Recently, there has been an outbreak of wardecs on the high-sec Fortizars around The Forge. This has already lead to the destruction of one, owned by Riemannian Manifold Torus on 14th August .
These wardecs attracted attention, and culminated in a reddit thread, and a neocom article with the individual behind them, LennyKravitz2. Lenny, as he is commonly called, was one of the mercenary brokers for Money Badger Coalition (MBC) in the great norther invasion (a.k.a. World War Bee). The reddit thread and subsequent interview raised more questions than they answered, so, we asked Lenny if he would sit down and answer just a few of these. He was kind enough to agree, and his answers are reproduced in full below.
TMC: You are rumored to be behind the recent attacks on Fortizars in The Forge, both from Vendetta, and from Mercenary Coalition, can you explain briefly why you decided to start this?
LennyKravitz2 (LK):Yes, I contracted those Fortizars to be eliminated. The reason is twofold. I wanted to deter people from using them as a private tax haven and also to create a situation where some would decide to leave and start up operations elsewhere. My name was dropped somewhere down line and it added an opportunity to create a dialogue with the community to state my reasons.
TMC:You have said on reddit that you want to spread trade more throughout EVE, what led you to want to do this?
LK: There were a few of factors that led me to this. One was remembering CCP stating that their future intentions were to make NPC stations vulnerable for destruction and the second was World War Bee. I used hisec mercs to interdict The Imperium’s logistics to an enormously great effect. World War Bee also say fairly large shifts in the Eve economy as assets were destroyed en masse and also with the PI market (increased demand due to the Citadel release, IHUBs/TCU/POCO needs for claiming the North mixed with a severe shortage of PI being harvested due to the North being conquered). That kind of market instability and vulnerability to being manipulated is a major concern of mine. Add in the possible future destructibility of the major markets is what is my driving factor. There are many that have far more wealth than I do, both in liquid ISK and in assets. It merely would take one of them to set up their own hub, kill the others by paying a fortune to do so and they recoup the losses by putting in their assets at a premium.
Mind you, this is years away but it takes years to establish a market hub and trust in said hub. Having the hubs on the rim of hisec will allow the economy to be fortified in time. The final reason is that it will open up previously ‘dead’ parts of Eve as the Tertiary market hubs will overlap with them in terms of jump freighter ranges.
TMC: You have also said on reddit that if someone builds Fortizars in the outer areas of eve, you will stop your attacks on the Fortizars, to avoid any confusion in this, is this aimed at the current Fortizar owners in the forge, or anyone who wishes to build a remote region hub?
LK: It is aimed at anyone who wishes to do so. The current Fortizar owners are in the best position to do so but many do not seem to be keen on that idea. I also stated that if this does not gain much traction, I will set it up myself and do so in a way that it will be managed and controlled by others and overseen by Chribba (so that there is complete trust in the operation).
TMC:Are your attacks only for Fortizars in trade hub regions, or does it extend to those outside of the big 4 regions? Does it also include Fortizars in Hek (as that is no longer a designated trade hub) or other peripheral Fortizars?
LK: I have only ordered the hits on the Fortizars near Jita (The Forge). The Fortizars that are near Jita but not in the same region are exempt. Anything else, I did not order the hit on.
TMC: You have said you have the people ready to buy from your new regional hubs (specifically the ones in the areas near to TEST, Darkness, PH etc), Are your hubs only aimed at the major nullsec alliances, or are you prepared to offer services in FW regions, or for smaller groups who lack the logistic backbone of those large alliances.
LK: The trade hubs would service anyone and everyone regardless of their affiliation. This promotes regional market stability, which oddly enough, increases the likelihood of conflict in the area. Eve is very interesting in that if groups have a easier logistics, it is easier for them to fight and fight longer. If you disrupt or make the logistics more difficult, the fighting capabilities of the various groups decreases as assets destroyed are more difficult to replace and ops tempo is required to decrease as well to keep up with the supply.
TMC:Moving onto the criticisms that have been raised, one of the criticisms that has come up is that there is already the opportunity to create these hubs, without destroying the HS trade hub region Fortizars, can you explain why you have not just placed some IWI branded citadels in the locations you want them?
LK: The major reason was that I wanted to bring the opportunity to everyone else before I decided to do this. IWI is not designed for doing this kind of work and has no part in it. The misconception is that IWI is an actual entity like Goonswarm Federation or Pandemic Legion. The reality is, all the bankers are members of various separate alliances and IWI is a job. We are friends in IWI but there no back-door wheeling and dealing because IWI is solely focused on the customer and providing the services that we provide. World War Bee was an exception due to one of our bankers, who was in SMA, being scammed. That allowed me to take advantage of the situation and have a backup funding in case we had a catastrophic loss. Had SMA not scammed the banker and upset Eep, I would not have been able to obtain that.
So, my situation is this: Due to World War Bee, I have been able to gain more and more market influence because the opportunities landed on my lap. I have no desire to take control of the market, nor do I want to become a space dictator or even a space Rockefeller. So my initial attempt was to make it not profitable for people to have their tax havens near Jita. Ideally they would have spread out and the market would shift eventually but again my name got out there and it became an opportunity for me to explain things and try to persuade people to branch out.
TMC: There has been mention (also on reddit) that there are already a number of smaller hubs throughout eve, so is there not already the decentralization that you want to achieve, with the 4 main trade hubs serving as stock locations for shipping out to these tertiary hubs?
LK: Aside from the major 4 trade hubs the smaller hubs are not open to outsiders. Lowsec groups like Shadow Cartel or Snuff cannot use the Pandemic Horde or Circle of Two markets. The mechanics outside of citadels do not allow for an inclusive market system outside of hisec. The exclusiveness inherent in sov ownership prevents potential adversaries from buying in their rivals hubs and even lowsec is far too dangerous without the tethering mechanic.
TMC: If someone wishes to build a remote region hub in an area that you have not mentioned, will you give your assistance to them for stocking and providing customers, through your relationships with the larger groups in eve?
If they show me that it is a viable business and have a solid plan to succeed, I would be more than happy to help them. There would be conditions though, like having Chribba maintain control/oversight. This is to make sure the clients and the traders are protected.
TMC: What will be the tax rates in your citadels? You have stated that one of the things you dislike is the tax havens in the trade region hubs, so what will be the rates on offer to those who wish to trade out of your citadels?
LK: The range would be 0.5% to 1% .
TMC:Following on from the previous question, you said on reddit that “Market traders (the ones that buy low and ship the goods to another market and sell high) are what I am looking at. Getting them in and bringing in supply and shipping out stuff will be important.” How will you get market traders to come to your hubs?
LK: I already have a number of them already interested. Some are multi-trillionaires like myself and I may also participate in trading.
TMC: What do you feel that people are misunderstanding about your project?
LK: There are a few arguments that the majority of the dissenters are gravitating towards and I would like to answer those arguments first and then I can go over some of the other things that people do not really understand.
Supply: There is not enough supply on the market to cover additional trade hubs and it will make prices go up
My answer to this is that it is completely inaccurate. I have trillions in asset that I cannot put on the market because it would crash those markets. So I have to wait….and wait…and wait. I am not alone in this and as assets are being moved to other hubs for trade, the prices will go up but the stockpiled supply will allow for the market to stabilize again.
Volume: There is not enough volume in assets being traded at a given time to support the additional hubs
With the tertiary trade hubs being established, more conflict will happen. It will be easier for people to deploy because they can buy from the tertiary hub, local supply of assets to blow people up will be steady and local demand for assets to move elsewhere will also be steady. What people dont realize is that the market traders will not just be supplying the tertiary hubs. They will be buying and moving goods from those tertiary hubs to other areas that would give them the most profit. This stabilizes the global economy naturally. In essence, instead of entities that consume the most goods (lowsec and nullsec entiites), having to move assets in from Jita or other parts of the Eve, the traders will do it for them and because of the trader’s ability to wait for buy orders to fill and can still make a sizable profit.
Logistics and stockpiles: Many groups have stockpiles of assets and also logistics is not typically an issue for them
Not everyone has stockpiles and stockpiles run out due to a number of reasons and they need to be replenished at some point. Also, there are many areas where moving assets to and from are very difficult and painful. Having a strategically placed tertiary hubs will reduce the less fun aspects of Eve (jumping 4+ jumps to get to hisec in a JF and then gating even more to Jita for example) and at that same time opening up regions (like Syndicate and Placid) to more people.
Another concern is that many people think that I am trying to control the market or something to that effect. This is Eve and their paranoia is completely understandable but for me, I don’t want to be in that position. To me being the Eve Rockefeller and controlling the markets and pushing out competition is not fun. Some use World War Bee as an example and I will very plainly say, that was on a whim and something I wanted to see if I could do it. I did it…yay me. My goal now is to set things up so that the as many people as possible can have as much fun as possible. We are now in a situation where we have the opportunity to have exciting regional conflicts and with those tertiary hubs, that will grow. The Eve economy does not run on simple supply and demand because the consumption of goods is not the same as in the real world. Conflict drives the economy in Eve and creates the demand….oddly enough, the easier it is to have those fights and conflicts, the demand will go up and there will always be someone that is willing to meet the demand.
TMC: Over what timescale do you envision these hubs coming into being, as actively used locations?
LK:Well, if I have to erect them (which it is looking like I am), it won’t too long for the first one to be erected. It could be over a period of 4-6 months to get the 4 tertiary hubs built and setup. Stocking them will take a week or less after each one is erected. Getting the list of assets that the customer want is a different matter but I will be working on that. It will take much longer though for them to be established and fully market worthy (random people in the area putting their assets on sale instead of moving the assets to Jita).
TMC: How do you think the new industrial arrays will affect your hubs, and the other future structures that are planned by CCP´?
LK: I think the industrial arrays will be very good for the Eve economy and likewise the tertiary hubs. The other big structure that would be very significant would be stargates. Those will open up highly inaccessible areas to the tertiary hubs (like Venal or Stain) and allow more and more trade to happen regularly. I am very excited for what is to come.
TMC: Finally, if there are readers who want to get involved in the project, what should their first step be?
LK: Contact me in game on Lenny Kravitz2 or Nigerian Banker Prince. The more traders the better as competition should always rule. Others that have the means of setting up a citadel and are interested in creating a tertiary hub are also welcome.
We would like to thank Lenny again for taking the time to answer these questions. As this is a rapidly developing story, we look forward to bringing you new developments as they happen.