An assassination market or market for assassinations is a prediction market where any party can place a bet (using anonymous electronic money, and pseudonymous remailers) on the date of death of a given individual, and collect a payoff if they "guess" the date accurately. This would incentivise assassination of individuals because the assassin, knowing when the action would take place, could profit by making an accurate bet on the time of the subject's death. Because the payoff is for knowing the date rather than performing the action of the assassin, it is substantially more difficult to assign criminal liability for the assassination.
Early uses of the terms "assassination market" and "market for assassinations" can be found (in both positive and negative lights) in 1994's "The Cyphernomicon" by Timothy C. May, a cypherpunk. The concept and its potential effects are also referred to as assassination politics, a term popularized by Jim Bell in his 1995-96 essay of the same name.
In Part 10 of his essay Bell posits a market that is largely not-anonymous. He contrasts this version with the one previously described. Carl Johnson's attempt to popularise the concept of assassination politics appeared to rely on the earlier version. There followed an attempt to popularise the second in 2001 that is ongoing today. The feasibility of assassination markets as a tactic of radical civil-disobedience has been established.
Technologies like Tor and Bitcoin have enabled online assassination markets as described in parts one to nine of Assassination Politics. One was created by a self-described "crypto-anarchist". The first assassination market that adopted a Jim Bell protocol became available in autumn 2001. It remains a continuous project called APster, which is a name that was used quite often by various cypherpunks.
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- Harkin, James (2009). Lost in Cyburbia. p. 239.
- May, Timothy C. (September 10, 1994). "The Cyphernomicon: Cypherpunks FAQ and More, Version 0.666". Cypherpunks.to. pp. Sections 4 & 16. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
- Bell, Jim (April 3, 1997). "Assassination Politics". Infowar. Archived from the original on 27 January 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
- McCullagh, Declan (April 14, 2000). "Crypto-Convict Won't Recant". Wired News. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
- "CJ files".
- http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2001/05/43771. Missing or empty
- http://www.lair.xent.com/pipermail/fork/2003-July/023219.html. Missing or empty
- Greenberg, Andy (18 November 2013). "Meet the 'Assassination Market' creator who's crowdfunding murder with Bitcoins". Forbes. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- http://cypherpunks.venona.com/. Missing or empty
- Hess, Patrick (2002). Cyberterrorism and Information War. Anmol Pubs. ISBN 978-81-261-1161-9.
- Thomas, Douglas; Loader, Brian (2000). Cybercrime: Law Enforcement, Security and Surveillance in the Information Age. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-21326-4.
- Sukumaran, R. (2004). "Cryptology, digital assassination and the terrorism futures markets". Strategic Analysis 28 (2): 219–236. doi:10.1080/09700160408450129.
- Clarke, R.; Dempsey, G.; Ooi, C. N.; O'Connor, R. F. (16–17 February 1998). "Technological Aspects of Internet Crime Prevention". Proc. Conf. "Internet Crime". Australian Institute for Criminology, Melbourne University.
- The Assassination Market - a Tor hidden service that acts as an online implementation of the assassination market concept, using Bitcoin for anonymous payment (link goes to Tor2Web proxy accessible in a normal web browser)
- Jim Bell, Assassination Politics (from archive.org)
- The Usenet discussion containing the initial publication of the first part of Assassination Politics
- Academic discussion of the idea from an anarchist perspective
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