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Lawmakers on Capitol Hill questioned top executives at Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday about their companies’ ability to thwart foreign interference, and hinted that industry regulations may be coming.
The “size and reach of your platforms demand that we, as policy-makers, do our job, to ensure…
U.S. stocks are mostly lower as technology companies lag the rest of the market for a second day.
Social media companies slipped at the start of congressional hearings where executives from Facebook and Twitter will testify about their efforts to prevent disinformation and election meddling.
Nike’s decision to make its bold deal with Colin Kaepernick was partly a shrewd business move, but sources involved in the negotiation tell TMZ Sports a big part was also cultural. Our sources say Nike was fully aware there would be outrage by…
A young social media star who inspired legions of fans with her optimism despite a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis has died at 21—a week after receiving a new set of lungs in a transplant, reports People . Claire Wineland suffered a stroke soon after the Aug. 26 transplant, and…
In this week’s daily editions of Bitcoin in Brief we reported about a new Islamic trading platform, a couple of steps towards self regulation of the industry and a new app for matching buyers and sellers off-exchange. The most commented-on article during the week covered the claims by Ripple that its coin is more decentralized than Bitcoin.
On Monday, we reported that a company based in the United Arab Emirates has created a Shariah-compliant cryptocurrency trading platform named First Islamic Crypto Exchange (FICE). The company has also gathered an in-house Shariah Advisory Board in order to “ensure that Islam is finally included in the global cryptocurrency market.” And it will take advice from internationally recognized Shariah experts to make sure everything is Halal, according to the Arabian Business Community. The company hopes that the new exchange will support the inclusion of Muslim crypto enthusiasts and traders into the space.
A couple of stories showing how the cryptocurrency industry is trying to police itself were featured on Tuesday. A number of companies have jointly formed a Working Group to try and establish an industry-sponsored, self-regulatory organization (SRO) for cryptocurrency marketplaces operating in the USA. Initial participants in the Virtual Commodity Association (VCA) Working Group include: Bitstamp, Bitflyer USA, Bittrex, and Gemini Trust. Another group of actors in the industry (including Ecoinmerce, ICO Alert, GZH, Step VC, and New Economies) has created the Crypto Community Watch, a program which provides an anonymous tip line to report wrongdoing, with a total of 100 BTC to be used as a reward pool for whistleblowers.
Congresswoman Buys Crypto
An interesting discovery we reported on Wednesday is that a lefty American politician has invested in crypto during the 2017 mania. Tulsi Gabbard, the American congresswoman from the Democratic Party serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, bought both ETH and LTC in December, 2017 according to her latest Financial Disclosure Report to the Clerk of the House of the Representatives. The disclosure doesn’t reveal her current cryptfolio but the initial investment, at least, was somewhere between $ 2,000 and $ 30,000 USD.
Tinder for Trading
On Thursday, we reported about the Dominican Republic-based Crypto Matchup, a new app to encourage social cryptocurrency trading. It aims to help cryptocurrency fans around the world arrange informal meet-ups to make trades in-person. In addition to BCH, it supports coins such as BTC, LTC, and DASH, a desktop portal and beta Android app are available. We also provided an update on the story of the 19-year old alleged simjacker: he apparently used his ill-gotten crypto to buy a McLaren sports car.
Bitmex Living Large
On Friday, it was reported that leveraged crypto exchange Bitmex has rented some of the most expensive office space in the world. The trading platform has leased the 45th floor of the Cheung Kong Center skyscraper, according to the Hong Kong Economic Times which cited unidentified sources. The building hosts some big names in the finance world, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Barclays Plc, and Bank of America Corp. According to the newspaper, rents in the Cheung Kong Center reach HK$ 225 ($ 28 USD) per square foot for the space of about 20,000 square feet.
A developing story throughout the week, the latest attempts by the Chinese government to curb the local industry have been featured on Saturday. A regulatory body responsible for monitoring online financial risks wants to investigate transactions to 124 trading platforms, many of which are Chinese-run businesses that moved abroad following the ban imposed in September, 2017. According to Xinhua, the agency noted that domains and IP addresses of websites located outside of the People’s Republic could be banned in order to decrease the number of people using them. The next step would be to apply control measures in regards to China-based companies providing transaction services to local residents.
XRP Is More Decentralized Than Bitcoin?
The most commented-on article during the week covered the claims by Ripple that its coin is more decentralized than the category leaders. Ripple Labs Chief Technology Officer, David Schwartz, wrote a piece about “The Inherently Decentralized Nature of XRP Ledger”. In it he stated that “While Bitcoin and Ethereum are becoming more centralized over time, the XRP Ledger is getting more decentralized.” Commenters were a bit skeptical, join the discussion to have your say.
This Week in Bitcoin Podcast
Catch the rest of this week’s news in the This Week in Bitcoin podcast with host Matt Aaron.
What other stories in the Bitcoin world caught your attention this week? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Venezuela is starting to use a new currency Monday to help bolster its collapsing economy
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The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations
Section 4: State Versus Society
Chapter 9, Part 7
The Jiu-Jitsu of Crypto: Personal Freedom vs Social Change.
It is often assumed that power derives from violence and can be controlled only by greater violence. Actually, power derives from sources in the society which may be restricted or severed by withdrawal of cooperation by the populace. The political power of governments may in fact be very fragile. Even the power of dictators may be destroyed by withdrawal of the human assistance which made the regime possible.
–Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action
Cryptocurrencies withdraw assistance from the state’s engine of power: the financial system. But they do more. They create a parallel payment and monetary system that draws upon the state’s own energy to defeat it.
The Japanese martial art of jiu-jitsu is a method of defeating an armed opponent in close combat, even though the defender is unarmed. The attacker’s force and power are used against him. The defender never directly confronts the attacker with opposing force. Jiu-jitsu is an art of self-defense in which the attacker is not the opponent; his movements are.
Bitcoin defeats the central banking system even though crypto has no force of law or standing military with which to directly confront the attacking banks. Instead, crypto feeds off the backlash of discontent created within society by the corruption of the financial system. Crypto’s strength as a freedom tool lies in its role as a parallel system, which revolutionizes payment and monetary systems to eliminate the state and banks as trusted third parties. It recognizes these parties as armed opponents in close combat. In short, crypto uses the arrogance of the central banking system to good advantage by attracting the rebellious and disillusioned within society to engage in financial self-defense.
This current strategy of jiu-jitsu confronts two obstacles, however.
One is the state. Or, rather, it is users and institutions who view crypto as a type of new fiat, not as a vehicle for freedom. They view exchanges as a new type of traditional bank that is geared to handle an innovative specie, in much the same manner as credit card companies handle a different type of transaction. These users want state involvement because it brings “respectability” and the safety they believe a trusted third party can provide. To them, those who prattle on about freedom are irritants or troublemakers who hinder the true future of crypto.
The second obstacle to a jiu-jitsu strategy is an alternate manner of addressing the state: confrontation. This strategy has its time and place-generally as a last option-but it is in conflict with the self-defense tactic of waiting for an opponent’s movement and drawing upon it for strength. Direct confrontation relinquishes the jiu-jitsu advantage. Julian Assange and Satoshi Nakamoto clashed about their attitudes toward bitcoin when Assange flaunted the crypto as a donation method to the otherwise financially embargoed Wikileaks. Theirs was a clash of strategies for freedom: confrontation versus low-profile growth. Assange crowed, “Bring it on!” to government officials; Satoshi recoiled because the prominent bravado endangered the quiet paradigm that was replacing the dominant one by exploiting the latter’s weaknesses.
A fist of defiance thrust into the air is emotionally satisfying, to be sure, and it may be appropriate in some circumstances. But those who want crypto to become a part of daily life should ask: is the goal to be free, or is it to vent? Is it to construct a different society, or is it to rail against the current one? There can be real tension between these goals. Crypto is not big enough or powerful enough to win in a face-to-face conflict with the state, especially if the battleground and weapons are of the state’s choosing. The state excels at brute confrontation. Crypto’s advantages differ: it is fast on its feet; it is incredibly inventive; and, it draws on the state’s weaknesses as well as on its power. By commandeering the animosity and corruptions that banking creates, a David and Goliath scenario plays out in which a diminutive but nimble challenger defeats a lumbering giant.
What Strategy is Optimal? Personal Freedom vs Social Change
The “best” strategy-if only one exists-depends on the goal being pursued.
Those who view crypto as an investment or as a paternal twin of fiat will embrace the state. Those who view crypto as a path to personal freedom will avoid the state whenever possible. The situation becomes more complex if the goal of social change is added to the mix. Although personal freedom and social change are intimately-related concepts, they are also separable. Those who seek social change may well engage in the high-profile rebellion that can be anathema to personal freedom.
Personal Freedom. Bitcoin was designed to free individuals. Its emphasis on privacy and pseudonymity allows people to navigate the financial world with unprecedented autonomy. Governments may loudly announce that they can crack transactions wide open, but they are scrambling, with no clear idea of how to handle mixers, tumblers and the other privacy innovations. Crypto advances more quickly than repression can, and governments—like bullies—are often loudest when they are impotent. If governments could kill the independence of crypto, they would have done so already. As it is, they fall back upon a standard method of enforcement: intimidation. The next step is open violence, the last resort of the state, which prefers to operate as though consent were present. Open violence means social control has failed, and no other alternative is available.
Social Change. Traditionally, social change involves an entirely different dynamic than personal freedom. The reform-minded individual does not seek privacy or avoid the state because the established strategies of social reform require visibility and confrontation. Public speeches, protest marches, petitions, guerrilla theater, editorials, sit-ins, boycotts, buycotts, pamphlets and books, civil disobedience…these strategies aim at raising a social issue to such prominence that it can’t be ignored but must be addressed.
Catching the state’s attention is dangerous. Its first reaction to an effective challenge is usually repression. That’s why those who engage in nonviolent action often go through training on how not to react to a backlash-how not to react to police attacks, for example. Social reform can be a dangerous business.
Cryptocurrencies have a valuable edge over traditional social-change approaches. Instead of being convinced to confront and resist the state by raised their political awareness, people use crypto out of rational self-interest; they avoid the state for the same reason. Traditionally, social reform seeks to change the hearts and minds of people, one by one, until there are enough people to create a tipping point at which society itself is altered. Crypto seeks to change people’s perceived self-interest, one by one; self-interest is a far more prevalent and accessible motivation than social consciousness. (The preceding statement is cynical only to those who hold a negative view of self-interest.) When a sufficient number of people prefer crypto over banks, and crypto over fiat, then society will have changed…without violence, without martyrdom, and without courting danger.
How many individuals must be “converted” before a society is reformed? No one knows. But the success of freedom or of repression does not seem to require large numbers. The Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy observed,
“A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men…have subdued two million…? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?”
Equally, many revolutions have been led by a handful of believers who tapped into strong emotional currents of the people, such as the hatred of corruption and a desire for a better life.
A tipping point is not a measurable dynamic. This may be especially true of crypto because so much of the activity and so many of the people are low profile. Typically, activists look over their shoulders and notice that a significant change has occurred. Then they say to themselves, “That was it—three months ago.” Radicals have debated what the “tipping-point” is for centuries. Ninetenth-century individualist anarchists in America believed that laws became unenforceable if ten percent of the people refused to obey them; that is, the laws became “dead letter,” which is just as effective as repealing them. An entire system can also become unenforceable.
At that point, of course, the topic is no longer social change. The topic is revolution.
[To be continued next week.]
Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters
Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.
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There’s been a storm brewing all year on social media and this week it hit with a vengeance. Wave after wave of protest has lashed the ocean liners Twitter, Youtube, Apple, and Facebook after controversial passengers were forcibly ejected for speaking out of turn. As the censorship cyclone has intensified, cryptocurrency users have begun fleeing to safer havens, with Mastodon and Gab the leading the charge.
Censorship Aboard the Good Ship Social Media
For the left, the right, and everyone caught in the middle, it’s been a wild seven days on social media. Trouble has been fomenting for months, but it hit fever pitch with the permabanning of the right’s most notorious agent provocateur. Alexander Emric Jones, better known as Alex Jones, was effectively booted from the internet without warning in a pincer movement orchestrated by Apple, Spotify, and Youtube, leaving the Infowars firebrand displaced and disenfranchised.
The left immediately began toasting his ousting, as the left are wont to do with designated enemy combatants who don’t accord to their worldview. The right countered, fighting for the Alex Joneses of the world to be allowed to speak, regardless of how misinformed or offensive their views might be. On crypto Twitter, meanwhile, something that had been known for a long time was revisited with a sense of urgency: it is no longer safe to rely on tech giants for access to the internet.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, to his credit, refused to join the internet monopolies in forcibly ejecting Alex Jones, despite the usual howls of protest. In other cases, however, Twitter has been every bit as supine as its peers, shadow banning and temporary blocking users for the slightest infringement at the drop of a hat. Alex Jones might have survived the latest Twitter cull, but with members of the cryptocurrency community less fortunate, the flight to a safer haven has begun to gather momentum, with Mastodon a primary option.
First They Came for the Alt Right
When Twitter initiated its first wave of permabans last year, ousting conservative figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos, free speech-based alternative Gab.ai was billed as the logical replacement. Led by young conservative Andrew Torba, it’s basically Twitter without the censorship. Gab has had a very good week, both on Twitter and on its own platform as the free speech furor has thrust it into the limelight. Premium members of Gab are able to cross-post to Twitter, enabling them to effectively retain their followers while enjoying the safety of a less censorship-prone platform.
A similar feature is available on Mastodon, a distributed social network housed on independently operated servers. More than 500 members of the crypto community have now moved to an instance parked at Bitcoinhackers.org. “No Scams, no impersonation, no begging, and no illegal content. Keep it civil and we should all survive :)” it proclaims. It remains to be seen whether social media alternatives such as Mastodon, Gab and (for BCH proponents) Memo retain traction once this latest free speech debacle dies down.
The events of the last few days, however, have reaffirmed something bitcoiners have known all along: decentralization is the only long-term solution to the states and shadow states that are intent on silencing, surveilling and shadowbanning those of us with the temerity to step out of line. Just as “neutralize” became the chilling term for murdering enemy combatants, social media giants can now “unperson” an individual, ejecting them and the digital allotment they have spent years tilling. It’s been a bad week for free speech, but perhaps, once the dust has settled, it may come to be seen as a good week for the fledgling decentralization movement.
Have you tried Mastodon, Gab, or Memo and if so what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Gab, and Twitter.
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The post Bitcoiners Flee to Censorship-Resistant Platforms Amidst Social Media Clampdown appeared first on Bitcoin News.
This past April, news.Bitcoin.com reported on a social media application powered by bitcoin cash transactions called Memo.cash. Since then the platform has grown in many ways with more users, features, and extensions. When the project first launched, a few weeks later a similar platform called Blockpress came out, but about a month ago the Blockpress founder abandoned the project leaving the Twitter-like onchain-powered Memo to take the reins.
Memo Use Continues to Gain Traction with Uncensored Content Sharing Powered by Bitcoin Cash
Over the past few months, bitcoin cash fans have been using an onchain social media application called Memo.cash. The application allows anyone to create a profile, post uncensorable messages, and tip people natively in BCH. Essentially users tether written data, videos, pictures, and animations to the website and all the actions are hashed into the BCH chain using an OP_Return transaction.
Furthermore, Memo users can utilize 217 characters now instead of the original 77 characters the application started out with, and this is due to the increased default data-carrier size to 220 bytes implemented on the Bitcoin Cash network this past May. The added characters have allowed Memo users to do a much wider range of things when posting on the main feed.
Not only can users post 217 characters of uncensorable text, but users can also embed Youtube videos, website URLs, torrent magnets, streaming video links, pictures, and animated gifs. Memo users can also post a poll that allows other Memo members to vote on specific topics like should Ross Ulbricht be pardoned, bitcoin cash pre-consensus, political questions, and more. There’s also a topics page with thousands of bundled posts about things like capitalism, anarchism, scaling, global warming, and Satoshi Nakamoto.
A Slew of Memo.cash Extensions
Memo.cash has seen a few extensions as well that tie other platforms to the main Memo system. For instance Andreas Brekken, the developer who just reviewed the Lightning Network, has launched the Memo Enhancement Suite (MES), a protocol that adds a bunch of customizations to the Memo application. The open source extension allows Memo members to update the main layout and design, auto expands images and gifs, and adds in-line liking. Brekken’s MES also features a protocol that remembers what you have liked, and it can also remember your profile password. “Your password is stored in plain text in the browser’s localStorage. It’s probably safe unless your computer is already broken into,” explains the MES Github repository.
There’s also the open source Big Earth Memopress extension which provides helper methods for reading/writing to the Bitcoin Cash blockchain per the Memo and Blockpress protocols. Lastly, there’s the great variety of Memo add-ons built by the developer Unwriter like Chainfeed, the Twitter Bot _Opreturn, and read.cash.
Blockpress Development No More?
Another interesting happening that took place last month was the abandoning of the other social media application Blockpress. The creator of Blockpress took to the Reddit forum r/btc and said he was looking for someone to take over the development of the site.
“We wanted to reach out to the community here to see if anyone would like to take over the development and/or ownership of www.Blockpress.com — We have been working on other projects and think that new leadership and development would be good to have to take this app to the next level,” explains the sites creator.
The Blockpress application is still running, but it’s clear that the platform has not been updated in a while. Meanwhile, many Blockpress users were disappointed to hear the news but migrated over to Memo with ease. We tried reaching out to the Blockpress creator without much success and it’s unconfirmed if someone else will be taking it over.
What do you think about the Memo.cash application’s recent improvements? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.
Images via Memo.cash, and Shutterstock.
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The post Bitcoin Cash Powered Social Media Platform Memo Continues to Thrive appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Facebook Inc.’s widely held stock plummeted in early trading Thursday after the company warned that its growth is slowing amid privacy concerns and other controversies at the social media giant.
Other major technology stocks also fell.
Facebook tumbled $ 39.90, or 18%, to $ 177.60 a share shortly…