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Important Message: Free Humanity Needs Bitcoin

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"Bitcoin"

Free Humanity Needs Bitcoin

"Bitcoin"

Bitcoin is an important alternative to the existing monetary system. Cryptocurrency can strengthen the separation of powers. Therefore, we urgently need to discuss digital money more. A guest post

I hardly know of any other topic that is currently dividing people’s minds as much as bitcoin. On the one hand, there are the self-proclaimed toxic bitcoin maximalists who, according to the mantra “Bitcoin fixes this” (Bitcoin fixes this), see cryptocurrency as the answer to all the world’s problems. On the other hand, some »IT people« warn that Bitcoin will destroy the world and must therefore be stopped at all costs. When I talk to journalists, I often hear that they prefer to avoid the topic because of the diffuse information available. However, a balanced debate is extremely important precisely because of the potential emphasized by supporters and the weaknesses cited by critics.

Bitcoins is the oldest and most important cryptocurrency on the market. This is a monetary system that functions independently of states or central banks.

The decentralized structure of Bitcoin is similar to that of the World Wide Web: There is no central unit on which all the data is located and which can control the content. This makes it extremely unlikely that Bitcoin will disappear again in the foreseeable future. Politicians in both Europe and the USA have recognized this. However, there is a lack of a balanced and broad public discourse on how we as a society would like to deal with such a monetary system – and what problems and potential this entails.

Accordingly, my hopes were high when the science journalist Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim, who is known for her interest in social issues, dealt with the topic of Bitcoin on October 16, 2022, in her ZDF program. The piece impresses with the nerdy style typical of Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim, in which she first explains money, money creation, and finally Bitcoin as an alternative and decentralized monetary system with wit.

At the end of the show, Nguyen-Kim explains why she doesn’t think Bitcoin is a good alternative. Even if the points of criticism you have raised are quite appropriate, you have underpinned them with not-quite-appropriate examples and also examined them one-sidedly. Since some people probably share your concerns, I would like to take up the debate that has been initiated and explain where I see the problems of the cryptocurrency and why I – taking into account the counterarguments – still think Bitcoin is useful at the moment.

Neutral is not necessarily better

Because Bitcoin is a decentralized system, individuals cannot control it – it is therefore completely neutral. Although many people take the word “neutral” as a positive, neutrality should be seen for exactly what it means: neutral – and thus neither positive nor negative. Nguyen-Kim explains that this is not necessarily desirable for a currency.

This is illustrated by examples from the history of Bitcoin. For example, in 2010, a year after the cryptocurrency appeared, the organization Wikileaks used Bitcoin to respond to PayPal blocking their accounts and still being able to receive donations. Whether that’s good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. The inventor of Bitcoin, for example, emphasized that he would have liked the media attention at the time to have been in a different context and compared the actions of Wikileaks with kicking a hornet’s nest. Edward Snowden also recently noted in a lecture that he paid for the server infrastructure for his NSA leaks with Bitcoin.

In addition to such explosive and often controversial examples, Bitcoin critics clearly cite negative problems arising from neutrality: According to Statista, since 2013 the number of ransom payments that have been successfully extorted with Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) through ransomware attacks has increased almost monotonically. Such crimes, which exploit insufficiently secured IT systems, in particular, are favored by a neutral technology such as Bitcoin since no judiciary can interrupt or reverse payment transactions.

»There is no balanced discourse on how we as a society would like to deal with a decentralized monetary system«

However, it is precisely this characteristic that advocates of Bitcoin see as a powerful tool for the separation of powers: If (central) banks are not able to intervene in payment transactions or control the money supply in the first place, this limits their power – which would reduce the risk of corruption and abuse of power.

Decentralization leads to a shift in power

"Bitcoin"

Next, Nguyen-Kim addresses another consequence of decentralization: since nobody specific is in charge, interest groups can influence the exchange rate of the cryptocurrency for their own ends. The science journalist names the entrepreneur Elon Musk, who allegedly triggered fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Yes, Musk may have some reach, but his actions are not particularly relevant to Bitcoin and its development.

Although his statements briefly influenced the exchange rate, this had no long-term consequences. A similar thing happened with Tesla shares when Musk publicly joked on April 1 that his company was bankrupt. The price fluctuations say nothing about whether Tesla is a profitable company – or whether electric cars are fundamentally beneficial for the future of the world. It’s the same with bitcoin: judging how useful bitcoin is based on Musk’s actions gives the entrepreneur completely exaggerated importance.

The question of whether the power lost by central banks and states will shift to another place in a bitcoin world seems more exciting to me. For example, the further development of cryptocurrency could be influenced. Because Bitcoin is not a static system but is constantly being improved through updates. But how can a decentralized system be updated at all points if, for example, a security gap is discovered? In such cases, it becomes clear how decentralized the technology actually is in its decisions. For example, some developers seem to be trusted in the bitcoin community, so the security updates they recommend are widely accepted.

In 2018, some developers were informed about a critical bug in the system. Had the vulnerability been made public, attackers could have exploited it. Therefore, a small group of developers, working with some miners, fixed the bug and successfully asked the network to update the software under a more benign pretext. This was possible because there is trust in the developers. And they did not abuse this in this case either, because apparently there is at least an implicit consensus regarding such understandable actions. This gives the developers a certain amount of power, which can be withdrawn at any time – the users only have to reject the proposed software updates.

Does Bitcoin ultimately need a trust?

"Bitcoin"

Who enjoys the trust of whom Bitcoin also plays an important role in another point. Because a crucial property of the cryptocurrency is that you can – at least in principle – check its functionality and the correctness of the logbook. This is in contrast to our current monetary system, which is based on trust. Of course, it is perfectly legitimate to believe in the state and society to the extent that you agree with their power over our money – and therefore deem Bitcoin unnecessary. However, not all people share this attitude. Some want to decide for themselves who to trust and why.

However, Nguyen-Kim and others criticize that trust is only not needed in the theory of bitcoin. In practice, it is too complicated for most people to check how the cryptocurrency works themselves, which is why you ultimately have to trust a service provider or the software used.

Whether fundamental transparency is sufficient is not a Bitcoin-specific question, but arises in many areas. Nguyen-Kim herself notes in an interview on her YouTube channel that her editors share specialist articles under the videos, but that very few people are able to check their content. Rather, she seems content with the fact that it is possible for experts. Why should one have any other claim with Bitcoin?

“Musk may have some reach, but his actions don’t matter much to Bitcoin.”

Nguyen-Kim clarifies her argument using the example of the insolvency of the cryptocurrency lender »Celsius«, which has caused numerous people to lose a great deal of money. In my view, it is fundamentally wrong to justify the trust issues in Bitcoin with the disaster of Celsius. After all, it wasn’t the US dollar or the euro’s fault that Lehman Brothers went bust.

As with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Celsius case – and similar incidents – shows that Bitcoin works as a monetary system: In the incident, customers – or the service provider – speculated and gambled away the money. In contrast to the banking crisis, however, the losses were not socialized. Instead, people have to live with the consequences of their actions, trust, and gambling.

After all, no one was forced to lend Bitcoins to Celsius for additional returns. Rather, the question is whether there is a need for better consumer protection that educates people about the dangers associated with such service providers.

On another point, Bitcoin is definitely dependent on trust: You have to trust that enough other people want to use the system in this form. But that applies to every means of payment. Historically, it has often been observed that currencies have lost people’s trust and have crashed as a result.

Despite the technical hurdles and the dangers outlined that interest groups could influence the cryptocurrency technology in their favor, I see Bitcoin as a democratic tool that strengthens the separation of powers and, through its optional offer, represents an important alternative to our existing monetary system that people rely on can switch if necessary. Accordingly, I say: »Yes, Ms. Nguyen-Kim, of course, free and self-determined humanity needs technology like Bitcoin!

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Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 Brings Transformers to Battle Pass

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Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 Brings Transformers to Battle Pass

Fortnite, the immensely popular battle royale game, never fails to surprise its millions of players worldwide. With the launch of Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3, the game has taken an exciting turn, introducing two thrilling elements: Transformers and the return of Raptors. This article delves into the details of these new additions to the Fortnite experience, exploring how they enhance gameplay and captivate players.

"Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3"

GameSpot: Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3

Transformers in the Battle Pass:

One of the major highlights of Chapter 4 Season 3 is the incorporation of the iconic Transformers franchise into the game’s Battle Pass. Players now have the opportunity to obtain and use Transformers-themed cosmetic items, including character skins, back bling, harvesting tools, and more. This collaboration between Fortnite and Transformers brings beloved Autobots and Decepticons to the game, allowing fans to showcase their favorite robots in the battle arena.

As players progress through the Battle Pass tiers, they unlock various Transformers-themed rewards. From the heroic Optimus Prime and the powerful Bumblebee to the notorious Megatron, the range of available character skins appeals to both Fortnite enthusiasts and Transformers aficionados. This crossover not only adds visual flair to the game but also allows players to embody these legendary characters as they battle it out for victory.

Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3: The Return of Raptors:

In addition to the Transformers extravaganza, Chapter 4 Season 3 marks the return of a fan-favorite element—Raptors. These prehistoric creatures have made a comeback, roaming the island and adding an element of danger and excitement to the gameplay. Players can encounter and tame Raptors, forming a bond with them as they explore the map and participate in battles.

Taming a Raptor offers several advantages in Fortnite. Raptors can be used as loyal companions, aiding players in combat scenarios. They possess unique abilities, such as the ability to track down nearby enemies or provide enhanced mobility. Players can also ride on the back of Raptors, allowing them to navigate the terrain swiftly and effectively. This reintroduction of Raptors injects a new layer of strategy and excitement into the game, encouraging players to adapt their gameplay tactics to utilize these formidable creatures to their advantage.

Impacts on Gameplay and Community:

"Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3"

GameSpot: Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3

The introduction of Transformers and the return of Raptors significantly impact the gameplay experience and the Fortnite community as a whole. The addition of beloved Transformers characters and cosmetic items enhances player immersion and personalization, providing a fresh visual appeal and allowing fans to express their individuality within the game. The inclusion of Transformers-themed challenges and rewards also promotes engagement and rewards players for their progress.

Moreover, the reappearance of the Raptors brings back nostalgia for veteran players who may have enjoyed their presence in previous seasons. It also introduces an element of surprise for newcomers, presenting them with unique opportunities to explore the island, form new strategies, and forge connections with these virtual companions. The excitement and speculation surrounding these new additions foster a sense of community and shared enthusiasm among Fortnite players.

Conclusion:

Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 continues to captivate players with its innovative and exciting updates. The inclusion of Transformers in the Battle Pass and the return of Raptors offer players fresh and thrilling experiences within the game. The ability to don Transformers-themed cosmetic items and unlock beloved characters from the iconic franchise adds a new layer of personalization and fan engagement. Simultaneously, the return of Raptors injects unpredictability and strategic depth into the gameplay, encouraging players to adapt their tactics and embrace these prehistoric companions.

As Fortnite evolves and expands, these additions demonstrate the game’s commitment to delivering novel experiences and catering to the diverse interests of its player base. Whether players are thrilled to embody their favorite Transformers or eager to tame and ride Raptors, Chapter 4 Season 3 presents an exhilarating journey within the ever-evolving Fortnite universe.

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Trump Accused of Lying and Keeping Classified Documents Espionage

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Federal Indictment Accuses Trump of Lying and Scheming to Keep Documents He Knew Were Classified

In a stunning development that has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, a federal indictment has been filed against former President Donald Trump, accusing him of lying and scheming to retain classified documents during his tenure in office.

"Trump Accused of Lying and Keeping Classified Documents"

The Hollywood Reporter: Trump Accused of Lying and Keeping Classified Documents

The allegations paint a damning picture of a leader willing to flout the law and undermine national security for personal gain. This article explores the details of the indictment and its potential implications for Trump’s legacy and the rule of law.

The Allegations:

According to the federal indictment, Trump knowingly and willfully lied about the classification status of certain documents, falsely claiming that they were unclassified and within his personal purview. In reality, the documents in question were highly sensitive and contained classified information vital to national security. By retaining these documents, Trump allegedly put the nation at risk and violated numerous federal laws and regulations.

The indictment further asserts that Trump engaged in a deliberate scheme to hide and conceal the classified documents from proper authorities. It alleges that he directed his staff to remove them from secure government systems and store them in private, unsecured locations, with the intent to control access to the information and avoid accountability. Such actions would be a clear violation of established protocols and procedures for handling classified information.

Legal Ramifications:

If convicted, Trump could face severe legal consequences, including imprisonment and hefty fines. Lying about the classification of documents and actively scheming to retain them could constitute offenses under the Espionage Act, which prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Additionally, charges related to obstruction of justice and abuse of power may also come into play, as Trump’s actions appear to have been aimed at impeding investigations and undermining the integrity of the government.

Implications for National Security:

The indictment raises serious concerns about the potential impact on national security. Classified information is classified for a reason – it contains sensitive data that, if compromised, could endanger lives, compromise intelligence sources, and undermine vital operations. By knowingly retaining such information outside of authorized channels, Trump potentially exposed it to unauthorized access and misuse.

The alleged actions outlined in the indictment also reflect a dangerous disregard for established protocols and safeguards that are in place to protect national security. If those entrusted with the highest levels of authority can act with impunity and ignore the rules, it erodes public trust and weakens the foundations upon which our democratic institutions are built.

Political Fallout:

Beyond the legal ramifications, the indictment is likely to have far-reaching political consequences. Trump’s supporters may rally around him, dismissing the charges as politically motivated or part of a larger conspiracy to undermine his presidency. Conversely, his critics will view the indictment as further evidence of his disregard for the rule of law and his willingness to prioritize personal interests over the welfare of the nation.

The indictment could also impact Trump’s political ambitions, should he choose to run for office again. It will undoubtedly become a focal point in any future campaigns and may influence public opinion and voting patterns. The outcome of the legal proceedings will determine the weight of this indictment on Trump’s political future.

Conclusion:

The federal indictment accusing Donald Trump of lying and scheming to retain classified documents presents a serious challenge to his legacy and the rule of law. The allegations, if proven true, reveal a former president who knowingly violated national security protocols and endangered the country’s well-being for personal gain.

The legal and political implications of the indictment are substantial, and the case will undoubtedly be watched closely by observers around the world. As the proceedings unfold, the nation waits to see how justice will be served and what lasting impact this indictment will have on the United States political landscape.

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Odisha Train Accident Updates and Aftermath

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Odisha Train Accident Updates: A Tragic Incident and its Aftermath

On a fateful day in Odisha, a train accident shook the nation, resulting in significant loss of life and widespread devastation. This tragic incident has raised concerns about railway safety and highlighted the need for preventive measures to ensure the well-being of passengers. In this article, we will provide an overview of the Odisha train accident and explore the latest updates regarding the incident.

"Odisha Train Accident Updates and Aftermath"

Odisha Train Accident Updates and Aftermath

The Odisha Train Accident:

On [Date], a train traveling from [Origin] to [Destination] in Odisha met with a disastrous accident. The train, carrying a significant number of passengers, derailed in the [Location] area, leading to a horrific chain of events. The precise cause of the accident is yet to be determined, but preliminary investigations suggest that it might be attributed to a faulty track or mechanical failure.

Casualties and Rescue Efforts:

The train accident resulted in a tragic loss of life and left numerous passengers injured. The exact number of casualties is still being verified, as rescue operations are ongoing. Upon receiving information about the accident, local authorities and railway personnel immediately mobilized resources for rescue and relief operations. Rescue teams, including medical personnel, were dispatched to the accident site to provide immediate assistance to the survivors.

Medical teams worked tirelessly to treat the injured and provide necessary medical aid. The injured passengers were quickly transported to nearby hospitals and medical facilities for further treatment. The local administration, along with railway authorities, coordinated their efforts to ensure timely and efficient rescue and relief operations.

Investigations and Accountability:

Following the Odisha train accident, investigations were initiated to determine the exact cause and to hold those responsible accountable. Railway authorities, along with experts from relevant fields, conducted thorough examinations of the accident site, the train, and the tracks. The investigation aims to identify any lapses in maintenance, safety protocols, or other factors that might have contributed to the accident.

Railway Safety Measures:

In the wake of the Odisha train accident, railway authorities have intensified their focus on enhancing safety measures. Regular track inspections and maintenance routines have been reinforced to identify and rectify any potential issues promptly. Additionally, technology-driven solutions, such as track monitoring systems and advanced signaling systems, are being explored to prevent similar accidents in the future.

The Indian Railways, which is one of the largest railway networks in the world, is constantly striving to improve safety standards. Lessons learned from such accidents are crucial in driving reforms and implementing robust safety protocols across the entire rail network.

Assistance to Victims and Their Families:

The government and railway authorities have extended their support to the victims and their families affected by the Odisha train accident. Compensation packages, including financial aid and medical assistance, have been announced for the victims and their kin. Special helplines and counseling services have also been set up to provide psychological support to those traumatized by the incident.

Conclusion:

The Odisha train accident serves as a tragic reminder of the importance of maintaining and upgrading railway infrastructure and safety protocols. As the investigations progress, it is hoped that the causes behind the accident will be identified, and measures will be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future. The focus must remain on ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers, and efforts should be made to implement the lessons learned from such incidents to create a more secure and reliable railway system.

While the nation mourns the loss of innocent lives, it is imperative that authorities and stakeholders work together to prevent such accidents from occurring again. By prioritizing safety, investing in infrastructure, and employing advanced technologies, we can strive to make railway travel in Odisha and across the country safer for everyone involved.

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