Crypto Currency

MacKenzie Bezos and the Pitfalls of Tech Philanthropy

her divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was finalized, MacKenzie Bezos has made a plan to be far more generous than she and her former husband were as a couple. When the pair split, she became one of the richest women in the world, with a fortune estimated to be worth more than $36 billion.…

her divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was finalized, MacKenzie Bezos has made a plan to be far more generous than she and her former husband were as a couple. When the pair split, she became one of the richest women in the world, with a fortune estimated to be worth more than $36 billion. Now she wants to start giving it away.

“I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” MacKenzie, a novelist, wrote bluntly in an otherwise literary letter announcing her decision to join the Giving Pledge Tuesday. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”

Since it was founded by notable rich people Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet in 2010, the Giving Pledge has attracted over 200 wealthy individuals from around the world who publicly commit to donate at least half of their money either during their lifetimes or in their wills. While signaling you’re about to disperse at least $18 billion is notable under any circumstances, MacKenzie’s announcement attracted particular attention in part because the Bezos fortune has been tightly held so far. Jeff, literally the richest person in the world, has committed far less to philanthropic efforts. Last year, he announced he would spend just $2 billion of his $150 billion fortune on charity.

Louise Matsakis covers Amazon, internet law, and online culture for WIRED.

But even Jeff was willing to congratulate MacKenzie on her decision Tuesday. “MacKenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her,” he wrote on Twitter. “Pay taxes, Jeff,” someone else replied. (Amazon paid no federal income taxes in 2018, in part as a result of Republican tax cuts passed the year before.)

That exchange neatly sums up the debate over the role of philanthropy in the US today.

In 1889, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, perhaps the richest man in history, wrote a pamphlet called “The Gospel of Wealth,” in which he advocated for the wealthy to spend their lives donating to public institutions like libraries and universities. Carnegie called the practice “the true antidote for the temporary unequal distribution of wealth, the reconciliation of the rich and the poor—a reign of harmony.” The only problem is it hasn’t worked. Inequality in the United States is likely worse than it was during Carnegie’s era, despite the fact that the number of registered nonprofits in the United States has ballooned.

Meanwhile, the technology sector has made a small group of founders, early employees, and investors incredibly wealthy. Some of them have begun rebranding as philanthropists, like WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton, Pinterest cofounder Paul Sciarra, and Brian Armstrong, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, who all signed the Giving Pledge in the past year as well.

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Crypto Currency

Crypto exchange Binance challenges Facebook’s Libra with its own platform

Facebook’s Libra hasn’t even properly launched yet (and it won’t for many more months), and competitors are already cropping up.  Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume, has announced Project Venus, an initiative to create localized stablecoins — cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged to that of an asset such as gold or…


Facebook’s Libra hasn’t even properly launched yet (and it won’t for many more months), and competitors are already cropping up. 

Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume, has announced Project Venus, an initiative to create localized stablecoins — cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged to that of an asset such as gold or the U.S. dollar — all across the globe. 

Like Facebook’s Libra, Venus is an open blockchain project, and Binance is seeking partners among governments and corporations to create stablecoins that will “empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.”

But unlike Libra, whose announcement was supported by a hefty amount of documentation, the details about Project Venus are scarce and boil down to a short a

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Crypto Currency

The Serious Money Is Warming to Bitcoin

buried in a vault under a mountain in the Swiss Alps? Xapo has offered that as a service to wealthy investors, for free. Coinbase, best known for its popular cryptocurrency exchange, prefers elaborate key-printing rituals along with a Faraday cage. Anchorage, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup, promises easy-access digital storage with some cryptographic voodoo. And now…

buried in a vault under a mountain in the Swiss Alps? Xapo has offered that as a service to wealthy investors, for free. Coinbase, best known for its popular cryptocurrency exchange, prefers elaborate key-printing rituals along with a Faraday cage. Anchorage, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup, promises easy-access digital storage with some cryptographic voodoo. And now old-school firms like Fidelity and Bakkt, which shares an owner with the New York Stock Exchange, are jumping into the fray with storage solutions of their own.

The aim behind all these sophisticated security arrangements: wooing Wall Street.

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.

A key property of crypto is that it’s proven a pretty dang easy target for thieves. Whether it’s North Korea hammering crypto businesses around the world or an exchange founder absconding with cash, vulnerabilities are abundant. For the crypto industry, that’s not a good look, especially when it comes to institutional investors—pensions and hedge funds and university endowments—for whom there are major consequences when breaches occur. For them, it’s not just a good idea to nail down the furniture, it’s the law.

This week, the still-fringe world of crypto custody saw a spike in activity. Late Thursday, Coinbase’s custody arm purchased the institutional business of rival Xapo for a reported $55 million. The deal wasn’t a surprise, following reports this spring that Coinbase had outbid Fidelity Digital Assets, which started offering custody to clients in March. Then on Friday, Bakkt announced that it had received approval to offer bitcoin futures in September, following months of regulatory delays.

So is crypto the next big thing in institutional investment, or is this fighting over scraps? For now, crypto custody still involves a relatively small pool of money. Coinbase got a boost earlier this month when Grayscale Investments moved its $2

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Crypto Currency

Everything coming to Hulu in September 2019

It’s back-to-school season! Whether you’re hitting the books or working your 9-to-5, we’re all looking for the right movies and shows to procrastinate with this September.  Thankfully, Hulu’s got it covered. Over the month, film favorites 27 Dresses, Basic Instinct, Evil Dead, Juno, Lethal Weapon, Ocean’s Eleven, The Goonies, and The Matrix will begin streaming…


It’s back-to-school season! Whether you’re hitting the books or working your 9-to-5, we’re all looking for the right movies and shows to procrastinate with this September. 

Thankfully, Hulu’s got it covered. Over the month, film favorites27 Dresses, Basic Instinct, Evil Dead, Juno, Lethal Weapon, Ocean’s Eleven, The Goonies,andThe Matrixwill begin streaming alongside complete TV collectionslike American Horror Story: ApocalypseandThe PurgeSeason 1. 

Looking for some fresh fall TV? As always, Hulu will be airing tons of network series premieres, includingThis Is UsSeason 4,Grey’s AnatomySeason 16, andBob’s BurgersSeason 10.

Check out everything coming to and going from Hulu in September 2019 below.

Top Pick:Untouchable(2019)

Filmmaker Ursula Macfarlane looks back on the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein in this new documentary on the #MeToo movement. 

Set to examine the corporate environment that allowed for Weinstein’s rampant abuse of women,Untouchablepromises to address the topic through a new lens. Survivors share their stories alongside analysts, journalists, insiders, and enablers well-versed in the internationally discussed scandal as Weinstein awaits trial.

Untouchablepremieres on Hulu 9/2.

Movies

27 Dresses(9/1)
50 First Dates(9/1)
A Dog and Pony Show(9/1)
A Guy Thing(9/1)
A.R.C.H.I.E 2: Mission Impawsible(9/1)
After the Screaming Stops(9/1)
Against the Wild 2(9/1)
All Dogs Go to Heaven 2(9/1)
An Everlasting Piece(9/1)
Aniara(9/19)
Anthropoid(9/2)
Banking on Bitcoin(9/1)
Basic Instinct(9/1)
Bigfoot Country(9/1)
Blown Away(9/1)
Bolden(9/3)
Breaking Away(9/1)
Crypto(9/19)
Curious George(9/16)
Curious George: A Royal Monkey(9/10)
Demolition Man(9/1)
Destiny Turns on the Radio(9/1)
Disturbing Behavior(9/1)
Doctor Dolittle(9/1)
Emma(9/1)
Evil Dead(9/1)
Evil Dead II(9/1)
Exposed(9/1)
Failure to Launch(9/1)
Far from Home(9/1)
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest(9/1)
Firstborn(9/1)
Flashback(9/1)
From Mexico with Love(9/1)
Heist(9/1)
Hercules(9/1)
High-Rise(9/1)
Hotel Mumbai(9/9)
I, Frankenstein(9/1)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers(9/1)
Jersey Girl(9/1)
Juno(9/1)
Kicking and Screaming(9/4)
Lethal Weapon(9/1)
Lethal Weapon 2(9/1)
Lethal Weapon 3(9/1)
Lethal Weapon 4(9/1)
Liar, Liar(9/1)
Lost in Space(9/1)
Man on a Ledge(9/1)
Matriarch(9/2)
Miami Vice(9/1)
Mommie Dearest(9/1)
Monsters at Large(9/1)
Mr. Mom(9/1)
Ocean’s Eleven(9/1)
Ocean’s Thirteen(9/1)
Ocean’s Twelve(9/1)
Open Season(9/1)
Open Season 2(9/1)
Open Season 3(9/1)
Open Season: Sca

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Crypto Currency

Shoot-‘Em-Up Videogames Don’t Warp Minds—Big Tech Does

Speaking from the White House to a grieving nation, the president made the case. “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said. “This includes the gruesome and grizzly videogames that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We…

Speaking from the White House to a grieving nation, the president made the case. “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said. “This includes the gruesome and grizzly videogames that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to be begun immediately. Cultural change is hard, but each of us can choose to build a culture that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life.”

Noam Cohen


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About

Noam Cohen is a journalist and author ofThe Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball, which uses the history of computer science and Stanford University to understand the libertarian ideas promoted by tech leaders. While working forThe New York Times, Cohen wrote some of the earliest articles about Wikipedia, bitcoin, Wikileaks, and Twitter. He lives with his family in Brooklyn.

Ironies abound. For example, right after offering condolences about the El Paso shooting, and before he would need to offer condolences about Dayton, Trump posed with a mixed-martial-arts fighter, Colby Covington, wishing him good luck via Twitter in pummeling his opponent the next day.

And let’s not forget Trump’s smirking response to a Florida rally-goer who suggested that the way to stop illegal immigration was to shoot immigrants. “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that stuff,” the President of the United States said.

Genuine cultural change would have to begin by rejecting such comments, which makes Trump an especially ineffective critic of videogames. Yet stop to consider a shoot-’em-up game, where you are “doing” heinous things. In the case ofGrand Theft Auto V—the highest-grossing media title of all time, at $6 billion over nearly six years—players routinely commit violence against women and use torture in addition to the regular stalking and shooting.

One could be forgiven for seeing a bad influence there. It seems intuitively obvious that it could lead to violence in t

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