technological and government matters is mind-blowing.

HATE SYMBOLS DATABASE Pure Character Assassination

This hate symbols database has a recurring theme as to what constitutes a “hate symbol”. The recurring theme is many of the symbols relegated to the hate database are ancient European symbols that have been used in anecdotal scenarios in modern times. “Neo-nazi” co-opting, “Aryan” prison gangs and “White supremacists” random use of ancient European substance – means that ancient European substance is equivalent to soap and lampshades according to the ADL. Below is a sample of symbols in their database and associated reasons for appointing the hate to the symbol. The ADL themselves explain the true origin/use of the symbols AND they state that most modern use is that of “non-extremists”.

Runes

Othala Rune
Life Rune
Tyr Rune

Runic alphabets are pre-Roman alphabets used widely across Europe, easily recognizable because of their angular characters. There are many different varieties of runic alphabets, of which the most well known is the so-called Elder Futhark (the name is derived from the sounds of the first six characters).

Runic alphabets are still used today in many mainstream and non-racist contexts. However, white supremacists have also appropriated the runic alphabet, in large part because Nazi Germany often used runes in its symbology. White supremacists use runes for transliterated Roman letters, creating an alternative alphabet (sometimes viewed as a code, since the vast majority of people do not know runic letters).

Because runes are still commonly used in a variety of non-racist forms, their appearance should always be carefully analyzed in context.

Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross, as typically depicted, is a traditional Christian symbol used for religious purposes as well as to symbolize concepts like Irish pride. As such, it is a very common symbol and primarily used by non-extremists.

Today, this verson of the Celtic Cross is used by neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and virtually every other type of white supremacist.

Other Symbols

The Confederate Battle Flag – first of all, this version lacks blood stains, which calls the ADL’s credibility into question.

WP? – WordPress should look into this.

This is a perfect example of the obfuscation tactics the ADL uses in this database. This symbol means “not equal to” in mathematics.

This is called the “Anti-Antifa” symbol. Antifa, the paramilitary group for Google’s human resources policy, tranny rights and other kosher stuff. Antifa today is a group of upper middle class white kids from the suburbs that target the property of the working class. Opposing black bloc tactics means you are in favor of genocide, per the ADL.

My Disposition: the ADL is the enemy.

Threat Actor offers Database of 3.9 Billion phone numbers extracted from Clubhouse

  • Leaked records included Clubhouse user IDs, names, usernames, Twitter handles, Instagram handles, number of followers, number of people followed by the users, accounts’ creation date, and invited by user profile names. Financial data was not included in the data leak.
  • Similar attacks have targeted Facebook and LinkedIn
  • The threat actor published a link to a sample of data contained in the database, Phone numbers belonging to over 83.5M Phone numbers of Japanese users.

DHS deploying Big Tech to spy on Americans through social media

Americans who are on social media are being warned that the federal government appears to be planning to hire “big tech” to spy on people and report on whether they could – or should – be considered “dangerous.”

Source: DHS deploying Big Tech to spy on Americans through social media

Poll: Big Tech’s Public Image Has Severely Deteriorated — Occidental Dissent

I’ve already stated my view of Big Tech. Destroying Big Tech is now our top priority. The Hill: “Americans’ perceptions of big tech companies have steadily deteriorated over the past 18 months as titans like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon receive an avalanche of bipartisan criticism, according to a new poll.A new Gallup poll released Thursday shows that…

Poll: Big Tech’s Public Image Has Severely Deteriorated — Occidental Dissent