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Musick Peeler Partner Rosemary Nunn Named 2021 Commercial Real Estate Visionary

LOS ANGELES, June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Musick Peeler LLP Partner Rosemary K. Nunn has been recognized in Commercial Real Estate Magazine as ‘2021 Commercial Real Estate Visionaries.’ The inaugural issue honors noteworthy real estate professionals for their “successes and accomplishments during the last 24 months, as well as their exemplary leadership within their organizations and communities across Southern […]

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Musick Peeler Partner Karen Bizzini Recognized as a Top Woman Leader in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Musick Peeler LLP Partner and Member of the Insurance and Litigation practices Karen L. Bizzini has been selected as a nominee for the ‘Champion of Women’ Award and recognized in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s special supplement, published today.  The 2021 Women’s Leadership Awards honors the accomplished and impactful […]

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Bitcoin price bounces to $33K but analysts say ‘it’s too early’ to call a bottom

Cryptocurrency investors found little reprieve on June 22 as the price of Bitcoin (BTC) fell below $30,000 for the first time since January, sparking panic among less experienced market participants who have yet to experience a full market cycle. While Bitcoin has been under increasing pressure from multiple sources since early May, the most recent bout of selling has been largely attributed to capitulation by China-based miners who have been forced to abruptly shut down their operations. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that after dropping to $28,800, Bitcoin price bounced back above the $30,000 level and currently trades for $32,600.BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe strong bounce came after comments from Brian Nelson, the current nominee for Under Secretary of the Department of the Treasury’s division on terrorism and financial crimes. Nelson said he was going to make the implementation of new regulations around cryptocurrency a priority if he is confirmed. Miner crackdown in China sparks market turmoilThe pressures put on Bitcoin and the overall cryptocurrency market was highlighted by Élie Le Rest, partner at digital asset management firm ExoAlpha. Le Rest told Cointelegraph that “Chinese market participants have been massively selling during the past month.” Le Rest also pointed to the “Grayscale unlocking schedule leading to more selling pressure,” resulting in some panic selling by the less experienced traders in the market. Le Rest said, “With newcomers in the crypto market seeing their profit and capital getting wipe out by selling waves, newcomers are taking their loss as they can’t stomach this much negative volatility anymore.”Due to these pressures, Le Rest believes that the market could range in the “lower tranches of $25,000 to $35,000” in July, with the low volume usually seen in August having the potential to “accelerate this downside trend or build the upside trend.”The upside case for today’s move was provided by David Lifchitz, managing partner and chief investment officer of ExoAlpha, who stated that the activity seen in the market on June 22 “seems to have drawn the line in the sand for BTC at $29,000 and Ether (ETH) at $1,700, given the swift bounce.”Related: Bad call? Bitfinex bears closed a block of Bitcoin shorts before the drop below $32KThat being said, Lifchitz warns against throwing caution to the wind as the volatile nature of the crypto market makes picking a bottom notoriously challenging. Lifchitz said:“However, it’s too early to tell if this is “the” bottom or just a temporary floor before more downside. The lack of any upside catalyst (besides some contrarian oversold metrics) remains the biggest hurdle for cryptos to bounce back… Paging Mr.Musk, paging Mr.Musk.”Altcoins see double-digit lossesThe altcoin market followed Bitcoin’s lead on June 22 with a majority of tokens seeing double-digit losses as traders ran for the safety of stablecoins. Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360The price of Ether managed to rebound along with the price of BTC, helping erase a 15% correction and send the price back above $1,900. Two tokens that managed to rise above the market turmoil and see positive gains for the day were Livepeer (LPT), which posted a 15% gain and Celo (CELO), which saw its price increase by 9%. The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.303 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 47.1%.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Investigates Claims On Behalf of Investors of ChemoCentryx, Inc. – CCXI

NEW YORK, June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of  ChemoCentryx, Inc. (“ChemoCentryx” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: CCXI).  Such investors are advised to contact Robert S. Willoughby at [email protected] or 888-476-6529, ext. 7980. The investigation concerns whether ChemoCentryx and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud […]

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Investigates Claims On Behalf of Investors of Washington Prime Group, Inc. – WPG

NEW YORK, June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of Washington Prime Group, Inc. (“WPG” or the “Company”) (NYSE: WPG).  Such investors are advised to contact Robert S. Willoughby at  [email protected] or 888-476-6529, ext. 7980. The investigation concerns whether WPG and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud […]

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A unique collaboration with US Special Operations Command

When General Richard D. Clarke, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), visited MIT in fall 2019, he had artificial intelligence on the mind. As the commander of a military organization tasked with advancing U.S. policy objectives as well as predicting and mitigating future security threats, he knew that the acceleration and proliferation of […]

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Senate Confirms Kiran Ahuja to Lead Office of Personnel Management

Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee to run the Office of Personnel Management, Kiran Ahuja, overcoming Republican objections to her nomination that centered on her views on racial justice. Ms. Ahuja’s confirmation follows a tumultuous period at the federal human resources agency. O.P.M. had five different directors, three […]

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Bad call? Bitfinex bears closed a block of Bitcoin shorts before the drop below $32K

Bitcoin price is still in a rut, trading near $33,000 and trapped in a downtrend that just seems to get worse with the passing of each day. As the price slumps, analysts have consulted with several technical and on-chain metrics to explain the price collapse, but none of these have picked up on the exact reason. One area of interest has been the sharp rise in short positions at Bitfinex in the past week. Traders are placing exaggerated importance on these Bitcoin (BTC) margin shorts as if they are predictors of the current market crash. Still, as Cointelegraph previously reported, analysts forget that Bitcoin margin longs are usually much larger.As #Bitcoin is Bleeding slowly towards the range low (30-32K) we can see that Bitfinex Mega shorts are getting closed graduallyStill big shorts are open, but half of them are already closed Keeping an eye on this cuz Finex whale was a key player in 19th of May crash$BTC pic.twitter.com/c4qeb6Nxe3— Feras_Crypto (@FeraSY1) June 20, 2021On June 18, longs outnumbered Bitfinex shorts by at least 22,800 BTC, but 87% of the short positions were closed before June 22. Currently, margin longs are 43,850 BTC higher than the amount shorted.While those shorts are usually savvy traders, it is unlikely that they knew in advance that Chinese banks would prevent their clients from engaging in activities involving crypto trading or mining.More importantly, these bearish positions were built while MicroStrategy was buying $500 million in Bitcoin after a successful senior secured note private offer. To make things worse, Michael Saylor’s business intelligence firm announced the intention to raise another $1 billion by selling stocks to buy Bitcoin.Let’s take a look at how these courageous shorts fared.Bitfinex margin shorts (blue) vs. Bitcoin price in USD (orange). Source: TradingViewOn June 6, shorts increased from 1,380 to 6,700 at an average price of $36,150. Three days later, another 12,180 shorts were added when Bitcoin was trading at $37,050. Lastly, between June 14 and 15, shorts increased 6,000 to a 25,000 peak while Bitcoin averaged $40,100.By looking at the Bitcoin prices when those short position increases took place, it is reasonable to assume that the 23,500 contract increase (green circles) had an average price of $37,625.Related: Traders search for bearish signals after Bitcoin futures enter backwardationTraders closed positions before BTC crashed bel$32,000These short positions were steadily closed over the past three days when Bitcoin was already trading below $37,000. However, 17,000 short contracts had already been closed by the time the price plunged below $33,500. Therefore, it is implausible that the average price was below $34,500.No one would complain about gaining 8%, shorting the market to generate a $73 million profit. However, it is essential to note that on June 16, when Bitcoin reached $40,400, these shorts were underwater by $65 million.This analysis shows how even highly professional traders can go deep underwater. There’s no way to know if this trade would have been profitable had the crackdown on China not aggravated Bitcoin price or if MicroStrategy managed to raise the $1 billion before the price drop.If anyone still believes in market manipulation, at least there’s comfort in knowing that pro traders can face drastic losses as well. However, unlike us mortals, whales have deep pockets and patience to withhold even the most rigorous thunderstorms.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Connecticut Officially Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

After years of flirting with marijuana legalization, the state of Connecticut is finally ready to make it official.Today, the state’s governor Ned Lamont signed legislation that legalized recreational pot use for adults aged 21 and older. The new law will officially take effect on July 1. However, retail sales aren’t expected to begin until 2022.Lamont added his signature to a bill that finally cleared the necessary legislative hurdles last week.Lawmakers in the state Senate last Thursday approved legislation that would legalize recreational pot use for adults. The vote marked the second time that members of the state Senate passed a legalization measure. Last week, another bill was approved in the chamber before it was amended in the state House and returned to the Senate.The bill passed the state Senate on Thursday by a vote of 16 to 11, according to local television station NBC Connecticut. The outcome sent the legislation to the desk of Lamont, a Democrat who has made no secret of his support for marijuana legalization.But state legislators have spent weeks ironing out the legislation. NBC Connecticut reported that “House members on Wednesday stripped an amendment the Senate previously added to the cannabis legalization bill that ensured that an ‘equity applicant’ for marijuana industry licenses, who would receive preferential status, could include people living in certain geographic areas who were previously arrested or convicted for the sale, use, manufacture or cultivation of cannabis.”The provision would have “also applied to individuals whose parent, spouse or child was arrested or convicted of the same charges. Lamont opposed such a provision, even threatening to veto the bill if it was included.“It’s fitting that the bill legalizing the adult use of cannabis and addressing the injustices caused by the war of drugs received final passage today, on the 50-year anniversary of President Nixon declaring the war. The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety,” Lamont said in a statement, as quoted by NBC Connecticut.He continued, “That’s why I introduced a bill and worked hard with our partners in the legislature and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive framework for a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. It will help eliminate the dangerous unregulated market and support a new, growing sector of our economy which will create jobs.”“By allowing adults to possess cannabis, regulating its sale and content, training police officers in the latest techniques of detecting and preventing impaired driving, and expunging the criminal records of people with certain cannabis crimes, we’re not only effectively modernizing our laws and addressing inequities, we’re keeping Connecticut economically competitive with our neighboring states,” Lamont said.The governor also shared that legalization will ultimately be a benefit to Connecticut residents, because revenue from marijuana sales will go to recovery and prevention services. He told residents that the bill will ensure public safety, protect children and those in the community who are most vulnerable.Legalization Comes to Connecticut After Years of TryingLamont has advocated legalization in Connecticut for years. In 2019, he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed a cross-state legalization policy, but that effort never really materialized, and earlier this year New York charted its own path by ending prohibition in the state.In February, Lamont stressed the importance of forging ahead given the action being taken by Connecticut’s neighbors.“Now our neighboring states are offering recreational marijuana on a legal and regulated basis,” Lamont said in his “State of the State” address. “Massachusetts dispensaries are advertising extensively here in Connecticut. And, rather than surrender this market to out-of-staters, or worse, to the unregulated underground market, our budget provides for the legalization of recreational marijuana.”“Half the tax revenues should be allocated to PILOT payments, in addition to a three percent local excise tax option. And importantly, my proposed legislation authorizes the automated erasure of criminal records for those with marijuana-related drug possession, convictions, and charges,” Lamont added at the time.

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Bitcoin price clings to $32K as on-chain metrics hint at further downside

Cryptocurrency investors awoke to another round of price declines on June 22 after the price of Bitcoin (BTC) dropped to a 6-month low at $28,805. The dip below the crucial $30,000 level might appear to be a prime buying opportunity but data shows that institutional investors are continuing their longest selling streak since February 2018.Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows the June 21 dip below $32,000 and recovery above $33,000 was just a precursor to Tuesday’s move which saw BTC hammered at the start of the trading day, reaching a low of $28,805 before bouncing back to $32,000 at the time of writing.BTC/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewEther (ETH)  also took a hit, dropping by 15% to a low of $1,700 after bulls failed to hold the $1,900 level. Unless a significant source of momentum emerges to help the market stage a turnaround, the current trend continues to be negative as evidenced by bears dominating Bitcoin’s $2.5 billion options expiry on June 25.Warning signs provided by the dataWhile the price action on June 21 may have come as a surprise to many, numerous indicators hinted at the decreasing momentum and possibility of the price dropping further.According to data from Glassnode, the number of active addresses on both Bitcoin and Ethereum have declined significantly from their highs in May, with active BTC addresses falling by 24% while active Ethereum addresses fell by 30%. Number of active addresses on Bitcoin vs. Ethereum. Source: GlassnodeThe drop in activity on the networks has led to an even more dramatic decline in the USD value settled on-chain, with the amount settled falling by 63% to $18.3 billion per day on Bitcoin and by 68% to $5 billion per day on Ethereum. Bitcoin vs. Ethereum total transfer volume (USD). Source: GlassnodeDeclines in activity and value transacted on the networks can be interpreted as a drop in enthusiasm in general as investors who bought at the highs in April and May must now decide if they want to sell at a loss to avoid further the potential for further downside or hold with the hope that the market will eventually turn around. China crackdown leads to panicAnother major source of the market downturn which has been building for weeks is China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining operations in the country. This has led to a substantial drop in the record hashrate to levels last seen in September 2020. Bitcoin mean hash rate. Source: GlassnodeWhile the closing of a large number of Chinese mining farms and the resulting decline in hashrate is a negative development in the short term, Delphi Digital has taken the stance that “in the mid to long term, this should be viewed as healthy for the Bitcoin network as hash rate concentration risk is significantly reduced.”According to Delphi Digital, the hash rate concentration in Chinese-based mining pools has been declining since China began its crackdown on mining, allowing smaller pools to grow “their share from 30.81% to 37.96% over the last 30 days.”Bitcoin hashrate mix. Source: Delphi DigitalIn addition to the clampdown on mining, China has also reiterated that banks should not be supporting crypto-focused over-the-counter businesses, which led to “panic among Chinese miners and investors,” leading to a significant decline in the supply of BTC held in miner addresses.Bitcoin miner’s net position change over time. Source: Delphi DigitalWith China unlikely to change its current course of action regarding cryptocurrencies anytime soon, investor uncertainty and choppy price action are likely to continue in the short term. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Norwegian FSA sees urgent need for crypto investor protection

Amid Bitcoin’s (BTC) drop to six-month lows below $30,000 on Tuesday, a Norwegian financial regulator warned investors that the cryptocurrency industry is largely unregulated in the country.The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway, or Finanstilsynet, published June 22 a statement on consumer protection of crypto investors, emphasizing that the authority currently does not supervise local crypto companies in terms of anything but money laundering:“These platforms must notify Finanstilsynet in accordance with the money laundering regulations, but apart from money laundering supervision, Finanstilsynet does not supervise these actors.”Finanstilsynet further pointed out major crypto trading-associated risks like extreme price volatility and scam vulnerabilities. The authority noted that the formation of crypto prices is “not transparent in many cases.” The agency went on to say that there is a strong need for a legal framework and investor protection “if cryptocurrency is to become a suitable form of investment for consumers.” Finanstilsynet mentioned that the European Commission introduced a proposal for crypto market regulations last September, expecting to adopt rules on investor protection, market abuse and issuer authorization within five years.Related: Norwegian authorities urge crypto users to declare earnings on upcoming return“Until such regulations are in place, anyone considering trading in cryptocurrency should think carefully and understand the significant risk that such investments entail. Consumers who want to try this should not invest more than they can afford to lose,” Finanstilsynet concluded.Norway is known as the world’s most cashless country with only 4% of the country’s payments conducted with banknotes and coins. In response to a massive decline in cash usage, the Norwegian central bank initiated research of a central bank digital currency in April 2021.

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Powers On… El Salvador is the unlikely leader for sovereign adoption of Bitcoin as national currency

Powers On… is a monthly opinion column from Marc Powers, who spent much of his 40-year legal career working with complex securities-related cases in the United States after a stint with the SEC. He is now an adjunct professor at Florida International University College of Law, where he teaches a course on “Blockchain, Crypto and Regulatory Considerations.”While attending the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami two weeks ago, several things struck me as interesting and significant. While many others have already reported on the conference, my focus will be on a handful of comments or events that I believe are important for the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.First, the conference was full of churchlike believers, or those curious about crypto and Bitcoin (BTC). Miami Mayor Francis Suarez kicked off the festivities in grand fashion, noting that Miami was the first United States city to place the 2008 Bitcoin white paper on its government’s website. As a transplanted New Yorker who now calls Miami home and teaches blockchain law to law students there, this made me proud.When the emcee asked how many in the audience had been to this particular Bitcoin conference in prior years, many hands of the 12,000-strong crowd went up. These attendees were long-term holders, developers, investors and entrepreneurs. And they had a strong Libertarian slant, as evidenced in the warmly received keynote speech by Ron Paul, a former senator from Texas, who said that “authoritarians” were running our government and the Federal Reserve and taking our liberties and rights away. Wow! I did not realize Paul had become so radicalized, or had already been so.MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor said that Bitcoin is the life force of the world. Draper Fisher Jurvetson founder Tim Draper commented that Bitcoin represented “freedom and trust.” I love the Winklevosses, who used the metaphor that “Bitcoin is software to gold’s hardware,” and delighted the crowd by proclaiming that the U.S. dollar is the “biggest shitcoin of them all.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey rationalized that the “internet needs a native currency.”Noteworthy, too, is who was not in attendance: the “suits” and “nonbelievers,” so to speak. The financial intermediaries, capitalists and their minions who will be marginalized or eliminated were the true promise and primary purpose of blockchain realized, according to Satoshi Nakamoto. Those absent included the traditional commercial and merchant banks, the venture capital and private equity firms, the traditional investment banks and hedge funds, and the companies and professionals such as law firms and accounting firms helping them play catch up — or helping them figure out a way to “own” the blockchain and thus the consumers and public, through permissioned blockchains.For me, I found this quite refreshing. It felt like the exciting programs I attended in 2018, during a time when these same absent players were calling Bitcoin a hoax or fraud, and were gleeful at its price collapse that year. While not all those from 2018 understood what the rules of the road might be to create mass adoption, or the best path, there was sincerity, grand camaraderie and a passion for the efforts and speakers — understanding that there is a large unbanked part of the world that could benefit economically and politically from this untethered financial system BTC can create. They were those who realized rampant inflation was insidiously and stealthily devaluing the assets of citizens. As the co-founder and CEO of Paxos, Charles Cascarilla, said at Bitcoin 2021, Bitcoin is not just a good idea but a legitimate idea for an alternative financial system.Crypto is legitimateAlso interesting to me is the lack of discussion today about the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies as an investment both at the conference and elsewhere. Back in the day, I remember sitting on a panel advocating for blockchain and crypto, with a fellow panelist, an ex-Goldman dude, dismissing crypto by saying he would only accept equity or notes for any investment in a blockchain startup.Remember when the nonbelievers and others praying for BTC’s demise noted that owning a cryptocurrency was fools’ play, as the coin did not provide you as an investor with shareholder-like dividend rights, rights to any profits of the startup or ecosystem, or governance rights? It is astounding how that concern has almost evaporated from conversations about crypto, now that there is a market capitalization of around $1.2 trillion and the trading of cryptocurrency futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange parent company Intercontinental Exchange. Maybe DeFi gets some of the credit for that, as it allows investors to earn “interest” by loaning and staking their coins, and some credit also goes to the growing popularity of proof-of-stake, rather than proof-of-work.El SalvadorHowever, the showstopper was not Tony Hawk, nor the woman who appeared to be screaming at Dorsey from the first row about Twitter’s privacy policies. It was the young president of the Republic of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who hails from the most densely populated country in Central America. He appeared via a video broadcast toward the end of the conference. Since 2001, El Salvador has abandoned its own fiat currency, the colón, and adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency.At the conference, Bukele announced that the country would adopt Bitcoin as a second native fiat currency, on par with the U.S. dollar. A few days later, the legislature there passed a new law doing just that. In Miami, he explained that this adoption “will generate jobs and will help provide financial inclusion to thousands outside the formal economy.” (It is reported that about 70% of the adult population in El Salvador does not have a bank account or credit card.)The law reportedly requires, not just allows, all merchants to accept BTC for goods and services in commercial transactions, with an exception only for those businesses that lack the technology to do so. It also eliminates any capital gains tax on the exchange of BTC for transactions, to provide more stability to the digital asset. Finally, a development bank will be created to hold $150 million in BTC in order to allow merchants the ability to instantly convert BTC to U.S. dollars. Double wow!Related: Adopting the Bitcoin standard? El Salvador writes itself into history booksToday, we have many countries and municipalities experimenting with use cases for blockchain outside of the financial promise, including for supply chain providence and recording of real estate transactions. Examples include Sweden, the country of Georgia, the United Arab Emirates — and with the help of the International Monetary Fund, others include Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. But no country has ever put assets developed by computer code on par with the U.S. dollar!It will be interesting to see how the rest of the sovereign states react to this. I am already reading about studies from economists claiming that El Salvador’s economy will collapse from this legislation. And the IMF is posturing. Let’s see which country will be next to do the same. I predict there will be many in the next few years, allowing for this dual system to coexist in these countries. It is something I have been predicting would occur since 2018.This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.Marc Powers is currently an adjunct professor at Florida International University College of Law, where he is teaching “Blockchain, Crypto and Regulatory Considerations” and “Fintech Law.” He recently retired from practicing at an Am Law 100 law firm, where he built both its national securities litigation and regulatory enforcement practice team and its hedge fund industry practice. Marc started his legal career in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. During his 40 years in law, he was involved in representations including the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, a recent presidential pardon and the Martha Stewart insider trading trial.The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph nor Florida International University College of Law or its affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Target Focuses on Sustainable Brands, Environment and Equity with New Strategy

Target announced today the launch of “Target Forward,” its new sustainability strategy aimed at creating an equitable and regenerative future with its guests, partners and communities.

Brian Cornell, Target Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We know sustainability is tied to business resiliency and growth, and that our size and scale can drive change that is good for all. Target Forward influences every corner of our business, deepens our collaboration with our partners, and builds on our past efforts to ensure a better future for generations to come.”

Target Forward is focused on three main pillars, including designing and elevating sustainable brands, using innovation to eliminate waste, and accelerating opportunities and equity. 

Key brand goals under the new program include becoming the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences by 2030, designing 100% of its owned brand products to be made from regenerative, recycled, or sourced materials by 2040.

On the environmental front, Target is committed to becoming a net zero enterprise, including zero waste to landfill in its U.S. operations and net zero emissions across both its operations and supply chain, across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2030.

The company also aims to build a team that equitably reflects the communities it serves, beginning with its commitment to increase Black team member representation across the company by 20% by 2023, and will pursue efforts along with the Target Foundation to become more deeply engrained in its communities.

Amanda Nusz, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, said:

“We want our guests to turn to Target first when they think about sustainability. We know that the only way to make that possible is by putting both people and the planet at the center of our efforts, as we co-create with our guests, our partners, and the communities we serve.”

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Rescuing crypto workers from terrible US job conditions: John Paller

John Paller is training a new generation of blockchain workers and giving them the tools to live free from the chains of full-time employment. After a chance conversation with a “Russian dude” wearing a weird T-shirt at a 2014 conference — Vitalik Buterin’s father, Dmitry — John Paller’s life was transformed by having a front-row seat for the birth of Ethereum. He went on to create the largest Ethereum hackathon and founded an initiative to help at-risk youth find job opportunities in the burgeoning crypto industry.According to Paller, the majority of workers in the United States will be independent and not tied to a particular employer within just a few years from now. But with so many of the necessities of life provided by employers rather than the government, he has set up a new token-based employment co-op to provide independent contractors with benefits, such as medical insurance and retirement plans.Purple state EthereumGrowing up in the predominantly Mormon state of Utah, which he describes as “a rather dogmatic society,” Paller remembers that as a child, he “always asked too many questions.” Not feeling like he fit in, he moved east — over the Rocky Mountains — to Denver, Colorado a few years after graduating from Southern Utah University with a business administration degree in accounting and finance in 1997.Denver, according to Paller, is “more pragmatic politically — we don’t get caught up in political dogma as much as other states seem to do.” This, he surmises, is due to a mixture of geographical and cultural influences, with a libertarian wild west culture from Wyoming in the north merging with a more “liberal, progressive” approach from the south in New Mexico and west from California.“I think that Ethereum as a concept really relates well to this sort of egalitarian approach — building next-generation public infrastructure using smart contracts. We have a good tech scene here in Colorado.”He serves as the executive steward of ETHDenver, which started with monthly meetups of “a couple dozen people” before growing into the hundreds suddenly in 2017. This rapid growth inspired him to organize a hackathon in February 2018, a project for which he called up various industry players, such as Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin, cryptocurrency entrepreneur Erik Voorhees, and dozens of other top projects and luminaries.“We were hoping for 401 people, and the reason for that was because ETH Waterloo in the fall of 2017 had 400 people, and we wanted to be the biggest one ever,” he says.The first event, which Paller describes as “part Burning Man, part SXSW, part DevCon, and part Hack the North,” was a huge success with 1,500 participants. With four years running so far, the event has become a home turf of the Ethereum movement. “This year, we did a fully virtual event, and we hosted over 31,000 people from 94 countries,” Paller explains proudly, adding that ETHDenver is transitioning into a true community-owned ecosystem called SporkDAO with a virtual launch party and NFT auction on June 26.Worker woesPaller’s background is in human resources and finance, and in 2002, he co-founded a staffing company called PeoplePartners to focus on recruiting in the financial sector. After some success, the company managed to buy and merge with another, Lakeshore, where Paller continued to serve as CEO, while the new firm focused on HR technologies in what he refers to as the “Uber-for economy” — where the firm was trying to create an app that would help companies find talent as quickly as Uber finds rides.Much of Paller’s vision for his HR firm revolved around a vague desire to help “democratize employment,” referring to what he saw as a lopsided social contract where employers have a huge amount of power over employees within U.S. society. Questions started to gnaw at him — Why is employment so disproportionate in power and value distribution? Why is healthcare in the United States tied to employment?It was while reading more broadly into economics and game theory, in hopes of answering these questions, that Paller came across Bitcoin from a friend working at a technology startup who told him it was the future of money. “I read the white paper, and I kind of didn’t get it, but I bought some,” he recalls.My name is Buterin, Dmitry ButerinBuying some Bitcoin on a whim was, however, not Paller’s only harbinger of blockchain destiny. While attending a small entrepreneurship conference in California in early 2014, he met Dmitry Buterin. “There was only probably like 30 people there, so it was a very intimate affair, and he was the interesting, you know, Russian dude with the weird T-shirts,” he says. As fathers, they connected over their families and because “politically speaking, we’re both libertarians.”Due to this chance connection, Paller had a direct line to Vitalik’s father, who made “social media posts on the Ethereum white paper and the ICO.” This meant that he had exposure to the project from an early stage and, in early 2016, asked Dmitry to connect him with his son, Vitalik, who “was kind enough to spend several hours with me talking about my ideas for use cases. In hindsight, he was very gracious because my use case ideas were terrible — I didn’t understand decentralization at all,” he recounts, adding that his mind was still stuck in the old world of centralized corporate structures.He eventually did have “the lights go on,” at which point he decided to do a full pivot in life. “It was almost kind of like my version of a midlife crisis,” he explains regarding his sudden decision to sell his business, effectively turning his back on a successful career.Apprentio and the next generationIn 2018, Paller co-created Apprentio in collaboration with a local boys and girls club in hopes of providing at-risk youth with opportunities in the emerging blockchain ecosystem. Paller believes that the commonly prescribed path of high school/college/degree/job is not for everyone, especially considering that a four-year college degree in the U.S. can easily result in $100,000 of debt, and the “graduation rate for at-risk youth kids that go to college is like 5% — most of them drop out,” he explains.“We assist these kids — 15–17 years old — get involved in the blockchain technology space by participation in hackathons, building projects, mentoring, tutorials and free resources, and then ultimately hooking them up with projects that are looking for interns.”In Paller’s view, Apprentio is investing in a new generation of specialized workers to fit the needs of the future — not only the needs of companies but of the workers themselves. With the ability to work remotely and for several projects at the same time, Paller envisions a future with workers who are empowered by choice — instead of being effectively held for ransom by employers who demand they work full time in one location in order to access the resources needed for survival.Thanks @DenverKidsInc and @DenverScho for supporting @apprent_io student workshop! Shout out to https://t.co/8h1M2ocdVt cofounder @NMRCrypto and mentor @nickw_13 for a great @EthereumDenver experience! #ETHDenver #ETHDenver2019 pic.twitter.com/KkvPTOOzgQ— L’Teisha Ryan (@LTeishaRyan) February 18, 2019The old model is simply not working for workers, as evidenced by the fact that “70% of people in the U.S. labor force are sitting in jobs they hate” because they have no better options. Of course, that is part of the problem — the reason Americans allow themselves to be “subjugated by a corporation” is that independent workers lack the security and benefits, such as retirement, health insurance and disability protection afforded to most full-time employees. This total dependence on the employer is a peculiarly American experience, seeing as healthcare, in particular, is seen as a universal right in much of the world, including Canada, Europe and Australia, to name a few.Self-employment — The new normalAccording to Paller, the U.S. workforce currently has about 35 million self-employed workers out of a total of 160 million. The movement began in earnest, with many workers not returning to their traditional jobs after the 2008 financial crisis, and following a year of on and off shutdowns and working from home, the trend is only increasing.“The rate of self-employment is accelerating even faster now due to the pandemic. The estimates are 90 million people by 2028 in the U.S. workforce alone.”Though the share of independent workers is rising, Paller sees an untapped niche in the market for human resource systems. From data management to identity verification and credentialing, “all of it is designed with the corporation as the customer — they are farmers of talent and the talent is the product,” Paller explains.On the blockchain side, the phenomenon of decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, is set to benefit from, and offer opportunities to, this growing crop of independent workers. Play-to-earn games, the increasingly popular framework of blockchain games that allow players to make money within the economies of video games, are also set to burgeon.All of this poses challenges for governments, which can benefit from the arrangement where most people have an ongoing, full-time job “because employment is a great way to make sure that taxes are paid,” whereas managing the reporting of independent contractors is much more difficult.“Imagine a world where you work in 20 countries simultaneously with people that share your values, share your worldview, and you don’t have to worry about any of the jurisdictional compliance.”Opolis co-opPaller’s brainchild, Opolis, bills itself as “a member-owned digital employment cooperative” providing “benefits, payroll and shared services for the independent worker.” It’s his attempt to be part of the answer to the challenges of future work. By forming an “employment cooperative,” the vision is that workers can take back their agency from employers who previously defined their place in society.The idea came to being in 2017, culminating in a white paper in 2019, followed by a year spent designing a micro-economy within the ecosystem. It is legally set up as a cooperative instead of a corporation or foundation, the latter of which Paller believes creates “no incentives to build anything of economic value.” As a Colorado cooperative, the entity’s participants are able to hold patronage tokens. The token itself, while potentially profit-bearing, is not a security, according to Paller.The Opolis Trustee announces the completion of a $5M Series Seed II equity and grants funding round. We are grateful to partner with aligned DeFi projects, DAOs, Strategic Investors and Angel Investors to build the future of $WORKRead more below 👇https://t.co/e0Cwj1zS3D pic.twitter.com/HFBHATHqnq— OPOLIS (@opolis) May 13, 2021Opolis — being set up in this way seems to be more than a mere legal loophole as a co-operative or co-op — is defined as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise.” Paller quotes Dr. Nathan Schneider, a local professor who has commented on the intersection of DAO’s and co-ops, which hold many inherent similarities. He also notes that “there are European cooperatives that are worth billions, so I think we’re gonna see a whole new wave of cooperatives.”On the ground level, Opolis is already operational and offers independent worker-members in the U.S. a host of services. The basics include health, dental and vision insurance available in various tiers to provide security for the worker, their spouses or entire families. For example, the combined health, dental and vision insurance premiums range from $313 to $557 per month for the worker alone, or from $1,125 to $1,845 for the whole family.In addition to insurance, Opolis offers the opportunity to elect various retirement savings plans, methods to keep salary consistent even when taking time off, and tools to manage tax deductions for things such as wellness expenses.On the services side, there is the possibility to create an integrated payroll from various income sources, which streamlines taxation and accounting and opens up the possibility to take a salary in cryptocurrency.The cooperative is currently operational in only the U.S., but Paller envisions that it could become a “global public utility” in a way similar to internet infrastructure or cryptocurrency networks.“The goal is to become a global public utility infrastructure for employment — at that scale, it doesn’t even need a name — it would operate similarly to how people think about TCP IP or even Ethereum layer one. It’ll just be a thing that is and does.”

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Nestlé Enhances Supply Chain Sustainability Efforts with Forest Positive Strategy

Global food and beverage company Nestlé announced today the adoption of a new forest positive strategy, aimed at restoring forests and helping them thrive. According to the company, the new approach will also contribute to efforts to promote sustainable livelihoods and the respect of human rights, as well as to the company’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

According to Magdi Batato, EVP, Head of Operations at Nestlé, the forest positive strategy is key to regenerating Earth’s water systems, soil health and carbon storage. Batato said:

“To meet the world’s food needs in 2050, agricultural production will have to increase by around half versus 2013 levels. It is more important than ever to protect natural ecosystems as we meet this challenge and to restore forests for the future.”

With the launch of the new strategy, Nestlé aims to go beyond its current forest protection initiatives, which include goals to eliminate deforestation in its palm oil, sugar, soy, meat and pulp and paper supply chains by 2022, and in its coffee and cocoa supply chains by 2025.

As part of its forest protection and restoration efforts, Nestlé plans to ramp its utilization of satellite monitoring services. Nestlé has been using data from satellite-based service Starling to monitor deforestation in its palm oil supply chain, later adding its pulp and paper and cocoa supply chains. The company now plans to expand its use of satellite data to carry out a risk assessment in the regions where it sources its ingredients, starting with the Americas and then globally, in order to take action on sourcing its key raw materials sustainably.

Laurent Freixe, EVP, CEO of Zone Americas, Nestlé, said:

“The use of satellite imagery has helped us on our journey to stop deforestation. We will now expand the use of this technology to monitor the sourcing of coffee and cocoa—two important ingredients for our much-loved products.”

In addition to its increased use of satellite data, Nestlé’s forest positive approach will extend to its supplier relations, with the company aiming to reward suppliers for their environmental efforts by buying bigger quantities, contracting with them long term, co-investing in programs that promote forest conservation and restoration, or by paying a premium for their products.

Batato added:

“Forest positive is only achievable if we work hand-in-hand with farmers and local communities, industry partners and governments to form wider solutions across local, regional and global levels. The benefits are numerous: more resilient communities and livelihoods, more sustainable food systems, and a healthier planet.”

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A ‘seismic mining shift’ may be driving Bitcoin price below $30K: Report

Bitcoin (BTC) plunged 7.38% to hit its five-month low of $29,313 on Tuesday as the market stared at the prospect of another sell-off, this time led by miners affected by a recent crackdown against cryptocurrency entities in China.Bitcoin drops below $30K for the first time since January 2021. Source: TradingView.comThe People’s Bank of China on Monday said it had summoned multiple regional institutions, including the Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and ICBC, as well as Jack Ma’s payment platform Alipay, to “strictly implement” its recent ordinances on curbing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency-related activities, including mining.Sichuan, a hydropower-rich region in South-West China, ordered the 26 largest crypto mining farms to stop operating, Chinese Media report on Friday. The province was contributing 75% of the total global hash power to run the Bitcoin blockchain network.The regulatory warnings followed a decline in the Bitcoin market, which, in mid-April, traded near $65,000, spurred by backings from high-profile advocates, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk.Miner capitulation FUDA report published by Glassnode revealed a “seismic mining shift” taking place in China. The data analytics platform noted that many miners are in the process of either shutting down or migrating their hash power outside China to comply with the mining ban.”One of the largest migrations of Bitcoin hash-power in history appears to be underway,” wrote Glassnode, adding that the estimated mean hash-rate (7DMA) has declined from circa 155 EH/s to around 125 EH/s in just two weeks after the China FUD (a backronym for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Bitcoin mean hash-rate plunged 16% in two weeks after China FUD. Source: GlassnodeGlassnode anticipated that the Chinese mining industry would likely liquidate a portion of their Bitcoin holdings when coming to grip with relocating their farms abroad or selling their hardware. Those sell-offs might reflect “miners hedging risk” and “obtaining capital to facilitate and fund logistics.” Meanwhile, for some miners, it may be a general exit from the industry entirely, the report added.Recent on-chain trends have shown a spike in miners’ BTC distribution and a decline in accumulation. For example, the Miner net position change metric, which tracks the transactional flow of Bitcoin mining pools, showed miners distributing BTC at a rate of 4K to 5K per month over the period in which the hash rate fell 16%.Miners sold more Bitcoin than they held in the last two weeks. Source: Glassnode”This has reversed the trend of net accumulation which was active since April.”Big investors absorbing miners’ OTC distributionMiner capitulation is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the market absorbs the selling pressure. During the first quarter of 2021, bids for BTC/USD rose from as low as $28,700 to $61,788 even as miners sold their Bitcoin holdings en masse.Jonathan Ovadia, chief executive at OVEX — a South Africa-based cryptocurrency exchange, credited institutional investors behind the latest sell-off absorption as he drew evidence from MicroStrategy’s ongoing Bitcoin accumulation spree. He said:”The continuous accumulation of Bitcoin by institutional investors, particularly MicroStrategy, is based on a very deep conviction of the potential future upside beyond this current correction.”Meanwhile, taking a look at over-the-counter (OTC) desks, which miners utilize to match their large size distributions with institutional buyers, also showed demand among large volume buyers. “During both the May Sell-off and over the last two weeks, between 3.0k and 3.5k BTC in net inflows have been observed,” Glassnode observed. “However in both instances, almost the full inflow size was absorbed by buyers over just a few weeks.Miners’s supply of 3K BTC to OTC desks met buyers within two weeks. Source: GlassnodeAs a result, OTC’s Bitcoin balances were relatively flat since April.

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bp Invests in EV Charging Startup IoTecha

Energy giant bp’s venture arm bp Ventures announced today a $7 million investment in startup electric vehicle (EV) charging firm IoTecha. The companies stated that they will work to together to accelerate mainstream adoption of EVs and support the transition to more sustainable mobility.

IoTecha’s technology connects EV chargers with the electricity grid using the IoT, with the company’s platform, IoT.ON, enabling private and fleet vehicles from any manufacturer to communicate seamlessly with charging stations to signal when they need recharging, while gathering information about the patterns and the energy requirements of each user across all forms of EV charging.

IoTecha will use the investment to scale its operations through bp’s electrification network.

Richard Bartlett, SVP Future Mobility & Solutions, said:

“IoTecha is at the forefront of the trend towards electrification, and their unique technology combines EV charging with smart connectivity to deliver cost and energy savings. As demand for EVs continues to grow, we are excited to explore how IoTecha can connect with bp’s wider EV infrastructure, in support of our EV charging point targets.”

Oleg Logvinov, President and CEO of IoTecha, added:

“The transportation and electrification industries have developed for the last hundred years without substantial interactions with each other. The rising tide of transportation electrification is rapidly fusing them together. Smart and interoperable charging will make it possible. IoTecha is proud to join the ecosystem of bp ventures and we look forward to supporting the acceleration of decarbonization through collaboration and co-innovation”.

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