Cointelegraph Interviews Cobaltskky, 'The Butt That Saved Bter'
Cobaltskky is a growing name in the NXT community. She has been called "The Butt That Saved Bter" for her role in that exchange's negotiations
Art by: Jing Jin
When we covered the Bter hack of 50M NXT, we focused on the negotiations between Bter and the hacker and how the NXT community was reacting and if they would hard fork or not. But there was a little bit more to the story. Fantastically retold by Enter Stage Right's Daniel M. Ryan, NXT community member and Cadence Jean Morton, aka Cobatskky may have had a little something to do with the hacker returning the money.
We did learn, after Ryan's article, that the main motivating factor for the hacker returning the NXT was BTC, but the timing of Cobatskky's messages and the hacker returning the money, along with his replies afterward, seemed to indicate that the “woman's touch” added by Cobatskky may have helped tip the scales, even if only slightly.
Regardless of just how much her charms had to do with the NXT being returned, Cobatskky became somewhat of a celebrity on the NXT forums. She decided to “cash-in” on the newly found fame and sold an erotic (but tame) image of herself on the NXT decentralized marketplace.
She took some time to answer a few of our questions on the role of women in Cryptocurrencies, her role in the Bter negotiations and what Cryptocurrencies can do for women particularly.
[editors note: while the interview took place via email and Skype, Cobatskky added “[laughs]” to indicate when she was laughing. We left the interview as is, but did not want to mistakenly give the impression that the interview took place in person.]
Cointelegraph: You have jokingly referred to yourself as “the butt that saved Bter” do you want to give our readers a little run down on your role in the BTER hack?
Certainly, Ian! It was the day after the Bter hack - the community was buzzing about what TheSir had done. It's a long story - and probably infamous at this point - about how TheSir and Bter exchanged messages, Bter sent TheSir some funds, TheSir, snubbed them, then Bter panicked and sent a massive amount of funds to TheSir. Then TheSir went radio silent. At that point, the community was at a loss. That's when individuals began sending blockchain messages to TheSir. Some pleaded for return of the stolen NXT, some offered to undercut Bter's offer and buy the NXT directly from him, one guy sent the message "Your small penis is small." Which has become a bit of a running gag in the community. [laughs] Anybody who knows me in the community knows that I don't often pass up an oppurtunity to make a wry joke. I'm one of the admins on MICoin, so it's pretty obvious I love some good wry, satirical humor! [laughs] I sent the following message to TheSir: i.imgur.com/kwf4sJl.png I posted somewhere that I meant it totally in the spirit of satire, it wasn't a real offer. Well, I went out with some friends that night, and when I got home and checked the forums, people were calling me a hero! Apparently, TheSir had sent all the stolen NXT back except for about 10 %! Right before he started sending the NXT back, he had sent me a blockchain message, "pics please." I was out, so I hadn't responded. Then after he was finished sending the NXT to Bter, he sent me another message saying(and I paraphrase), "Money has been sent. Where do you live?" The actual wording is in the blockchain history somewhere. I guess people saw that and credited me as being the lady who tamed the beast, so to speak. [laughs]
CT: Since then, you have used the NXT digital goods store to sell a picture of that butt. How has that experience been for you, did you find success selling it there?
Not to mince words, but I'd like to make a small correction here - the Nxt digital goods store is now named the Nxt Marketplace. People are selling all sorts of physical goods on there. Somebody is even selling a house! [laughs] It's pretty amazing what creative ideas people will come up with when they are allowed free reign with tools such as this. My experience was mostly positive. I only sold a few copies of my picture before I de-listed it. I received some great feedback! The guys were very respectful. As for using the marketplace feature, it was super easy. Put in the quantity, the asking price, the description - and that was it. It couldn't be simpler. Delisting was even easier. The only gripe I have is that after delisting, the product remains in the blockchain, flagged as delisted. So, people have the ability to go back and see what you've listed and then removed. Moral of the story - don't list anything that you don't want traced back to you. [laughs]
CT: As someone who has sold goods on there, do you think decentralized exchanges of goods have a bright future? There are a few of them now, but demand doesn't seem as high as I think some were expecting, do you think such services need to be decentralized?
We're very early in social adoption of crypto's. It would be remiss of me to project how they will be used in society and culture in the coming years. I'm a firm believer that they will evolve into something that people want to use - I believe that the next generation specifically, those kids who are growing up self-publishing to Youtube, for instance - won't want to give a cut of their profits to a middle-man unless that middle-man adds some value. I think the next generation will be very individualistic with their publishing. They will want to do things their way and reap the benefits directly. I see crypto marketplaces as being able to cater to that need.
I won't speak to the topic of the other services you mentioned, because I'm not familair with them. I do know there are some great non-profit services being built around the Nxt blockchain. One of them is Melodius. They're going with a non-profit model and I think that's more the future of such services than a decentralized service. The difficulty with decentralized services is coordinating them - they tend to lose focus. However, if the features are built into the blockchain that create a foundation for other's to build a centralized service - that's really something! I like the non-profit model - that's the leg up that Melodius has on services like iTunes and Amazon Music. They may be middlemen, but the fees are ridiculously low compared to the big guys. That puts more money into the pockets of the artists, where it belongs. It gives them more incentive to continue to create - which is what they do best and
what they want to do, I think.
CT: There are actually quite a few females that are visible leaders for the crypto community, but it is still filled disproportionately with men. As the industry grows, do you feel that it will run into the same problems of inequality that the tech industry has been facing recently? The crypto world does seem at least a little more diverse than the internet industry was at this stage.
I suspect that it will. In my experience, women tend to be more people-oriented than logic-oriented. I'm sure I'll get flack for saying that. [laughs] I'll follow that up by saying that there are many brilliant female programmers, lawyers, accountants. I mean, for many women, they look at crypto's and see a lot of features relevant to financials, contracts, doing business. It's not interesting to them. In order to grab the female demographic, crypto's will need to focus more on improving the quality of lives, improving relationships, how we communicate and express ourselves to each other. For example, in the information tech industry, across all disciplines, statistics show a disproportionate ratio of men to women. But if you look at healthcare IT, you'll find that ratio to be vastly improved. I think that's because health care is people-focused in health care IT, we deliver solutions that allow clinicians to improve on outcomes. That means making people have better lives. Once crypto's start delivering such solutions, I think we'll see more women in the industry.
CT: You did remove the listing from the NXT exchange because of “childishness [on the forum]” but the majority of those posts were deleted. What kind of reaction did you get from NXT members to posting an erotic kind of picture on the NXT marketplace and would you do it again?
Ah, I'd like to clarify something here. The childishness wasn't so much on the forum, as on the blockchain. While I was selling my picture, there was an individual completely new to the community who attempted to launch, in their words, the NXTroad - which was supposed to be the next iteration of the silk road of Bitcoin infamy. This guy kept spamming me with fake assets, he doxed my name using unencrypted arbitrary messages...it was too much for me to deal with. I was concerned that he would purchase my picture and then illegally share it somewhere. So, I took down my listing. I would certainly consider selling such a picture again if it made sense to the spirit of satire that I originally sold it under.
CT:I am hesitant to call the picture “porn” as it seems to be more about a community event and the human body that played a role in that. With that said, and I know this is far out of your expertise, but as a woman, do you think the NXT decentralized exchange could be a place where women who are exploited in the porn industry could take ownership of their work and cut out the parasitic middle men that exploit them?
I can send you the pic if you're into selfies of crypto chicks in their undies? [laughs] I wouldn't consider it porn either. I listed it in the spirit of the over all satirical joke that I had initiated. I was looking to cash in a bit on my fame too, quite honestly. I have some mounting medical expenses that exceed insurance coverage in the US. To quote an old English proverb, "every little bit helps, said the old woman as she pissed in the sea." [laughs] To address your question directly, I think the adult entertainment industry could be a killer app for crypto's, just like it was for the Internet in the nineties. I have several lady friends in that industry who I've mentioned crypto marketplaces and crowdfunding to. One of them has plans to use a Bitcoin crowdfunding site to fund her adult movie next year. In my view, I see it as a form of art - it's an act of artistic expression like any other - and I'm a proponent for removing the middleman from between artists and their audience if the middleman doesn't add value.
CT: How do you think the NXT community would react to such a development for the exchange they created?
I won't speak for the community. I'm sure there are many varied opinions on it. I'll speak to my own opinion though - it would need to be handled delicately. For instance, I don't think any one cryptoplatform would want to become known as the "pr0n platform." Nxt has so many disruptive, innovative features - to label as one thing or another would be doing the community and the developers a disservice. Since the Nxt Marketplace is in its infancy, I'd hate to see it inundated with any one particular type of good. Diversifying the offerings will be key to adoption and to not being labeled as good for selling one particular type of product. That's partly why I chose the Nxt Marketplace to sell my book.
CT:You were involved in the doxing of someone who many felt may have been the hacker, but others felt may have been the hacker's fall man. If you could do it over again, and had everyone else involved in doxing him listening to your commands, would you change anything, and do you still think he could be the hacker?
I feel guilt and remorse for doxing this individual(let's call him Bill). I got caught up in the moment, and didn't think before I posted. I've since apologized to Bill. He took the doxing and apology with grace. I've recently been the victim of a vicious doxing attack, and though the intent was different between my doxing and my harasser's, I can still relate to how Bill must have felt. I don't think Bill is the human behind TheSir monicker - I stopped suspecting that as soon as Bill posted on the forums. TheSir was smarter than I gave him credit for - I suspect Bill was a fall guy.
CT: I'm told that the hunt is still on going, but most of the community seems to have moved on, how important do you think it is for the NXT community to recover the remaining NXT funds and/or the BTC payment? Why or why not?
Oh, the hunt has not ended - TheSir isn't in jail and the NXT hasn't been returned to Bter, right? [laughs] The hunt continues - it's moved to private messaging. That's all I'll really say on that topic.
Do you have any final thoughts on the hack, NXT's decentralized exchange, Women in Crypto or anything else?
I wasn't long-winded enough for you? [laughs] No - I think that about covers it. I would suggest anybody interested in following this story or the Nxt Marketplace, or any of the projects
that I mentioned before, join us on the Nxt Forums - nxtforum.org It's a wonderful community full of dedicated, respectful individuals. Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story, Ian!
We would like to thank Cadence Jean Morton for taking the time to answer our questions. Again, her book can be found on the NXT decentralized exchange.