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Bug Forces Shutdown of Bitcoin-Backed Ethereum Token tBTC – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

Blockchain venture studio Thesis has put a pause on deposits into tBTC, its new platform meant to put BTC on Ethereum so BTC can be used in decentralized finance (DeFi).

The Thesis team cited a bug, but is not disclosing details until all funds have been safely withdrawn from this iteration of tBTC. Thesis is now helping early users withdraw any BTC that had been deposited.

The project lead behind the new system, Thesis CEO Matt Luongo, sent the following statement to CoinDesk via a spokesperson:

"While the tBTC dapp was being tested over the weekend in its alpha version, a couple of community members put a few BTC into the contract before testing had concluded. Meanwhile, an issue in the dapp that was missed by our security audit was found by two of our contributors, and we decided to pause deposits for now to ensure the safety of funds. It is thanks to the strength and engagement of our community that this was identified quickly and all funds are safe."

Luongo said the priority now was to further enhance the security of the system before announcing a timeline to re-deploy it. A new audit is being conducted by Trail of Bits; another auditor will also be enlisted and its bug bounty has been increased tenfold.

Luongo first announced that tBTC had been paused at 5:58 UTC on Monday. It had been live for two days. He credited a member of the Thesis team for finding the flaw, and Summa's James Prestwich for verifying it.

Luongo wrote later in the Twitter thread, "Because the system is young and most minters are active community members, I think we can get this done in 1 to 2 days. Though we fixed the issue in code last night, we don't want to expose it until all funds are drained."

Prestwich declined to comment. Luongo wrote on Twitter that a full post-mortem is forthcoming. A Thesis spokesperson told CoinDesk this will likely be released tomorrow.

The security model for tBTC is described in its documentation. It delineates four things Thesis can do with its key to the smart contract. Among those, it can pause new deposits one time for 10 days. This is how Thesis stopped deposits Monday, but the option can only be used once.

That documentation also says, "The first version of tBTC has been built without any ability to upgrade contracts." The Thesis team has not confirmed that it will deploy a whole new smart contract.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Citi’s Tony McLaughlin on CBDCs, Libra and bitcoin – Finextra

Tony McLaughlin of emerging payments and business development at Citi tells Finextra TV of his soft spot for bitcoin as an alternative investment, but points out the inefficiencies that still afflict the cryptocurrency.

Comparing bitcoin to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) being developed in countries such as China and Sweden, with research and discussion ongoing in many others, McLaughlin draws attention to the proof-of-work model that the bitcoin blockchain is built on.

CBDCs will not rely on proof of work. They will be quasi-centralised systems and not open to anonymous people running nodes, he says.

McLaughlin says this would also be the case with private digital currencies like Libra.

The shortcoming of a proof-of-work blockchain is the substantial amount of energy required to power the computers used to solve the mathematical problems and win the right to add the next block to the ledger.

This makes mining a hugely expensive task and with a diminished reward now that bitcoin has experienced its third halving it may prove an untenable business to be in.

McLaughlin describes the proof-of-work model and the ensuing energy expenditure as a function of how people achieve consensus in these open ecosystems.

Nonetheless, McLaughlin speaks of his fondness for bitcoin due to the fundamental ethos that lies behind it.

Ive got a little bit of a soft spot for bitcoin because of its ideological purity, if you like, he says, given the utopian idea of one currency for the whole world.

Independent from the negative consequences of financial stimulus from governments and central banks, bitcoin provides a useful diversification tool in investment portfolios to protect against inflation.

The cryptocurrency suffered an initial plunge in its value in mid-March, dropping to below $4000 at one point, before tracking back up and has been consistently challenging the $10,000 resistance level over the past month.

Bitcoin is a non-correlated asset, so its okay for those purposes, but for actually making payments its got some significant downsides, McLaughlin says.

Adoption of bitcoin for payment transactions hasnt taken off during this period. It remains a speculative or alternative asset in the same way that people invest in racehorses, art and wine.

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From Buenos Aires to Beirut – Covid-19 Excuse Restricts Millions of Citizens from Withdrawing Their Own Money | Economics – Bitcoin News

The coronavirus and the government-induced lockdowns have wreaked havoc on the global economy and millions of people cant access their own money. Reports from financial stricken areas like Venezuela, Argentina, and Lebanon show that citizens are being stopped from accessing their own hard-earned savings. The news shows the great importance of censorship-resistant money and how society should gravitate toward ideas like bitcoin as soon as possible.

The coronavirus outbreak was rough, but not nearly as horrendous as the over-reactive measures taken by global lawmakers and todays so-called scientific experts. After two and a half months have gone by, it is now quite clear to many people that the response to the pandemic was uncalled for and the lockdowns were the worst mistake humanity has made in over 100 years. Despite the fact that numerous scholarly studies and papers show that the virus wasnt that bad and had a survival rate of over 99%, governments continue to enforce draconian measures across the globe.

Every day in Lebanon, people wait outside the financial institutions waiting to withdraw money, and Lebanons banks have restricted withdrawals to $100 per week. On any given day, a bank employee will also only allow 15 Lebanese residents in the bank per day to get $100 and everyone else waiting in line is told to leave.

In Venezuela, people are also having a hard time accessing funds from banking institutions as well. Things got worse for Venezuelans when the Decree N 4167 published on March 23, 2020, introduced a payment suspension and noted the Socialist Party would restructure payment systems. There is a massive difference between the going street rate of the sovereign bolivar and the bank rate. Venezuelans are also limited to withdrawing very small fractions of funds from institutions like Banco Provincial.

In Argentina, the financial system is almost as bad as Venezuelas economy, and it is worsening every day. On May 16, Buenos Aires resident, Manuel Araoz, described a weird financial situation in Argentina.

Something really weird happened in Argentina this week. Its hard to explain to anyone not living here, but Ill try, Araoz tweeted. Historically, Argentina had the most ridiculous prices for imported products. For example, in 2013 the iPad was $499 in the US, but $1094 in Argentina. This was due to very high import taxes (50%) and very corrupt customs which hold most products for months unless you bribe. This created a weird dynamic where anyone traveling abroad was asked by many acquaintances to smuggle stuff for them. Most argentine international travelers were technology mules, he added. Araoz continued further by saying:

However, last week, ARS/USD black market rate went crazy high (~138 ARS per USD), while the official rate is artificially very low, at less than 50% of that (~67 ARS per USD). This created a weird market condition: All imported products (cars, technology, etc) are now very cheap (in USD). This is because importers buy USD at the official rate, but sell their products in ARS. To anyone holding savings in USD cash, everything is suddenly ~50% off. This created a huge demand surge for imported products in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis. Crazy The government is now evaluating forcing minimum prices for imported goods, to stop people from escaping the melting ARS into actual goods which hold some value over time.

There are a number of countries that are experiencing issues with banking institutions that are restricting withdrawal limits at either the branch or an automated teller machine (ATM). Many banking branches worldwide are close due to Covid-19. Egypts citizens are restricted from withdrawing over what the central bank allows them to, which is a maximum of LE50,000 from LE10,000 using current guidelines ($650 to $3,100).

Residents of the U.K. are dealing with cash restrictions as well, as the contactless limit to 45 at the start of April has made cash all but redundant for most, explains the Guardian reporter Patrick Collinson, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Tesco Bank, Natwest, and Barclays in the U.K. all have withdrawal and contactless limit restrictions.

In Australia, residents who want access to their hard-earned cash have been dealing with overbearing government rules for quite some time now. In December, the Australian government put a $10K limit on cash withdrawals, and even storing more than that at your home is suspect to law enforcement now. Covid-19 has made things worse in Australia and people are having even more issues accessing their own money.

For over 11 years now bitcoin proponents have been telling people that the world needs censorship resistant money. There is proof that there is greater demand for censorship-resistant cryptocurrencies in regions that have tyrannical governments. Unfortunately millions of global citizens are learning the hard way but the crypto economy and digital assets like BCH, ETH, XMR, BTC, LTC, and the thousands of other digital assets are there waiting to be leveraged at any time.

What do you think about the millions of global citizens having issues accessing their own funds? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Bitcoin Product Demos During the Halving – Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin Magazines BitcoinHalving.com 21-hour live stream was a celebration of programmable scarcity during Bitcoins third-ever subsidy halving. It brought panel discussions, fireside chats, technical analysis, banter, memes, music and an unforgettable decentralized countdown to Bitcoins global community and beyond.

Among the diverse pieces of content presented were firsthand demonstrations from some of Bitcoins most active builders, showcasing the products and services that will lead the way in the technologys fourth epoch.

Nodl offers some of Bitcoins most popular options for running a full node, a critical practice for those who want to maximize their sovereignty from the third parties that dictate the legacy economic system. The Nodl One, for instance, allows users to download the full Bitcoin blockchain themselves and includes extra features like full Tor implementation and integration of BTCPay Server. The Nodl Dojo is a similar device, but with the privacy-focused Samourai Wallet built in at its core.

During the BitcoinHalving.com live stream, the team from Nodl demonstrated how a Nodl Dojo is built and walked through the installation of Samourai, giving viewers a firsthand and detailed look at what goes into one of the spaces most important products.

Mesh networks are critical solutions for allowing users to access Bitcoin in truly sovereign ways free of the middlemen that control mainstream internet servers.

Put simply, mesh nets are networks of peer-connected nodes that offer offline connectivity by means of radio signals, Bitcoin Magazine reported in March 2020. Depending on the bandwidth of the network, you could do things like send a bitcoin transaction or download the Bitcoin blockchain.

During the BitcoinHalving.com live stream, Richard Myers took the virtual stage to walk users through goTennas mobile mesh network offering.

One concern that people frequently have about Bitcoin is that it depends on the internet, Myers said during the presentation. One way Bitcoin users can reduce their dependence on centralized communications networks is by confirming bitcoin transactions without direct access to the internet.

Bitcoiners have long touted the dream of seamlessly purchasing a cup of coffee with their sats. Though that dream may remain unrealized in many cafes, the number of merchants that accept BTC is growing. In large part, this is thanks to payment processors like OpenNode.

[OpenNode is] a bitcoin payment processor and infrastructure company designed for todays complex digital economy, as viewers heard during the BitcoinHalving.com live stream. The OpeNode experience was created with flexibility in mind. This is why you can accept bitcoin with the option to instantly convert to traditional currencies like the dollar or euro. Of course, if youd like to keep your earnings in bitcoin, you can do that too.

By focusing on making it as easy as possible for merchants to accept BTC, OpenNode is filling a critical gap in the Bitcoin ecosystem and helping HODLers convert their coins into real-world items. They are also creating a rail that encourages merchants who might not otherwise leverage bitcoin to learn more about the technology and how it can bring them new customers, streamline their transactions and generally free them from issues in the legacy financial system.

Other payment processors have failed to provide a smooth experience for both the customers and the businesses using them and we intend to improve the overall experience, OpenNode CEO Afnan Rahman told Bitcoin Magazine in August 2019.

The BitcoinHalving.com live stream was host to several other high-quality demos, including one from Unchained Capital and another from Swan Bitcoin. To see more of our Halving content, visit our YouTube page.

Peter Chawaga is a senior editor at Bitcoin Magazine. He HODLs BTC.

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Bitcoin.com’s Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube’s Blatant Censorship and Propaganda – Bitcoin News

During the last few years, the Google-owned Youtube platform has been accused of massive censorship and in the last three months, the video streaming business resembles the Ministry of Propaganda, more than an online video-sharing platform. This week Bitcoin.com was also censored for sharing a video about our bitcoin mining pool. Bitcoin.coms Youtube account was given one strike for allegedly violating community guidelines.

When the online video-sharing platform Youtube was first released in February 2005, it was a community of people sharing ideas with very little censorship and moderation. Nowadays, Youtube is under the ownership of Google, and the firms CEO Susan Wojcicki has been outspoken about removing videos. Weeks ago, Wojcicki told CNN that any videos that went against the WHO narrative in regards to the Covid-19 outbreak would be removed.

Last year, Youtube de-platformed a myriad of alt-right and so-called conspiracy groups and removed these channels from the video streaming site. Youtube also started harassing cryptocurrency content creators and Youtubers who operated channels that discussed bitcoin and other digital assets. During the holiday season in 2019, Youtube officials purged a massive number of cryptocurrency video channels for very little reasoning. The company typically just tells the person that the channel had violated community guidelines.

Prior to Bitcoin.coms recent video removal and strike, Wojcickis words came to fruition as her company banned many videos that spoke out against the WHOs narrative when it came to an oppositional narrative toward official coronavirus data. Youtube and Wojcicki took it upon themselves to shelter the public from an opposite narrative that claims herd immunity works and the fatality rate for Covid-19 was extremely over-exaggerated.

We now know that the proof is right in front of our faces and many respected scientific think tanks and epidemiologists have told the public that the lockdowns were very irrational. Despite the proof, Youtube has banned a number of videos that go against the ongoing fear-mongering narrative. When a video was posted on Youtube that featured Dr. Daniel W. Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi from California, the video got 5 million views before it was removed. Youtubes excuse was:

We quickly remove flagged content that violate [sic] our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local health authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance.

Youtube also banned a video called Plandemic, which featured Dr. Judy Mikovits soon after it was published on the online video sharing platform. Youtube, however, does allow videos that rebut Judy Mikovits, Daniel W. Erickson, and Dr. Artin Massihis narratives. The company has no issues allowing rebuttals that stay on course with the fear-mongering narrative.

But any dissenting views against the lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing continued to be removed to this day. The former head of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design at Rockefeller University, Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, recently told the public that Youtube had banned his video that went against the lockdown, and over-reaction narrative after it gathered more than 1.3 million views. Dr. Andrew Kaufmans videos were also removed, when he spoke out against the stay-at-home narrative and the data spread by people like the epidemiologist Neil Ferguson.

Now Youtube has banned one of Bitcoin.coms videos for sharing information about our mining pool. The video removal was based on the companys sale of regulated goods policy and the video allegedly went against community guidelines. The Bitcoin.com account was given a single strike, which gives the account a one week probation period. Two to three strikes could lead to far worse restrictions against the Bitcoin.com account that merely shares information and resources about cryptocurrency solutions. Bitcoin.coms CEO Mate Tokay has spoken out against the Youtube censorship in a tweet letting the company and Wojcicki know they have been immoral.

History shows that censorship has produced some manipulated realities and it has furthered evil time and time again. Youtube is a private company and it can do whatever it wants, but the censorship still speaks volumes on the companys tethered relationship with the status quo. Theres a reason why cryptocurrency videos are removed and it is because it goes against Youtubes financial masters. The reason why Youtube bans certain groups is because those groups gain grass-roots attention and make people think critically.

Youtube has banned videos that go against the Covid-19 narrative as well, because people started realizing that a virus with a 99% survival rate isnt as horrible as we all thought. Concrete evidence shows that the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders did absolutely nothing, even though Youtube continues to scream the less-powerful Covid-19 mantras. Staying at home saves lives, Were all in this together, Flatten the curve, and other propaganda slogans are still aired on nearly every ad published on Youtube today.

Censorship and propaganda techniques paint a clear perspective of Youtubes true colors. Censoring Bitcoin.coms mining video bolsters the argument that Youtube does not have the best interests of global citizens in mind. If anything, people who understand Youtubes vile acts of censorship and misinformation, should vacate the platform in great numbers and leverage a more decentralized online video sharing application like Lbry, or Bitchute. As the economic think tank Fee.org has said: Youtubes censorship of dissenting doctors will backfire.

What do you think about Youtubes censorship and propaganda techniques these last few months? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Youtube, Twitter,

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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J.K. Rowling Made the Grave Mistake of Asking the Internet to Explain Bitcoin – InsideHook

She literally asked for it.

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Like many of us, best-selling author J.K. Rowling spent this past weekend in lockdown drinking. But unlike the rest of us, who used that time to drunk text exes or slide into the DMs of our latest quarantine internet crushes, J.K. Rowling made the grave error of publicly asking someone to explain Bitcoin.

This is something no one should ever do, nor really have any need to do, because at any given time there is actually an army of Bitcoin enthusiasts just waiting to explain it to literally anyone who will listen. In fact, most women have to actively work to prevent men from explaining Bitcoin to them every single day.

Nevertheless, J.K. Rowling had to learn that lesson the hard way after knocking back a few old-fashioneds and apparently deciding that a quick internet lesson in cryptocurrency would be a fun way to spend her Saturday night.

I dont understand Bitcoin. Please explain it to me, the author wrote in an actual tweet that sounds like the exact phrase a tech nerd would program a sex robot to say.

Unsurprisingly, it wasnt long before Rowling was inundated with thousands of replies from crypto-enthusiasts who had been waiting all their lives for an opportunity like this.

Unfortunately for the residents of crypto-Twitter, J.K. Rowling was not impressed, and quickly realized her mistake.

People are now explaining Bitcoin to me, and honestly, its blah blah blah collectibles (My Little Pony?) blah blah blah computers (got one of those) blah blah blah crypto (sounds creepy) blah blah blah understand the risk (I dont, though.), she tweeted.

But because Rowling hadnt been approached by enough mansplainy tech nerds for one night, Elon Musk decided to weigh in, clarifying that while Rowlings derisive summary of Bitcoin was mostly correct, currency issued by central banks actually makes Bitcoin look solid by comparison.

Around this time, the author revealed she was four old-fashioneds deep and any Bitcoin explanations might as well be written in Sanskrit. When one hopeful Bitcoin-splainer suggested Rowling take another crack at it sober, the writer simply replied, Ive got far more chance of grasping it drunk.

Now, I hope weve all learned a valuable lesson about inviting strangers on the internet to explain things. Theyre going to do it anyway. Theres no need to throw yourself to the wolves.

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ISIS’s $300 million war chest is hidden in Bitcoin, says think tank – Decrypt

The Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that combats extremist groups, believes that as much as $300 million (1.1 billion dirhams) worth of donations made to ISIS could be hidden in cryptocurrency.

The organizations new report, titled Cryptocurrencies and Financing of Terrorism: Threat Assessment and Regulatory Challenges, said that authorities have been searching for this missing war chest since 2017.

Im wondering if from 2017 to 2020 there has been $300 million that we have not found and thats why Im thinking this might have been one of the ways it might have been used, the think tanks director Hans-Jakob Schindler told The National, adding that This would be an ideal storage mechanism until it is needed. If done right, it would be unfindable and unseizable for most governments.

In 2019, ISIS reportedly used cryptocurrency to organize the Easter Sunday terrorist attack in Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed at the time as suicide bombers attacked churches and hotels.

ISIS is also considered the first terrorist group that was officially prosecuted in court for its cryptocurrency activities. In 2015, a US teenager Ali Shukri Amin was sentenced to 11 years in jail for providing its supporters with a manual on how to conceal donations with Bitcoin.

As Decrypt reported in March, a US woman was also sentenced to 13 years in prison for sending over $150,000 to ISISmuch of it in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Yet it looks like various terrorist groups have been dabbling in crypto even earlier, as there are consistent cases of ISIS and Hamas using cryptocurrencies as far back as 2014, Schindler said.

From the get-go, ISIS has been clearly interested in what can be done with this new technology, he said, explaining that, Cryptocurrency is good for terrorists if they become public because it enables more people to fund them without running the risk of being discovered or stopped.

Schindler also said that EU governments must create a joint regulatory framework since they for once can be ahead of the curve and have time now to work on regulations before it becomes a $100 million problem.

Last summer, a research paper written by Steven Stalinsky, the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, suggested that crypto fundraising for terrorist organizations is becoming more common, as groups look for ways to raise cash bypassing banks and other intermediaries.

In November 2019, officials from the Australian and US governments have also called for further action against the national security threats posed by cryptocurrencies.

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The Irrelevance of the Intelligence Debate – Merion West

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI, STR)

By contrast, those on the Left tend to prefer more transparently social determinants, such as ethnic or economic background and push against anything which seems to naturalize inequality by explaining it biologically.

Introduction

One of the features of contemporary discourse that has never made a great deal of sense to me is the hoopla over the significance of genetically heritable intelligence. Figures on the political right, from Charles Murray through to Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux, tend to ascribe great unicausal significance to Intelligence quotient (IQ) as a determinant of inequality. At its best, some of this research is empirically interesting. At its worst, it can lead to nasty arguments about racial inequities. By contrast, those on the Left tend to prefer more transparently social determinants, such as ethnic or economic background and push against anything which seems to naturalize inequality by explaining it biologically. A strong example would be the controversy over elite post-secondary schools accepting students largelyor almost exclusivelyfrom the most affluent classes. The general tendency is for each side to trumpet its preferred empirical findings and dismiss any criticisms presented by the other as politically motivated or shallow.

My feeling is that much of this discourse is actually politically irrelevant. There is no doubt that people differ in their natural talents, such as intelligence, though even on this point we must be careful. While human potential may have an innate quality, the capacity to meaningfully develop such potential into talent owes a great deal to fortunate circumstances. Empirical approaches to intelligence make for interesting research questions, and there are conclusions about which intelligent people may disagree. More pressing to me, however, is whether these findings should have normative significance as they pertain to debates about inequality and socio-economic status. And here is where things get well out of whack.

Fairness and the Distribution of Natural Talents

Thus it is incorrect that individuals with greater natural endowments and the superior character that has made their development possible have a right to a cooperative scheme that enables them to obtain even further benefits in ways that do not contribute to the advantages of others. We do not deserve our place in the distribution of native endowments, any more than we deserve our initial starting place in society. That we deserve the superior character that enables us to make the effort to cultivate our abilities is also problematic; for such character depends in good part upon fortunate family and social circumstances in early life for which we can claim no credit. The notion of desert does not apply here. John Rawls in A Theory of Justice

The argument about intelligence and inequality is often presented in a rather coarse manner. Proponents of the argument that IQitself often assumed to be an uncontroversial indicator of intelligenceis a natural determinant of ones socio-economic station smuggle a sizable moral assumption into their claim. This smuggled assumption is that if something is natural, then it should not be cause for political controversy. They assume that if smart people get ahead and the rest fall behind, this is inevitableand there is little we should do to correct for it. But this is by no means obvious. And, as I shall show, this line of argument is actually quite unpersuasive. Even if it did turn out that IQ determined socio-economic status, we would have no reason to accept that as a just outcome.

Debates about inequality resonate with us because they are intimately related to questions of fairness. The mythical story told in many capitalist societies is that if one gets ahead it should be on the basis of an ambiguous quality called merit. Individuals who are rewarded more than others must deserve it in some sense; otherwise, there would be a serious moral controversy about inequality. Max Weber showed as early as in his 1905 work The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that this meritocratic mythology has deep roots in Christian thinking about Gods tendency to reward the good and punish the sinful. However, this thinking is now secularized and applied to the decidedly non-theological entity of the capitalist market. The problem is that decades of empirical research has shown that many people do not get ahead purely or even largely on the basis of meritwhatever that even means. A vast and growing amount of wealth is inherited by elite families, such as the Walton family and the Koch family; wealthy people do plenty to hedge the political system to their benefit, and huge advantagesincluding genetic advantagesare passed onto the children of affluent parents. Faced with this tendency, many increasingly accuse the system of being unfair since it privileges the advantaged over the disadvantaged. This is, obviously, a serious problem in countries committed to the liberal principle that all are created equal and that all must be shown equal respect by the law and government. In such a context, appealing to IQ or some other metric of intelligence can seem like a handy retort. The anger over glaring inequities can be explained away by gesturing to a factor that feels meritocratic; in this view, those who got ahead were simply smarter than their competitors.

The problem is that it is hard to think of something that owes less to personal merit than intelligence. It is a paradigmatic trophy awarded by the genetic lottery. That it may owe something to having intelligent parents, who are likely already well off, in fact, makes the problem worse. This is because it suggests the lottery is not randomized but skewed to concentrate rewards and globalize disadvantages. For these reasons, the liberal political theorist John Rawls rightly described intelligence and other natural talents as morally arbitrary. They had nothing to do with a persons merit as ascertained from a moral point of view. They were simply natural factsmuch in the same way that some people were born tall and others shot. What was morally significant were not these natural facts but how institutions chose to deal with said facts. As Rawls wrote:

We may reject the contention that the ordering of institutions is always defective because the distribution of natural talents and the contingencies of social circumstance are unjust, and this injustice must inevitably carry over to human arrangements. Occasionally this reflection is offered as an excuse for ignoring injustice, as if the refusal to acquiesce in injustice is on a par with being unable to accept death. The natural distribution is neither just nor unjust; nor is it unjust that persons are born into society at some particular position. These are simply natural facts. What is just and unjust is the way that institutions deal with these facts. Aristocratic and caste societies are unjust because they make these contingencies the ascriptive basis for belonging to more or less enclosed and privileged social classes. The basic structure of these societies incorporates the arbitrariness found in nature. But there is no necessity for men to resign themselves to these contingencies. The social system is not an unchangeable order beyond human control but a pattern of human action.

This last point is key. It highlights the assumption built into the argument of those fixated on IQ: that natural facts correspond to a just hierarchical order that we must accept, rather than question. But that is clearly not so; human sickness and premature death are also natural facts, and we would have little trust in a society that encouraged us simply to resign ourselves to them. A just society is not one that simply accepts or valorizes nature; it is one that improves upon it to the benefit of all.

Conclusion

It is difficult to think of a more unfair and unjust society than one where mere genetic lottery is permitted readily to determine who gets what. Such a society would have decided that the actual choices a person makesnot to mention what degree of respect everyone should be entitled to (as a matter of securing political legitimacy)are inconsequential. Some might retort that this is still meritocratic in the sense of allowing the best to rise to the top. But what is meant by best is not good or virtuous or even useful. What is, thus, meant by best is most gifted by nature, which many commentators seem to think mystically warrants reverence analogous to Achilles being blessed by the gods. A just society genuinely committed to liberal principles of moral equality and fairness should have little to do with such sentiments. It should not ask What gifts has nature shown fit to bestow you? but instead What arrangement of goods and honors would best reflect a commitment to our deepest principles?

Here, I think we should follow Rawls again and recognize that liberal socialism is the way to go. A just society would permit inequalities to generate wealthbut only to the extent that these inequalities work to the benefit of the least well-off. People would be rewarded and praised for developing their natural talents, such as intelligence. This is both because taking the time to do so demonstrates good characterand because it is socially useful to do so. However, it should also be acknowledged that the gifts granted to the particularly intelligent are granted to them by fate. As such, these gifts ought not be viewed as some indicator of anointed superiority.

Matt McManus is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Tec de Monterrey, and the author of Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law and The Rise of Post-Modern Conservatism. His new projects include co-authoring a critical monograph on Jordan Peterson and a book on liberal rights for Palgrave MacMillan. Matt can be reached atmattmcmanus300@gmail.comor added on twitter vie@mattpolprof

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There are great stories about U.S. Open qualifiers; too bad we won’t have any in 2020 – GolfDigest.com

In this never-ending nightmare of the coronavirus, weve become increasingly numb to disappointments. The first few cancellationssports events, music festivals, in-person classeshit society quite hard. But when youre continuously crossing things off the calendar, it becomes the norm, and human beings have a way of adapting to the norm, however bleak it may be.

Still, a particularly depressing bit of newsat least by golf standardscan still pull at our collective heartstrings and remind us what a huge bummer this continues to be. Mondays announcement that the USGA would be cancelling qualifiers for Septembers U.S. Open wasnt much of a surprise, when you really think about it. Running 108 local qualifiers and 12 sectional qualifiers simply isnt feasible in these times, so the U.S. Open will feature a fully exempt field for the first time in a very long time.

No ones happy about it. Not the players who were going to get in anyway, not the USGA folks, and, of course, not the countless mini-tour guys who relish the opportunity to beat the big boys. This is the U.S. Open after all, a tournament that derives much of its charm from its meritocracy. All you need is a 1.4 index or below, a couple hundred bucks and the ability to take a few Mondays off work, and you could find yourself teeing it up against Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy at iconic course such as Shinnecock Hills or Pebble Beach.

In a normal year, roughly half of the field comes from qualifying, though the vast majority of the guys who make it were exempt from the local stage and went straight to sectionals. The most recent winner to come from a sectional was Lucas Glover in 2009 at Bethpage Black, with Michael Campbell also pulling it off in 2005 at Pinehurst.

Its much rarer to make it through both local and sectional. Rare, but not unheard of. A number of guystouring professionals, teaching pros, college players, teenagers, insurance salesmanhave made it through both rounds and then left their mark on the Open itself. In light of todays news, here are a few of the best.

The World Golf Hall of Famers career got off to a solid start in the late 50s, when he broke out on Tour and nearly won a couple Masters. But he experienced such a dramatic loss in form that he had to play in a local qualifier for the 1969 U.S. Open. Good thing he didafter nearly collapsing from opprsive heat during a 36-hole final day, Venturi ended up winning at Congressional, a comeback significant enough to earn him Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year. Orville Moody, 1969 Moody won exactly one of the 266 tournaments he played in during his career: the U.S. Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, And like Venturi, he did so after playing his way through both local and sectional qualifying. He is the last player to win the championship after such a journey.

John Peterson, 2012 Peterson had a fantastic career at LSU, where he was a three-time All-American and won the NCAA individual title in 2011. But in the spring of 2012, he was just a fledgling pro teeing it up in a local qualifier for the U.S. Open. He played his way through local and then sectional to book his place at the Olympic Club. It turned out to be the best week of his professional careerhe made a hole-in-one on Saturday, finished T-4 and made $276,841. Petersons had a strange run since then, playing his way to a PGA Tour, then struggling with injuries, then retiring at age 29, and then seemingly un-retiring shortly thereafter. No matter where his roller coaster golf journey takes him, hell always have that week at Olympic.

Jason Gore, 2005 Gore, who actually works for the USGA now as a player relations director, was on the precipice of the impossible 15 years ago. Hed played his way through local qualifying, through sectional qualifying, made the cut at Pinehurst No. 2, and found himself in the final group of the U.S. Open alongside world No. 5 Retief Goosen. Sunday itself was a disaster for the big guy, Gores 14-over 84 seeing him plummet all the way to a tie for 49th. He held it together for so very long, but he couldnt hold it together long enough.

Andy Zhang, 2012 A cool thing about the U.S. Open qualification process is theres no age limit. If your handicap is low enough, have at it. Fourteen-year-old Andy Zhang did so back in 2012, when he made it through local qualifying only to lose in a playoff at Sectionals. Dream over, right? Nah. He got into the field as an alternate when some of his older competitors pulled out with injuries, opening a spot for the youngest player in U.S. Open history. He shot 79-78 to miss the cut by a million, but thats not really the point.

Beau Hossler, 2012 The 2012 U.S. Open was quite the party for local qualifiers. In addition to Zhang and Peterson, 17-year-old Beau Hossler joined in on the fun. It was actually his second straight year qualifying for the Opennot sure why playing in the U.S. Open doesnt get you into at least Sectionals for the next yearand he made it count at Olympic Club. Hossler briefly held the solo lead at two under on Friday before a late collapse saw him tumble down the board and lose low amateur honors to some guy named Jordan Spieth.

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There are great stories about U.S. Open qualifiers; too bad we won't have any in 2020 - GolfDigest.com

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Beware: this altcoins price action could be part of a pump and dump scheme – CryptoSlate

0x has been in the spotlight of the cryptocurrency market following an increase in the buying pressure behind it that saw its price rise over 140 percent. The bullish momentum appears to have been fueled by an endorsement made by a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency industry.

Now that ZRX has reached new yearly highs, there are several on-chain metrics that suggest it could lose some of the gains recently made.

Teeka Tiwari is well known in the crypto community for his bold predictions about the future market valuation of many digital assets. Through his Palm Beach Confidential Group, the analyst has made a series of recommendations that tend to be followed by massive spikes in a tokens price.

On May 7, for instance, Tiwari included 0x in his 2020 Phenomenon Play tokens. After the announcement was made, this altcoin jumped from a low of $0.21 to hit a high of nearly $0.50. Such a high market valuation for ZRX has not been seen since mid-November 2018.

The upward impulse, however, was not followed by a higher spike in demand. This resulted in a steep retracement as it usually happens with all the sudden pumps driven purely by speculators, affirmed Santiment. As a result, 0x retraced over 25 percent from the recent peak and it may be bound for further losses.

The behavioral analytics platform said that the daily active addresses and network growth that ZRX has experienced over the past few days do not sustain the recent price increase. These indexes saw a sharp drop while this cryptocurrency was surging indicating that there are not enough participants to keep the momentum going.

Moreover, the high number of mentions of 0x across more than 1,000 social network channels tends to indicate that a correction is underway. Since the wisdom of the crowd is usually inaccurate, the overwhelmingly bullish sentiment around ZRX might be signaling a top.

Santiment explained:

The more the chatter around a coin during a rally, the more toppish it gets as the crowd floods in late as usual. A similar pattern [can be spotted] around social volume and price action since ZRXs genesis in 2017. Every significant top was signaled by a sudden spike and drop in social volume.

IntoTheBlocks In/Out of the Money Around Price model adds credence to the bearish outlook. This on-chain metric reveals that over 2,000 addresses bought more than 40 million ZRX at an average price of $0.38. Such a substantial supply wall could spell trouble for this tokens uptrend.

It is worth noting that the unpredictability of the market makes it impossible to avoid the bullish outlook. Even though ZRXs recent price action could be part of a pump and dump scheme, breaking above the resistance level mentioned earlier could see it rise towards higher highs.

0x, currently ranked #37 by market cap, is down 3.36% over the past 24 hours. ZRX has a market cap of $242.74M with a 24 hour volume of $82.63M.

Chart by CryptoCompare

0x is down 3.36% over the past 24 hours.

Cover Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

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Beware: this altcoins price action could be part of a pump and dump scheme - CryptoSlate

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