You installed a strange browser you found in the deep web that works similar to any other. You soon discover something really amazing. That browser shows the state of any web page or online app 5 seconds in the future.

You make some tests.

WhatsApp and similar things you can interact with quickly become a mess, changing constantly as soon as you change your mind while you read your future responses or try to write. It's practically unusable.

Betting pages work as expected, seeing the results 5 seconds before the rest.

Poker and similar gives you an obvious advantage but only 5 seconds doesn't grant you the victory.

E-sports don't work on browsers, so they are discarded.

You really want to became really rich. How do you do it?

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    $\begingroup$ Betting pages and Forex. You play roulette. I think latency between "no more bets" and final number is 3 second so you have 2 to bet ludicrous amount of money. Hint: you take loan, wait for 0. Pay back loan play with income. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ Reminder to close-voters: The problem cannot be fixed if the OP is not made aware of it. That being said, I tend to agree with the too story-based close reason. Helping with the rules, effects, and limitations of this browser is a worldbuilding topic; deciding what to do with it is not. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ If I remove the story from this question, I'm left with, "I have a browser that shows me what a web page will look like 5 sec. into the future. How can that be used to turn a profit?" That's actually a worldbuilding question ("how can the technology of my world be used to achieve a specific goal?"). However, having used Ebay a few times over the years and knowing how the Internet works (latency, update cycles, etc.), a 5-second window is IMO worthless. Now, 5 minutes... you could actually do something with 5 minutes. But with 5 sec. you can't trust the contents to be in any way accurate. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ -1 since you have already given the answer yourself (Betting). $\endgroup$
    – user3106
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure I understand the close votes. You are asking about how a user would best abuse a system that is outlined and explained...that the OP mentions a user doesn't make this story telling...all in all it is still about the system. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 18:13

10 Answers 10



Set up a webcam pointed at your computer screen with the browser open, use another computer to watch the webcam through another instance of the browser, set up another webcam and another computer with another instance of the browser...

Each additional computer that you add to the chain will give you a further 5 seconds insight into the future.

With 60 camera/computer/browsers in a chain, you have five minutes of insight into the future - easily enough to place bets on races, poker, games of chance. You'll even be able to see when suspicion is aroused about your activities sufficiently in advance to avert it.

The more money you make, the easier it'll be for you to create an even bigger machine with more layers and more "foresight" - you should then be able to see what oilfields yield fresh reserves, where archaeological finds yield hoards of gold jewels, artifacts (and get there first, at your leisure) you'd see future technology (and the technical plans/specs on Wikipedia or future equivalent) and be able to invent it first. You could save the world by discovering the secrets of cold fusion. Find out what's in Dr. Pepper.

You'd be able to find the secret of immortality (at least long life and cell repair) and graft any convenient physical and mental abilities onto yourself. You' could create a high-tech self-repairing army to protect you and do your bidding.

You'd see what political strategies would lead you to become the president/prime minister/premiere of your chosen country - then what strategies would lead to your becoming ruler of the world.

You'd discover time travel - go back to just after when the browser was created, kill the creators.

So, to sum up:

  • You rule the world.

  • You own it.

  • You're immortal.

  • You can predict your enemies strategies before they were even born.

  • The world's resources are at your disposal to do with as you will - to expand off-planet, or to parallel worlds (if such exist - you'd know).

  • No living person can do what you do and no one knows how you did it - you have no serious rivals and no peers.

  • You now know exactly what happened on the grassy knoll on that fateful day and what's up with area 51.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @Nai45, you found my weaknesss, spelling. and punctuation $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 15:23

Assuming that the web browser is compatible with modern web standards...

  1. Get an account with a web-based electronic stock trading platform, for example, E*Trade or TD Ameritrade.

  2. Use your 5 seconds insight to buy low and sell high.

  3. Enjoy your filthy lucre.

  • 41
    $\begingroup$ This is easy, trading companies worry about microsecond lag times, 5 seconds will be a huge advantage. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ +1. Also, having some sort of bot to do the trading for you would help tremendously. $\endgroup$
    – Aubreal
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't work: Public dissemination of trades is delayed 15 minutes; so you are seeing the prices set by trades 14 minutes 55 seconds ago. To do this you need access to Level III quote information, which is typically restricted to NASD member companies. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @EricTowers: "Subject to certain eligibility requirements and fees, E*TRADE customers may receive Market Data on either a real-time or delayed (by at least 15 minutes) basis." (E*Trade Disclosure Library, "Market Data") $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ @EricTowers You get a professional trading account at one of the member companies. It's been 10 years but I used to do exactly this professionally. There's some monthly fee but it's cheap enough to think of as "free", the service makes their money off of stock trading fees. Your real problem is going to be avoiding accusations of insider trading. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 20:48

Crack any password, ever. Any problem (and there are a LOT) that is hard to solve but easy to verify, and be solved instantly by being able to look into the future.

For a simple example: cracking a combination padlock.

  1. Create a simple website, with a form, where you type in a number, click submit, and it displays it back to you.

  2. Make a plan: You will open that page. If it is blank, type 0001 and submit. If it shows a number, try the padlock; if it opens, type that number in and submit. If the padlock doesn't open, add 1 to the number, and submit it.

  3. The only stable outcome is, that the browser view from 5 seconds in the future, will show you the correct combination!

There are a HUGE number of extremely important questions in cryptography, physics, biology, etc etc. that can be checked in a few seconds, but would take centuries to try every possible combination. We're talking world changing stuff here, depending on the intelligence of the team you have working on it... you could do practically anything.

But, you just want money. So, here's what you do: Open a bank account somewhere secure (swiss? caymans? do a bit of research, first). Then go to the online banking portals of other banks. Use your magic password cracking password to open the account of Warren Buffet / Bill Gates / Donald Trump / etc. Transfer their money to you. You are now rich! Just make sure you get all of it - don't want them coming after you! ;)

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    $\begingroup$ This trick was actually used in one chapter of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality using time travel (but the outcome there was a message from his future self saying something along the lines of Don't do it) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ This assumes Stable Time Loop, while the question implies Multiple Timelines. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ Do note that cracking the account of someone famous would probably get you a lot more unwanted attention than targeting multiple, smaller accounts. Preferably sell password cracking services on the black market so there's an additional layer between you and the folks who are going to come looking for their money. $\endgroup$
    – Perkins
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Acccumulation he says the page changes in response to you deciding to do something, I don't get how that leads to multiple timelines? If you make an if/then resolution based on what you see when you open the browser, it has to form a stable time loop. Although I wonder what would happen if you decided "if it shows 1 I type 2, if it shows 2 I type 1" $\endgroup$
    – Benubird
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ +1 in part because of the inventiveness, in part because of how uncomfortable thinking about this makes me feel. Not sure if 5 seconds is really enough time to crack anything complex though unless you also have significant automation... need time to read value displaying on form, enter credentials in bank/login form, submit, wait for success/fail response enter the new value in form and submit. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 13:45

Get an augmented reality headset, and install a custom firmware on it, which contains the browser open to a page that shows the incoming feed from the camera on the headset. Project this image in front of one (or both, as a sort of overlay) of your eyes.

You now have the ability to constantly see 5 seconds in the future. You can call every coin flip. Tell what people are going to do before they do it. You have inhuman reflexes; you can dodge bullets! Maybe you should become a superhero?

But, the question is how to make money, which is not difficult: Walk into a casino, and start playing baccarat. Or blackjack. Or even the slot machines - some of them use the player pressing a button as the random input to determine the prize, and your glasses let you see exactly when to push it.

You know what every die will roll before it hits the table, shouldn't be hard to make a buck or two from that!

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    $\begingroup$ Nice thinking but good luck walking through casino doors with an AR headset :) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 6:57
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    $\begingroup$ As an anecdote: During the football worldcup, we once watched the matches in our garden, using DVB-T. Suddenly our neighbours inexplicably screamed out in ecstasy (They used cable TV). Seven seconds later we saw that our team scored a goal. Morale: if there is enough lag in the video encoding-sending-decoding chain, 5 Seconds into the future might actually become 2 Seconds in the past ;-) $\endgroup$
    – M.Herzkamp
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ Most casinos have rules against technology. They'll kick you out for a phone, they'll kick you out for an AR headset. Oh and they'll also kick you out if you start winning too much even if they don't know why. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Technological version of Atium from the Mistborn trilogy! $\endgroup$
    – snetch
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ @xdtTransform Or they could have people check for contacts... Eye removal is a bit excessive isn't it? Unless the user has a bionic eye, then it makes sense. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 13:32

Just sell it.

In speed trading seconds are highly valuable. To a company engaged in that the fair market value of your browser would have to be tens if not hundreds of millions. Full five minutes of advance time on competition would be pretty much license to print money. You would have to figure out a way to filter out the effects of your own trades on the accuracy of the prediction but those guys could pull it off.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Well, yes, but that doesn't make for a very interesting story... $\endgroup$
    – Aubreal
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ HFT wouldn't be impacted by a browser, because the browser's latency is far too high. Regular speed trading (i.e. trading that's more than a second long) would be much more impacted. $\endgroup$
    – David Rice
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRice Yes, I couldn't remember the correct name and just used what Google showed up, guess that isn't really a good way to pick words. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I understand that high-frequency traders pay huge amounts of money to get their equipment placed as close to the stock trading platform servers as possible, to reduce transmission delays. If you can get the same result by placing your equipment anywhere in the world and communicating via a couple of geosynchronous satellite hops for all transmission delay cares, that alone could save some serious money... $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ Why sell your power to someone who will instanstly become the villain of the story? That's the worst decision you can make. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 10:19

You say too much quickly "Poker and similar gives you an obvious advantage but only 5 seconds doesn't grant you the victory."

I suggest to play specifically Omaha's variety and not Texas Holdem, acting in the lapse between you know the cards the crupier shows and your time to play.

How the game works?

You receive your cards. Then there are four streets to bet:

  1. Preflop: No cards at the table. You only bet with your cards.
  2. Flop: The crupier shows three cards and there is a new bet.
  3. Turn: The crupier shows the fourth card and there is a new bet.
  4. River: The crupier shows the fifth card and ther is the final bet.

Why Omaha's variety?

At texas holdem you receive two cards. At omaha four. Common best hands on TH are a top pair, while at omaha you frequently have as best hand the nut (the best posible hand on table). So at TH you may fall beting in flop street while turn or river card make you loose the money.

How to profit it?

You need to play at high tables with position. That means you are the last player on the hand playing, to know crupier's cards. Then you just need to bet when you flop the nut or a good flop (note the nut means you win for sure). This is specially important at first street as at Omaha you can frequently flop the nut, but it would be valid also for further streets. So you will allways play cards that flop a good hand and also bet on turn (where money use also to flow in this variety).


The paradox is the server would show your past bets, and so it should be a bit magic showing two paralel time lines and not only the main one where it knows your bet (knowing yourself crupier's cards).

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    $\begingroup$ DIdn't you just rehash OPs question in a much worse form? You need to explain in detail how a 5 second advantage could make you rich in poker. $\endgroup$
    – pipe
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH "Poker and similar gives you an obvious advantage but only 5 seconds doesn't grant you the victory."-->FALSE. I edit my question and if you still think it is uncorrect I will delete it. $\endgroup$
    – user61971
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Oh! That's what we call a frame challenge and that's perfectly all right. Please read the link and format your answer so that it's clear what you're doing. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH I hoppe I now contribute a bit at this excellent question. Feel free to leave a new feedback! $\endgroup$
    – user61971
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Much better! Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 17:44


Ticket scalping is the process of buying additional tickets to resell at a profit for events. Most of these events use a platform like Ticketmaster.com and the sale only starts on a specific day and time.

Using your browser you can go to the release of a highly desired event and purchase a number of valuable tickets. Since these high profile shows sell out within days if not hours your 5 second lead time should help purchase the tickets before legitimate users. Afterwards you can resell on things like Facebook market place.


You can start ebay reselling. It is easy enough to discover the true value of a product with some googling. Make a list of the really good deals and then shortly after a product closes bidding you have 5 seconds to place the lowest possible winning bid.

After the purchase you put it back up on the internet with a better value so you can profit from the difference.

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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't ticket selling platforms get suspicious if someone bought out the VIP section 5 seconds before the tickets went on sale? $\endgroup$
    – Aubreal
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ If the browser sees 5 seconds ahead, won't the bidding close 5 seconds early for you? $\endgroup$
    – John Locke
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnLocke I think the idea is you have another browser open to use the information you got $\endgroup$
    – Draconis
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnLocke It says that it sees 5 seconds ahead, not that it acts 5 seconds ahead. An action taken in the browser might in fact take 5 seconds to occur, so that the action occurs when the webpage reaches that future state. Of course, that might inhibit the ticket scalping argument, as you would still be competing with everyone else in real time, 5 seconds after you click buy. $\endgroup$
    – Davy M
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ Been a long time since I've used eBay, but if I remember correctly, you never see what the maximum bid someone put in is unless it is surpassed. If person A bids max of 5.00 Dollars, and person B bids max of 10.00 Dollars, and nobody else bids, Person B wins the auction at a cost of 6.00 Dollars. Person A never sees that B was willing to pay up to 10.00, so can't know to bid 11.00 . $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 18:31

Does the browser have magic prophecy powers, or just your specific installation? Because the first would mean that it's unique, and others have given pretty good answers about how you could use that.

If you can just download it to any and as many machines as you want, you end up in a vastly different universe, and I'd like to go open up that angle a bit, because I think you need to either consider this or come up with a very good reason as to why it's not used by everyone. This thing will spread, because it's far too useful, too interesting, and too good of an opportunity to make money for it to stay secret for very long.

In that scenario, it's only a matter of time until many, most, and all other people use it and have the same advantage, resulting in nobody having a real advantage anymore, but being forced to use this browser. Race betting etc. would break down, because nobody would offer these bets if they know that betters know the winner. In stock trading, you'd end up in a similar state to reality, where people fight about microseconds again after everyone has that 5 second advantage.

I'd go so far as to say that in this scenario, you actually could not make much money with this, unless you are one of the early adopters, or you get very, very creative. I could imagine scammers using this in some convoluted "bet on a coin toss while secretly glancing at the browser that shows me a webcam image of the result" scheme, but other than that there's not much room for getting rich quick. Except for one: you have control over the browser's functionality somehow, and can charge people for using it - provided nobody can reverse engineer it and create an open source version or something.


Register as a bookmaker on one of the online gambling websites which takes bets on in-play sporting events. I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the website but I'm sure some googling will find it (from outside of a firewall preventing access to gambling website). It allows you to make bets but also take bets. So, you can lodge a sum of money with them and you can take bets on the outcomes of events from other gamblers. For example, someone wishes to bet 5 dollars and 2/1 on the outcome of a horse race, if you have 10 dollars in your account (to cover the payout), you can "back" that bet. If the horse doesn't win, you keep the 5 dollars bet that the gambler placed. The specific site I saw demonstrated allowed you to place and back bets on horse races right up until the end of the race and as the winner seemed to become clear, the odds on the winning horse would shorten considerably and the others would lengthen considerably. Now, if you had a way to know when something unusual happened, i.e. the lead horse falls just seconds before the finish line, you could financially "clean up".


If you just want to have fun and make some (but not shittons) of money, play online multiplayer video game competition. 5 seconds will guarantee you can eliminate any and all opponents with ease.


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