AirBit Club civil case stayed pending criminal case outcome
AirBit Club civil case stayed pending criminal case outcome
The War on Bitcoin - CoinGeek
Circle Programmable dollars for your internet business
Circle Programmable dollars for your internet business
Why is my transaction not getting confirmed and what can I ...
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
An Overview of Arizona Primary Races - Part 4: Legislative Races 11-20
Welcome to my omnibus compendium of Arizona’s upcoming primary races (set to take place August 28th – early voting ballots should have been mailed out August 1st). Arizona’s a really interesting state (I may be a hair biased), since it not only is home to two to four swing House seats and a high-profile Senate race, but also a vulnerable governor (thanks to the teacher walkout earlier this year) and tenuous majorities in both state houses that could – theoretically – deliver a Dem trifecta this fall. Other statewide candidates have also been on the attack, and few Republicans are safe in this climate. If Dr. Tipirneni’s massive swing in April can be replicated across the state, the Dems will pull off a coup of stupidly high proportions. If you’re interested about which district you live in, check https://azredistricting.org/districtlocato. If you want to get involved with your local Democratic party, find your legislative district on the previous link (NOT CD), and then search for your LD’s name at this link. Feel free to attend meetings, they’re a great way to get involved with candidates and like-minded individuals. If you wish to donate to a “clean elections” candidate (mentioned in the post as “running clean”), you will have to live in that candidate’s legislative district to do so. Statewide “clean” candidates can accept from anyone, although al such candidates probably have hit their goals for the cycle. If you are a registered Independent and do not want to vote at the polls, you will need to request and early ballot using the website of your county’s recorder. Example links for Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal. Others available if needed. Race ratings for listed primaries will be listed as Solid/Likely/Leans/Tossup and are not indicative of my own preference for that seat. I’ll denote my personal primary preferences at the end of this series. Some candidates have filed as write-in candidates for their primary. I’m unsure about the rules behind this, and if a win means they automatically appear on the ballot in November – currently in process of verifying. For example, in 2016 Gary Swing and Merissa Hamilton both won their respective Senate primaries (Green/Libertarian) as write-ins, but only Swing was on the ballot in the fall. If you have any questions about voting in the primary, which races are the most contested, and how to get involved with other Democrats in Arizona, feel free to PM me. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN IN MY CAPACITY AS A VOTER IN ARIZONA, AND NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY ORGANIZATIONS I WORK/ED FOR OR AM/WAS A MEMBER OF. THIS POST IS IN NO WAY ENDORSED BY THE ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR ANY SUB-ORGANIZATION THEREOF. View Statewide post here. View Congressional post here View Legislative Races 1-10 here
State Legislative Races
So as mentioned in the intro post, this’ll cover not only the federal and statewide candidates but also the state legislative races. Arizona has 30 districts, each with 1 Senator and 2 Representatives. Republicans hold meh majorities in both chambers (17-13 in the Senate, and 35-25 in the House), but Dems think this is the year for a potential flip of chambers. Due to time constraints I’ll try to focus on races with primaries, and write a primer about important general election races later – but hopefully I can get all of them done. Our party went balls to the wall and recruited 114 Democratic candidates to run this cycle, meaning that there’s a candidate running in every race across Arizona, in even the reddest of red districts. It also means there’s a lot of blurbs to write. One additional point to make – the vast majority of people using the Arizona Clean Elections funding source are running for the state legislature. Their COH statistics will be denoted as ($XXX COH, Clean). This - for the most part – means that the only additional money they can expect in the race will come afteif they win their respective primaries, roughly to the tune of $20K-$25K or so. So without further ado, the districts! District 11 For our first district in the second installment of the legislative series, we head over to Northern Tucson/Casa Grande, a district that – like LD8 before it – is surprisingly only Leans Red despite its demographics and geographical location. The Republican Senate incumbent is noted theocratic asshole Steve Smith, who as mentioned earlier is trying to make the hop over into Congress. His Republican heir apparent is State Representative Vince Leach ($118.5K COH). The other incumbent Republican Representative, Mark Finchem ($44.4K COH) is running for re-election in the House, with Constable Bret Roberts ($16.7K COH, Clean) and retired carpenter Howie Jones ($700 COH) running for the second open spot. Roberts has been endorsed by Finchem and Leach and seems set to take the second nomination. His choice of running clean is odd, especially as a party-approved candidate. Roberts may make it through to the general, but he’ll most likely run into rural liberal powerhouse Hollace Lyon ($93K COH). Unlike in LD8, the House candidate (Lyon) seems set to drag the Democratic slate, kicking and screaming, into relevancy. Wife of the president of the Arizona School Boards Association (Linda Lyon) and retired USAF Colonel, Lyon brings a great combination of education bona fides, fundraising/campaigning chops (She has outraised everyone in the district - Leach’s COH advantage is only because of his past warchest), and rural appeal (she channels Amy McGrath’s rhetoric to great success. Lyon would be a great single-shot candidate for the candidate. Except she’s not running alone. Perennial candidate Barry McCain (no link because his website’s dead and he’s a bit of a nut, also $4 COH) managed to qualify for the ballot again this year by some miracle. Local and state party leaders, wary of ceding a ballot slot to nigh-invisible candidate, recruited local teacher and education advocate Marcela Quiroz ($630 COH, Clean – needs $5’s). While Quiroz has had some trouble getting her campaign ff the ground, she is by far a better #2 than McCain. In the Senate, rancher Ralph Atchue ($15.4K, Clean) is taking a second crack at the seat. Atchue didn’t generate many waves last time, and this time – if he does win – it will be on the backs of Lyon and Quiroz. The presence of Green Party write-in Mohammad Arif won’t help. As mentioned before, the general rests squarely on the shoulders of Hollace Lyon, and partially on Quiroz’s as well. Both House and Senate candidates have a defined rural appeal, but only Lyon seems capable of actually translating that into results. If the statewide wave is large enough, she’ll drag Quiroz and Atchue in on her coattails. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. Solid Lyon, Likely Quiroz. GOP Senate uncontested, Solid Finchem, Likely Roberts. Leans GOP Senate, Tossup House Roberts/Lyon, Leans GOP Finchem/Quiroz. District 12 Popping back up north somewhat, we take a look at LD12 – located in the heart of CD5. Centered in Gilbert and Southeast Mesa, 12 is so stupidly red, only LD1 and LD5 are worse. On the Republican side, incumbent Representative Travis Grantham ($26K COH) is being joined by incumbent Senator Warren Petersen ($49K COH) in their quest for House nominations, and are being primaried from the right by Mr “Ban All Public Schools” Nick Myers ($600 COH), and from the center by adjunct professor Blake Sacha ($36.5K COH). In the Senate, charter school owner and incumbent State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth ($26.2K COH) is running, being challenged from the nominal center by businessman Jimmy Lindblom ($25K COH). Lindblom still holds most of Farnsworth’s conservative views, but is attacking Farnsworth regarding how corrupt of a legislator he is, profiting off of charter school requirements he passes. On the Democratic side, Elizabeth Brown ($15.5K) is rehashing a 2016 Senate run, and will be joined by two House nominees – currently that looks like teacher Joe Bisaccia ($12K COH, Clean) and lawyer Lynsey Robinson ($16.88K COH, Clean). Robinson is actually running on a slate with 2014 House nominee DJ Rothans ($150 COH, Clean), but his campaign has not gotten as much traction as hers. Given the breakdown of this district it is highly unlikely a Dem. pulls it off either in the House or Senate, and with the amount of district infighting that’s ongoing (per rumors, Brown and Bisaccia hate each other’s guts and are causing a lot of chaos because of that) that chance goes from slim to none. The best bet in this scenario is for Sacha and Lindblom to pull off the upset in primaries. While they’re at best mediocre friends of public education (Sacha) and at worse a slightly cleaner version of the incumbent (Lindblom), they’re a step up from the clusterfuck currently ongoing in the district. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. Likely Bisaccia, Likely Robinson. Leans Farnsworth, Likely Petersen, Leans Finchem. All Solid GOP general. District 13 District 13 could be a bit of a Roy Moore-ish scenario for Democrats, at least in the Senate. So I’ll get the House out of the way first. Reps Darin Mitchell ($7.3K COH) and Tim Dunn ($76K COH)- both Republicans – are the current Representatives for the district. Mitchell has built a long-term brand in the district, while Dunn was appointed n February 2018 following…well we’ll get to that in a second. They are being challenged from the right by absolute wackadoodle Trey Terry ($9K COH), and from the center(ish) by Goodyear ViceMayor Joanne Osborne ($10.5K COH). Mitchell and Dunn seem set to make it out of their primaries by virtue of their incumbency (and Dunn’s surprisingly large warchest), although if Osborne can convince enough moderate Republicans to vote for her (she seems to be against some anti-publicEd measures here in AZ) she stands a fraction of a chance. Mitchell and Dunn will face Democrat Thomas Tzitzura ($1.1K COH, Clean), a veteran, former teacher, and adorable old guy. He’s set to lose by 30. But we’re interested in the Senate. Currently, the Senate seat is held by farmer Sine Kerr ($40.6K COH), an unimposing backbencher appointed to the seat in February after Steve Motnenegro resigned his seat when he tried – and failed -to win the GOP nomination for CD8. She’s being challenged in the primary by businessman Brent Backus ($4K COH), and in the general by retired Air Force veteran Michelle Harris (4.8K COH, Clean). If Kerr wins the primary, her general election should be relatively easy – the last Democrat to run for Senate here didn’t crack 35%. But there’s another Republican running. On February 1st, 2018, the Arizona State House voted to expel sexual assault perpetrator Don Shooter ($18K COH), a longtime Senator and at that time Representative from LD13. A report over 80 pages long detailing his deeds was filed with the House, and they had no choice but to kick him to the curb. His career seemed dead. Ever the enigma, Shooter didn’t stop collecting signatures for the Senate run he was planning on this year (pending Montenegro’s resignation), and on the last day to file for the State Senate he submitted signatures to run again in LD13. This upended Kerr’s easy walk to re-election – while Shooter’s statewide brand was kneecapped, the voters in LD13 by and large seemed unphased by his wrongdoings at the state legislature. And with a stronger name-rec in the area and a fundraising system that doesn’t seem to be phased by his misdeeds, Shooter seems set to snatch primary victory from the jaws of defeat. With the anti-sexual abuser vote set to be split by Backus, Arizona’s Roy Moore (I don’t use that lightly, he preyed on college and high school interns as well) could make it to the general. For all of Harris’s pros, she falters where Lyon succeeds as a candidate – both in funds, branding, and campaign intensity. If Kerr or even Backus win the Senate nomination, Harris is toast. But if Shooter makes it through somehow, the retired Master Sergeant stands a chance at turning this district blue. It will hinge on the morals of LD13 independents, and AZGOP rescinding support for Shooter if he sneaks through the primaries. Will the stars align for Harris? Will Shooter’s attempt to reclaim his former glory turn this district blue? Probably not. But “probably” isn’t good enough in 2018. hunter15991 Rating: Dem primaries uncontested. Leans Shooter, Likely Mitchell/Kerr. Safe GOP House general. Leans GOP Senate. District 14 Like past districts, LD14 is more of a question as to who wins the GOP primary than who wins the general. The Dems are fielding businessman Bob Karp ($1K COH, Clean) and businesswoman Shelley Renee-Leon ($1.5K COH, Clean) for the House, while there’s a competitive primary between 2016 nominee Jaime Alvarez ($1.2K COH, Clean), and teacher Mendy Gomez ($1.4K COH, Clean). Alvarez should make it through the primary due to his name rec from 2016, but with teachers gaining prominence in post-strike Arizona, Gomez could take it from him. A safe GOP district, the main question is how races on the right pan out. The House is rather tame, incumbent Rep. Becky Nutt ($19.3K COH) and outgoing Senator Gail Griffin ($31.4K COH) are uncontested for the nomination there. For Senate, there is a three-way battle between former House speaker David Gowan ($54K COH), incumbent State Rep. Drew John ($38K), and Army vet/businesswoman Lori Kilpatrick ($15.7K COH, Clean). Gowan, a candidate for CD1 back in 2016, has come to reclaim his old LD14 fiefdom, but Drew John seems hesitant to give it up without a fight. If Rep. John can hold steady, he’ll deprive the GOP of a massively-experienced ex-legislator and replace him with a freshman, milquetoast backbencher in John. Any nominee seems set to win the general, but if Gowan strikes out again here the State GOP will be in a slightly weaker position than before. I realize counting Dems out is bad to do – the district’s a hair bluer than 13 – but if Harris at least fits her rural vibe somewhat, Gomez/Alvarez and the House slate unequivocally don’t. The Dems best hope here is just Gowan losing in the primaries. hunter15991 Rating: Tossup Dem. Senate. Dem House uncontested. Tossup GOP Senate (John/Gowan), GOP House uncontested. All Safe GOP general. District 15 If the doom and gloom in LD14 has got you down, you may want to try on LD15 for size. Located smack dab in the middle of AZ-06, LD15 is a microcosm of the fight Heather Ross will be fighting in the congressional district as a whole. Although the district as a whole has been red legislatively for eons, in 2016 both Sherriff Paul Penzone and Maricopa County Community Colleges Boardmember Linda Thor posted good results in LD15 – showing a capacity not only for sane Democratic votes, but also f or pro-education votes. The GOP field in LD15 is set – former teacher and “moderate” Republican Representative Heather Carter ($45K COH) is dropping massive checks on her quest to secure the Senate seat in this district, while House Majority Leader John Allen ($46.6K COH) and incumbent Senator Nancy Barto ($24K) are running for the two House seats. The Dem. field is well suited to meet them. In the Senate, teacher Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko ($3.16K COH, Clean – and hereafter KDP) is squaring off against Carter, while 3 Dem. candidates are vying for the two Dem. House nominations in the district. Teacher Jennifer Samuels is running as a ticket with KDP, both heavily emphasizing their education chops. Prosecutor Julie Gunnigle is gunning (pun intended) for the second spot, crafting her campaign around a strong anti-corruption message. Her legal chops are visible in her many livestreams she does, and if she fails at a run here (or for CD6) she’s got a promising practice to return to. 2016 nominee and lawyer Tonya MacBeth is the third candidate in the race – although she has not been able to adapt to the competitive primary Gunnigle and Samuels have thrust on her. With Gunnigle taking a lot of big-name endorsements (like Steve Farley) and Samuels pairing up with KDP, MacBeth is on track to get boxed out of the nomination. In the general, Samuels and Gunnigle dodge a massive bullet, as moderate Republican Heather Carter is running for the Senate this cycle instead of one of the two House slots. While this does sink KDP (her main strength is education, but Carter counteracts that quite nicely), Samuels and Gunnigle have an opening against Allen and Barto. Both incumbent GOP legislators have been vocally against the recent teacher strike, with Allen leveraging his power as House Majority Leader to whip GOP members (like Carter, coincidentally) into line to vote against Dem. bills designed to find some sort of a fix to the teacher crisis. If the Dem. nominees can adequately tie Barto to Allen and Allen to the funding catastrophe in Arizona, then the same metrics that could push Ross over the finish line can push them over as well. The county party realizes this, having opened up an LD office here far earlier than was expected by anyone. It likely will remain in GOP hands, but the dark money needed to protect what should be a safe seat for Republicans will absolutely send some Dems across the 50%+1 mark elsewhere in the state. hunter15991 Rating: Dem. Senate uncontested. Likely Gunnigle/Samuels. GOP primary uncontested. Likely Carter, Leans Allen/Barto. District 16 Located in deep-red East Mesa and Apache Junction, LD16 is a splash of cold water after such a rosy preview of LD15. Currently held by Senator David Farnsworth ($4K), retiring Representative Doug Coleman, and Tea PartieFurry fan Kelly Townsend ($32.4K). In the running for the second House seat being abandoned by Coleman are Apache PD Officer Stephen Kridler ($2K COH), businessman John Fillmore ($19K COH), activist Liza Godzich ($20K COH), and moderate-ish Tara Phelps ($26K COH, Clean). Phelps has been receiving tacit Democratic support in the area, as the Democratic primary (we’ll get to it in a moment) is relatively uncompetitive. Godzich is receiving Townsend’s stamp of approval, which for the most part sets up a Phelps v. Godzich race for the second slot after Townsend. However, a nominally-even race is slanted by the presence of Fillmore and Kridler, who by nature of their platforms are set to pull more from the right than the center. There’s a decent chance a pro-PublicEd Republican makes it through to the general this November. On the Senate side, Farnsworth is being challenged in the primary by “Big” Michael Hernandez ($2K COH), an anti-establishment character running a hair left of Farnsworth. Anecdotally, he’s getting along quite well with the Democrat in the race, Ben Carmitchel (bencarmitchelforaz - $710 COH, Clean and needs $5’s). Although Hernandez doesn’t seem like he’ll make it to the general, he’s undoubtedly a cheery face this election. In the general, Carmitchel is joined by former teacher Sharon Stinard ($3.4K COH), as well as by Green Party write-in and former Democratic nominee for WY-AL Richard Grayson) ($0 COH). Stinard, Carmitchel, and Grayson all face a touch climb in the general – the best this district can feasibly hope for is for Phelps to make it through the Republican primary. hunter15991 Rating: Dem primaries uncontested. Likely Farnsworth, Likely Townsend, Tossup (Phelps/Godzich). Solid GOP General. District 17 Before I begin this segment, it’s wise for me to inform readers (however many there are) that I was previously employed by the Democratic slate in LD17, before being forced out for what in my mind are senseless reasons. I have tried not to let the firing itself impact my judgement re. this district, but the fact that Dem. staffers in this district (the people I was replaced with) are by-and-large woefully inexperienced cannot be overlooked. District 17 is a super-crucial district for the Dems this cycle, being targeted both by the state and national DLCC. It’s the home district of House Speaker JD Mesnard ($143K COH), who is currently running for the open Senate seat in the district. The second Representative, running for re-election, is Jeff Weninger ($79.1K COH), a backbencher who focuses most of his time on passing bills related to bitcoin/blockchain technology. The party-backed candidate for Mesnard’s old seat is Chandler Vice Mayor Nora Ellen ($91.7K COH) – coincidentally Mesnard’s mom. They face RN Julie Willoughby in the primaries, who is receiving a surprising amount of backing from anti-Mesnard forces in the GOP and seems set to make the primary a bit of a slugfest. Still, Ellen most likely will advance to November. The Democratic nominees for the district are hospital administrator Steve Weichert ($13K COH) and education consultant/former teacher Jennifer Pawlik. Both are running on a strong, education-first platform, and when I left were attacking Mesnard for his connection to Ellen and for his poor education votes. While the district is inching closer to blue (it’s a lot swingier than one would expect) and party support is increasing, I need to take a moment and comment about the staffing situation. After my friend and I were forced out (pay and responsibilities gradually reduced to a token position), staffing duties were handed over to volunteers and political newbies, who requested training from us in practically every aspect of running a campaign. I don’t claim to be a campaign guru myself, but the current campaign manager had difficulty figuring out basic algebra, and an Excel sheets with a pre-generated set of instructions (click this tab for X, this tab for Y). Combine this with an incredible disdain by both candidates to call for money outside of their immediate circle, and there is cause for concern. Thankfully the party can allocate additional resources to the area, but I don’t know how much they’d be willing to shell out. The ingredients are all there. The cooks aren’t. hunter15991 Rating: Dem primaries uncontested. GOP Senate uncontested, Likely Weninger, Leans Ellen. Tossup Senate, Tossup House 1, Solid House GOP 2 (Dem. uncontested). District 18 Immediately adjacent to LD17 is LD18 – which is just as swingy of a seat. It is currently – surprisingly – majority-Democrat, held by Senator Sean Bowie ($123K COH), a moderate Democrat who won this seat in 2016 by running against a Trumpist Republican who turned off a lot of the swing voters in the district. He faces the same Trumpist Republican, Frank Schmuck (yes, that’s his real name – and $125.7K COH) this fall. One of his House counterparts, Mitzi Epstein ($37.3K COH), winning alongside Bowie in 2016. The second Representative, however, is GOP loyalist Jill Norgaard ($65.5K COH), a rank-and-file Republican who has had to quickly adopt a moderate stance now that her district is a target for the Dems to fully flip this November. In the general she will face either education activist Jennifer Jermaine ($15.1K COH) or DSA activist/pastry chef LaDawn Stuben ($12.7K COH, Clean). While Stuben was able to raise her $5’s rather quickly, most DSA activist attention has turned elsewhere to Westbrook/Phoenix City Council, and her campaign is slowing down just as Jermaine is catching fire. It’ll most likely be Epstein/Jermaine in the fall. But Norgaard has a competitive primary to fight through as well. Other candidates include former Arizona Board of Regents member Greg Patterson ($800 COH), former Tempe Union Schoolboard candidate and vocal anti-abortion activist Don Hawker ($600 COH), and AZGOP minority outreach chair Farhana Shifa ($17.7K COH). Shifa seems like the most likely 2nd GOP nominee given her party background, but Patterson matches her tit for tat on the resume (yet has a surprising gap in terms of fundraising). In the general, this seat will be one the GOP tries to take back from the Democrats, in an attempt to return to their supermajority from pre-2016. However, the changing political attitudes in the area are pretty indicative that, if anything, the district is heading further blue this fall. It’s not without the realm of doubt to see a full Dem. slate here – Bowie, Epstein, Jermaine – where four years prior it was fully red. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. GOP Senate uncontested, Likely Epstein/Jermaine. Likely Norgaard, Leans Shifa. Leans Dem Senate, Leans Dem House 1 (Epstein/Shifa), Tossup House 2 (Norgaard/Jermaine). District 19 Thankfully for me, LD19 is quite a snoozefest. Democratic Senator Lupe Contreras ($73 COH) is running uncontested in both the primary and the general. Democratic Representative Diego Espinoza ($1.5K COH) is running for re-election, with a noticeable battle for the second House seat ongoing. The decision by Rep. Mark Cardenas to pursue higher office (he failed) led to this seat opening up in LD19. Avondale City councilman Lorenzo Sierra ($16.2K COH) is the frontrunner in the race, having secured both Contreras’, Espinoza’s, and Cardenas’s endorsements. But he’s facing opposition from Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board Vice President Devin DelPalacio ($2.9K COH). He is running on a strong pro-education platform, but as a former student of Tolleson Union I don’t consider him to be the best pro-PublicEd example in Arizona. No Republicans have filed for this district, making the primary the general election. hunter15991 Rating: Dem Senate uncontested. Likely Espinoza, Leans Sierra. Uncontested general. District 20 And if LD19 was a snoozefest, LD20 is a wild ride. A Leans-GOP district in a normal year, it’s receiving a lot of attention from both parties. Three of the four possible races (GOP/Dem House, GOP/Dem Senate) are contested primaries. Incumbent Senator Kimberly Yee is running for Treasurer, leaving the State Senate seat up for grabs. I’ll try to be brief. On the Democratic side, activist Matthew Marquez ($13.3K COH, Clean) and tax auditor Douglas Ervin ($15.7K COH, Clean) face off for the nomination. Marquez – anecdotally – is running behind Ervin in terms of in-district enthusiasm and endorsements, but the race is still close, and he does a small but dedicated progressive bloc of volunteers. Ervin still seems like he’ll get the nomination, but there’s a good chance at Marquez getting it instead. On the GOP side, State Rep. Paul Boyer ($30.8K) and ASU Professor Charles Loftus ($300 COH) face off for the nomination. Boyer’s past history in the district and financial advantage make this pretty much a one-sided race. The House is a bit less packed, but still a wild ride – at least on the Dem. side. The GOP only has two candidates running – conservative activist (And wife of AZ superior Court judge Clint Bolick) Shawnna Bolick ($93K COH – she has sizable connections), and incumbent Rep. Anthony Kern ($36K COH). The Dem. primary is a bit more packed. Lawyer Chris Loftus Gilfillan ($13K COH, Clean – and yes, middle name “Loftus”. No clue about relation), small business owner Patrick Church ($300 COH), non-profit manager Hazel Chandler ($2K COH, Clean) and special needs advocate Dan Anderson ($200 COH) are all running for two spots for the general. Currently I’d guess that Gilfillan and Chandler will make it through due to their strong groundgame and online media presence, but Church could sneak through in a fluke. Anderson, unfortunately, won’t be making it to the general. In the general, any Dem. candidate that makes it through will be relying heavily on outside party funds to get them to parity with the massive warchests of Kern/BoyeBolick. With the district an under-the-radar target by Dems (it was won by the Maricopa County Recorder, Adrian Fontes, during his 2016 campaign), such cash will be deathly important for flipping both chambers of the legislature. I personally don’t see much hope in the district, but anecdotally real decisionmakers in the party apparatus see it as more than likely to flip. Here's hoping it does so in November. EDIT: Christ, forgot there was an independent running. Doug Quelland is a former Republican Senator in that district running to the right of Boyer. Hopefully he helps Ervin flip it. hunter15991 Rating: Leans Ervin, Likely Boyer, Likely Gilfilan, Leans Chandler. Tossup Senate general, Leans GOP House (x2) general.
Fall of online drug bazaar Silk Road began with tip to Maryland agents
Another great report from Ian Duncan who broke the Curtis Green story here.
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun 6:41 p.m. EST, November 18, 2013 As they rushed toward a suburban Utah home with guns drawn, agents knew they were on to a significant figure in the Silk Road online drug bazaar — a major cocaine dealer, perhaps. Message board on Silk Road — the world's most popular online drug market — had been buzzing about the sale that triggered this bust. Users of the encrypted website advertised drugs, forged documents and hacking tools for sale through seemingly anonymous transactions, but a kilo of pure Peruvian cocaine was something special. Federal authorities in Baltimore had been working for a year to breach the inner circle of Silk Road's kingpin, whom they knew only by the alias Dread Pirate Roberts. They figured that whoever agreed to accept the drugs would get them closer, but never imagined the breakthrough they were about to make. The man hauled from his home that winter morning was Curtis Clark Green, a senior administrator with wide access to Silk Road's inner workings. Federal officials say his capture helped lead agents to Ross William Ulbricht — the man now accused of running the site — but also brought about a violent twist in what had been a straightforward drug case. Operation "Marco Polo," named after the medieval traveler who followed the Silk Road to China, ended last month in a major takedown, triggering arrests on three continents and the seizure of tens of millions of dollars in assets. Agents crept in to nab Ulbricht in a San Francisco public library, began draining online accounts connected to the site and slapped a notice over the Silk Road login screen. "This hidden site has been seized," read the notice with images of shining special agent's badges below. Ulbricht is due Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, where he is asking to be released while the case is pending. Ulbricht's lawyer has announced plans to contest that his client was Dread Pirate Roberts. The collapse of Silk Road traces back to 2011, when it caught the attention of Homeland Security Investigations. With buyers and sellers around the globe, Silk Road seemed the perfect target for the large but little known arm of federal law enforcement with an office in Baltimore's imposing custom house. Court documents and interviews with authorities involved in the case describe how the inquiry grew from a Harford County drug bust into a nationwide operation that drew in the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. John Eisert a senior HSI official in Baltimore, said the plan was to make moves that would "shake the trees," dislodge new details and lead agents closer to Dread Pirate Roberts. FBI officials in New York later started working to break through the wall of encryption that protected Silk Road and many of its users from public exposure. But the agents in Maryland were tasked with developing informants, setting up drug busts and cutting deals with people in handcuffs. The investigation started with a tip from one of HSI's informants. At that point the site was less than a year old, but already on course to develop into a hub for illicit online deals. Silk Road ran on the Tor network, a system designed to hide the site's location and mask the identity of its users. Deals were done in Bitcoin, a digital currency not backed by any bank or government and difficult for law enforcement to trace. Among the first breaks for HSI was the January 2012 arrest of Jacob Theodore George IV. The Edgewood man had been using Silk Road to sell heroin and imported Chinese methylone — a synthetic drug similar to ecstasy — under the alias "digitalink." His arrest would be kept secret for two years until his guilty plea this month. "Now we were on the inside," said an agent who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing case. "It paved the way to go after other vendors."
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Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News - Why Bitcoin is Down, Verge Attack....Again, & IOTA UN Team Up
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