A new site allows anyone to set bounties on the death of any individual and anonymously pay a hit man who fulfills the contract with digital currency bitcoin. Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke and the prime minister of Finland are already on the hit list.
“Killing is in most cases wrong, yes. However, as this is an inevitable direction in the technological evolution, I would rather see it in the hands of me than somebody else. By providing it cheaply and accurately I hope that more immoral alternatives won’t be profitable or trusted enough. This should primarily be a tool for retribution,” says the text of the Assassination Market, written by a man using the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro.
Users who log in have to simply place a name and a photograph, and send at least 1 bitcoin (just over $700 at the time of writing) through a trail-obscuring mechanism called a mixing service, which tangles up different people’s payments in the already nearly anonymous online currency.
The administrator then has to accept the candidate, before posting his name on the front page.
“When someone uses the law against you and/or infringes upon your negative rights to life, liberty, property, trade or the pursuit of happiness, you may now, in a safe manner from the comfort of your living room, lower their life-expectancy in return… Politicians, bureaucrats, regulators and lobbyists are accepted without question,” continues Sanjuro, named after Akira Kurosawa’s stoic but deadly samurai character.
The would-be assassin then contacts the administrator – who serves as an intermediary – and “predicts” the death of the target on a particular date. If this date is correct, once the target is dispatched, the administrator passes the money to the hitman, without the two ever having discovered each other’s identities, with Sanjuro keeping a commission of 1 percent.