Category Archives: Op-Ed

Verdict: Bitcoin.com Is A Ponzi Scheme

Op-Ed Contributor

Bitcoin.com Logo

Bitcoin.com Logo

Back in December 2018 I wrote an article about the “mining” operation that is Bitcoin.com.

Mining Bitcoin, or verifying the billions of transactions each day, is a critical element in the process. One method used is a Mining Pool.

Bitcoin.com is registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis under the organization Saint Bitts LLC., and the head office is in Tokyo, Japan. Its CEO is Roger Ver.

Bitcoin.com started mining with its own pool and mined its first block, 430757, on September 21, 2016. Cloud mining contracts were added in May, 2017. The Bitcoin.com pool and cloud mining system was developed by Emil Oldenburg and Shaun Chong. In 2016, Bitcoin.com secured 1% of the global hashrate of bitcoins.

It all sounds great and yet, anyone who buys a contract from Bitcoin.com today will lose money.

We bought two contracts in December and allowed them to run their 90-day course and guess what? We lost half of the money we paid to Bitcoin.com.

As an example, a 3-month (free hosting) contract with an initial deposit of $102 promises a projected daily revenue of $0.46, or $41.40 over the term of the contract. You lose $60.60.

The company offers various terms and a sliding scale of initial deposits from $34 to a staggering $1,800,000. Whether you invest $34 or empty your bank account and send Bitcoin.com $1.8 million, you will lose money. All you need to do is to decide how much you want to lose.

Bitcoin.com Contracts

Bitcoin.com Contracts

WireNews wrote to Bitcoin.com to check the facts.

Luke replied saying: “Future earnings are very hard to predict for any bitcoin miner. Because the price is still quite volatile and it is averaged that BTC mining difficulty will rise around 5% every 2 weeks (2016 blocks), and BCH mining difficulty adjusts every block, the best we can offer is estimated revenues for our cloud mining contracts. We do have a Revenue Calculator on the site that you may find helpful.”

In other words, using the revenue calculator provided by Bitcoin.com, if you invested $1,800,000 in a 1-year contract (this term is described by management as the ‘most popular’) you would earn a daily revenue of $2,291.30 and it is projected by Bitcoin.com that over the 12 months you would lose $963,675.50.

You may not wish to lose so much… Adjust the contract initial deposit or investment to say, $6,000 and your daily return reduces to just $7.64, meaning you’ll lose only $3,211.40, which may be more to your liking.

On the other hand, Bitcoin.com uses the initial deposits paid by its customer (according to the company) to expand its network.

While not technically a Ponzi Scheme because everyone loses money, except for Bitcoin.com, the allure of profits is sufficient to brand this venture a Ponzi Scheme in my opinion.

Verdict: Stay clear of Bitcoin.com’s Mining Pool operation, unless you want to lose your money.

Speech: I Don’t Want You To Panic

Chair of the Environment Agency to Climate Action Society

Emma Howard Boyd

Emma Howard Boyd

Good evening.

“I want you to panic.”

This simple message came from 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.

It caught the world’s attention.

It ignited Friday’s schools climate strike.

And – in a world where people talk about climate change all the time in unthreatening generalities – it brilliantly communicated the fact that climate change is an immediate problem.

We need activists like Greta Thunberg to push climate change up the agenda.

And, to challenge people in positions of power – (like me) – to work harder, and do better, because…

Last year – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said we have 12 years to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. Otherwise adapting to hotter days, fiercer fires, storms, and rising seas, will get radically more difficult.

Last month – the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report ranked extreme weather events first, and the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation second, on its table of global risks by likelihood.

Last week – the Institute for Public Policy Research released a report saying that since 1950, the number of floods across the world has increased 15 times, extreme temperature events 20 times, and wildfires seven-fold.

But… as members of the Climate Action Society, I am going to assume that you already know all of that.

Instead, I’m going to talk about what climate change could mean for you in the next stage of your career.

Whether you go to work in private business, public service, academia, the media, or a great green NGO like Greenpeace, WWF, or Friends of the Earth… every organisation will be touched (in one way or another) by climate change.

At the Environment Agency, one of our roles is as a Category 1 emergency responder during flood incidents.

In December 2015, I was in France taking part in the negotiations for the Paris Agreement.

At the same time, the Environment Agency was responding to some of the worst flooding England had ever seen.

On December 5, 341.4 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours at Honister Pass in the Lake District – a record.

The flooding of northern towns and villages did not let up until February.

The strain such events puts on individuals, families, and communities, stays long after the flood water has receded.

The emotional distress remains throughout the recovery, when every rain cloud brings fresh fear.

In those urgent situations – (which we know are set to become more severe because of climate change) – it is vital that my colleagues don’t panic.

They need to act calmly and professionally to help people get through the immediate impacts, and return to normal as quickly as possible.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then I’d love you to consider working for the Environment Agency.

But, there are many other less obvious organisations that need people like you…

People who understand the urgency of acting on climate change, and have knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to bring to that work.

When we talk about tackling climate change the emphasis is usually on reducing emissions.

This is with good reason: the world is not doing enough.

But, sadly, because of the increasing physical impacts that are now part of all future climate scenarios, we also need to increase our efforts to prepare for them.

Adaptation is not a competing agenda to reducing emissions, the two things go together.

It doesn’t make sense to build an energy efficient house that could be washed away in a flood.

Globally, climate resilience measures are predominantly provided by the public sector, but cross-sector collaboration is key.

According to the Institution of Civil Engineers, over 45% of National Infrastructure and Construction up to 2020/21 will be financed through the private sector.

As people’s routines are disrupted by natural forces – shareholders, workers, and customers will increasingly demand that brands help their lives run smoothly.

At the World Economic Forum in January, David Attenborough told the old joke:

“Anyone who thinks you can have infinite growth on a finite planet is either a madman or an economist.”

But, he wasn’t only there to criticise business and Government leaders.

He was trying to convince them to use their power to improve the way their organisations operate.

As students at a top university, soon to embark on your careers – you can help those organisations to improve the sustainability and resilience of their business models.

They need you.

It’s not easy to run a successful business on any scale.

During a routine farm inspection recently, a farmer told a colleague of mine:

“It’s hard to go green when you’re in the red.”

The Environment Agency’s job – as a regulator – is to help that farmer to do better.

But, that doesn’t mean going soft on pollution incidents or environmental crime.

I became Chair of the Environment Agency after 25 years working in finance.

I was in the City during the 2008 financial crash, and that strengthened my belief in the need for strong regulation.

I don’t want to let the kind of regulatory failures that happened in finance, happen in the natural world.

You can’t bail out nature like you can bail out a bank.

One of the difficulties with convincing businesses of the need to take action on climate change has traditionally been that some see it as a drain on resources rather than a money-spinner.

This is changing in some areas…

For instance, the Climate Change Act helped to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to 43% below 1990 levels by 2017.

And, the UK economy grew by two thirds during the same period.

Unfortunately, the economic benefits of preparing for the impacts of climate change are less well understood.

Businesses have a lot to gain from realising the long-term opportunities in adaptation.

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England has said: “Financing the transition to a low carbon economy is a major opportunity for investors and creditors. It implies a sweeping technological revolution, including investments in long-term infrastructure at roughly quadruple the current rate.”

Much of that technology already exists. Including “green” infrastructure – like natural flood management and soil improvement.

For New York City, watershed management has saved $5bn in capital costs and $300m annually.

On the border of Brazil and Paraguay, returns on investment in soil conservation have significantly extended the life expectancy of the Itaipu Dam, paving the way for greater energy security.

In China, improved land management and watershed restoration on the Loess Plateau has eliminated the need for drought-related emergency food aid to a region that is home to 50m people.

Restoring mangroves in Vietnam has enhanced sea defences and improved the livelihoods of people using local resources.

These are all good individual projects, but we also need to be flexible in our general approach.

Adaptation pathways enable us to respond to the latest science, economics and environmental changes as our understanding improves.

The Thames Estuary 2100 project – which looks at protecting London beyond the life of the current Thames Barrier – is an example of this.

Don’t prepare for the previous record storm, build back better for the next one.

Governments and businesses need to cooperate internationally.

As the impacts get more severe, we have so much to learn from countries who already deal with large scale natural disasters.

In Bangladesh, deaths from tropical cyclones declined more than 100-fold in 40 years, from 500,000 deaths in 1970 to just over 4,000 in 2007.

This was achieved by developments in early warning systems, cyclone shelters, evacuation plans, coastal embankments, reforestation schemes, increased awareness and communication.

I am working to increase international partnership on this as UK Commissioner to the Global Commission on Adaptation.

The GCA will be publishing its first report at the UN Climate Summit in September.

At the Environment Agency, international partnership is necessary to ensure our work in England is world class.

We are part of I-STORM – the International Network of Storm Surge Barriers – which brings together professionals from the USA, The Netherlands, and beyond, to review each other’s work, and improve standards of flood protection all over the world.

Our collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, helps us stay on the cutting edge of flood forecasting and warning.

We are driving up standards in waste regulation and plastics reduction as part of the European Environment Protection Agencies network.

And, the Environment Agency Pension Fund is showing that you can put in a strong financial performance and influence companies to reduce their carbon emissions.

Right now, the details of the UK’s future relationship with the European Union are still not known.

Whatever the outcome, international cooperation and progress towards targets like the Paris Agreement, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, continue to be essential.

We are working to guarantee this whatever happens.

For instance, last week the Government launched a new system to ensure the UK maintains current restrictions on the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The business world needs more people to make the case for investment in climate measures and natural capital from the inside.

The environment is not universally well represented in boardrooms.

Company boards have to take environmental risk seriously and not see it as an operational expense.

This goes for managing their own impacts like pollution incidents, but they should also put aside funds to ensure business continuity in severe weather.

If the centre of town is cut off by a flood, then people will take their business elsewhere. Meaning that an entire community, and all those who rely on it, suffer.

However, if businesses were to collaborate to make areas more resilient, they could drive down costs, and ensure whole districts are able to get back to normal quickly after the storms have passed.

Finance provides another way to help companies realise this.

A few years ago, the Environment Agency Pension Fund set up the Transition Pathway Initiative with the Church of England National Investing Bodies.

The TPI, which is run out of the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics, assesses how companies are preparing for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

It is now supported by asset owners and managers with over £8.17 trillion of assets under management.

We use the results of the TPI’s analysis to inform investment decision-making and our engagement with companies.

On adaptation specifically – if you could show people how much certain property protections are worth to their business in hard numbers before a future storm, you could use this as a clear way of demonstrating the value of climate measures.

If strong locks on your doors keep insurance premiums down, then resilience measures such as water resistant insulation in walls and under the floor should do the same for flooding.

The good news for you is that one of the best places in the world to begin looking for employment in green business is here in London.

The international operations of the City, the existing expertise and demand for sustainable investments – and the fact that the London insurance market is already a world leader in natural hazard protection – makes it a leading green financial centre.

And, that’s a great springboard from which to leap into all kinds of new environmental projects.

To conclude.

David Attenborough’s main message at Davos was:

“The Garden of Eden is no more… We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand.”

As you leave UCL and go on to do whatever comes next, I want you to remember that every sector of society has a role to play in those practical tasks.

You can be the change you want to see in business, government, NGOs, academia, the media, or wherever you go next.

As members of the Climate Action Society, I know you appreciate the urgency of our climate change crisis, so…

I don’t want you to panic.

Because we need to go to work.

Thank you very much.

A Message From The British Ambassador To Ireland On The Common Travel Area

An op-ed from HMA Robin Barnett on the Common Travel Area (CTA)

Robin Barnett CMG

Robin Barnett CMG

You may have read recent news reports about the Common Travel Area.

I would like to reassure you that the UK and Irish governments have worked intensively on measures to ensure the continuation of the CTA. We have an agreement which is almost ready to sign. This work reflects the fact that, right from the start of the EU Exit process, and throughout the negotiations, the Prime Minister has been clear that maintaining the UK and Ireland’s Common Travel Area is a top priority for the UK.

The same is true for Ireland, and the EU has fully accepted that the CTA – a bilateral arrangement – will continue whatever the final outcome of the negotiations. I can assure all British citizens living in Ireland and all Irish citizens in the UK: you don’t need to take any action to protect your status under the CTA, or the rights associated with it.

The CTA is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and Ireland that has its origins in the 1920s, long before either the UK or Ireland joined the EU. As Dr Butler said in his article, it is complex, and has never been codified into a coherent collection of documents. So officials across the whole of government in both countries have worked together to create a solid framework for the CTA, to ensure that the rights and privileges UK and Irish nationals enjoy in each other’s countries will continue, whatever the circumstances of the UK’s exit from the EU.

British citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK will continue to be able to live and work in each other’s countries, and to access healthcare, education, social welfare and benefits including state pensions. They will also still be able to vote in certain elections in the other’s country as they do now. The UK has taken steps to ensure legal certainty of the status of Irish citizens in the UK, and to provide clarity for them.

The Immigration and Social Security Coordination Bill that is currently before the UK Parliament preserves the rights that Irish citizens have in the UK. This reaffirms the UK Government’s intention to protect these arrangements and preserve the special relationship we have with Ireland after the UK leaves the EU. Where new domestic legislation in the UK is needed to ensure the continuation of the CTA and the rights that come with it, my Government is taking urgent action to put it in place before 29 March.

On Friday 1 February, the UK and Irish governments signed an agreement guaranteeing continued access to state pension and benefits for UK and Irish nationals and their qualifying family members when in the other’s state. The agreement ensures that the rights of UK and Irish nationals living and working in each other’s state are protected after the UK leaves the EU.

Specifically it ensures that workers only pay into one social security scheme at a time, and provides for the export of certain benefits between the UK and Ireland. It also ensures that social security contributions paid by UK and Irish nationals can be used to meet entitlement criteria for accessing benefits in each other’s state. Other agreements covering all aspects of the CTA are close to completion.

I advise British Citizens living in Ireland to subscribe to alerts on the UK’s Living in Ireland guide and to follow to the Embassy’s Twitter account @britemdublin for updates.

Why I Don’t Support Interfaith Activities

Op-Ed Contributor

Interfaith

Interfaith

This is an op-ed, opinion piece, and so it’s my own opinion and not that of WireNews Limited and certainly not the opinion of a majority of the so-called ‘religious leaders’ who respectively claim to represent the major religions of the world, but that having been said, there is a growing number of people who agree with me.

I am Jewish. Not only that, I am a Zionist. I am a card-carrying Zionist and a member of the Zionist Federation of United Kingdom & Ireland.

I am a religious Jew, but not the kind of religious Jew you might first think of… I am religious in the same way that Menachem Begin was religious.

So, I am quite religious and as a Jew, I am not one to proselytise, although I am happy to discuss Judaism with anyone who is genuinely interested. I draw the line, however, and the purpose of this op-ed is to express my views on Interfaith activities or associations between various faiths, which I believe will eventually lead to the destruction of religion as we know it, whether that’s Judaism, Christianity or any other faith.

Each day, twice a day, I say the Shema:

שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד
Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ecḥad
Hear, O Israel: the L-RD is our G-D, the L-RD is One

That means that the foundation statement of my faith confirms that I am certain that there is but one G-D and that G-D is One. In other words, not two G-Ds and certainly not three G-Ds and no cows or other farm animals!

When I say that I do not support “Interfaith Activities”, I am not talking about having social friendships or associations with people who are of a different faith. No, I have many Christian friends and one or two followers of Islam and we can meet for dinner or other gatherings and never discuss religion or if we do, it’s usually our shared belief that the ‘Religion of Peace’ is somewhat less than peaceful or the total lack of theological evidence to support a so-called ‘moderate’ follower of Islam.

But I digress, what I am talking about is my belief that we should not be meeting with people of different faiths for the express purpose of sharing our experiences, knowledge or beliefs about our respective faiths, unless of course you’re studying or taking a course in another religion for educational purposes.

Frankly, I consider “Interfaith Activities”, the type of activity supported by many leading Leftist Rabbis, a direct contradiction of my faith or at the very least, it’s surely disingenuous for me to pay lip-service to someone when I know they are wrong… and they are wrong or my faith is inherently flawed.

 

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Bill White is CEO of WireNews and currently lives in the UK.

Locum GP Accuses Patient Of Having “An Agenda”

Op-Ed Contributor

Dr. Ayotunde Akinduro

Dr. Ayotunde Akinduro

Dr. Ayotunde Akinduro, who is on salary from Glenroyd Medical in Blackpool was seeing patients at Newton Drive Health Centre today in his capacity as a Locum GP.

Dr. Akinduro obtained his medical qualification at the University of Lagos.

Regardless, I made an appointment and requested to see a doctor because I have been feeling unwell over several months. My last visit to the GP on 12 December 2018 showed high blood pressure and the doctor I had seen then (not Dr. Akinduro) ordered a series of blood tests and a chest x-ray. My symptoms included:

  • Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath
  • Dizziness, weakness and light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • Deep pain in my left arm, which later started in my right arms/elbow
  • Itching skin (especially after a shower)

Blood tests carried out by the NHS were described by Newton Drive Medical Centre staff as “All Normal”.

Newton Drive Health Centre

Newton Drive Health Centre

Because I didn’t feel any better, even after that ‘wonderful’ news, I paid for a complete series of blood tests privately. The results of those tests were different. In fact, the private blood tests reported the following:

  • Slightly elevated Triglycerides (1.9 mmol/L) normal 0.0 – 1.7 mmol/L
  • Slightly elevated Cholesterol (5.4 mmol/L) normal 0.0 – 5.0 mmol/L
  • Elevated Red Cell Distribution Width (15.3%) normal 11.5 – 14.4%
  • Elevated Alaine Transferase (93.2 IU/L) normal 0.00 – 50.0 IU/L

I emailed these results to Newton Drive Health Centre and a day later received a call from staff at the practice who told me that “a doctor had looked at the results and that everything was fine. No cause for alarm.” I was told to come back in a month and they would perform the blood tests again.

Instead I waited a week and had the blood tests repeated privately.

One week later the blood test results showed another increase in both the Alaine Transferase and Red Cell Distribution Width, so I emailed them to Newton Drive Medical Centre and once again I was told “nothing to worry about”, so I made an appointment last week to see a doctor and to hopefully discuss these results and perhaps get to the bottom of the obvious discrepancy between the NHS results and those produced privately, which brings us to today.

Within 90 seconds of meeting Dr. Akinduro, he accused me of having “an agenda”. He described the elevated results as “unimportant” and “of no concern”. He told me that these elevated results “could be caused by a cold”. I got up and left as there’s little point in speaking to a GP who fancies himself a psychologist.

I attempted to explain that my only agenda was to feel well but that having been said, I do wonder what Dr. Akinduro’s agenda is given his obvious lack of interest in patient care.

 

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Anna Butrym, Practice Manager for Glenroyd Medical contacted WireNews and said: “Dr Akinduro is no longer employed by Glenroyd Medical as of mid-December. Unfortunately our website was not appropriately updated which I have now rectified.”

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