All posts in “Other”

Bitcoin Cash evangelist accused of joyriding stolen armored vehicle in Virginia

A different kind of rollercoaster.
A different kind of rollercoaster.

Image: VEX Collective/getty

Of course it was Bitcoin Cash

The man accused of stealing a military armored vehicle in Virginia on Tuesday and joyriding it 60 miles before being arrested is passionate about more than just living his life a quarter-mile at a time. A quick glance at his Twitter account also shows him to be a Bitcoin Cash evangelist. 

That’s right, he’s all about what Bitcoin Cash supporters (and practically no one else — even Amazon’s Alexa has dunked on Bitcoin Cash)  insist is the “real bitcoin.”   

You may have caught video of the chase on social media. It was quite a thing to behold. 

According to the Associated Press, the man accused of stealing the vehicle from the National Guard base at Fort Pickett in Blackstone is none other than the 29-year-old Joshua Philip Yabut. The AP also reports that Yabut was tweeting before the incident. 

“tryna explain to my gf why i support bitcoin cash (the holiest chain)”

“Hours before the vehicle drove off the base, an account confirmed by the Guard as Yabut’s tweeted a Wikipedia entry about the M113 armored personnel carrier, which is similar to the M577 vehicle police chased, and a screenshot of a map around the area where the vehicle eventually stopped,” notes the AP report. “He wrote a series of odd tweets Tuesday, including: ‘where is this damn water buffalo’ ‘all i wanna do is get an anime wife’ and ‘wow I think I just discovered a large illegal spy operation in the us government.'”

Let’s take a look at what appears to be his Twitter account. 

And just so you know we’re not trying to pin these hijinks on an innocent BCH fan, here are a bunch of the tweets the AP says were confirmed by the National Guard to have come from his account. 

A quick glance through the account shows that Yabut had more on his mind than anime wives. Specifically, that aforementioned sweet sweet Bitcoin Cash.

And this wasn’t just some passing fancy. While a lot of his Bitcoin Cash-specific tweets were from late 2017, he still has “BCH” — the abbreviation for Bitcoin Cash — in his Twitter name. 

Thankfully, no one was reported injured in the roughly two-hour chase, and Yabut was safely taken into custody. 

His legal fate, however, remains unclear — much like the long-term prospects for his beloved BCH.

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Monster headphones grasps at relevancy with planned $300 million ICO

Digital gold.
Digital gold.

Image: MONSTER/MASHABLE COMPOSITE

If at first you don’t succeed, maybe try launching a $300 million initial coin offering

That appears to be the thinking of headphone manufacturer Monster Products, Inc., which last week filed a statement with the SEC laying out its plans to sell “Monster Money Tokens” in what could charitably be described as a last grasp at relevance. 

Coindesk spotted the SEC filing in question and noted that the company perhaps most famous for losing control of Beats just so happens to have also been “losing money for years.” Monster Products is the same manufacturer that, according to an in-depth Gizmodo report, developed Beats headphones but then signed away the technology rights to Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

But the Monster Money Token ICO is sure to turn around those misfortunes. I mean, just look at the breadth of the company’s vision as laid out in the filing:

“We plan to integrate the Ethereum blockchain technology to our E-commerce website to create the new ecosystem, namely Monster Money Network where consumers may use either MMNY Tokens or fiat currencies to purchase Monster products and services.”

That’s right, like so many storied brands before it, Monster is pivoting to the blockchain. 

“We believe the blockchain innovation will bring disruptive advancement to our E-commerce and business operation systems,” continues the filing. 

Sell tokens get paid.

Sell tokens get paid.

Image: enot-poloskun/getty

This is 100 percent sure to be a game-changer for the company, who sees its future competitors as limited not to the Boses and Sennheisers of the world, but rather a different class entirely. 

“[We] consider Amazon, E-bay and Alibaba as examples of our main competitors with respect to the new Monster Money Network and our existing E-commerce platform,” the filing notes. 

Yup, those monster tokens and their respective “network” are set to give Amazon a run for its money. While, sure, successful e-commerce platforms would be competitors to MMN if it ever became a huge success, that assumes it gets off the ground in the first place. 

Don’t focus on that annoying detail, however. Instead, think of your good luck. Specifically, the fact that Monster intends to list the tokens for $1 a pop — so feel free to snatch up a ton of them! 

But, also, maybe don’t do that. The company admits in the filing that there is substantial risk in its plan. One large concern? The entire thing may fail. 

“It is possible that the Monster Money Network may not become popular or be used by a large number of individuals, companies and other entities or that there will be limited public interest in the creation and development of its ecosystems.”

Pay that no mind, however. Because when a headphone company is losing money and announces a seemingly out-of-nowhere plan to launch an ICO, you know your investment will be in safe hands. 

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This ‘blockchain-based state’ is the disaster love child of Ayn Rand’s ghost and pain

There are a lot of sketchy ideas and publicity stunts pushed at the annual Consensus blockchain conference in New York City, but hot damn this “blockchain-based state” has truly managed to set the bar. 

It’s called Decenturion, and, if its representatives at Consensus are to be believed, it’s a decentralized society backed by real people buying up real property and opening physical embassies around the globe with the stated goal of creating a community of “innovators.” 

But here’s the thing: We don’t believe it. It’s just too fucking bonkers. Oh, that and the fact that no one supposedly working for the company could answer any of our basic questions about it. 

But before we dig into that, let’s first take a look at what grand idea Decenturion appears to be selling. We apologize in advance to those of you whose freshman college roommates decorated dorm rooms walls with Atlas Shrugged posters.

THERE ARE THOSE, THE INNOVATORS, WHO DARE TO FOLLOW THE PATH OF PROGRESS, BECOMING THE FOUNDERS OF HISTORY. THEN THERE ARE THOSE, THE INHIBITORS, WHO ATTEMPT TO HINDER PROGRESSION BY CREATING OBSTACLES AND REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, ONCE THE WHEELS OF PROGRESS HAVE BEGUN TO TURN, THE INHIBITORS CANNOT STOP THE FORWARD THRUST OF INNOVATION.

Sounds reasonable enough. 

Oh yeah, and we can’t forget about blockchain. “NOW THERE IS A NEW FORCE EMERGING,” the totally normal all-caps manifesto tells us, “ONE CAPABLE OF BECOMING THE LATEST WORLD-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY; BLOCKCHAIN.”

[embedded content]

But that’s not all. To make blazing past those pesky inhibitors possible, Decenturion is issuing 30,000,000 tokens “tied to Ethereum.” And, as a super cheesy doom-and-gloom promotional video embedded below a countdown clock posits: “what if the state pays its citizens, not the citizens pay the state.”

Deep.

My passport.

My passport.

Image: Jack Morse/mashable

But even though all of the above sounds totally legit and normal, you might still want to slow your roll on applying for citizenship. 

The Decenturion booth at Consensus was staffed by a large group of people who, strangely enough, couldn’t really provide any details on who is behind the project. Sure, one booth attendant told me that Singapore, Tokyo, and Paris are all possible sites for future embassies, but she definitely couldn’t tell me anything else about the group’s property buying plans. 

Another booth staffer mentioned that there are even moves to “go to the UN,” whatever that means. 

I asked one of the attendants about her connection to the company and she explained that she’s a student in New York City and just started working for Decenturion on Monday of this week. Although “working” is perhaps the not the right word, as she claimed to be there in a “volunteer” capacity. 

Was John Galt a Bitcoin maximalist?

Was John Galt a Bitcoin maximalist?

Image: Jack Morse/mashable

She further explained that another so-called volunteer trained her on the talking points, and that she had to sign an NDA.

We reached out to the media email address provided, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t hear back. A quick Whois lookup of the website shows that it was registered in January of this year and updated in May, but not much else. 

So what, really, is going on here? Is this an elaborate promotional stunt like the fake protest outside Consensus? Or just an earnest group with cash to burn pitching their pipechain dreams?

The truth 100 percent definitely lies somewhere on the blockchain — if only we could INNOVATE our way to it. 

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Develop your cursory knowledge even faster with Wikipedia’s Page Previews

Knowing just enough and not a tad bit more.
Knowing just enough and not a tad bit more.

Image: LANE HARTWELL/WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION

Wikipedia puts the world’s collected knowledge within the reach of just a few mouse clicks. And now, thanks to a new feature called Page Previews, it takes even fewer. 

It’s a straightforward idea that will make it markedly easier to gain a cursory knowledge of a subject in order to dazzle your friends and turn off your Tinder dates. 

“With Page Previews, whenever a reader hovers over a link to another article, a short summary of the subject and an image (if available) is displayed,” explains the Page Preview Wikipedia page. “The user can then decide whether they wish to visit that subject more thoroughly before continuing with the current article.”

According to (what else) Wikipedia, the new feature should make browsing the site a more streamlined experience.  

“The Page Previews feature solves the core problem of users needing to open multiple tabs to gain an understanding of a word or concept within the context of the subject they are reading.”

Look at that preview!

Look at that preview!

Image: wikipedia

In other words, you no longer need to click through 30 different Wikipedia pages in order to finally understand important stuff like the philosophy that inspired the man who inspired the Graham cracker

The same Wikipedia page notes that Page Previews were rolled out for German and English language Wikipedia sites in April, but that it had been tested on Catalan, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, and Russian Wikipedia pages since 2017. 

Thankfully, English speakers have to wait no more. 

So head on over to Wikipedia to bask in your soon-to-be newfound genius — gained one mouse hover at a time. 

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Bitcoin is a victim of its own success

Yeah, no, I think I'll be holding on to my BTC.
Yeah, no, I think I’ll be holding on to my BTC.

Image: U. Baumgarten/Getty

It was never meant to be this way. 

With the price of Bitcoin skyrocketing by the hour, it’s either time to buy buy buy or step back a moment and ask ourselves just exactly how Bitcoin went from a proposed digital currency to an increasingly popular investment opportunity — and what that says about its future. As this is a blog post and not the internal dialogue of a cryptocurrency trader, we’re going to go with the second option. 

Launched in 2009 by a still unknown person (or persons) under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin offered a decentralized currency that removed any sort of central authority from the mix. This, of course, is a fascinating idea — and over the following few years news outlets reported on it with a mixture of confusion and befuddled amusement (if they covered it at all).

But that didn’t stop Bitcoin or its adherents. In 2010, a Florida programmer made what is generally considered the first transaction paying with Bitcoin — 10,000 BTC for two pizzas — and the dream of a digital currency was one step closer to reality.

But, wait — you’re surely asking yourself right now — 10,000 Bitcoin for a pizza? And you’d be right to be incredulous. At today’s BTC prices, the cost of that pizza comes out to $170,999,950, although that value changes hourly. 

That hourly change — with Bitcoin shooting up in value thousands of dollars today alone — is great for investors holding their BTC to sell at a later date, but not so good for anyone trying to use it to, actually, you know, buy something. This extremely volatile state, combined with high transaction fees, even led one major company to cease accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment on Dec. 6. 

“In the past few months we’ve seen an increase in the volatility in the value of Bitcoin and a significant increase in the fees to process transactions on the Bitcoin network,” the company, Steam, explained in a blog post. “For example, transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin).”

Other companies may soon follow, with the future of actually using Bitcoin perhaps best represented by a joke made by security researcher Marcus Hutchins

When he tweeted that, on Nov. 26, a single Bitcoin was worth around $9,298. At the time of this writing, it’s trading at $17,457 on Coinbase

And it’s not just the lost potential gains of spent Bitcoin that makes its practical use as an actual currency dubious. The aforementioned network fees themselves are pretty ridiculous. In order to process a transaction yesterday, a person would have needed to fork over around $7.34 — plus whatever fee the exchange charged.

Buying a beer with BTC doesn’t make much sense when the fees are higher than the cost of the drink.

So, is Bitcoin doomed? Hardly. While no one knows exactly what the future holds, BTC looks like it’s here to stay in some form or another. Is that as a decentralized digital currency, or merely an investment opportunity? Today’s volatility perhaps provides a hint. In the end, Bitcoin may end up being too hot for its own good. 

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