🤷 Opinions Cyril Gilson

Liberland’s Vít Jedlička: “We Are Building Our Civilization On the Boats”

Opinions
President of Liberland speaks on how to get to his country and what is to expect
Liberland’s Vít Jedlička: “We Are Building Our Civilization On the Boats”

Vít Jedlička is a Czech politician more known as President of Liberland, a libertarian nation located in Europe, between Serbia and Croatia. Somewhat close ideologically to the views of American politician Ron Paul, Jedlička is always on the go, promoting his country based on cryptocurrency. I met Jedlička at the Blockshow conference in Berlin, where we talked about his country’s progress and how one can participate.

Cyril Gilson: Could you describe your country geographically?

Vít Jedlička: Liberland was founded between Croatia and Serbia on a plot of land which is seven square kilometers. So we are three times larger than Monaco for example. It was purposely made there because this place was not occupied by any other country for more than 26 years. Since the split of Yugoslavia, neither Croatia nor Serbia claimed this piece of land which was a very interesting spot. We saw a very great opportunity in that. So we went there, we stuck the flag, we declared the creation of a new country. Of course, we are having some issues with our neighbors, but I think we will be able to resolve them sooner or later.

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CG: You bought the land, right?

VJ: No, no, you cannot buy it. It was not claimed or owned by anybody, that was the special thing about it. So we claimed it. You cannot actually build a country by buying land, it doesn’t work like that. Especially if you are doing it from scratch it’s almost impossible. That someone is going to sell you a piece of land with a sovereignty. Historically there is no such precedent that will be done, at least in modern history let’s call it that way.

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Cyril Gilson: Tell me what the latest news is in your country, what is going on?

Vít Jedlička: We are growing enormously! We just reached, I think, 520,000 people that are registered and interested for citizenship, with almost 250,000 people eligible citizens out of the group, which is a nice development in the three years since we started. It means the idea is viable, and actually we are growing faster than we were growing at the beginning.

So it’s kind of cool to have an almost half million people nation in support of the creation of the freest country on the planet. That’s something we know works, it attracts prosperity, it attracts capital and makes people happy and prosperous when they are living in a free environment.

We wanted to build a freest society.

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CG: Some people think that it’s possible, with all this money, all these billions that are cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors have they could just buy out. There are ideas circulating, let's buy an island, like in Puerto Rico for instance, some people from the community bought huge pieces of land, not only land like the airport I think. They bought some part of the seaport.

Vít Jedlička: But still they are not claiming sovereignty. The thing is we are sovereign from the very beginning.

CG: What’s currently on this piece of land besides the flag?

Vít Jedlička: We actually do have some issue with Croatia. When they announced we will renovate the buildings, they came with bulldozers and leveled them down. We do have some issues in that sense. But on the other hand we are building whatever we can on the river next to Liberland, so can host up to 200 people now for different events. So we are strongly present in the area, with some 10 boats now that are in the area that we can use. We had a very nice celebration of the anniversary.

So, for now, we are building our civilization on the boats next to Liberland.

It has two advantages. First of all, we don't have to deal with the problem of flooding, which comes three from time to time, because everything is on the boats already. Second of all, we don’t have to deal with the police of Croatia because they respect the neutrality of Liberland waters. They cannot do anything as long as we are basically on the river.

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CG: Do you do tours? How can one get to Liberland?

Vít Jedlička: Yeah! Easy, the best way is to take Air Liberland from Prague and it will fly you directly next to Liberland on one of the green fields. Then you can take a boat tour.

CG: Do you do guided tours or just inviting people?

Vít Jedlička: Usually we do conferences, so its bigger groups of people coming together, they are of course getting some program pre-planned. But guided tours will be available also at some point. Right now, there is this bigger boat, which was sponsored by our supporters, where we can host 100-150 people easily. There will be a restaurant, there is already a small space, there will be co-working space which we will launch in one month from now. There will be plenty of things that people can do there already.

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CG: What does your community do besides gatherings, what other projects?

Vít Jedlička: For example, we have mutual recognition with Somaliland. Right now as we speak I had a meeting with one of our representatives, our Dubai representative, that is pushing things forward in Somaliland. He is also very strong there because he is responsible for infrastructure development there. They are the country that recognized us first.

We have our embassy there now in the capital there, in Hargeisa. We are working now because we signed the memorandum of understanding with their government, we are working on energy, on Blockchain technologies.

For example, housing, with this governments. We are planning a big second official visit with Somaliland to push things forward.

There is great potential to push the country forward especially in the area of tokenizing everything and improving their basic lighting system.

There is where we see great value that we can add to the whole country and push it forward a couple years ahead. Ahead of even other existing countries because it’s easy to implement things in these countries from scratch.

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CG: Do you expect more countries like this appearing in the future?

Vít Jedlička: Yeah, we have a couple more state visits lined up with other regularly recognized countries this year.

CG: Where?

Vít Jedlička: I cannot tell you because this is a sensitive issue, but I think we can successfully repeat the cooperation that we started with Somaliland with many other countries. Especially Africa and Central America I can tell you that.

We will be the first country that whenever you pay taxes you get something back. Everyone that has contributed to Liberland so far got merits for it. We will also have that as a tradable token. So people will pay taxes and they be able to benefit from it in the future. So it’s not just a voluntary tax system it's a tax which rewards people that pay taxes. These tokens will be good for voting, so you will be able to make decisions with them. I think it’s an interesting concept.

On the other hand, we have a decentralized justice system. We also want to be a leader in that sense. I think that can attract a lot of new people to Liberland.

But also it can help a lot of people that for example cannot settle disputes for many years in other countries they can come to Liberland and have a much faster solution for their issues.

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The Biggest Crypto Crimes and Fiascos to Date: Our Top 10 List

Today’s top 10 list is comprised of the most notorious (and expensive) crypto crimes and fails known to date: Silk Road’s Ulbricht remains unbeaten
The Biggest Crypto Crimes and Fiascos to Date: Our Top 10 List

In the times of the ongoing crypto-economic crisis―to remind ourselves that we have seen far worse―we bring you our top 10 list of the most notorious crimes and failures of the crypto world to this day:

The Biggest Crypto Crimes and Fiascos to Date: Our Top 10 List

In tenth place is our good old friend Charlie Shrem who just keeps on going. Charlie already served time back in 2014 for making his Bitinstant crypto payment system available to drug dealers on the Dark Web.

Now, he is being sued by the Winklevoss Twins for not ever giving back their share of Bitcoins, equivalent to 32 million USD at the time of the lawsuit, which could be classified as a form of embezzlement. Whether Charlie is proven guilty or innocent remains to be seen.

In ninth place is the famous Thai actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit, known by his stage name Boom, which is all too appropriate for having caused a major media boom earlier this year when he was arrested for stealing 34 million USD worth of Bitcoin from a young Finnish investor.

After an initial introduction on the web, the Finnish man was taken to a casino in Macau and offered to invest in the hot new Dragon Coin. When he did just that, the scammers led by Jiratpisit Jaravijit disappeared without a trace, but fortunately, were eventually located and apprehended.

In eighth place is NiceHash, one of the largest crypto mining platforms in the world, based in Slovenia, a former constituent of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. NiceHash came under a cyber attack in December 2017 as the Bitcoin bubble was in full force. Close to 5000 Bitcoins were stolen as a result of well-orchestrated security breach causing the website around 62 million USD.

Amazingly, while NiceHash’s reputation was indeed hurt, the platform is still operating today and considered by many to be one of the most reputable mining companies around.

In seventh place is the Zhou case from China. In the summer of this year, Chinese law enforcement officials arrested a group of IT specialists based in the Shaanxi province in Central China who used remote cyber-hijacking techniques to gain control of computers at several unnamed Internet companies.

The criminals, led by Zhou, managed to steal 87 million USD worth of digital currency, which is considered to be the biggest ever crypto theft, and all that, mind you, despite the Chinese government’s ongoing crypto ban.

In sixth place is the Italian company Bitgrail whose servers supposedly suffered a major security breach in February of this year. During the crypto siege, hackers stole 17 million Nano tokens, which at the time of the incident was equivalent to 195 million USD.

The news went from terrible to yet more scandalous when it was later reported that the founder, Francesco Firano, might have simulated the attack in order to cover unlawful withdrawals from the clients’ wallets from the previous year. The investigation is still going on with the investors suing the company and Bitgrail’s crypto wallets having been confiscated by the Italian police.

In fifth place is Parity Technologies based in Germany with offices in the UK. In perhaps the biggest epic fail of the crypto world known to date, Parity lost 300 million USD worth of Ether when one user accidentally became the owner of all of Parity’s multi-signature wallets last year.

Parity had been fixing their system in order to fight off repeated cyber threats from hackers; however, this backfired a millionfold by leaving a bug in their system that led to the peculiar situation of one client having gained ownership of other clients’ funds, which the client then proceeded to move around.

Whilst trying to set things right in a panic, the user, “devops199”, destroyed the transfer code, which unwittingly locked all of the funds in wallets with no possibility of access. Parity is said to be working on resolving the issue, currently to no visible result. Hard fork type solutions and alternate routes have been suggested, but Ethereum has not been very supportive in going along.

In fourth place is Coincheck, based in Japan, with the biggest reported cyber security breach known to date, also (quite alarmingly) from earlier this year. In January, during a well-executed attack, the hackers stole 523 million NEM coins from the exchange platform, which at the time of the accident were worth approximately 530 million USD, leading the company’s shocked president to call it “the biggest theft in the history of the world”.

The Japanese firm showed full compliance with the local law by opening its doors to inspections and promising to refund their clients. In April, Monex Group, which specializes in traditional finance, saw an opportunity in the wounded crypto giant and bought Coincheck. Impressively, the platform lives on with plans to enter the American market.

In third place is One Coin, a by now well-known crypto pyramid, the biggest Ponzi scheme case of the crypto world. The scam started back in 2015 in Bulgaria by Ruja Ignatova with her accomplices and spread to other regions, as is the case with any pyramid. The gist of it was this: learn how to crypto-trade with us and support our cryptocurrency, One Coin; invest in it and thus in the future, use the means we provide to mine it.

None of it went anywhere, of course, except that the brains behind the operation collected huge sums of money. While the full extent of the scam is yet to be determined, federal prosecutors in the US made arrests and charged the perpetrators with a 400 million dollar financial crime; the prosecutors in China arrested yet more scammers in their country and gave the figure of 267 million USD, taking the total damage to 667 million USD. So far.

In second place is India’s very own Bharatiya Janata Party, which in July of this year  was accused of money laundering using Bitcoin by no less than the Indian Congress itself. The accusation pertaining to the party’s questionable activities from the previous year was publicly presented by Shaktisinh Gohil, a spokesperson for the All India Congress Committee, who claimed that Bitcoin had been used to convert the party’s “black money into white”.

In a country riddled with corruption, an accusation of money laundering was nothing new; what was new though is that Bitcoin had been made the instrument. That, plus the amount of black money allegedly converted into Bitcoin, a whopping 760 million USD. India’s Supreme Court has since been called upon to launch a formal judicial inquiry, but the outcome remains uncertain.

And finally, in first place is Silk Road and its creator Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the infamous platform responsible for popularizing Bitcoin―back then still a new phenomenon―for the purposes of decentralized trade on the Dark Web, mainly of illicit substances and firearms.

In 2013, Ulbricht was apprehended by the FBI and later charged with computer hacking, money laundering, and drug trafficking. His Bitcoins were seized and taken to the US Marshals Office, which held a public auction and sold them off to multiple buyers, among them Timothy Draper and Barry Silbert.

While Ulbricht is serving a double life sentence in Colorado’s Florence High Penitentiary, it must be painful for him to realize that his 144 000 Bitcoins would have been worth a staggering 2 billion USD at the time of his final appeal.

We hope you enjoyed our list. You may also like this one:

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NEM Puts Coincheck Behind, Looks Forward to Industry-Changing Catapult Tech: Jeff McDonald

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In his exclusive interview, Jeff McDonald explains how NEM is going to get ahead of Ethereum
NEM Puts Coincheck Behind, Looks Forward to Industry-Changing Catapult Tech: Jeff McDonald

 

CryptoComes talks to NEM’s Jeff McDonald about his leaving the foundation, the Coincheck aftermath, the NEM’s future plans and why Ethereum will flip Bitcoin as premier Blockchain.

Katya Michaels: The news is that you are leaving NEM foundation as Vice President - is this true? What motivated this decision and what are your plans now?

Jeff McDonald: I've been working with NEM for four years. I started in February of 2014 and it's been a very awesome ride. I've done a lot of different things- the Apostille protocol, the voting protocol, I helped champion supernodes. I feel like I've been very successful and at the same time, I'm spread very thin right now.

I have two companies that I am invested in, Luxtag and KChain, and I want to focus a little bit more on them now. Both are being built on NEM Blockchain and they have been doing really well lately. We've got multiple contracts with really important names in Malaysia. Kchain in South Korea just recently released their first token- not on an ICO. They have great name recognition and connections in South Korea.

Both of these projects really need me right now, I want to help them and I need a little bit of time for that. I'm leaving the Vice Presidency, but I'm not leaving NEM at all. I continue to be very active speaking for NEM - here at CryptoBlockCon LA, in San Francisco tomorrow, next week in Philippines, at Consensus 2018 in May.

Everything's good with the foundation. I'm really proud of NEM China and the team they built, I'm really proud of NEM Philippines, really proud of NEM Malaysia. All of these have really good teams behind them.

As the new leadership comes in, our hope is that they're going to scale out more countries. NEM US for instance, build up NEM Europe more, NEM Russia. I really want to see all these regional countries grow and be a big part of NEM.

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Coincheck hack aftermath

KM: I have to ask about Coincheck- what is the update on reimbursing victims and finding the perpetrators? Why has NEM foundation stopped tracking the stolen funds?

JM: The police are doing their investigation. We consider that a secular matter, to let the police do what they're doing. As far as tracking the accounts that had stolen funds, we've left a lot of evidence on chain for the police to do a chain analysis and catch the perpetrators.

As far as I know, Coincheck has allowed most everyone, if not everyone, to claim back their funds, which is a really good thing. They've held up their end of the bargain, I think and I'm very happy that they did that. I feel that it was a very sad incident.

We're just moving forward now- Coincheck is mostly in our past and we are looking forward to Catapult now, which is a huge deal.

Regulations: Japan vs. US

KM: Can you talk about regulators in Japan and describe your experience?

JM: Japan is actually a great example of regulation. They have been really bold in going out and making regulatory decisions. I think that overall that is great for the cryptocurrency industry. Other countries don't really know what to think about it, but because Japan is being so clear with its community, it opens the door for big business.

I mean if you look at cryptocurrency, why hasn't Apple made its coin? Why hasn't Google made a coin? Recently in Korea, Kakao, which has near a hundred percent market saturation, mentioned that they're getting into Blockchain. A lot of really big companies want to get into Blockchain, but for one thing, Blockchain technology is not quite good enough to handle the scalability at the levels that these big companies work.

Even if the Blockchain was good enough, though, the regulatory issues are not clear.

Japan has been awesome to say what is legal, what is not legal, and now the doors are open for big businesses in Japan to come in and really roll up Blockchain so that millions of people can be using it for something other than speculation.

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KM: How soon do you think the US will catch up to that kind of regulatory clarity?

JM: It'll still take a couple of years. The good news is that the conversation is happening and the US hasn't just said “It’s illegal!” The US has been very careful and very slow. Of course, I would want more clear and faster regulation, but I'm very satisfied with the happy medium in America right now.

I think that a lot of people won't like that I say this, but I think the SEC is doing a good job. They're going after scammers, and pumpers and dumpers. If you're an honest person and you're making a good project, following best practices, building something on the blockchain for real use - voting, or database security, or tickets- the SEC is totally fine with you.

Let's be realistic. There's only so much you can ask, for a government the size of America to move quickly with all these different agencies. They're all saying something a little bit different, but sooner or later they'll all get on board and become clear. I think that will happen in the next two or three years.

KM: Do you think ICOs will be greatly affected by regulatory activity in 2018 as compared to last year?

JM: ICOs are here to stay at least for another couple of years. ICOs in America might get cut back, but there will be a country somewhere - whether it's Japan or Belarus or Ukraine or Isle of Man- that will fully welcome Blockchain and ICOs and give clear and light regulation. Then, there will be another big boom of ICOs. The cat's out of the bag, the door is open, there is no stopping. There's too much money, it's too easy.

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Japanese investors

KM: What are your impressions of the Japanese investor community?

JM: The Japanese are great because they're actually really interested in the philosophy of the technology. It's really interesting, seeing the different countries and what people focus or don’t focus on.

One of the reasons why NEM is so big in Japan is because the Japanese have taken the time to actually read, study and understand the vision before they invested.

We have these die-hard Japanese fans that are just amazing. We have our own bar in Japan, with a special drink named after the Apostille protocol!

Dethroning Ethereum

KM: A lot of people believe that NEM can dethrone Ethereum as the premiere smart contracts platform. What do you think about that? What are the obstacles to that happening, if any?

JM: I think that our technology has been fundamentally designed as more stable and secure. Literally every day, there are projects leaving Ethereum and coming to NEM. We've lost one project from NEM to Ethereum, and that was for financial reasons. I think that the data on the ground is showing that people who are building applications prefer NEM over Ethereum. Now we need to build on that momentum and scale it out.

If the growth patterns of Bitcoin, Ethereum and NEM continue with the same trajectory, what will happen is Ethereum will flip Bitcoin as the premier Blockchain. That's going to happen later this year, maybe next year, but it’s really just a matter of time.

Ethereum is better than Bitcoin basically in every way you can imagine. It's faster, it has more utility, it’s just better. NEM turns out to be not in every way, but in a lot of important ways better than Ethereum. Sooner or later, people that are building will get this.

Ethereum's always had better marketing - they started off with marketing and then went to development. We started off with development, built a real product and then went to market. So we're still relatively unknown, but there's some technology coming out with Catapult that, for a lot of projects, will make NEM the only option.

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Catapult

KM: Is Catapult coming out soon?

JM: It will be open source next month. We've solved so many problems. For example, private key management, specifically losing your private key, which is a huge issue in Blockchain. We have a great contract coming up with Catapult. Whenever people are setting up an account, they can initiate this contract as an insurance mechanism to solve that.

Also, we have solved the gas problem. Let’s say CryptoComes makes a coin on Ethereum and you send it to all your readers. They say “thanks for the CryptoComes token,” and then they want to spend it, but they don't have any Ether for gas. Now, they have to sign up on an exchange, register and get an ID, send the money and then transfer Ether to the CryptoComes wallet. Only then, they can use CryptoComes to buy some advertising or send to their friends or whatever.

In NEM, we have this new transaction type which is going to allow CryptoComes to sponsor the gas fees. This is a really beautiful transaction because it allows regular users to get the CryptoComes token airdropped into a downloaded wallet, send it to their friends, start sharing it and creating an economy - even if they don’t know anything about Blockchain or Ether.

With Catapult, somebody can make their own app, their own wallet, and have their users or their business using that token without ever having to join an exchange. It’s seamless, frictionless, integrated into the system.

So there's a lot of great technology that's coming with Catapult that's just going to make NEM the only option.

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October's Top 10 List of Token Holders on Ethereum: Electrify.Asia is Leading

Electrify.Asia has by far the most new ERC-20 token holders, which means it is currently the most popular cryptocurrency on the Ethereum network
October's Top 10 List of Token Holders on Ethereum: Electrify.Asia is Leading

Ethereum is one of the leaders of today’s crypto world: it is second only to Bitcoin by market cap with 20.5 billion US dollars; right now, it is also standing at number four in terms if its monetary value following Bitcoin, Maker, and Bitcoin cash with almost 200 USD for one coin of Ether.

But, of course, Ethereum is not only a giant platform that generates its own cryptocurrency: it also lets other cryptocurrencies use its Blockchain network, so long that all of the technical rules are observed within the ecosystem. As a result, all cryptocurrencies that are hosted by Ethereum, apart from its own Ether, must be ERC-20 compliant (Ethereum Request for Comment), and every holder of an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency is thus also a de facto holder of an ERC-20 token.

This means that ERC-20 token holder figures are indicative of how well a crypto coin is doing within the larger Ethereum framework. The more ERC-20 token holders there are, the better that “guest” currency is doing, and since Ethereum is also one of the market leaders, any given cryptocurrency’s internal popularity on Ethereum also directly reflects on how well it is paddling through the crypto sea in general.

Below is the top 10 list of this October’s new ERC-20 token holders for each of the leading Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies:

This October’s New Token Holders

The current winner by a landslide is Electrify.Asia with almost 100 000 new ERC-20 token holders this October, followed by XMax with around 13 500 new token holders, then Moneytoken with around 12 000, Skrumble Network with around 9 000, 0xcert with roughly 8 000, SALT with 7 000, UChain is lagging slightly behind with around 6 800, FansTime has close to 6 500 token holders, DAEX around 4 500, and finally Datum is in last place with just under 4 000 new ERC-20 token holders this October.

Being “the first retail electricity marketplace in Southeast-Asia addressing the need for transparency and security in the consumption of energy” and with their slogan promising to “build an intelligent energy ecosystem for Asia”, the Singapore-based Electrify.Asia, headed by Julius Tan and Martin Lim, have set very high expectations for themselves. Let’s see what happens closer to the New Year!

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NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

Opinions
“We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain”:Pedro Gutierrez
NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

Is the Venezuelan government using the NEM platform for its oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency? Head of NEM Latin America Pedro Gutierrez answers the question in a first-hand exclusive interview.

It’s been reported that the controversial Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro was officially released as an asset on NEM’s Blockchain rather than on Ethereum’s Blockchain, with the total supply capped at 100 mln Petro.

Pedro Gutierrez answers and explains why the NEM platform, its competition with Ethereum and specifics of doing business in one of the most promising regions on Earth.

We asked Pedro Gutierrez about NEM’s involvement with the Venezuelan government and the platform’s perspectives in Latin America and globally. As the Latam leader of NEM.IO foundation, Gutierrez sees his major task in s publicizing Blockchain technology and NEM in industry, commerce, education institutions and government in Latin America and Spain.

Cyril Gilson: Is the NEM platform used for the oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency?

Pedro Gutierrez: We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain. We can’t comment on how it works as it’s not a project we’re actively involved with. The NEM technology is freely open to any individual or organization that wants to use it. The NEM Foundation abstains from political endorsements.

CG: Have the NEM developers been involved in developing the Petro?

PG: No, our developers are not involved with this project. NEM’s technology is easy to use and to build applications upon while having a near perfect record for being secure. A person reasonably skilled can work on the NEM platform within a day.

It does not take much to learn how to use NEM’s technology. So it is therefore easy to imagine why the Venezuelan government wants to implement using NEM technology.

NEM in Venezuela

CG:  How big is the NEM community in Venezuela?

PG: The NEM community in Venezuela is growing steadily. We have raised significant interest in the academic and business sector. NEM is the best technology to make this happen because our platform is plug n play for business- making it the easiest and safest Blockchain network for enterprises and developers.

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CG:  When the story of NEM started in Venezuela and what are the major achievements?

PG:  NEM started in 2014 and its tech is widely adopted by hundreds of companies all over the world because the platform is so easy to use. A huge portion of global industries such as the financial sector, insurance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, supply chain management and the entertainment industry sectors need a cost-efficient way to manage and authenticate data in an immutable and secure way. There’s no question that these companies will play a vital role in incorporating Blockchain technology in the next few years.

Venezuela is an attractive region for NEM to expand into. NEM has hubs in Malaysia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. All of the NEM hubs are key to expanding visibility and opportunities where the NEM team can engage with the public, do training on our platform, and support startups who are interested in Blockchain.

In May, we opened an embassy in Venezuela and this is critical to providing Venezuelans with quality resources and training for developers getting into blockchain. We are hopeful that adding Blockchain services to the list of Venezuela industries can help the economy and people. In addition to this, we hold meetups to help educate the Blockchain community on the benefits of building on NEM’s ecosystem.

CG:  Are other Latam governments considering something similar?

PG: NEM is an open-source platform so any government, individual or company can build on NEM. At this time, I’m not aware of other LATAM governments building on the NEM Blockchain.

CG: What advantages and disadvantages of the Petro do you see?

PG: I don’t have a comment on this. I’m working on other projects, though, that I’m happy to talk about. We have some projects that at the moment we can not announce since we have signed NDAs, but I can tell you that they are in the financial sector, in Mexico and Colombia. We are also working on projects of agricultural traceability, electricity for rural areas among others that we will announce very soon.

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Dash and NEM

CG: Is there a competition between Dash and NEM in Venezuela?

PG: Dash is one of the most innovative and interesting Bitcoin forks, but NEM does not compete with Dash since Dash is a transactional platform and NEM is a platform of Blockchain Services. So we are not in competition with Dash because the two platforms are designed for different purposes. We have a good relationship with the DASH team and are supporters of their community, in several countries of LATAM, we have participated in events together.

What’s next

CG:  What's next for NEM in LATAM?

PG:  Education and training are critical to helping ensure the future of Venezuela to remain competitive and thrive. NEM is supporting LATAM by building Blockchain hubs, offering training to developers at all levels, partnering with companies in all industries, and building a strong community to help keep the NEM ecosystem healthy.

One way that we do this is through the $70 mln NEM Community Fund. The NEM Community Fund promotes the development of the NEM ecosystem by having the NEM community vote on funding NEM startup companies.

It’s an alternative to doing an ICO and something that could be beneficial to many people in LATAM.

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Anarchy and Cryptocurrency: The Relationship That Never Was

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Cryptocurrencies in their current form are definitely not following the anarchist principles
Anarchy and Cryptocurrency: The Relationship That Never Was

When Bitcoin first entered the market nearly a decade ago, it was thought of as the perfect tool for anarchists. Several so-called crypto-anarchists groups sprung up, hailing Bitcoin as the “path” to self-reliance and getting out of government control.

However, as it turns out, cryptocurrencies, in their current form are definitely not following the anarchist principles. In fact, there is an argument to be made that cryptocurrencies and pure anarchy were never really meant to be “partners-in-crime” in the first place.

So, before we get into all that, let’s first define what anarchy really is.

What is anarchy?

Merriam-Webster defines anarchy as one of the following five states:

  • Absence of government

  • A state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority (e.g. the city's descent into anarchy)

  • A utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government

  • Absence or denial of any authority or established order (e.g. anarchy prevailed in the ghetto)

  • Absence of order

Now, that’s the dictionary definition. The word itself, however, is shrouded in a lot of negative connotations. If you put it in a positive light, the real meaning of anarchy is a society that has attained the highest order of consciousness. Members of this society have such high levels of self-discipline and empathy that they do not need an authority figure to keep them in check.

Unlike what many wrongly think, anarchy doesn’t mean getting rid of the government: it means elevating yourself up to a level where you don’t need one.

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Cryptocurrencies and anarchy

Back when Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin and opened the floodgates for decentralized cryptocurrencies, people were wondering if this was the ideal tool that anarchists had been waiting for. Think about it, finally people had a currency system which didn’t rely on a centralized entity to take care of it.

In fact, way before Bitcoin even came out, cypherpunks and old school cryptologists already identified cryptography as a method of attaining proper anarchy. Timothy May, one of the original crypto-anarchists, wrote a report back in 1994 titled, “Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities.” In the report he explains:

“The combination of strong, unbreakable public key cryptography and virtual network communities in cyberspace will produce interesting and profound changes in the nature of economic and social systems. Crypto anarchy is the cyberspatial realization of anarcho-capitalism, transcending national boundaries and freeing individuals to make the economic arrangements they wish to make consensually.”

That pretty much set everything up for cryptocurrency systems and other encryption-based technologies.

Bitcoin leveraged Blockchain technology to create an ecosystem in which two people could transact with each other without getting involved with a bank. For the first time ever, you, and only you had full control over your own money.

Early adopters of Bitcoin, especially the ones who were coining themselves “crypto-anarchists”, had a big responsibility of spreading the word around to create this crypto-anarchic ecosystem; however, their attitude changed as soon as the market conditions improved, and the value of their assets swelled exponentially. They inevitably became whales, i.e. they just sat on their money and started to accumulate more wealth, failing miserably in the process at what they were originally supposed to do.

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Current state of cryptocurrencies

As cryptos have gotten more and more mainstream, it looks like they have also lost that anarchic streak that made them so desirable when they first entered the market.

To set the record straight, we still believe that cryptocurrencies have the capability of disrupting the financial sector for good. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the entire system is becoming more and more businesslike these days, and it looks like this is not going to change any time soon.

With more and more people coming in, newer investors are getting extremely jumpy around price volatility. Concurrently, in order to protect their interests, governing bodies like CFTC and SEC have entered the fray as well. Investors have become increasingly open to regulated investment opportunities like ETFs, Bakkt, etc. Big crypto exchanges have been pressurized into adding KYC regulations; in fact, Andreas Antonopoulos recently expressed his dismay on Shapeshift opting for KYC. He sees Lightning Network, Decentralized Exchanges, and Atomic Swaps as possible future replacements:

Andreas Antonopoulos

The idea that “we will go with the government in the beginning and then branch out on our own” never really works out in the long run. Once the government has their clutches on something this disruptive, it will be hard to see them let go.

So, as you can see right now, the current crypto space is definitely not anarchic. Be that as it may, this is where we need to ask ourselves another question.

Were cryptocurrencies ever meant to be anarchic?

True anarchy is against the usage of any form of currency since money is a commodity controlled by the government. Nevertheless, even if money wasn’t under the government’s control (like with cryptocurrencies), the value that a capitalistic system itself puts on money is the biggest problem, and this doesn’t change with decentralized currency either.

The anarchist community advocates changing the money economy to a gift economy, wherein people get paid with gift vouchers in return for their services. However, there are certain schools of anarchist thinking that don’t have a problem with having currency.

Deeper than just “anti-government”

From whatever we have shown so far, one thing becomes very clear.

The cryptocurrency space has never been anarchic, in the purest sense of the word, and never will be. Sure, it offers a decentralized currency which can be used trustlessly for daily transactions; however, the concept of anarchy goes deeper than just being “anti-government.”

The core idea of anarchy is to be self-sufficient and competent enough on your own as a society that does not require government’s intervention. Old school anarchy believes that the idea of money, be it in its physical form or its decentralized cryptic form, can seriously threaten this core concept.

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