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NASA Awards Engineering, Technology, Science Contract

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — NASA has awarded the JSC Engineering, Technology, and Science (JETS) II contract to Jacobs Technology Inc. of Tullahoma, Tennessee, to provide engineering and scientific products, technical services and related services for the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, other NASA centers and government agencies.  The cost-plus award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract […]

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Four Seasons Education Files Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report on Form 20-F

SHANGHAI, June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Four Seasons Education (Cayman) Inc. (“Four Seasons Education” or the “Company”) (NYSE: FEDU), a leading Shanghai-based education company, today announced that it filed its annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2022, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on June 30, 2022. The […]

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Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition Agrees to Acquire F.L. Emmert – Strengthening Position in Growing Markets

VANCOUVER, Wash., June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire F.L. Emmert, a leading manufacturer and marketer of advanced nutritional solutions for the pet and livestock industries. Emmert is a 140-year-old, family-owned company with manufacturing operations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and 35-plus employees. […]

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Penn Mutual Receives National Award for Excellence in Data and Analytics

Company recognized by peers as an industry leader for innovation in technology HORSHAM, Pa., June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company (Penn Mutual), a Fortune 1000 company, is pleased to announce its recognition as a 2022 Insurance Technology Impact Award Winner from the Aite-Novarica Group Insurance Technology Research Council (Aite-Novarica). The […]

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MACERICH SCHEDULES SECOND QUARTER 2022 EARNINGS RELEASE AND CONFERENCE CALL

SANTA MONICA, Calif. , June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  WHAT: Macerich (NYSE: MAC) Schedules Second Quarter 2022 Earnings Release WHEN: Earnings Results will be released before market open on Thursday, July 28, 2022. Management will hold a conference call at 10:00 am Pacific Time (1:00 pm Eastern Time) on that same day to discuss quarterly results.  […]

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Workers who work alongside robots more likely to have mental health effects: study

Story at a glance Researchers analyzed data on workplace injuries in the U.S., finding that injuries were reduced by 1.2 cases per 100 workers in regions with one standard deviation increase in robot exposure.  But in regions where there were significant numbers working with robots, there was an increase of 37.8 cases per 100,000 workers […]

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Wells Fargo FiNet Pulls in $5-Mln UBS Team in New Hampshire

June 30, 2022 Share This Robert Russamano, Doug Frizzell and Jonathan Martin have left UBS to join Wells Fargo’s independent Financial Network channel in Manchester, New Hampshire. A three-advisor UBS Wealth Management USA team managing $525 million in client assets in Manchester, New Hampshire has decamped for Wells Fargo Advisors’ independent Financial Network channel. Taking […]

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Traders debate whether Solana (SOL) is a buy now that it’s down 87% from its all-time high

The crypto sector is caught in a deep correction and recent reporting shows that a majority of altcoins are more than 70% down from their 2021 highs. Solana is on that list and investors are on the fence about whether the token has strong enough fundamentals to warrant buying Solana (SOL) at its current value. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows SOL is down 87.5% from its all-time high and given the current state of the market, most price breakouts fail to notch a daily higher high.SOL/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewDespite, the dismal outlook, there are a few potential positives that could make Solana a project to watch once the wider market enters a consolidation phase.Solana MobileSOL price received a quick boost late last week after a June 23 announcement that the project would release a Solana mobile stack, which enables native Android Web3 apps on Solana. To go along with the new operating interface for smartphones, Solana also revealed that it will be releasing its own “Saga” Android phone through Solana Mobile in an effort to lead the way on Web3-enabled devices. Web3 and the Metaverse are two of the topics that arose out of the 2021 bull market and point to the future of where blockchain technology is headed. This move by Solana shows that despite the short-term struggles, it continues to develop for the future and looks to play a part in the wider adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The low fee nature of the Solana blockchain makes it an ideal candidate for nonfungible token (NFT) projects and gaming DApps, and the release of a tech stack for mobile phones is the next step in creating wider access to these technologies. If the developers can manage to solve the issues that continue to cause Solana network outages, the token has a chance of being a top contender once the wider market turns bullish again.It feels to me like $SOL is going thru a similar trough of disillusionment as $ETH did back in 2018. In bear markets prices aren’t just reflexive—sentiment is too. @solana has a vibrant developer ecosystem and its downtime issues are solvable. This will be obvious in retrospect.— spencernoon.eth (@spencernoon) June 27, 2022Short-term pain is expected, but fundamentals improveWhile it’s nice to look ahead at what the distant future may hold, the reality is that the short-term outlook for Solana and the wider crypto ecosystem is rather unappealing. Insight into the lower price points to keep an eye on was offered by crypto trader and pseudonymous Twitter user Crypto Tony, who posted the following chart warning traders to not fall for the first retest of a major support level. SOL/USDT 1-week chart. Source: TwitterCrypto Tony said,“First demand zone tested hence this reaction, but you really want to call a bottom already after the first test…”Based on the chart provided, the notable lower levels of support for Solana are located at $13.50 and $3.50. Market analyst and pseudonymous Twitter user Crypto Patel also predicts further downside in the near term for SOL due to a strong amount of resistance found at the 200-day exponential moving average (EMA). SOL/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: Twtter Crypto Patel said, “After breakout and retest of $40 zone, Supports converts into Resistance […] Facing resistance at 200EMA. Anytime can give downside movement. Sell: $38.5, SL: $43.2, TP: $27.”Related: SOL price eyes 75% rally as Solana paints a bullish reversal patternIs SOL in the early stages of a recovery?A more optimistic outlook for Solana was offered by pseudonymous Twitter user Trader McGavin, who posted the following chart highlighting the important levels of resistance at $60, $74 and $95. SOL/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TwitterThe analyst said, “Double bottomed after breaking down from the wedge and rebounding higher. One of the first to bounce off the bottom and may be headed to $48.”The importance of maintaining the current price levels was also touched on by crypto trader and pseudonymous Twitter user Altcoin Sherpa, who posted the following chart noting the bullish signal provided by the medium-term EMAs. SOL/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TwitterAltcoin Sherpa said, “$SOL: Still a do or die area in low time frames; this is the first time we’ve seen some of the medium EMAs flip bullish since March. Longing mid $30s is my current plan as a scalp since I missed the short higher.”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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CFTC brings $1.7B fraud case involving Bitcoin against South African national

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, has taken enforcement action against a South African national in what the regulatory body called its “largest fraudulent scheme involving Bitcoin.”In a Thursday announcement, the CFTC said it had filed a civil enforcement action in federal court for fraud and registration violations against Cornelius Johannes Steynberg. The South African national allegedly created and operated a global foreign currency commodity pool totaling more than $1.7 billion, only allowing the participants to pay using Bitcoin (BTC). The CFTC alleged that Steynberg used the South Africa-based firm Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited to solicit BTC from the public using social media and various websites. From May 2018 to March 2021, the regulatory body claimed that he accepted at least 29,421 BTC — valued at more than $1.7 billion at the time, but roughly $564 million at the time of publication — including from individuals in the United States.“The defendants misappropriated, either directly or indirectly, all of the Bitcoin they accepted from the pool participants,” said the CFTC. “The CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded investors, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations.”ENFORCEMENT NEWS: CFTC Charges South African Pool Operator and CEO with $1.7 Billion Fraud Involving Bitcoin. https://t.co/cvNlksPznw— CFTC (@CFTC) June 30, 2022Related: The CFTC’s action against Gemini is bad news for Bitcoin ETFsThe case against Steynberg is the latest in a series of enforcement actions the CFTC has taken against individuals allegedly using cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes or digital asset firms for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. In June, the CFTC filed a lawsuit against Gemini, claiming the crypto exchange made false or misleading statements to the regulatory body in 2017. A federal court also ordered the founders of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX to pay $30 million in penalties as part of the conclusion of a suit filed by the CFTC in October 2020.

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Finra Raps Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Who Said Deceased Client Had Authorized Distributions

June 30, 2022 Share This Advisorhub/Mason Braswell The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority showed little sympathy for a 36-year industry veteran in Michigan who it alleged falsely identified a deceased customer as having authorized disbursements from a trust.  The regulator issued a $7,500 fine and two-month suspension against Paul C. DeMark, a former Morgan Stanley broker […]

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Urgent Corporate Action on Deforestation Needed to Meet Climate Goals: Report

A significant and immediate increase in corporate action to address deforestation is needed in order to achieve global climate goals, according to a new report released by the UN-backed Race to Zero.

According to the report, “Why Net Zero Needs Deforestation Now,” deforestation attributable to companies with land-based value chains, particularly in the forest, land and agriculture sectors, is responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The sectors contribute 22% of global emissions, half of which are driven by deforestation.

While commitments from the forest, land and agriculture sector companies to address their climate impacts have increased – ‘net zero by 2050’ pledges are up 5x over just the past two years – 58% of companies deemed critical to tackling deforestation have yet to set a net zero target.

In a statement accompanying the release of the report, Race to Zero highlighted several companies that have made strong progress in their efforts to address deforestation, including Nestlé, PepsiCo Inc., Unilever, Mars, Colgate-Palmolive, and paper and pulp producer Suzano.

The vast majority of companies in the land-use sectors, however, are at risk of missing emissions reduction targets, however, as even among companies that have set net zero goals, actions to tackle deforestation have lagged, with fewer than 6% of net zero-committed companies assessed as having made strong progress.

Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Climate Champion, said:

“This research is a wake-up call. Companies need to go further and faster on tackling deforestation in their supply chains, as a core part of delivering on their net-zero commitments if we’re to have any chance of fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement and keeping warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC.”

The report was generated in partnership with climate and deforestation focused organizations including Global Canopy, Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the Accountability Framework Initiative (AFI). According to recent findings by AFI, accelerated action on deforestation is urgently needed, with the majority of commodity-driven land clearance required to be halted by 2025, in order to keep to the goal of limiting warming to 1.5ºC alive.

Luiz Amaral, CEO of SBTi, said:

“The impacts of climate change are increasingly devastating, and the forest, land and agriculture sector is one of the most affected – but it is also a significant source of emissions. To keep 1.5°C within reach, tackle food crisis risks and enable the transformation to a global net-zero future, cutting land related emissions is paramount. This means halting deforestation, restoring land and improving agricultural production practices.”

Click here to access the Race to Zero analysis.

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Bitcoin nears worst monthly losses since 2011 with BTC price at $19K

Bitcoin (BTC) drifted further downhill into the June 30 Wall Street open as United States equities opened with a whimper.BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewU.S. dollar returns to multi-decade highsData from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed BTC/USD as it abandoned $19,000 to hit its lowest in over ten days.Bulls failed to preserve either $20,000 or $19,000 at the hands of limp U.S. stock market moves, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index down 1.8% and 2.6% respectively at the time of writing.At the same time, the U.S. dollar once again staged a comeback to fix a trajectory toward twenty-year highs seen this quarter.The U.S. dollar index (DXY) was above 105.1 on the day, coming within just 0.2 points of its highest levels since 2002.U.S. dollar index (DXY) 1-day candle chart. Source: TradingView”The US dollar (DXY) looks set to test highs last seen in December 2002 as the short-term downtrend is broken convincingly amid risk markets’ continued crumble,” researche and trader Faisal Khan summarized on Twitter.Data on inflation meanwhile once more suggested the worst could be behind the market.Peak #inflation? The inflation rate most closely watched by Fed showed that price pressures were a bit tamer: May PCE was a bit soft, w/headline +6.3% YoY (flat vs April, below +6.4% expected) & core +4.7% (from +4.9% in Apr & below +4.8% forecast). Bonds rally w/US 10y down 7bps pic.twitter.com/FFgb6du6dS— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) June 30, 2022As Cointelegraph reported, however, central banks began to acknowledge that the low rates seen before COVID-19 may never return.Bulls’ worst month in 11 yearsWith the majority of on-chain metrics now at historic lows, price data hinted how far BTC could theoretically go in a bear market increasingly unlike the rest.Related: No flexing for Bitcoin Cash users as BCH loses 98% against BitcoinShould it close at current levels of $19,000, BTC/USD would seal monthly losses of over 40% for June 2022.That would make it the worst June ever and the heaviest monthly losses since September 2011, data from TradingView and on-chain monitoring resource Coinglass confirms. Even March 2020 and the 2018 and 2014 bear markets were less severe on monthly timeframes. 40% drops were last seen when BTC/USD traded at $8.BTC/USD monthly returns chart. Source: CoinglassThe 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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Integrating blockchain-based digital IDs into daily life

The last 13 years have seen blockchain technology evolve into numerous use cases — finance, data, logistics and security, among others. However, the idea of using blockchain’s immutable capabilities to ID humans got new life when Changpeng “CZ” Zhao visited the island country of Palau to kick off its digital residency program. The blockchain identity management market is estimated to grow by $3.58 billion in the span of five years from 2021 to 2025. Key factors include the rising demand for digitalization and privacy-respecting identity solutions. As a result, a myriad of solutions breached the market serving this need in the form of nonfungible tokens (NFT), distributed ledger technology (DLT) and barebone blockchain technology.Considering the plethora of use cases that blockchain can serve on a day-to-day basis, numerous government organizations began experimenting with the technology — weighing heavily on central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and verifiable and immutable user identity. Problems with traditional IDsCorrectly identifying — or ID-ing — an individual has always been paramount to governments to ensure targeted delivery of services and allowances, among other requirements, which holds true to this day. However, ongoing advancements in technology empowered the general public with tools to create IDs visually identical to the original. Given blockchain’s capability to store immutable records, authorities see the technology as a fighting chance against fraud related to ID theft and fakes. With traditional paper-based IDs comes the difficulty of confirming their legitimacy across different systems. History has shown how people successfully use fake ID cards to claim unauthorized access to a myriad of benefits. However, technological advancements such as blockchain have provided authorities with the opportunity to issue verifiable certificates and IDs while ensuring scalability, speed and security of the identity management system.Efforts on this front saw the rise of a new ecosystem comprising various blockchain-based digital ID offerings. For example, Shubham Gupta, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, recently spearheaded the launch of a Polygon-based system for issuing verifiable caste certificates on behalf of the government of Maharashtra. Speaking to Cointelegraph, he said, “if identity management systems have to be rated on a scale of 0 to 1 based on decentralization and individual control, traditional centralized ID systems will be on the far left and fully self-hosted, public blockchain-based IDs on the extreme right.”Forms of blockchain-based digital IDsWhile blockchain technology can and has been used as-is for maintaining immutable records over the internet, innovations spanning over the last decade resulted in the birth of sub ecosystems around the use of blockchain technology. “The idea of blockchain-based digital IDs has been floating around for quite a while but came into the limelight with the recent NFT boom,” blockchain adviser and Bundlesbets.com CEO Brenda Gentry told Cointelegraph.An Italian electronic identity document.While NFTs were first marketed as a tool to represent real-world objects including intellectual and physical assets, the technology found itself well-suited for a variety of applications. Recently, government organizations have begun testing NFTs for ID-ing citizens as means to reduce operational costs.“Wide-scale implementation of blockchain-based digital IDs — like issuance of national identity cards such as passports and driving licenses — takes time but I strongly believe that is the destination that the world should move toward,” Gentry added. In addition to helping authenticate people, blockchain technology discourages counterfeiting, tampering or identity theft attempts. Citing the involvement of luxury brands and artists that promoted the use of NFTs to authenticate the legitimacy and ownership of a product or art, Gentry opined that “luxury items can be checked for their authenticity on-chain which completely eliminates the chance of owning a counterfeit product.”Recent: Uganda’s gold discovery: What it could mean for cryptoNeil Martis, the co-founder and project lead of LegitDoc, which is known in the space for delivering numerous blockchain-based certificates and ID solutions to the state governments of India, envisions a greater adoption of public blockchain-based ledgers over the next decade. Web3-native decentralized IDs will play an incremental role in identifying users and authenticating them to participate in different types of Web3 native transactions.Benefits of blockchain-based digital IDsWhile blockchain’s elevator pitch is heavily inclined toward immutability, the technology boasts multiple advantages over traditional software and paper-based systems. The opinions regarding the benefits of blockchain boil down to the control over personal information.Self-sovereignty stands as one of the biggest benefits of blockchain-based digital IDs, according to Martis. This means that blockchain empowers users to share partial or selective information with their service providers instead of handing over their complete identity.With blockchain-based IDs eradicating the misuse of information, experts envision the birth of a truly trustless system without the involvement of third parties. Gentry, too, reiterated verifiability, traceability and uniqueness as some of the major benefits brought about by blockchain, as she highlighted that blockchain IDs cannot be duplicated because it’s on the distributed ledger. “All the Digital ID can be verified on the blockchain and can be traced back to the owners’ account which can also be used for Know Your Customer,” she added.Limitations of blockchain-based digital IDsMainstream acceptance of blockchain-based digital IDs will ultimately have to mean overcoming the most pressing challenges that threaten to hinder its adoption. Some of the roadblocks that stand out in the current landscape include a lack of education among the masses and a supportive regulatory environment.On the education front, Gentry has noticed a fast-changing scenario brought about by mainstream discussions and widespread adoption of the technology. However, the creation of pro-crypto regulations will need greater intervention from industry players to help countries and institutions get onboarded onto the blockchain network. Martis concurred with Gentry’s thoughts on regulations as he highlighted that blockchain IDs, no matter how decentralized, will need attestation or recognition by the issuing authorities. He added: “if the issuing authorities don’t recognize the validity of the blockchain IDs, then the same cannot be used for availing a majority of public services. This in my opinion is the biggest limitation.”Blockchain of choice for ID-ing peopleGiven that a majority of real-world identity systems are under the purview of governments and sovereigns, Martis envisions greater adoption of permissioned distributed ledger networks for issuing Identities that require government services. Gentry noted that choosing the perfect blockchain for IDing people or goods will require weighing the unique advantages and limitations of the various blockchain ecosystems. While highlighting the existing concerns such as Ethereum’s gas fees or Solana’s infamous outages, the blockchain advisor suggested that Binance’s BNB Chain is the perfect choice of blockchain because of its high transactions per second and low latency and fees.Recent: Bitcoin payments make a lot of sense for SMEs but the risks still remainSpeaking from personal experience, Gupta shared that Indian state governments tend to choose a middle ground wherein instead of a single authority fully in control of citizen identities, a group of independent departments will share a common distributed ledger that hosts citizen identities, anchored periodically on a public blockchain. The Maharashtra government is currently working to deploy a scalable blockchain-based ID system for a tribal population of 1.2 million. Martis explains that the IDs created will be used by various departments to perform analytics and identify the right beneficiaries for various national schemes.Regardless of the challenges that slow down blockchain adoption across business verticals, the advantages of the technology make its dominance inevitable. Government organizations and private entities have amped up efforts in uncovering futureproof fintech solutions via blockchain innovations. Blockchain disruptions that are well-positioned to go mainstream in addition to identity management include localized CBDCs, supply chain solutions and cross-border settlements. Decentralized identities or DIDs (decentralized identifiers) have yet to see wide-scale implementation. According to Martis, they should be settled or issued by highly decentralized public blockchains that are outside state control, adding that “Bitcoin and Ethereum stand out as the obvious choices in this regard.” 

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Global Real Estate Investor Hines Targets Net Zero from Buildings Without Offsets

Global real estate investor Hines announced today a new climate target to reach net zero across all buildings by 2040. The company aims to achieve its goal through investments in renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures, and without purchasing offsets.

Buildings and real estate are significant contributors to the global climate challenge, accounting for approximately 40% of carbon emissions, according to the International Energy Agency and UN Environment Programme. They are also among the hardest sources of emissions to replace, given their long-term nature.

With assets under management of more than $90 billion, Hines’ portfolio consists of 1,530 properties across 285 cities in 28 countries. The company’s net zero strategy includes plans to electrify fossil fuel-based systems within its buildings, use circular systems principles to reduce energy waste and increase system efficiency, and pursue onsite and off-site renewables that promote renewable energy development.

Hines also plans to establish agreements with third-party partners to provide data to track progress on energy consumption and ongoing emissions reductions.

Jeff Hines, the Chairman, and Co-Chief executive officer of Hines, said:

“As the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly integrated into our lives every day, the real estate industry has a responsibility to acknowledge this growing problem and take meaningful action to reduce our collective carbon emissions. By seeking to achieve net-zero operational carbon without relying on offsets, Hines wants to raise the bar for sustainability and invest in a plan designed to achieve significant and tangible results.”

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ESG & IR Advisory Clermont Acquired by H.I.G. Capital’s Riveron

Global alternative assets investment firm H.I.G Capital announced today that its business advisory firm Riveron Consulting has acquired ESG strategy and investor relations services company Clermont Partners.

Co-founded in 2015 by Elizabeth Saunders and Victoria Sivrais, Clermont is a consultancy specializing in ESG communications and strategy, investor relations (IR), and transaction communications. The firm has a team of 35 ESG and financial communications specialists in Chicago and Washington, DC.

Keval Patel, Managing Director at H.I.G., said:

“We are extremely excited to welcome Elizabeth, Victoria, and the entire Clermont team to the Riveron platform. ESG is an increasingly critical part of the private and public company regulatory and reporting landscape, and the addition of Clermont Partners further strengthens Riveron’s ability to serve clients with these evolving needs.”

Riveron is a national business advisory firm specializing in accounting, finance, technology, and operations. Following the transaction, the company will launch a new ESG and Strategic Communications practice, to be led by Saunders and Sivrais.

Saunders and Sivrais said:

“The combination of Riveron’s gold standard national advisory services platform with Clermont’s investor intelligence and transactions expertise and seasoned team of climate risk, human capital, and governance experts will provide clients with the strategies and solutions required to optimize profitability and valuation throughout the business lifecycle.”

According to Riveron, the acquisition will strengthen its ESG offering and introduce new investor relations and transaction communication capabilities to help customers enhance their engagement with investors, and communicate more effectively against the backdrop of increasingly complex and evolving capital markets.

Julie Howard, Riveron CEO, said:

“The addition of the talented Clermont team will be a powerful accelerant as we help our clients navigate a heightened regulatory environment and investor, employee, and customer scrutiny on social and environmental issues. Through this combination, we will deliver an impactful end-to-end ESG and strategic communications offering for corporate management teams to operationalize, report, and more effectively communicate their company’s ESG metrics and commitments to potential investors and acquirers.”

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Thailand’s Crypto Utopia — ‘90% of a cult, without all the weird stuff’

The story of how a Bitcoin OG set up a Libertarian crypto community and commune for digital nomads on beautiful islands in Thailand three times — and why he hasn’t yet given up on the dream.It’s a wild tale involving “unchecked merrymaking,” crypto-influencers, police grillings, seasteading, a reported $20,000-a-month burn rate, rumors about shamans and drugs — and a major collision between idealism and reality. It was also, by all accounts, a whole lot of fun.Cryptopia became the House of DAO, and a new version is planned.The spectacular Cape Residences in Phuket, Thailand are a world away from the bohemian backpackers and Full Moon parties of Koh Pha-ngan where I’ve spent the past few weeks researching Part 1 about crypto digital nomads living in paradise.If you’ve ever imagined how a Bitcoin OG lives, Kyle Chasse’s villa probably fits in the bill, nestled in between residences housing members of the Royal Family of Dubai and early Apple investors.There are four cars in the driveway, including an electric BMW charging up. Chasse is a big friendly bear of a man who greets me warmly and takes me on a tour of the seven-bedroom mansion where many of the 85-strong Master Ventures team does business, from social media videos to planning investments and Paid Network launch pad projects.The beds are so large you could get lost; there’s an indoor golf driving range; and as we take a look at the outdoor entertaining area, Chasse flips a switch, and a waterfall starts pouring from a great height into the pool. “This is my favorite thing,” he says.“This place is like a hub. Everyone comes here, they have lunch, eat and talk and hang out, play basketball. We have movie nights and dinner and stuff like that.”This is the latest — and most scaled-back — version of his dream to create a crypto commune for like-minded Libertarian dreamers. He’s tried twice before on Koh Pha-ngan, once on Coconut Island, and dabbled with setting it up as part of the ill-fated viral Cryptoland project the internet mercilessly destroyed.The first and, so far, most successful version saw Chasse and friends take over the Utopia resort on Koh Pha-ngan for eight months. “We had 35 villas and 70 people,” he explains. “We changed it to Cryptopia in 2018.”“I think someone said that it was like 90% of a cult, without all the weird stuff.”Tone Vays, Kyle Chasse and Didi Taihuttu on Koh Pha-ngan.But despite high-profile residents and visitors, including Tone Vays, Willy Woo and Didi Taihuttu of the Bitcoin family, the whole thing fell apart with furious locals, police grillings and a nasty falling out between Chasse and his business partner who saw him fire the entire Master Ventures team at once.The Thai Board of Investments backed the next version, also planned for Koh Pha-ngan called House of DAO, which was promoted with flashy videos and an impressive-looking website before operations moved to the 700-bed Coconut Island resort in Phuket.The big mystery is why he moved out of Koh Pha-ngan — which Chasse has loved since he was a young backpacker — to the more sedate Phuket?Chasse explains that Phuket has a lot more infrastructure and transport links, a less transient population, and is a much better place to conduct business. But he refuses to comment on rumors I’d heard on Koh Pha-ngan that once the local authorities became aware that a bunch of wealthy crypto folk had set up shop, they had started making all too frequent visits.“A year ago, the cops started visiting frequently, asking for ‘donations for covid relief,’” a former Utopia resident tells me. The potential for this to escalate scared the House of DAO away from Koh Pha-ngan: “Whereas Phuket is a rich area, so they don’t stand out as much.”Willy Woo and Tone Vays featured in promotional images.Kyle Chasse’s storyChasse grew up in Ventura County in California and never wanted to live a conventional life. Instead of college, he spent months backpacking around Europe before a friend started emailing about how amazing Thailand was.“I just had massive FOMO. I came over here in 2004 and started in Bangkok,” he says. “And then to Koh Pha-ngan for the Full Moon Party, and then just ended up island hopping for five weeks.”He spent nine months in Thailand on that trip and returned numerous times before making it his home in 2018.In between, he discovered Bitcoin via media coverage of the legendary Silk Road. A regular on the Bitcointalk forum, he started up his own Bitcoin lottery in 2013, and by 2016, he had become a wealthy man. “Bitcoin hit 1,000 bucks each and, in my mind, like, ‘Okay, now I’m good. I’m never gonna have to work again in my life,’” he says.“At that point, I kind of took a bit of a step back from hustling, and I became very obsessed with just adoption.”People in the real world were not that eager to listen to Chasse extol the virtues of Bitcoin adoption, however. “I always felt very, very isolated. I was only able to talk to people online,” he says. The exception was at crypto conferences where everyone was on the same page:“All of a sudden, you step into a conference or even the city where it’s being held, and now suddenly, you feel immersed in crypto, and it’s a really amazing experience and feeling.”He became addicted to the optimism and energy of crypto conferences and would literally fly out to attend them in various locales every three to five days. “That was super unsustainable,” he says. So, then I decided that I really wanted to be able to have that environment (at home).”Instead of going to crypto conferences, why not bring the crypto community to him? He dreamed of creating a crypto commune that digital nomads could work from, where projects could be nurtured and incubated, and everybody could live and breathe crypto all day every day.It would be a “mecca on the planet for crypto entrepreneurs to come to and that just propagates throughout the cryptoverse,” he says.“I figured that if I felt this way, there must be other people out there that feel this way, too. And so, I looked all over Koh Pha-ngan for a good place to set up.”The gang took over Utopia resort and renamed it Cryptopia.The concept of the Crypto Utopia recalls the mystical Beach from Alex Garland’s novel of the same name — a mystical place that everyone wants to find, but once they find it, everything starts to fall apart. Fittingly, the inspiration for the novel is said to be one of the beaches on Koh Pha-ngan.Chasse has long been a fan of seasteading. That’s where you create a permanent home base in international waters with like-minded folk where you can do what you like and create your own little sovereign state. Libertarian Bitcoiners, in particular, love the concept and keep making attempts to realize it, including an abandoned attempt to turn a cruise ship into the MS Satoshi, and a Bitcoiner couple who set up a floating home 15 miles off the coast of Thailand and declared their independence — only to get hauled in by the navy and charged with violating Thai sovereignty.Jessica Gonzales, who is Chasse’s partner and chief marketing officer of Master Ventures, explains:“The ultimate goal of House of Dao is we’re going to be a small nation. We’re going to be our own nation. That’s where it’s going: micronation. And that’s our alliance with the Seasteading Institute.”Chasse clarifies it’s not a formal alliance but says the guys behind the institute have agreed to mentor them.Given how difficult it is to make seasteading work in reality — and who wants to live on an oil rig anyway — the island of Koh Pha-ngan that’s only accessible by ferry seemed the next best option. A bohemian wonderland of days-long parties, magic mushrooms and yoga enthused “spiritual egoists,” the normal rules don’t apply here. At Full Moon Parties, they soak chains in petrol and set them alight to use them as giant skipping ropes for drink and drug-affected tourists to burn themselves on. So, it’s a whole heap of fun, but you can get yourself into serious trouble.“Koh Pha-ngan, it’s a bit more of the wild west than it is here,” he says from the comfort of his Phuket villa. “You don’t really ask for permission for anything. You just always assume that there’s gonna be some type of fee you have to pay to somebody.”The view from CryptopiaChasse looked at every single resort and available piece of land on the island. “If you’re thinking about starting a new government structure and having room to experiment with what that looks like… would need privacy. And so, that was really important to me.”“And finally, Utopia (resort) is where I decided to do it because it’s really amazing. We called it Cryptopia at the time. You travel up this steep hill for a while and then you’re in a kind of beautiful serene place.”Perched atop the hill at Haad Thong Lang Bay with fantastic views of the Gulf of Thailand, he made a deal to buy the resort for 17 million baht (about $510,000 at the time), and took over 35 villas, paying for everything himself.Reality bitesUnfortunately, of course, Chasse admits he had no idea how to manage a resort. On the day all the responsibilities for the staff, utilities and everything became his, the water went out.“The water came from a waterfall nearby, and sometimes, an animal or something knocks the pipe out of the stream. And suddenly, there was no water. So, it was an interesting first day.”Available at all good book stores, and plenty of bad ones too.Around 30%–40% of the Cryptopia residents were on the Master Ventures payroll, but word spread far and wide, attracting high-profile visitors, such as Bitcoiner Tone Vays, on-chain analyst Willy Woo and Carl the Moon Runefelt.There were people from China who ran the George Bush family fund, and not to mention “The King of Viral Media,” Dose media founder Emerson Spartz. Didi and the Bitcoin family, who stayed for months, he agrees to speak with me about it but then ghosts me for some reason.“Just incredible people came through. A lot of people invited their families to come out, too, which was kind of what I wanted.”One resident was author and occasional Magazine contributor Ethan Lou, who described a very similar sounding commune on a Thai island — but doesn’t actually name Cryptopia — in his book Once a Bitcoin Miner. So, it was probably a totally different one.“I lounged by the penis shaped pool… During the incubator’s crazier days, people used to have orgies in the water, I was told. The big boss who funded everything was an early Bitcoiner and had made a fortune, but he had little experience — or perhaps even the will or desire — to run an incubator. People had come and gone, staying for free, indulging in unchecked merrymaking. At least once, they had allegedly brought over a shaman. The ‘burn rate,’ what was needed to maintain the facilities alone, was $20,000 per month.”Lou writes that he had planned to write off his residency as a business expense for tax purposes but later realized he couldn’t point to a “single business matter that arose from that trip.”“The longer I stayed, there the longer I had no idea what I was doing on that island.”Hard Forking founder Sean Stella stayed for months at Cryptopia and made a short documentary about his time there.“Didi gave me a call when I was living in Singapore and said, ‘Check this out.’ So, I jumped on the plane the next day, met Tone Vays and Willy Woo at the airport, and we all jumped in a taxi together and went up there and hung out. I made friendships and connections through Kyle and what he was doing that have lasted to this day.”“I was there for three or four months, and it was fantastic. It was some of the most interesting months of my life. He basically took over a whole resort and financed the whole thing. I didn’t have to put my hand in my pocket.”Does this pool look penis-shaped to you?Stella reports that plenty of work was actually completed and scotches the idea that it was some sort of non-stop party.“There was certainly fun to be had, but no, it wasn’t,” he says. “The funny thing with a lot of the crowd was they weren’t drinkers. Very intellectual.”Is that a euphemism for “everyone was microdosing LSD,” I ask him?“Oh, I have no idea,” he says with a grin. “Drugs are illegal.”Lou’s recollection of life at the resort was more candid, and he writes of looking out at the incredible sea view one day in wonder and how “the remnants of Ecstasy, speed, mushrooms and LSD coursed through my system as I welcomed the dawn.”“I will never forget how, for a few fleeting moments that day, the world looked like perfection.”Cointelegraph Magazine contributor Elias Ahonen was also a resident while writing his book Blockland. He suggests that the dosing that “may or may not have occurred was probably more macro than micro.”Of course, any drug use by visitors was entirely incidental to the point of the Cryptopia — it was more just part of life on Koh Pha-ngan. As described in Part 1, the island is the kind of place where people go out for one drink and then wake up four days later in a field with a headache pounding in time to a hardcore psychedelic trance.It’s fun until its not: one digital nomad who lived elsewhere on the island told us of a good friend and colleague who ended up getting so immersed in the non stop partying lifestyle that he had a psychotic break, and they had to rush him off for treatment before he was deported. Another digital nomad said they were leaving the island, in part due to the negative aspects of the drug culture.Chasse says that while he doesn’t condone that aspect of life on Koh Phangan, he believes everyone has the right to do what they like with their own bodies.“Like, I’m not going to judge you for that as long as you get your work done,” he says. “Looking back, I think whether we maybe we turned a blind eye to it, I think maybe we would have been, some of the team members might have been more productive out of that environment. Because, you know, maybe they were hungover at work or something like that.”“I mean, definitely on Cryptopia 1.0, that was a huge problem.”Ahonen, who managed business operations for a short time, says he found the team generally hardworking and ambitious but says that the utopian dreams of new forms of governance seemed more trippy than anything else.“There were appeals to a fantastical utopian future that wasn’t entirely grounded in reality, which is perhaps very true to the ‘crypto’ brand.”“Kyle had a vision of using blockchain, decentralization and Libertarianism to transform the world’s basic organizational structures — he once seemed to suggest that I could perhaps rule over a ‘private country’ one day, when the new order came.”The ideals of the crypto-Libertarian vision brought some political tensions, as the vision of a community-run enterprise conflicted with the fact Chasse was in charge, and many of the residents were either his staff or projects he was funding and helping.“I think part of it was my fault for misleading people in the way that things would be governed there, I think, maybe alluded a little bit too much toward the fact that, like, I wanted to convert this into a DAO,” he says.“I think a lot of people who went there with the idea that, like, they would have significant say in what would happen, but I wanted people to work on the things that we had to work on. So, this is why some people left and some people stayed”A nice drone shot from the House of DAO video.How it endedThere are a few different accounts of how Cryptopia fell apart. Stella thinks market conditions and a disagreement over the resort’s ownership were to blame. Foreigners can’t directly own Thai real estate for one thing except in a complicated setup through a company sponsored by the Board of Investments.“It was crypto winter. The price of Bitcoin plummeted, while I was living there, and you’ll have to ask Kyle, but my understanding was he wanted to buy the resort, and it seemed to boil down to a negotiation over the purchase of it.”Chasse says the “miscommunication with the owner… wasn’t handled in a civil way.”“He was clearly wrong in trying to sell me property he couldn’t sell me. But he was able to have the police set up in front of Utopia and eventually come up and get me and take me to the station and question me and try to get me to sign a confession for something I didn’t do.”“It didn’t shake me too much. I don’t really get too scared. But some people left after that event happened; some people just left Master Ventures altogether — they were terrified. And some of our core team were also pretty freaked out about it.”He also had a nasty falling out with a “really terrible” business partner that led to the end of not just Cryptopia but that incarnation of Master Ventures, too, in early 2019.“I fired the entire team, like, a month before I left Utopia. My partner was horrible and tried to take over the whole thing in a coup d’état, and so, I just told Lex, the guy who was helping me on the ground, to kick everyone out.”Jessica Gonzales and Kyle Chasse Source: TwitterHouse of DAOSix months later, he met Gonzales on a dating site in the United States. She was attracted by his life’s purpose.“It’s quite unconventional, right?” she says over drinks in their impressive living room, a world away from Koh Pha-ngan.“He wanted to transform the world with cryptocurrency as the way, and I’ve always known my whole life, my parents instilled this into me since I was a little girl basically brainwashed me believing that I had a huge role to play in helping transform the world.”They resurrected Master Ventures, launched Paid Network (which grew from a dispute resolution service to also encompass a crypto launch pad) and rebranded the crypto commune as the House of DAO.The “blockchain smart village” had an expensive-looking website and slick video ads promoting “Asia’s premier blockchain hub” where:“Blockchain startups from around the world come together under one roof to accelerate their decentralized visions uniting the world’s best advisors to turn startup visions into reality.”The House of DAO was all set to launch at The Cabin Resort in Haad Rin — the same location of Leela Beach where Chasse had stayed for his first Full Moon Party all those years ago. But at the last minute, they pivoted to Coconut Island off the coast of Phuket. All the websites and marketing materials still said Koh Pha-ngan (which is how I stumbled across this whole story) perhaps in an attempt to fly more under the radar at their new home.“There were several events that led to, ultimately, the desire to escape from KP for a while,” says Chasse.Our Crypto Community keeps growing at House of DAO. What a great family dinner celebration we had last night! The familia keeps growing. @kyle_chasse @jesa_4thePeople @master_ventures @MMcrypto @TheMoonCarl @FelixMago_Dash @HappySasha18 pic.twitter.com/calDVPAh08— House of DAO (@HoDThailand) August 29, 2020The authorities apparently weren’t too enamored with their ads featuring jet skis, attractive women and digital nomads working hard and partying harder as they conflicted with the official COVID-safe narrative of the time. And after trekking to every resort on Koh Pha-ngan, Chasse also thought none of them offered enough privacy. That wasn’t a problem on Coconut Island, which has just one resort, a couple of restaurants and a small village.[embedded content]While it seemed like a great idea at the time, having just 20 people from Master Ventures take over a deserted 700-bed resort, with little chance of attracting new residents due to the pandemic, wasn’t ideal.“At first, it started out really great. Like, it was a beautiful location — perfect for what we wanted to do.”“There were a few times when family and friends were there it felt like it was supposed to feel when it was more sociable and more full. We looked at each other and thought this would be amazing and it felt right. It was super encouraging to carry on.”At the time, they thought the pandemic was just about over, and Thailand was about to reopen to the world. They were wrong.“It was just quite lonely there and quiet. If you had 400 people, and they’re all in crypto, it would have been fine,” he says. “It led to a lot of people feeling really down because they felt super isolated.”The second, or third, iteration of Cryptopia/House of DAO shut down around September last year.House of DAO Family Dinner Night! @kyle_chasse @jesa_4thePeople @master_ventures @MV_CEA @TheMoonCarl @MMcrypto and some amazing new member additions @FelixMago_Dash @HappySasha18, thanks for joining! #DAO #Bitcoin https://t.co/uNG9fe9ORG pic.twitter.com/2q01GmNXwL— House of DAO (@HoDThailand) August 19, 2020Cryptoland’s House of DAO v1Meanwhile, Chasse had been sent an early cut of a promotional video for the Cryptoland project that Max Olivier and Helena Lopez had been working on for three years. Their idea was to crowdfund the purchase of a Fijian island to set up a crypto community by selling NFT plots of land. Impressed with their vision for a 600-acre complex, which they’d negotiated to include the next House of DAO, Chasse bought the first plot of land.“We get the House of DAO infrastructure included in it, and it solves a lot of our problems,” he says. “We’d still be on a private island but next door having a poppin’-like crazy resort with tons of entertainment and things to do.”Unfortunately, Web3 Is Going Great’s Molly White got hold of the promo video in January, and it went viral for all the wrong reasons. It has a talking Bitcoin, groan-inducing references to memes like shitcoin casinos, cutlery-based jokes, such as “I’m not a fan of forks,” and there’s even an ill-advised musical number.The internet tore it apart.[embedded content]“People say any press is good press, but this was really, really bad,” he says, adding that the founders were defamed as scammers despite having the noblest of intentions.“They never took a dollar from anyone. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen happen to such nice people,” he says. “It’s amazing how much effort they put into this thing,” he says. “And then all of a sudden, when they decide to reveal themselves vulnerable, they just get smashed down.”After it went viral, the Fijian government reportedly contacted the project via their lawyers and discouraged them from proceeding.Chasse says he’s still a big supporter of Cryptoland, which is now looking at different locations from the Bahamas to Dubai.The House of Dao website pays tribute to “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”Let’s do it in the metaverseChasse’s plan, for the time being, is to watch how decentralized governance models experiment and iterate in DAOs and the metaverse before trying again in the real world.“I’m really excited about the whole idea of DAOs and metaverse and these things hypothesizing and delivering and failing and succeeding. And so, this is going to expedite the whole process of trying to physically do it with real people and real families.”The twist in the tale is that now that Chasse and Gonzales have stopped trying so hard to construct a crypto community, one has grown around the Master Ventures hub anyway. Around 40 staff and their family members orbit around the villa now.“I think that in building a community, there’s an element of it that has to happen organically,” Chasse explains. Chief technical officer Ben Stahlhood’s wife and kids have joined; Gonzales brought out her parents and four sisters; and Chasse’s mom has visited and is now thinking of selling her beach house back in Ventura to move over permanently.“It’s interesting because ever since v2 shut down Coconut Island and we all kind of found our own places, people started to bring their families, flying in their kids, the communities continue to grow, maybe not under this official flag anymore,” he says.Gonzales agrees:“What I think we’ve realized is that we are the House of DAO. Our team, we’re the heart anyway. Like, it’s our team members. It’s their families.”Read Part One here:Thailand’s crypto islands: Working in paradise, Part 1

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