Enough with the ICO-Me-So-Horny-Get-Rich-Quick-Lambo ‘Crypto’

Source: CoinDesk.com

CoinDesk asked cypherpunk legend Timothy May, author of the “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” to write his thoughts on the bitcoin white paper on its 10th anniversary. What he sent back was a sprawling 30-page evisceration of a technology industry he feels is untethered from reality.

The original message is presented here as a fictional Q&A for clarity. The message remains otherwise unchanged. Read more in our White Paper Reflections series.

CoinDesk: Now that bitcoin has entered the history books, how do you feel the white paper fits in the pantheon of financial cryptography advances?

Tim: First, I’ll say I’ve been following, with some interest, some amusement and a lot of frustration for the past 10 years, the public situation with bitcoin and all of the related variants.

In the pantheon, it deserves a front-rank place, perhaps the most important development since the invention of double-entry book-keeping.

I can’t speak for what Satoshi intended, but I sure don’t think it involved bitcoin exchanges that have draconian rules about KYC, AML, passports, freezes on accounts and laws about reporting “suspicious activity” to the local secret police. There’s a real possibility that all the noise about “governance,” “regulation” and “blockchain” will effectively create a surveillance state, a dossier society.

I think Satoshi would barf. Or at least work on a replacement for bitcoin as he first described it in 2008-2009. I cannot give a ringing endorsement to where we are, or generate a puff-piece about the great things already done.

Sure, bitcoin and its variants – a couple of forks and many altcoin variants – more or less work the way it was originally intended. Bitcoin can be bought or mined, can be sent in various fast ways, small fees paid and recipients get bitcoin and it can be sold in tens of minutes, sometimes even faster.

No permission is needed for this, no centralized agents, not even any trust amongst the parties. And bitcoin can be acquired and then saved for many years.

But this tsunami that swept the financial world has also left a lot of confusion and carnage behind. Detritus of the knowledge-quake, failed experiments, Schumpeter’s “creative destructionism.” It’s not really ready for primetime. Would anyone expect their mother to “download the latest client from Github, compile on one of these platforms, use the Terminal to reset these parameters?”

What I see is losses of hundred of millions in some programming screw-ups, thefts, frauds, initial coin offerings (ICOs) based on flaky ideas, flaky programming and too few talented people to pull off ambitious plans.

Sorry if this ruins the narrative, but I think the narrative is fucked. Satoshi did a brilliant thing, but the story is far from over. She/he/it even acknowledged this, that the bitcoin version in 2008 was not some final answer received from the gods..

CoinDesk: Do you think others in the cypherpunk community share your views? What do you think is creating interest in the industry, or killing it off?

Tim: Frankly, the newness in the Satoshi white paper (and then the early uses for things like Silk Road) is what drew many to the bitcoin world. If the project had been about a “regulatory-compliant,” “banking-friendly” thing, then interest would’ve been small. (In fact, there were some yawn-inducing electronic transfer projects going back a long time. “SET,” for Secure Electronic Transfer, was one such mind-numbingly-boring projects.)

It had no interesting innovations and was 99 percent legalese. Cypherpunks ignored it.

It’s true that some of us were there when things in the “financial cryptography” arena really started to get rolling. Except for some of the work by David Chaum, Stu Haber, Scott Stornetta, and a few others, most academic cryptographers were mainly focused on the mathematics of cryptology: their gaze had not turned much toward the “financial” aspects.

This has of course changed in the past decade. Tens of thousands of people, at least, have flocked into bitcoin, blockchain, with major conferences nearly every week. Probably most people are interested in the “Bitcoin Era,” starting roughly around 2008-2010, but with some important history leading up to it.

History is a natural way people understand things… it tells a story, a linear narrative.

(Read more at CoinDesk.com)

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AEJ joins London Vigil for Daphne on first anniversary of her brutal murder: an urgent call for justice

Source: AEJ.org

AEJ joins London Vigil for Daphne on the anniversary of her brutal murder: an urgent call for justice



Tuesday 16 October will mark one year since the brutal assassination of Malta’s best-known investigative journalist and anti-corruption campaigner, Daphne Caruana Galizia. She was killed when a car bomb detonated as she drove away from her home in Bidnija, Malta. Although three individuals have been arrested in the murder investigation, those who ordered her killing have yet to be brought to justice. To honour her bravery, and to call for justice in her case, a group of Maltese people living, studying, and working in London, together with a number of free expression and anti-corruption NGOs, will organise a candlelight vigil outside the Malta High Commission in London.

Similar events will take place in Malta and in other European cities.

What: A vigil to pay tribute to the courage of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and to call for justice

Where: 197 Piccadilly, St. James’s Church courtyard, London W1J 9LL (opposite the Malta High Commission)

When: Tuesday 16 October, from 7pm to 8pm GMT

Who: The vigil is co-sponsored by the Maltese community in London, the Association of European Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Commonwealth Journalists Association, Index on Censorship, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders and Transparency International

Press contacts: Robert Zammit, for the Maltese community in London, at +44 (0) 7873 590480 or zammitrob@gmail.com ; William Horsley, Association of European Journalists and Commonwealth Journalists Association, at + 44 (0) 7711 912499 or wh@williamhorsley.com ; Bebe Santa-Wood, Committee to Protect Journalists, at +1 212-300-9032 or press@cpj.org ; Sean Gallagher, Index on Censorship at +44 (0)20 7963 7262 or sean@indexoncensorship.org ; Sahar Halaimzai, PEN International at +44 (0)20 7405 0338 or sahar.halaimzai@pen-international.org ; Rebecca Vincent, Reporters Without Borders at +44 (0)7583 137751 or rvincent@rsf.org ; Dominic Kavakeb, Transparency International at + 44 (0)20 3096 7695 or dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

Further information

At 3pm on 16 October 2017, as Daphne Caruana Galizia drove away from her family home in Bidnija, Malta, a bomb placed under the seat of her was detonated. She was 53 years old. The last words she wrote were ‘there are crooks everywhere, the situation is desperate.’

One year since her brutal murder, there are major concerns about the independence, impartiality and effectiveness of the Maltese authorities’ investigation. While three individuals have been arrested in the murder investigation, those who ordered her killing have yet to be brought to justice. The very same individuals she was investigating remain in charge of securing justice in her case, despite a judicial challenge in Malta’s constitutional court from her family, who have now been completely shut out of the assassination investigation.

Our organisations support Daphne Caruana Galizia family’s call for a public inquiry into her death. In its interim reply to their request, the Maltese government indicated it would not undertake such an inquiry.

(Read more at AEJ.org)

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Ecuador partly restores internet access for WikiLeaks founder Assange

Source: Reuters.com

(Reuters) – Ecuador has restored partial internet access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who took refuge in the country’s London Embassy more than six years ago, WikiLeaks and an Assange lawyer said separately on Sunday.

The move comes nearly six months after the Ecuadorean government suspended Assange’s communications in March, after he discussed issues on social media that could damage the country’s diplomatic relations, including a diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow as well as Catalonian separatism.

“Ecuador rolls back @JulianAssange isolation,” WikiLeaks said in a message on Twitter. The change was also confirmed by Assange’s Australian legal adviser, Greg Barns, who called it “a welcome development.”

An Assange spokesman said his communications have been only partially restored.

(Read more at Reuters.com)

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Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’

Source: BBC.com

It’s the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.

Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

It will be hugely expensive – but the window of opportunity remains open.

After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.

What could be wiped out by temperature rise
What is climate change?

“…buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter and more locally sourced seasonal food – and throw less of it away • drive electric cars but walk or cycle short distances • take trains and buses instead of planes • use videoconferencing instead of business travel • use a washing line instead of a tumble dryer • insulate homes • demand low carbon in every consumer product…”

(Read more at BBC.com)

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‘Tipping points’ could exacerbate climate crisis, scientists fear

Source: TheGuardian.com

IPCC report ‘underestimates potential of these key dangers to send Earth into spiral of runaway climate change’.

Key dangers largely left out of the IPCC special report on 1.5C of warming are raising alarm among some scientists who fear we may have underestimated the impacts of humans on the Earth’s climate.

The IPCC report sets out the world’s current knowledge of the impacts of 1.5C of warming and clearly shows the dangers of breaching such a limit. However, many scientists are increasingly worried about factors about which we know much less.

These “known unknowns” of climate change are tipping points, or feedback mechanisms within the climate system – thresholds that, if passed, could send the Earth into a spiral of runaway climate change.

Tipping points merit only a few mentions in the IPCC report. Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said: “The IPCC report fails to focus on the weakest link in the climate chain: the self-reinforcing feedbacks which, if allowed to continue, will accelerate warming and risk cascading climate tipping points and runaway warming.”

He pointed to water vapour in the air, which traps heat in the atmosphere, as well as the loss of polar ice, the collapse of permafrost, and the migration of tropical clouds towards the poles.

Ice melting at the poles is known to be of particular danger. The Earth’s ice caps act as reflectors, sending some of the sun’s rays back into space and cooling the planet. When sea ice melts, it reveals dark water underneath, which absorbs more heat and in turn triggers greater warming, in a constant feedback loop.

(Read more at TheGuardian.com)

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Bulgarian Journalist Viktoria Marinova Killed

Source: Council of Europe (COE.int)

Bulgarian journalist and TV presenter Viktoria Marinova was found dead on 6 October 2018 in a park in the northern city of Ruse, where she had reportedly been out jogging. A regional prosecutor said she had suffered blows to the head and had died from suffocation. Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov told journalists that the thirty year old journalist had also been raped. Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothes were also missing. The minister stated that no evidence had been found to suggest the killing was related to her work, and that officials were unaware of any information that she had been threatened. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media urged the Bulgarian authorities to investigate thoroughly to determine whether or not the attack was linked to her work. Bulgarian media voiced concern that Marinova may have been targeted on account of her recent TV appearances. They pointed out that on 30 September she had presented an investigative programme called ‘Detector’ on the private regional TV channel TVN, which featured interviews by another colleague with two well-known Bulgarian and Romanian journalists about their investigation into the alleged misappropriation of EU funds by politicians and businessmen. The owner of investigative journalism website Bivol.bg, Asen Yordanov, was cited by media as saying that the journalists who appeared on the TV programme were in danger because of their investigation into the issue, which has for some time been the focus of fierce controversy. Mr Yordanov suggested that Ms Marinova’s murder had been meant as a warning to other journalists. In October 2017, hundreds of Bulgarian journalists staged a public protest in Sofia after Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov and another senior politician threatened a TV journalist with dismissal for asking probing questions about sensitive political matters on air.

(Read more at Council of Europe (COE.int))

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Dealmaker: Al Yousef

Source: Wikileaks.org

Today WikiLeaks publishes a secret document from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, pertaining to a dispute over commission payment in relation to a $3.6 billion arms deal between French state-owned company GIAT Industries SA (now Nexter Systems) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The agreement was for the sale of 388 Leclerc combat tanks, 46 armoured vehicles, 2 training tanks, spare parts and ammunition. It was signed in 1993 and scheduled to be completed in 2008.

The case brought before the ICC arbitration tribunal was a claim from Abbas Ibrahim Yousef Al Yousef, a UAE businessman, that GIAT had not honoured a contract to pay him a 6,5% commission on the deal or almost $235 million total.

(Read more at Wikileaks.org)

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Monday’s papers: Finland reacts to climate report, more unions join overtime ban, and a bid to have women join call-ups

Source: YLE.fi

Finnish newspapers discuss news from the IPCC, union opposition to plans to ease employee dismissal, and a Green Party idea for gender-neutral military service.

Like many newspapers in the world this Monday, dailies in Finland are reacting to a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says that the world must take drastic measures to quickly reduce its global warming rate to 1.5 degrees. The planet is currently warming at a catastrophic 3 or even 4-degree rate. The Paris Agreement saw almost every country in the world sign on to a commitment to reduce this warming to 2 degrees, but the IPCC’s new report warns this will not be sufficient, as the damage from even 2-degree warming will be too great.

Finland’s most widely-read daily, Helsingin Sanomat, reports that the difference between 2 and 1.5 degrees is significant. If we allow the planet to become 2 degrees warmer on average, the paper reports that the entire ocean network of coral reefs would perish. If we could succeed in reducing this warming to 1.5 degrees, however, rises in sea levels could be cut by 10 centimetres, and the risk of the Arctic Ocean melting would drop from a ten-percent chance to 1 in 100.

(Read more at YLE.fi)

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UN Assembly wraps up annual general debate, its global multilateral role reaffirmed; now comes the task of reform

Source: UN.org

In the end, after all was said and done in the marathon of speeches from Heads of State and Government at the General Assembly’s seventy-third annual general debate, it all came down to one thing – the centrality of a strengthened United Nations as the only global forum that can address the multiple challenges facing the world, from conflict resolution to climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

Held under the theme of ‘Making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies,’ leaders from the world’s largest nations and economies to the world’s smallest swore fealty to the UN and its Charter, and the need to reform the Organization in the face of a daunting future.

Secretary-General António Guterres and Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés set the tone with their opening speeches on day one of the six-day high-level segment devoted to addresses from the UN’s 193 Member States, many of them led by Heads of State and Government.

“As guardians of the common good, we also have a duty to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system,” Mr. Guterres said, a theme Ms. Espinosa emphasized.

(Read more at UN.org)

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Austria: Interior Ministry wants to restrict information for “critical media“

Source: AEJ.org

The Association of European Journalists condemns a proposal by the Austrian ministry of Interior to restrict information for what they called „critical media“. A ministry spokesman close to Minister Herbert Kickl (Freedom Party FPO) told police authorities to favour media outlets which report friendly about the ministry and police affairs and withhold information to those newspapers which report „one-sided and negative“ about the Ministry and police.

In an e-mail leaked to the press Monday evening the spokesman recommended to „restrict communication with these media to only the most necessary (legally required) degree”.

With these proposals the Austrian minister once again showed his disrespect of media freedom“ says AEJ-President Otmar Lahodynsky, an Austrian journalist. „A few weeks ago , in the scandal about the Austrian Anti-Terror and Intelligence office BVT, which was raided by police loyal to Mr Kickl, there were rumours that private homes of investigative journalists might be searched by police.“ Five Austrian editors-in-chief and AEJ warned of any such attacks on press-freedom.

(Read more at AEJ.org)

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