The Hold on the Trillion-Dollar Crypto Trade Leaves It Vulnerable

Throughout the cascading cryptocurrency collapses and bankruptcies this summer, one name rose to the top: Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF. The Bahamas-based American billionaire entrepreneur heads FTX, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange. This year, he’s become a primary protagonist in the folding of crypto platforms and hedge funds like Celsius Network, Voyager and Three Arrows Capital, deploying a proverbial $1 billion parachute to scoop up failing firms, prop up those facing insolvency and flirt with acquisitions worth hundreds of millions. He’s also become a primary player in American domestic politics, revealing he’s willing to spend up to $1 billion […]

Harm Reduction Takes a U-Turn on Vaping

Public health officials and those with significant sway in setting health policy were joyous last month when the Food and Drug Administration denied the ability of Juul Labs to continue selling its vaping device. Handed down as a Marketing Denial Order, the decision forces gas stations, retailers and vape shops to pull Juul devices off the shelves, depriving consumers of their ability to buy these products through legal means. Though the company has won a temporary stay by the D.C. District Court of Appeals, the FDA’s recent “nicotine zero” mandate — including limits on nicotine in cigarettes and bans on menthol tobacco products — shows […]

Don’t Be Fooled by Those Who Want to Save You From Tech Monopolies

In the heyday of the net-neutrality fight last decade, tech activists and companies warned of a doom scenario without it: Internet toll lanes, blocking of data and slower speeds. If Washington didn’t reclassify internet service providers as public utilities and give the Federal Communications Commission oversight, they argued, our entire online experience would change for the worse. Now, five years after FCC chair Ajit Pai repealed net neutrality, online speeds are achieving record highs, more Americans are online than ever before, and the internet economy has become a dominant force in American society. It’s more open than ever. Forever restless, […]

Potentials for Bitcoin in State Government

Our country is dealing with some of the highest inflation in a generation while COVID jitters and government restrictions shake the economy. But state and local policymakers are not powerless to protect their residents. There is always Bitcoin. In a time of inflation, ballooning government debts, and broader financial uncertainty, a Bitcoin-first policy would be a welcome message. The main advantage of Bitcoin, apart from being an alternative to the monetary manipulation of Washington, is that it is digital cash based on a decentralized and transparent public ledger that must be verified by thousands of independent nodes, or computers. It is forever […]

The Smart Way to Think About Crypto Regulation

Within the usually boring procedure of shepherding another massive infrastructure bill through Congress last month, a fiery debate erupted over the future of cryptocurrencies and digital assets. The Senate bill contained broad language to ensure tax and regulatory compliance on all cryptocurrency transactions, regardless of origin, as a revenue generator. However, traditional financial transactions cannot compare to the complex algorithmic crypto world of mining, staking, rewards, and smart contracts. It is easy to see why many digital currency enthusiasts were alarmed. In a hackneyed manner no one saw coming, the entire future of the crypto industry, including projects such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, […]

Dental Insurance Is the Next Industry That Badly Needs Reform

In the last decade, most debate and discussion on reforms related to healthcare have focused on Americans’ general health insurance plans and costs. And for good reason. And though our health system is convoluted and complicated, it gets even more complex when we examine what is happening with dental care. The intersection of hefty insurance premiums, confusing government benefits, and a red tape bonanza keep many Americans from ever visiting a dentist’s office. Even though 80 percent of Americans have access to dental benefits, nearly 35 percent of American adults didn’t visit a dentist in 2019, according to the National […]

Biden’s $100 Billion Push for Broadband Equity Is No Panacea

In our pandemic age, high-speed internet has become a necessity. Whether paying utility bills, logging in for school, or sending job applications, the transition from paper and pen to browsers and email has been swift. It makes sense that President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress want major investments in internet development. “A chicken in every pot, a broadband connection in every home,” to use an FDR-ism. As part of the American Jobs Plan, the Biden administration wants $100 billion to bring “affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American.” A similar bill introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) seeks $109 billion for […]

Are Consumers Getting the Short Stick on Data Privacy?

On a Monday, there is a data leak affecting half a billion Facebook accounts, by Tuesday a bot has scraped 500 million LinkedIn accounts. On Wednesday, Stanford University announces a hack that exposed thousands of social security numbers and financial details. Then Thursday, the world’s largest aviation IT company announces 90 percent of passenger data may have been accessed in a cyber-attack. And so on. The cycle is endless. The sheer number of reports of data leaks, hacks, and scams on affected accounts has now grown so gargantuan that consumers and users are left numb. It might as well be the soaring national debt total —the higher the […]

Australia’s Attempted Blackmail of Facebook Shows the Pendulum Swings Back on Consumers

Imagine this scenario: At the behest of several large legacy news outlets, a government institutes a law requiring that every time a news story is linked to on social media, the social network must pay a fee to news outlets. In other words, to allow a newspaper column or celebrity gossip blog link to appear elsewhere, that website will have to shell out money to the news outlet where it originated. While such a case seems laughable here in the United States, home to Silicon Valley, that is precisely what Australia recently attempted in its escalating war against tech companies […]

Community Aggregation, or Community Operation? Your Electric Bill Could Hang in the Balance

When it comes to your electric bill, consumers looking to change utilities, or use different sources of power, face limited choices. To provide somewhat of an alternative, as well meet consumer demand for alternatives like solar and wind, many states have opted to allow local governments to purchase electricity directly, while still allowing utilities to control distribution, known as “community choice aggregation.” But a 2019 change in New Hampshire law opens the door for something else: Communities acting as their own utilities.  While utilities would still source and distribute power, local governments will pick the winners and the losers, removing […]