Sunday, 13 June 2021

Items filtered by date: June 2019

A former Secretary to the Nigeria Law Reform Commission, Mrs. Folake Abiodun Oguneye, has been arraigned before Justice M.B. Idris of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 29 sitting in Nyanya for fraud by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Oguneye is facing prosecution for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government of the sum of N26,637,116.00.

The Commission, in a 5-count charge, had averred that Mrs. Oguneye, while serving as the Secretary to the Nigeria Law Reform Commission conferred corrupt advantage upon herself by using her office to derive various unlawful pecuniary benefits for herself to the tune of the above sum.

ICPC, in Charge No: CR/334/19 told the court how the accused person received the sum of N4, 100,000.00 from Kings and Khad Tours and Travels Nigeria Limited which was part of the sum of N10,171,100.00 paid to a company, Snugees Investment Limited, by the Nigeria Law Reform Commission for publicity over the reform and unification of Sale of Goods law in Nigeria.

The defendant was also accused of receiving the sum of N96,293.05k monthly amounting to N1,155,516.6k for one year as furniture allowance from the Law Reform Commission whereas she had actually collected the bulk sum of N5,777,600.00 for the five-year period of her tenure.

Oguneye, was further charged for accepting the sums of N15,004,000.00 from one Huthman Ademola Oluwatoyin, the Proprietor of Mutoy Adekunle Enterprises, being part of the sum of N15,516,225.00 for the unification of Sale of Goods law in Nigeria and N600,000.00 as gratification from a contract she had awarded respectively.

Her action is contrary to and punishable under sections 10 (a) (ii) and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. If she is found guilty, she shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for five years without any option of fine.

Oguneye pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against her and her counsel, A.O. Ayodele, via a written application sought the reliefs of the court to grant her bail which was not opposed by the prosecution.

The trial judge therefore admitted the accused person to bail in the sum of N5,000,000.00 and a surety in like sum who must not be lesser than a Grade Level 14 public officer within the jurisdiction of the court, and must possess evidence of a landed property within the FCT.

The matter has been adjourned to September 19th 2019 for the prosecution to open its case.

Published in News & Stories

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan says his monthly salary is N750,000 and that there was nothing like jumbo salary for National Assembly members as being speculated in some quarters.

Lawan made the disclosure, when members of the Senators’ Forum paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

While further disregarding the jumbo pay issue, he revealed that his monthly salary as a lawmaker and that of his colleagues was N750,000.

“What I want to emphasize here is that I never believed that that there is anything called Jombo pay to the national assembly.

“The National Assembly members both the Senate and the House receive what is their salaries and I receive N750,000 as my salary.

“But I need to function as a senator, my office needs to be properly funded,” he said.

He promised that the National Assembly was going to be open to the general public in the conduct of its legislative activities, particularly in the area of funding

“National Assembly is going to be open to the public , I believe that the national assembly should have everything open , let Nigerians Know, what we are doing.

“I believe that Nigerians need to understand this, we need to continually engage with Nigerians and I will also argue that we continue to explain to Nigerians, they deserve to know how their resources are being utilised.

“ I believe that the national assembly needs proper funding because the legislature is so critical in any national development,’’ he said.

He added that the ninth senate would be a by-partisan senate that would carter for the unity and progress of the nation.

“This senate is a by-partisan senate, senators consciously decided to work for us and we take that very seriously, what that means is that we are going to make for progress Nigeria.

“Because what we have done is to be patriotic and we belong to various political parties, but once we are here Nigeria is our constituency.

“The Senate is going to be united in the conduct of its oversight. It is a senate that will work for Nigeria. We are going to do everything possible to remain united in a very by–partisan manner and remain focused .

“Because the challenges against Nigeria is enormous, we need to enhance our of security. We need to make sure the economy works for every one for those at the lowest ladder and those at the top, this is necessary I don’t believe that rancor or hostility will yield any positive result.

“I have witnessed how rancour undermined national development, I also witnessed a very peaceful and cordial relationship that at the end of the day produce the kind of outcomes that Nigerian desire. So we are here to follow the part of peace, but we are going to be very seriously and systematically in our over sight. A minister or head of organisation that is expected to function must function,” he said.

He said the senate was determined to ensure that the Nigeria returns to the January to December budget process .

“We have to work together and archive what need to archive for Nigerians. We know the challenges and we will work hard to ensure that we get the solution. This senate is determined to ensure for example we pass the budget in three months and we believe this is achievable and doable .

“All we require is for the executive to provide the appropriation bill in good time may be at the end of September or early week of September.

“The National Assembly will sit to ensure that there is defence of the budget by the MDAs and before we live for Christmas, we will ensure that the budget is passed, so that we go back to the January to December budget cycle,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the forum, Sen. Khariat Gwadabe, said the meeting was a unique opportunity for them to interface with the president of the senate.

She also expressed confidence in Lawan’s capacity to lead the senate, having spent 20 years in the parliament, adding that the forum was ready to support the ninth assembly.

Published in Headliners

The carpet was blue at the BET Awards in a tribute to Nipsey Hussle, who was shot deadaged 33 in March.

The rapper was also given the Best Male Hip Hop Artist and Humanitarian Awards.

John Legend and DJ Khaled performed a musical tribute to Nipsey during the ceremony, which celebrates black culture in America.

Other winners included British singer Ella Mai, Cardi B and Childish Gambino – while Mary J Blige was given a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Accepting the Humanitarian Award on his behalf, Nipsey Hussle’s girlfriend Lauren London said: “Thank you guys for all the love and support.”

She added: “The Marathon continues again,” referring to his Marathon clothing shop – which was where he was shot.

Nipsey Hussle’s parents, grandmother and three children were also on stage to accept his award.

In its 19th year, the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards ceremony had a political theme to it.

The Central Park Five – five men who were falsely accused of raping and killing a woman when they were teenagers – came on stage to introduce a performance.

And rapper Meek Mill debuted the trailer for his new Amazon Prime show Free Meek.

The documentary series will take a look at the US probation and parole system and Meek Mill’s imprisonment.

Tyler Perry, who won the Icon Award, gave a powerful speech about black people supporting each other.

The actor, comedian and filmmaker told a story about using humour to help his mum, who was being abused by his dad.

Tyler said his first 10 films were about “wanting her to know she’s worthy – to let black women know you are worthy, you are special, you are powerful, you are amazing”.

He also spoke about his studio, which is based in Atlanta.

“The studio was once a Confederate Army base, which meant that there was Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved,” he said.

“Now that land is owned by one Negro.”

Lizzo’s appearance was also praised, after she performed Truth Hurts in a wedding dress on top of a huge cake.

The performance included one of her famous flute solos – and it looks like Rihanna was a fan.

London-born Ella Mai won the Viewers’ Choice Award for her song Trip, while Cardi B won Best Female Hip Hop Artist and Album of the Year for Invasion of Privacy.

Other winners included Childish Gambino’s This Is America for Video of the Year and Migos for Best Group.

Beyonce and Bruno Mars won for Best Female and Male R&B/Pop Artist.

Serena Williams and Steph Curry won Sportswoman and Sportsman of the year.

Full list of winners:

Album of the Year – Cardi B (Invasion Of Privacy)

Best Group – Migos

Best Female Hip Hop Artist – Cardi B

Best Male Hip Hop Artist – Nipsey Hussle

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist – Beyonce

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist – Bruno Mars

Viewers’ Choice Award – Ella Mai (Trip)

Best Movie – BlacKkKlansman

Video of the Year – Childish Gambino (This Is America)

Best Actress – Regina King

Best Actor – Michael B Jordan

Best New International Act (Fan Voted Category) – Sho Madjozi (South Africa)

Best International Act – Burna Boy (Nigeria)

Dr Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award – Snoop Dogg Ft Rance Allen (Blessing Me Again)

Young Stars Award – Marsai Martin

Best New Artist – Lil Baby

Best Collaboration – Travis Scott Ft Drake (Sicko Mode)

Video Director of the Year – Karena Evans

Sportswoman of the Year – Serena Williams

Sportsman of the Year – Stephen Curry

BET Her Award – H.E.R. (Hard Place)

Humanitarian Award – Nipsey Hussle

Icon Award – Tyler Perry

Lifetime Achievement Award – Mary J Blige

Published in Arts & Culture

News of a medical emergency involving Michael Jackson started filtering through at around 22:00 BST on Thursday 25 June 2009.

I know because I was on my way to watch cheesy 90s boy band East 17 in the Dance Tent at the Glastonbury Festival. They were a warm-up act the day before the event properly began.

My editor called. Michael Jackson might have been rushed to hospital. He might be in a coma. That was according to TMZ, which was gaining a reputation for celebrity scoops.

But no-one knew if it was true. Strange stories about the King of Pop often bubbled up. A few weeks earlier, it had been reported that he had skin cancer, which was later denied.

Even so, I turned around and headed back to the dusty backstage cabin I had just been working in and searched for an update. In London, Los Angeles and around the world, newsrooms swung into action to try to find out what had happened. The BBC’s LA bureau phoned spokespeople, associates and business managers. None would confirm anything. Some just hung up.

A short time later, my editor called again. “Er, TMZ are saying he’s dead.” A deep breath. Michael Jackson was arguably the biggest pop star of the previous 30 years, and the greatness of his music is undeniable. But there was a more troubling side – accused (and acquitted) of child molestation, and with a downright strange persona and personal life.

At that stage, the world had no details about what had happened in the preceding hours. But in the months and years that followed, details of his final day became clear.

Jackson was just weeks away from a series of lucrative comeback concerts at the O2 Arena in London, and was under pressure to make them a success.

He had left rehearsals in Los Angeles shortly after midnight the night before his death, according to the book 83 Minutes: The Doctor, The Damage and the Shocking Death of Michael Jackson. But for years, the superstar had been unable to sleep without the help of sedatives.

Dr Conrad Murray, who had been employed as his $150,000-a-month personal physician for the shows, was waiting when the star arrived home at his mansion. In Jackson’s bedroom, pill bottles, vials, syringes and oxygen tanks littered tables, shelves and the floor.

Dr Murray told police he had given the singer propofol – a powerful drug usually given before and during surgery in hospitals – for 60 nights in a row until 22 June 2009, when he tried to wean him off.

In the early hours of 25 June, the physician gave Jackson a series of different sedatives in an attempt to help him sleep. But they didn’t have the desired effect, and Dr Murray said Jackson was getting increasingly agitated about the forthcoming day’s rehearsals. “I must be ready for the show in England,” he said, according to the physician.

It reached 10:00 local time and the singer was still awake. Dr Murray told police Jackson had begged him: “Please, please, give him some milk so that I can sleep.” He was referring to the milk-like propofol. The physician consented, and said he administered the drug via an intravenous drip around 10:40 PST.

Dr Murray told detectives he had the necessary equipment to monitor heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood, and that he stayed at Jackson’s bedside before leaving for two minutes to go to the bathroom. When he returned, he found his patient wasn’t breathing.

But Dr Murray’s timeline was called into question by phone records, which suggested it was just before noon that he noticed something was wrong.

He said he then found a pulse and a frantic attempt at resuscitation followed. He claimed he couldn’t call 911 straight away because he was doing CPR, but he eventually called for one of Jackson’s security guards. Alberto Alvarez said Dr Murray ordered him to clear away vials, bottles and an IV bag first before calling the emergency services. That call was not made until 12:21 PST.

Jackson’s children Prince and Paris were distraught as panic engulfed the household. The paramedics didn’t recognise the star when they arrived. He appeared pale and underweight. Seeing his condition and the IV drip stand, paramedic Richard Senneff assumed he was a terminally ill patient.

Jackson was taken the short journey to UCLA medical centre, where resuscitation attempts continued. He was declared dead one hour and 13 minutes later.

By then, fans and media were gathering outside the hospital, and TMZ broke the news of his death to the world around 14:44 PST – which was 22:44 in the UK.

TMZ, the dogged upstart website, had scooped the established media. And with smartphone use taking off, it became one of the first major stories to spread via social media.

Word magazine editor Andrew Harrison was among those at Glastonbury and told BBC Radio 5 Live that night: “What you’re seeing here is a lot of people crouched over these little glowing screens trying to find out if it’s true or not, because people really can’t believe it. People are searching every website they can think of to try to find more information.”

The demand for information overwhelmed the internet. Some Google users couldn’t access results when searching for Michael Jackson’s name because its software mistook the volume of requests for a malware attack. Twitter, the LA Times, TMZ, Wikipedia and AOL Instant Messenger all suffered crashes.

It was not until 23:45 BST that 5 Live presenter Richard Bacon told listeners the BBC felt confident enough to confirm the news, after the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press had also done so.

Two years later, Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served less than two years of a four-year sentence.

In the Glastonbury cabin, I was bashing out an appreciation of Jackson’s career. By the time I staggered out in the early hours (UK time), everybody had heard the news, either via Twitter, old fashioned word of mouth, or because his music was being pumped out from scattered sound systems and stalls around the site.

“They started playing loads of his music and we thought, ‘Oh, that’s really strange’,” one fan said. “And then someone said, ‘Michael Jackson’s dead’ and we were like, ‘No way’.”

If anyone still hadn’t heard, some people wore T-shirts bearing the words “Michael Jackson is dead” and “I was at Glasto when Jacko died”, which had been printed by enterprising T-shirt stalls within hours of the news breaking.

That weekend, a few festival performers referenced Jackson on stage or played covers versions, but few were willing to give interviews about him. Perhaps their PR people feared they might come to regret any gushing tributes if more scandals emerged after Jackson’s death. Which came to pass earlier this year, when two men gave persuasive testimony in a documentary, saying Jackson had repeatedly abused them when they were children.

In the past decade, we have learned details about the sorry circumstances in which Michael Jackson died. While his music will always remain, we have also had some more troubling insights into his life.

Published in Entertainment

Australian Dollar Talking Points

AUDUSD continues to retrace the decline following the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) rate cut from earlier this month, and recent price action brings the monthly-high (0.7022) on the radar as the exchange rate extends the series of higher highs and lows from the previous week.

AUDUSD Rate Approaches Monthly High with US & China to Meet at G20

AUDUSD extends the rebound from the monthly-low (0.6832) even though RBA Minutesfrom this month’s rate decision highlight a dovish forward guidance for monetary policy, and it seems as though the central bank will attempt to buy time at the next meeting on July 2 as Governor Philip Lowe insists that “it’s a legitimate question to ask how effective further monetary easing would be.”

The RBA may revert back to a wait-and-see approach as US President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with China President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 (G20) summit scheduled for later this week, and the efforts to nail out a trade agreement may keep the Australian Dollar afloat as it mitigates the downside risk surrounding the Asia/Pacific region.

At the same time, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) appears to be on track to switch gears over the coming months as eight Fed officials project a lower trajectory for the benchmark interest rate, and Chairman Jerome Powell and Co. may come under increased pressure to reverse the four rate hikes from 2018 as President Trump tweets “we need rates cuts, & easing.”

In turn, Fed Fund futures continue to reflect a 100% probability for at least a 25bp reduction at the next interest rate decision on 31, and a growing number of Fed officials may change their tune as the “apparent progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty.”

With that said, speculation for an imminent Fed rate cut may fuel the recent rebound in AUDUSD, but the pickup in volatility appears to be influencing market participation as retail sentiment falls back from an extreme reading.

Image of IG client sentiment for audusd rate

The IG Client Sentiment Report shows65.3% of traders are net-long AUDUSD compared to 75.9% last week, with the ratio of traders long to short at 1.88 to 1. Keep in mind, traders have been net-long since April 18 when AUDUSD traded near 0.7160 even though price has moved 2.2% lower since then.

The number of traders net-long is 8.4% lower than yesterday and 23.0% lower from last week, while the number of traders net-short is 21.7% higher than yesterday and 24.6% higher from last week. The drop in net-long position points to profit-taking behavior as AUDUSD extends the rebound from the monthly-low (0.6832), but the persistent tilt in retail sentiment offers a contrarian view as both price and the Relative Strength Index (RSI) continue to track the bearish trends carried over from late-2018.

Keep in mind, the AUDUSD rebound following the currency market flash-crash has been capped by the 200-Day SMA (0.7107), with the exchange rate marking another failed attempt to break/close above the moving average in April.

Sign up and join DailyFX Currency Strategist David Song LIVE for an opportunity to discuss potential trade setups.

AUD/USD Rate Daily Chart

Image of audusd daily chart

  • The broader outlook for AUDUSD remains tilted to the downside, with the exchange rate still at risk of giving back the rebound from the 2019-low (0.6745) as the wedge/triangle formation in both price and the Relative Strength Index (RSI) unravels.
  • However, the rebound from the monthly-low (0.6832) may continue to gather pace over the coming days as AUDUSD carves a series of higher highs and lows following the failed attempt to close below the Fibonacci overlap around 0.6850 (78.6% expansion) to 0.6880 (23.6% retracement) opens up the 0.6730 (100% expansion).
  • The move back above the 0.6950 (61.8% expansion) to 0.6960 (38.2% retracement) region brings the 0.7020 (50% retracement) pivot on the radar, which largely lines up with the monthly-high (0.7022), with the next area of interest coming in around 0.7080 (61.8% retracement) to 0.7110 (78.6% retracement).
  • Will keep a close eye on the RSI as it comes up against trendline resistance, with a break of the bearish formation raising the risk for a larger correction in the exchange rate.

Additional Trading Resources

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Want to know what other currency pairs the DailyFX team is watching? Download and review the Top Trading Opportunities for 2019

— Written by David Song, Currency Strategist

Follow me on Twitter at @DavidJSong.

Published in Business and Economy

Reports emanating from France over the last 24 hours suggest that the race is hotting up for in-demand Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe.

Lille standout

Pepe, a 24-year-old Ivorian winger, proved Ligue 1’s breakout star this season.

The gifted African notched 22 goals and 11 assists across 38 league outings for Christophe Galtier’s Lille, proving one of the key contributors to Les Dogues’ surprise 2nd-placed finish in the French top-flight.

Pepe is noted for his turn of pace, ability to beat defenders, eye for a killer pass and, evidently based on his stellar goal return, penchant for finding the net on a consistent basis.

Premier League links

As such, the explosive attacker’s stellar form at the Stade Pierre Mauroy has inevitably seen Pepe linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs.

To this point, the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, PSG and Bayern Munich have been named as suitors of the Lille standout.

Arsenal were even linked with a big-money swoop for Pepe in January:

‘Liverpool accelerate interest’

A surprise report from French outlet L’Equipe earlier this month, however, suggested that a new pair of front-runners had emerged in the Pepe sweepstakes.

The sides named were Inter Milan and Liverpool.

In fact, the former were said to have already tabled a 70 million Euro bid for the Ivorian.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, it was added that Liverpool were ready to lodge an even better offer of their own, worth a hefty 80 million Euro.

Inter’s massive bid

And L’Equipe have since provided a fresh update on the situation.

As per the French outlet, Serie A giants Inter have upped their initial offer by a further 20 million Euro, to a staggering 90 million Euro.

Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, are said to be readying a similar bid of their own.

Both of these claims, however, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Inter Milan have, of course been heavily linked with a move for Manchester United hitman Romelu Lukaku of late.

Recent reports, though, suggest that the Nerazzurri will not be able to afford the Belgian, until Mauro Icardi is sold.

As such, it would come as a major surprise if Antonio Conte’s men had found a way to fund a 90 million Euro offer for Pepe, before parting with Icardi.

Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, are said to be keen to bring in Pepe to offset the imminent departure of Antoine Griezmann.

The Rojiblancos, however, are widely-expected to announce the 120 million Euro signing of Benfica wonder-kid Joao Felix this week.

On interest from the Premier League, L’Equipe add that, of the English heavyweights continuing to keep an eye on Pepe’s situation, it is Liverpool who appear ‘especially’ keen.

Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp is said to be a huge admirer of the African attacker’s talents.

Published in Headliners

West Ham United and Leicester City have been recently linked with a move for John McGinn and are likely to fail in their pursuit for the Aston Villa midfielder as talks have begun over a new long-term deal to keep him at Villa Park. The interested Premier League duo should instead wait until January, as Villa’s position in the table could affect players’ movements.

McGinn, like Grealish, was outstanding for the Claret and Blues in 2018/19 and could move to a bigger club in the future, but he appears committed to staying for Villa’s first season back in the Premier League. If the club were struggling by January, however, McGinn and co. might be open to agreeing a deal that would see them switching clubs the following summer.

Leicester need a midfielder as Vicente Iborra left for Villarreal in January, Nampalys Mendy has struggled for playing time, Daniel Amartey spent the second-half of last season injured while Adrien Silva and Matty James struggled for playing time in 2018/19 and may be offloaded.

As for West Ham, Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez spent the majority of last season injured while Pedro Obiang wasn’t a regular in 2018/19 – 12 Premier League starts. It’s hard to see Dean Smith letting McGinn leave mid-season, however, as keeping the £23k-per-week midfielder could be key to Villa avoiding relegation.

West Ham and Leicester stand a better chance of agreeing a deal with the Midlands club in January if McGinn could spend the remainder of the campaign at Villa Park and move on when the 2019/20 season finishes.

Published in Sports

The series will document the making of their upcoming album, ‘Beneath The Eyrie’.

Pixies have shared a trailer for their new podcast, It’s A Pixies Podcast.

The 12-episode series will document the making of their upcoming new album, ‘Beneath The Eyrie’, which was announced earlier this month (June 3).

In the trailer video, a voiceover explains “highly acclaimed British music journalist Tony Fletcher was given all areas access in the studio” while the band recorded their seventh album. “You’ll hear his enlightening conversations with band members and eavesdrop on the band as they build ‘Beneath The Eyrie’,” it continues.

Although the album won’t be released until September 13, It’s A Pixies Podcast will begin streaming on June 27. It will be available on all podcast platforms globally, with a new episode arriving every Thursday.

According to a press release, fans will be given “an up-close and personal perspective to the interaction between the band members and with the album’s producer Tony Dalgety” direct from Woodstock’s Dreamland Recordings studio. You can watch the trailer above now.

‘Beneath The Eyrie’ is the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Head Carrier’ and was described in the official announcement as a place “where tales of witches, Daniel Boone, misfits and other characters fit utterly into the band’s inherent weirdness.” One song from the album, ‘On Graveyard Hill’, has already been released.

Meanwhile, Pixies are set to return to the UK in September, when they will embark on a new tour, kicking off in Cardiff on the day of the album’s release.

Published in Entertainment

June 22 — bitcoin (BTC) has crossed the $11,000 line for the first time since March last year today, according to Coin360. The leading cryptocurrency had surged past the $10,000 mark less than 24 hours ago.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin is currently already approaching $11,100, up a notable almost 13 percent in the past 24 hours to press time. Meanwhile, major alts have also surged, with ETH seeing a multi-month high over $300.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Yesterday, on June 21, professional trader Peter Brandt tweeted that bitcoin’s price is currently taking aim at $100,000 target.

In his tweet, Brandt noted that bitcoin is on its fourth parabolic growth phase and is a market like no other:

“Bitcoin takes aim at $100,000 target. $btcusd is experiencing its fourth parabolic phase dating back to 2010. No other market in my 45 years of trading has gone parabolic on a log chart in this manner. Bitcoin is a market like no other.”

Attached to the tweet, Brandt also published a table containing data about the price growth of bitcoin. According to the data contained in the image, from October 2011 to December 2017, bitcoin increased its value 9,765-fold.

Among the responses to the post there are numerous scam attempts, publicizing fake BTC and ETH giveaways from Brandt. At least one of the scams is promoted through verified Twitter profiles.

In late May, the co-founder of blockchain investment firm Kenetic predicted that the price of bitcoin will rally as high as $30,000 by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group argued that it “looks like, perhaps, we are coming out of a crypto winter and we’ve entered a crypto spring,” in an interview with Bloomberg.

However, in an interview with Cointelegraph the same week, another industry commentator — ex-Wall Street executive and current blockchain researcher Tone Vays expressedskepticism about the fact that crypto winter is over.

Earlier this week, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab released the results of a survey showing that 19% of people globally have purchased cryptocurrency.

Published in News & Stories

By CCN Markets: One day Bitcoin will occupy the same corner of internet nostalgia occupied by Nikola Tesla. So it goes: were it not for Thomas Edison’s superior resources, influence and propaganda, we could all be running our laptops on Mr. Tesla’s free energy right now.

Surveying the thunderous hype surrounding Facebook’s foray into the cryptocurrency game, one can’t quite shake the feeling that Mark Zuckerberg is in the process of pulling an Edison.

First Facebook, Now Bitcoin

The analogies between the story of Facebook’s foundation and that of the upcoming Libra/Facebucks are striking. Call it inspiration, theft, or skilled reselling, but when Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004, he was working with live clay. The groundwork of Facebook already existed in the Winklevii’s HarvardConnection/ConnectU. Zuckerberg reshaped it and sent it out to become the global juggernaut it is today – with lawsuits and settlements in between.

Here, Zuckerberg resembles McDonalds tycoon Ray Kroc – a man with better salesmanship than his colleagues, and no moral scruples about taking their ideas and running with them. Like Kroc, Zuckerberg did not yet have any of that wealth, power and influence which would soon come his way.

Fifteen years later, and Facebook has become a world-wide global mega-corporation, with Zuckerberg atop its throne. Here the Thomas Edison analogy really shines. Like Edison, Zuckerberg has used his power and influence to control the narrative, crush competitors; and even threaten his own workers.

And just as Thomas Edison often stole (and in the process, often f***ed up) Nikola Tesla’s ideas and inventions, Mark Zuckerberg is now stealing Bitcoin.

Remember Crypto Before It Got Facebookified?

Here I use Bitcoin in the broadest possible sense – as the concept of cryptocurrency as a whole. If you wanted to crush the revolutionary power of the printing press, what better way than to flood the market with nice, entertaining, harmless literature, with no substance or contemplative threat whatsoever?

If you wanted to crush the knowledge-inducing power of the internet, what better way than to flood it with infinite swathes of facts, data, and information – none of which add up to any knowledgeable whole.

If you wanted to kill the revolutionary power of Bitcoin, what better way than to release an Edison-esque, Zuckerberg-approved, Facebookified version of cryptocurrency that already has the world’s existing financial elite on board?

Facebook’s immediate priority is increasing revenue streams by connecting all of its social media platforms under one digital currency. Under Zuckerberg’s new plans, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram will become Amazon marketplaces unto themselves – all connected by Facebucks.

Is Facebook’s immediate aim the destruction of the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency experiment? Probably not. But entities that large rarely care, or even see, those who they step on as they amble clumsily and uninvited into our lives.

Empowering People? Or Empowering Facebook?

The newly revealed Libra whitepaper claims its aim is the empowerment of billions of people: “Libra’s mission is to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.”

If Facebook’s past history with Cambridge Analytica is anything to go by, any promises of privacy safeguards in its new blockchain venture should not be taken at face value. Data is worth more than oil in today’s economy, and Mark Zuckerberg owns one of the biggest wells in town.

And if the latest claims by blockchain company Hedera are anything to go by, then not only is Zuckerberg in the process of stealing the concept of cryptocurrency – but also its technical infrastruture. Hedera claims to have held meetings with Facebook last year, only for their ideas to suddenly appear in the form of Libra.

The only ray of hope is in the oft-repeated maxim that those who walk bigger fall harder. But in light of Facebook’s pervasive, monopolous spread through just about every aspect of society, that might just be a load of crock.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN Markets.

Published in Business and Economy
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