UK will track thousands of criminals with GPS tags
It’s not a novel idea to make criminals wear GPS bracelets, but they could soon be relatively commonplace in the UK. The country’s government plans to use them for around-the-clock monitoring of criminals across England and Wales by the summer, with a handful of regions already putting them to use. They’ll be used to both track behavior when out of prison (say, to ensure offenders attend rehab) and enforce geographic limits like restraining orders.
The government estimated that roughly 4,000 people will receive GPS tags each year, but no more than 1,000 people will wear tags at any given time.
As with earlier uses, there are ethical advantages and drawbacks. This could avoid or reduce prison sentences for minor offenses, and more effectively monitor serious criminals when allowed to reenter society. The current electronic tags can indicate if a wearer is present at a given building, but it’s not much use outside of those narrow conditions. However, it still amounts to 24/7 location tracking for people who, in some cases, committed only non-violent crimes. While convicts aren’t about to earn much sympathy, there’s little doubt that they’re losing a lot of privacy.
Rating riverside corridors — the ‘escape routes’ for animals under climate change
Under climate change, plants and animals will shift their habitats to track the conditions they are adapted for. As they do, the lands surrounding rivers and streams offer natural migration routes that will take on a new importance as temperatures rise.
An open-access study led by the University of Washington pinpoints which riverside routes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana will be the most important for animals trying to navigate a changing climate. The study was published this fall in PLOS ONE.
“This corridor network is already there, and it’s already important for animal movement,” said lead author Meade Krosby, a scientist in the UW’s Climate Impacts Group. “Under climate change these will become ‘superhighways’ for animals that are seeking new places to live. We’ve identified ones that could be priorities for conservation and restoration.”
Riparian areas — areas of habitat along the banks of rivers and streams — are known to be used by bears, coyotes, wolves, deer, mountain lions and other large mammals. But these regions could also benefit smaller mammals, like beavers and marmots, and even insects, birds and other species looking for cooler, moister terrain as conditions become less habitable.
“We aren’t the first to realize that riparian areas are likely to be really important for animals seeking refuge from warmer or drier conditions, or for connecting fragmented habitats under climate change,” Krosby said. “But we hadn’t seen anybody identify which riparian areas would be particularly valuable in the future.”
The authors developed a ranking system for riparian areas and applied it to the Northwest, creating a general technique that could be applied elsewhere. They rated the land surrounding rivers and streams for various features that would help animals on the move: width; amount of shade; tree cover; connection across temperature gradients; and general condition of the landscape.
Results show that the highest-quality routes in the Northwest are mostly in the mountains, which have shaded, well-protected riparian corridors that connect warmer to cooler habitats.
The authors then looked at which areas should be priorities for restoration — places that are not currently protected, or that offer the only natural pathway linking warmer and cooler landscapes. Here the routes through the Columbia Plateau, covering Eastern Washington, central Oregon and western Idaho, popped out as particularly important.
“If you look at an aerial photograph of an agricultural or urban landscape you’ll see these green corridors that follow streams and rivers,” Krosby said. “Humans use the flat areas of the landscape: we live there, we farm there, we use it for all kinds of things. So the riparian areas in these landscapes may not be in the best shape, but in some ways they’re the most valuable, because they’re the only natural habitat left.”
The authors don’t identify individual waterways as priorities for riparian conservation. Instead they leave it to regional managers to single out individual areas and choose methods — whether it be working with landowners to keep areas in a natural state, planting native vegetation, removing invasive species along streams, creating easements in property deeds, or other methods — to ensure that riverside land remains friendly to wildlife movement.
“Riparian areas offer a huge bang-for-buck as conservation opportunities in the effort to reconnect our fragmented habitats,” Krosby said. “The nice thing about riparian conservation is it’s a two-fer: The same vegetation that provides cover for terrestrial species moving through riparian zones can, for example, help shade streams to cool water temperatures for aquatic species.”
The study is part of a growing trend in wildlife conservation. This winter, the state of Washington anticipates opening a wildlife overpass over Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass, which will allow animals to safely cross the freeway. That infrastructure in combination with other measures could help animal populations be more resilient to climate change.
“The idea is to have a whole network: You want to make sure that your landscape is permeable to wildlife movement,” Krosby said. “That’s important now, and it’s especially important under climate change, because moving to track shifting habitats is the primary way that species deal with a changing climate.”
Apple is withdrawing Safari’s Do Not Track feature
The upcoming version of Apple’s Safari browser will no longer come with “Do Not Track,” but it’s not because the tech giant doesn’t care about your privacy anymore. As 9to5mac notes, Safari version 12.1’s release notes come with a line that says it’s removing “support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable.” It might not be obvious because of the implications of the feature’s name, but Do Not Track actually just sends a voluntary signal — a suggestion, if you will — that websites don’t have to follow.
According to a new report by DuckDuckGo, tens of millions of American users aren’t aware that Do Not Track doesn’t actually block websites from tracking your activities. The privacy-focused search engine explains that switching the feature on is about as foolproof as sticking a “Please, don’t look into my house” sign on the front lawn while your blinds are open. Or perhaps like putting up a “Don’t step on the grass” sign and expecting everyone, even the bossy family cat, to respect it.
In other words, axing Safari’s Do Not Track feature will not affect your privacy — Apple has an anti-tracking technology called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” anyway. Originally launched in 2017, the technology uses machine learning to identify ad tracking behavior and prevent advertisers from following your movements as you jump from one URL to the next.
UAE surveillance unit used iPhone hacking software to track dissidents
Former US intelligence agents reportedly worked with UAE security officials to remotely hack into the iPhones of dissidents and world leaders using a spying tool. The so-called “Karma” software allowed the covert cyber-operations unit (code named Project Raven) to access “iPhones simply by uploading phone numbers or email accounts into an automated targeting system,” according to Reuters.
Karma reportedly didn’t work on Android devices, but was deemed especially powerful as it could plant malware on an iPhone without requiring an action from the target. Three former operatives said the tool relied partially on a flaw in iMessage. All it supposedly took to trigger the breach was for a text message to be sent to the target device using the cyber-tool. Both Apple and the UAE government declined to comment on the report.
In 2016 and 2017, the hacking unit composed of ex-American intelligence operatives working as contractors for the UAE’s intelligence services set up camp in Abu Dhabi. From there, they harnessed the tool to acquire photos, emails, texts and location data from targets’ iPhones. Karma also reportedly helped the team to scoop saved passwords for other breaches, according to several former operatives (who were not Emirati citizens) and program documents reviewed by Reuters.
In 2017, the operatives allegedly used Karma to hack an iPhone used by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, as well as the devices of Turkey’s former Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, and Oman’s head of foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah. Ultimately, the tool was apparently used to gain entry into the accounts of hundreds of prominent Middle Eastern political figures and activists across the region and in Europe. However, there’s no evidence (as of yet) to suggest that compromising information was leaked. The Washington embassies of Qatar, Oman and Turkey did not respond to the report. Nor could Reuters confirm the origin of Karma, though it said it was purchased from a vendor outside the UAE.
In a separate Reutersexposé, Lori Stroud (a former NSA staffer who later joined Project Raven) said Karma was also used to spy on American citizens. Whereas US contractors being hired for assistance with espionage remains a grey area, hacking or stealing info from America is considered illegal. Stroud told of how she’d been recruited by a Maryland cybersecurity contractor named CyberPoint only to wind up in the UAE in 2016. The small Middle-Eastern nation, and ally of Saudi Arabia, brought on Stroud (and other US contractors) to help launch its cyber-surveillance program, which was overseen by local cybersecurity firm DarkMatter.
By the end of 2017, Karma had apparently become far less effective due to Apple’s iOS security updates. But the timing of this report couldn’t be worse for Apple, arriving as it does in the wake of its FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls — and in light of CEO Tim Cook’s calls for increased privacy and GDPR-style regulations in the US).
Apple has infamously resisted calls from law enforcement to create a backdoor piece of software that could bypass the security protections built into iOS. Faced with the blockade, the FBI turned to a third-party to crack the iPhone 5c belonging to one of the San Bernardino attackers back in 2016. That in turn led to a lucrative market springing up for zero-day iPhone exploits.
Throughout the news landscape, continual signs seem to signal how the cryptocurrency boom is over. According to various sites that track dead cryptos, the cryptocurrency landscape is inching ever closer to 1,000 dead crypto coins. By one count, bitcoin reportedly died some 326 times. Since peaking at nearly $20,000 in 2017, bitcoin’s ongoing tumble wiped out virtual fortunes. From there, it’s a little bit up, a little bit down. Yes, if you’re looking for crypto-gloom news, it isn’t difficult. The question on so many minds is whether crypto is doomed to the trash heap along with Beanie Babies, not-so-rare collectibles, and other speculative vestiges of mania. I cannot, from one tech column alone, change the public’s disposition on crypto. I will take this opportunity to share that we are still at the beginning of something that will not fade as this technology wave hasn’t even touched the spectrum of possibilities. That’s because there are narrow opinions that disregard the best parts about cryptocurrency, including real-world applications that the public at large will never bother looking at.
Bitcoin is the original, and it has a decade’s worth of history. Bitcoin has survived early forks, the Mt. Gox hack, the Silk Road fiasco, and it will eventually emerge from the variable effects of widespread market speculation. Just about a year ago, Thanksgiving conversations and news headlines centered on crypto-investment. Hundreds of thousands of Coinbase cryptocurrency brokerage accounts opened on that very weekend. Weeks later, the price was touching $20,000.
The cryptocurrency-investment allure was simple. It’s easy to invest. Open an account, — do it on your phone — buy some coin and wait for profit. Buy low, sell high – anyone can be a crypto-investor. In crypto, there are no middlemen to deal with, no regulations, and crypto is supposed to be free from politics and borders. These are problematic notions are just a part of the underlying crypto-crisis. Most of the public and late-game investors came into the game as pure speculators. Bitcoin isn’t even a solid transaction platform, that’s why the bitcoin cash fork came along. As speculators do, 2018 was a year where many also-ran investors seem to have dropped off, accepting their losses and walking away from crypto investing for the time being. To the outside world, 70, 80, 90, and 99 percent devaluations in cryptocurrency look terrible, and from an investment point-of-view, it is. The value was never the point.
Cryptocurrency: Not dead, not done
Cryptocurrency alone holds the promise of an efficient, universally accessible, global system of decentralized financial transactions. Meanwhile, today’s mainstream banking systems still take three, four, or five days to wire and transfer money in some cases. While there will always be some element of speculation, the value of cryptocurrency is in the power of transactions.
Financial institutions are currently working away on how to take advantage of blockchain and distributed ledgers, to improve and secure transactions. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency. Various technically superior coins have come and gone. Whether it is bitcoin itself, a fork of some kind, or another iterative cryptocurrency, this concept and its values will be a part of our world.
Privacy advocates and social media minds continue to integrate crypto-concepts into platforms that leverage utility over value. This application is another case that shows that the value is in the transaction, not necessarily the medium.
In an era not so long ago, the Internet came along to change our lives forever. It took investment, hard work, vision, and sometimes a bit of luck to achieve those little things that add up to big things: shopping, sharing, media, business, and the endless stream of things we do with the Internet today.
In an ideal world, purchases and transactions should be simple, reliable, and secure. The incentives of getting to that point are clear for consumers, banks, and business. Decentralized technology and distributed ledgers will continue to unlock this future.
Crypto technologies, along with the blockchain and distributed ledger have only just begun their journey. Future cryptocurrency innovators in industries across the spectrum have barely started entering the work market at this point. These investors, entrepreneurs, and scientists will emerge from the decentralized landscape of today and combine possibilities with smart contract code, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous computing platforms to create a new future that will change the human experience.
FOMO — the fear of missing out. It’s a thing. Nobody likes to be the last one in on something. There’s an element of human behavior that shows how people go along with whatever the crowd is doing. When everyone starts running out of a movie theater, you run too. Stupid things happen when the herd starts running like $20,000 in value from poorly informed, non-committed investors.
My one-time collaborator and crypto-figure John McAfee once famously said he would eat his own dick on TV if bitcoin price didn’t hit $1 million by the end of 2020. Considering his proclivity for strong imagery, short-term speculation in cryptocurrency is irresponsible, speculative, and in many cases, can be no better than gambling. I can, however, state that there is little doubt that whatever the future holds, crypto will be there, and I continue to hold.
According to sources who confided in Bloomberg, the financial regulator is at the moment gauging sector interest in exchange-traded funds tracking cryptocurrencies.
This comes less than a month since the financial watchdog put aside plans for cryptocurrency futures. Consequently, the regulator abandoned efforts to revise Japan’s securities law, a move that would have seen the listing of cryptocurrency options and futures on major financial exchanges.
Then, the financial watchdog explained that the decision was based on the fact that introducing such products would only have stoked speculation and little else. Allowing cryptocurrency futures would have seen Japan join countries such as the United States which already have listed futures which track bitcoin.
Self-regulation and Leverage
Besides shelving plans for cryptocurrency futures in Japan, other steps that the Financial Services Agency is taking include giving more powers of oversight to regulatory bodies appointed by sector bodies and members. Additionally, Japan’s Financial Services Agency also intends to cap the leverage which can be provided by exchanges and brokers.
And as CCN reported earlier last month, the FSA also intends to place the majority of initial coin offerings under the country’s securities law.
Some of the proposals that the FSA has put forward in this regard include requiring ICO issuers to register with the financial watchdog. These and other proposals are likely to be contained in a bill which the country’s ruling party will submit before the current parliamentary session ends in two months’ time. It is expected that the proposals could become law by the end of next year.
While Japan has suffered some of the biggest cryptocurrency heists in the world leading to calls for stricter regulation, the financial watchdog has been careful to avoid taking measures that would strangle the crypto sector.
We have no intention to curb [the cryptocurrency sector] excessively. We would like to see it grow under appropriate regulation.
This approach by current and past regulators has given Japan an edge over the rest of the world in the cryptocurrency markets. Currently, the Far East Asian country is the globe’s biggest crypto exchange market ahead of South Korea and the United States.
Finance Guru Ronnie Moas Digs for $10 Billion in Cryptocurrency Gold
Ronnie Moas is known as a finance guru with a 15-year track record of picking stocks. Later in his career, he ventured into cryptocurrency, claiming himself to be “synonymous with Bitcoin.” That success, however, has taken a turn towards conflict.
Background on Ronnie Moas
Ronnie Moas is the founder of Standpoint Research. The Florida-based company conducts market analysis on securities, bonds, cryptocurrencies, and other assets, and is a one-man operation dependent on Moas, according to a Bitcoin Podcast interview.
According to Moas (via Standpoint Research subscriber emails):
“I am one of the most highly regarded and highest ranking analysts in the financial services industry. I have a top 20 ranking for my performance versus more than 4,700 professionals… and my company was ranked # 5 on Wall Street in 2017.”
He is also a Twitter, TV, and radio influencer, having been featured on dozens of interviews and with a following of over forty-thousand on Twitter. He has a prolific record, having published and distributed over 900 research reports, and issued more than 600 stock recommendations since July of 2003, according to Bloomberg.
Moas goes so far as to claim that his expertise extends into the cryptocurrency markets, saying that his name “has become synonymous with Bitcoin,” predicting that it “will hit $28,000 by the end of 2018”
According to Bloomberg’s Executive Profile, Moas began his career on Wall Street as an analyst at Herzog Heine Geduld. Moas was responsible for making sector, industry, and stock recommendations. And, according to the biography, “he demonstrated remarkable accuracy with his market forecasts and stock recommendations.” He left the firm to found Standpoint Research, Inc. in 2004.
Based on statements from Moas and estimates from other sources, Standpoint Research has between 2,500 and 3,000 subscribers. This earns Moas a tidy $1.5 million to $4 million in revenue a year.
Standpoint Sells Stock Picks
Standpoint Research makes money through its subscription service. Subscribers get access to research, stock picks, and information curated by Ronnie Moas. The company uses its proprietary “artificial intelligence overlay applied to a 155-variable computer model” for generating its predictions.
For $599 to $1,119 per year, subscribers get access to Standpoint’s exclusive research. The company asserts that it helps subscribers pick investments “…so that you do not have to do that research on your own.”
Doing Deals with Dignity (DIG)
In July of 2017, Arbitrade, a company which is developing a cryptocurrency exchange and trading software, contacted Moas to conduct an analysis of their company for “internal use,” according to court documents. The report was meant for accredited investors and institutions interested in Arbitrade, executives from the company said.
Arbitrade is the parent company of Cryptobontix, a company which issued a cryptocurrency called Dignity Token, which is important later in the article.
Moas was paid $60,000 and 2 million DIG tokens, for a total in $100,000 in compensation for his report. He provided the company with a 122-page report on September of 2017, with 34 pages of that pertaining directly to DIG, based on statements from Moas and the court case.
Background on Dignity Token (DIG)
Dignity is a cryptocurrency which claims that each of its tokens is backed by $1.00 in gold. Cryptobontix, the company spearheading the project, had previously stated in its retracted white paper that it plans to pay for the gold using profits from mining farms.
The company was later acquired or merged with Arbitrade at an unspecified date. Arbitrade is a company which is “leveraging proven financial technology” that “combines a financial matching engine… and smart contracts to enable market participants and institutions to buy and sell regulated security tokens.”
The cryptocurrency Dignity was largely traded on Livecoin, a small cryptocurrency exchange that claims to be based in London.
Arbitrade also features an impressive management board, with all officers listing over 30 years experience at companies such as PepsiCo, Citibank, Uniqlo, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Taco Bell.
CryptoSlate reached out to over 10 of the members listed on Arbitrade’s website over the last five days to confirm their involvement with Arbitrade. Only one, Steve Braverman, responded with the following comment:
“I will speak with our attorney and get back to you.”
Braverman did not provide any further comments.
Digging for Billions in Gold
The first iteration of the Cryptobontix white paper claims that the profits from cryptocurrency would pay to purchase the billions needed in its gold reserves.
Miraculously, the company was able to “receive title” to the gold. The company claims to have title over 395,000 kg of gold, worth roughly $16 billion at current prices.
The amount of gold is equal to roughly one-eleventh the amount of gold held in Fort Knox, a United States army fortress which once held a large portion of the country’s gold bullion when the country still used the gold standard. Today, it still holds an outlandish amount of gold.
And, in the ultimate display of legitimacy, Arbitrade purchased Nelson Mandela’s solid gold hands for an additional $10 million. Despite the strong messaging, some members of the community have warned that Arbitrade is a scam.
Ronnie Moas Catches the Gold Rush
On Sep. 18th, 2017, a small group of Standpoint’s paid subscribers were given the recommendation to purchase DIG, along with his report on UNY (the former ticker for DIG). Court filings and testimonies from several of his subscribers confirm this.
A few months later, on Feb. 8th, 2018, Moas allegedly sent a blast out to his entire subscriber base with the recommendation to buy DIG. In an interview on the Bitcoin Podcast, he describes it as an “impulsive reaction” and stated that a huge move in the coin’s price motivated him to share the report:
“The reason I released the paper, the catalyst… was seeing it move eleven hundred percent in one day, and I felt that it was an insider buy and I decided within a few minutes to jump on it.”
After February, Moas would publicly describe Dignity Tokens (DIG) as his “best idea in 20 years,” both on Twitter, and in his email letters:
In June of 2018, Moas allegedly notified his subscribers that he visited an Arbitrade location and was “blown away” by the premises and operations of the facility. He also assured buyers that “every day that goes by, my confidence level in [Arbitrade’s] operation increases, and the amount of risk I see decreases,” according to redacted tweets in the court filings.
Ronnie Moas then continued to boast the merits of the Dignity Token, assuring buyers that the coin is completely and totally legitimate:
And saying that that it couldn’t be a scam, because scams are too expensive to pull off at this scale:
Moas continued to purchase DIG throughout 2018, stating in his interview that he had purchased 440,000 DIG as late as Nov. 27th, worth roughly $8,000 at the time. Over hundreds of Tweets and emails, Moas would routinely set price targets of $0.40 by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, the value of DIG eroded from $0.28 in May to less than $0.01 over the year—an over 95 percent decrease.
Flip the Script
From Dec. 16th until two weeks ago, Moas still “thought that this [Arbitrade] was legitimate.” From mid-November, Moas completely reversed his opinion about DIG, calling the cryptocurrency and the project a scam. He then proceeded to call the founders of Arbitrade fraudsters and crooks and berated them on a near-daily basis over social media.
Eventually, Moas’ accusations allegedly reached a fever pitch, posting the addresses, phone numbers, license plates, and other identifying information for the executives behind Arbitrade. He went so far as to encourage his subscribers to physically threaten the executives over email, according to the court documents.
Unfortunately, CryptoSlate is unable to list the tweets in total because they were deleted from Ronnie Moas’ account on Jan. 8th. That said, some of the accusations are listed, in hard copy, in the court filings.
The threats and accusations publicly listed by Moas culminate in a formal legal complaint from Arbitrade’s executives for libel, cyberstalking, and tortious interference, among other charges. Additionally, the documents list hundreds of incriminating emails, tweets, and correspondence with Moas, with the three executives attesting to the legitimacy of the content under penalty of perjury.
According to the filing, Moas tweeted 394 threatening tweets towards Arbitrade, 34 of which included personal information or directly tagged them on Twitter. The company issued a cease and desist, but that only caused Moas to double down.
Moas becomes despondent, with some of the messages emphasizing this:
“I have a very hot temper and I am very impulsive… emotional and sensitive and I will if I believe in something I will fight until the death for it… if a man does not have a cause worth fighting for his life is not worth living… and I will fight to the death for my subscribers and the reputation that you have destroyed in the last few months with your bullshit.”
And, at his lowest, he even talks about contemplating suicide:
“In fact, the thought of ending my own life crossed my mind several times already today, but that would be a victory for you. I just took anti-anxiety medicine for the third time this weekend you filthy scumbags. God sees everything, and you will get what is coming to you.”
Is Ronnie Moas the Victim?
Based on testimony from Moas’ paid subscribers and evidence from the court proceedings, the finance professional allegedly never disclosed his payments from Arbitrade or his personal holdings and investment in Dignity Token.
Thomas McLoughlin, the CEO of Blockstake and former banking analyst, reaffirms this in correspondence with CryptoSlate:
“In neither Ronnie’s buy recommendation to his paying subscribers in November of 2017, nor his subsequent follow-ups was this compensation mentioned. In fact, this conflict of interest was only disclosed after the company publicly brought forth these facts.”
Not only that, many of Moas’ subscribers allegedly warned him of the red flags surrounding Arbitrade, including McLoughlin:
“After being asked by a third-party to run diligence on Dignity, a number of red flags surfaced… checkered past of numerous key executives, unsustainable business model… deadlines continually missed or ignored, and most importantly any lack of concrete evidence to Arbitrade’s gold or mining operation. In addition, Dignity token was and is traded only on a small exchange called Livecoin and had severe technical disruptions throughout the course of the year.”
In response to McLoughlin’s concerns, Moas had this to say:
“You are making a complete fool of yourself. I will not waste my time on this garbage message. My subscribers know EXACTLY what is going on.”
When asked about the warning signs around Dignity on the Bitcoin Podcast, Moas said the following:
“I haven’t done background checks on anyone in 20 years. I don’t have time to do that. My subscribers expect a name from me every week.”
His defense: they were “charming people,” and he had no idea that any of this was happening. For the remainder of the interview, Ronnie Moas asserts he was the victim, that he was duped, and that he was, and still is, innocent.
Even though Moas wrote a 122-page report on the company, and was supposedly paid $100,000 to investigate the merits of Arbitrade—apparently he “doesn’t have the time” to do background checks, according to commentary in the Bitcoin Podcast interview.
Finally, when asked if his involvement could be construed as a “pump and dump” on the Bitcoin Podcast, he had the following eloquent statement:
“Now go fuck yourself,” and left the interview.
As Ronnie Moas turned sour towards Arbitrade, his subscribers turned furious. Many were angry that they were shilled DIG. There are dozens of people who have called him a fraud because of his behavior. Some of these people lost tens of thousands following his recommendation.
Despite Moas’ allegations, there are still many who assert that Arbitrade is legitimate on Twitter.
Michael Kelly, who claims to be one of Moas’ paid subscribers, made the following testimony to CryptoSlate:
“He is quite honestly the most unprofessional and odious man I’ve ever had the displeasure to come across, a pathological liar who refuses to admit his wrongdoing, instead blaming Arbitrade for all this after his extortion attempts fell flat. I never acted on a single one of his tips, that’s the level of his service. I guess I should be thankful for that.”
We reached out to Ronnie Moas on multiple occasions and received no comment.
Legal Battle Intensifies
The civil case (search Moas, Ronnie), James Goldberg et. al. vs Ronnie Moas has intensified over the last few days. After repeated accusations of “criminal intent,” the courts have granted several emergency motions to determine potential criminality:
According to new documents filed on Jan. 8th, James Goldberg et. al. alleges that Ronnie Moas has repeatedly violated the court’s orders, and that Goldberg was in “fear of physical harm for himself and his family,” and filed a formal complaint listing Moas’ violations over Twitter and email after furnishing Moas a cease and desist complaint.
Meanwhile, one of Moas’ subscribers claims that he sent out the following email today:
Ronnie Moas claims to be a “highly regarded and highest ranking analysts in the financial services industry, someone whose name is ‘synonymous with Bitcoin.’”
Moas received a large sum of money to write a report on a company. He then allegedly leaked this report to his subscribers—without providing disclosure of his conflict of interest or his stake in Dignity Token.
Then, Moas proceeded to promote the project for over a year. Suddenly, he changed the narrative and called the project an outright scam. His subscribers and those who follow him on social media have lost tens of thousands of dollars as a result of his recommendations.
In Moas’ words, he’s the victim. When asked why concerns over DIG did not surface during the 122-page report he wrote for Arbitrade, his explanation was that “he doesn’t do background checks.”
Moas then allegedly proceeded to threaten and harass Arbitrade’s executives to the point where they fear physical harm to themselves and their families. Moas then told his subscribers that the reason for his absence is because of medical complications.
“Standpoint Research service will NOT be compromised in any way,” Moas allegedly said in his email to subscribers today. CryptoSlate will continue to follow the story and release updates as the civil lawsuit unfolds and as more information becomes available on Arbitrade.
Jan. 10th, 01:40 UTC: Clarified that Arbitrade only has “title” to the gold reserves.
Disclaimer: Our writers’ opinions are solely their own and do not reflect the opinion of CryptoSlate. None of the information you read on CryptoSlate should be taken as investment advice, nor does CryptoSlate endorse any project that may be mentioned or linked to in this article. Buying and trading cryptocurrencies should be considered a high-risk activity. Please do your own due diligence before taking any action related to content within this article. Finally, CryptoSlate takes no responsibility should you lose money trading cryptocurrencies.
Spot Develops New Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Portfolio App – Bitcoin News
There’s a new app for cryptocurrency holders to track their portfolios of digital assets across multiple exchanges and addresses. Spot has developed a sleek new app focusing on ease of use built on a clean and user-friendly platform.
First released in open beta back in April 2018, Spot has now fully launched on Product Hunt. Its stated aim is to offer cryptocurrency holders a beautiful user interface with features that are powerful yet easy to use. The native iOS and Android app brings an aggregated view of all holdings on exchanges and public wallet addresses into one tool, tracking over 2,300 different coins and tokens.
The company isn’t content with the app merely displaying assets, as it plans to offer trading too further down the line. “Spot’s vision isn’t to build a portfolio tracker — we went a bit overboard with this feature,” CEO Edouard Steegmann told Tech Crunch. “Eventually, we want to become the app to manage all your cryptos, a sort of Revolut but with a crypto DNA.”
Rebuilding Coinmarketcap From the Ground Up
Other features of the Spot app include a watch-list to follow specific crypto pairs, smart charts with live and historical prices on simple or double charts, and performance tracking for following transactions. It also offers what the developers call “smart holdings”, wherein built-in algorithms analyze all instances of a particular asset’s storage and help maximize revenues across all cryptocurrency exchanges, replacing the need for spreadsheets.
Spot is also said to have built its own built market data API by connecting directly to more than 150 exchanges so it doesn’t become dependent on anyone else’s price feeds. “We’ve rebuilt Coinmarketcap from the ground up, and we’re one of the few companies that have done it,” Steegmann stated.
The startup recently raised about $1.2 million in seed funding. The round was backed by Kima Ventures and several angel investors such as Eric Larchevêque and Thomas France of Ledger among others.
What’s your favorite cryptocurrency portfolio app? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.
Food tracking comes to Google Assistant with Lifesum
You no longer have to pull out your phone (or look at your watch) to track your dietary habits. Lifesum has introduced what it says is the first food tracking app for Google Assistant, making it easier to keep tabs on your eating patterns. If you ate a large meal or grabbed a glass of water, you just have to use your voice to add that to your log. You can also update your body weight, tackle challenges (such as hiding sugary food in your kitchen) and ask for updates on your progress.
This won’t fit everyone. Lifesum personalizes meal sizes based on your goals, but it’s not very specific beyond that. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to specify whether you had a kale salad or fettuccine alfredo. Voice control also won’t help much if you’re in a noisy restaurant. Still, this might help if you want to log dinner while you’re busy cleaning up in the kitchen.
NPR-led system will track podcast listening behavior
Podcast creators typically don’t know much about your listening habits. They can track downloads, but they seldom know when you’ve skipped an ad or left an episode unfinished. NPR, however, aims to fix that. It recently partnered with a host of companies to introduce Remote Audio Data, a way to share listening metrics directly from podcast apps while theoretically protecting your privacy. A total of 13 organizations have committed to using RAD in 2019 (including mainstays like PRI/PRX and RadioPublic), while the 10 companies supporting the effort include Google, ESPN, iHeartMedia and the New York Times.
There’s one main problem: two of the biggest podcast purveyors aren’t on board. As The Vergepointed out, Anchor found that 52 percent of podcast listens came from Apple’s Podcasts app, while 19 percent flowed from Spotify’s podcast section. RAD won’t truly represent podcast trends without the support of those companies, and either of them is likely to change their mind. Apple has been testing its own podcast metrics and is often hesitant to share user data unless it can guarantee privacy. Spotify has also been testing analytics, while RadioPublic has a tracking system that helps creators interact with their audiences.
NPR has stressed that it doesn’t provide identifiable data to podcasters and can’t snoop on rivals’ listening numbers. However, that might not matter if would-be partners are worried about a potential backlash from users who don’t want a service tracking their minute-by-minute playback. This is coming hot on the heels of Facebook’s numerous privacy scandals, remember. Although RAD is evidence that the podcast industry is maturing and becoming more of a viable money-maker, it might only have limited success.
Apple’s latest expansion puts it closer to its biggest rivals
Apple is on track to become the largest private employer in Austin, Texas, after announcing plans to invest $1 billion in a new campus less than a mile away from its existing facilities there. The 133-acre site will initially be home to 5,000 new employees, with the potential to grow to 15,000. The company has also announced plans to establish new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City and expand in cities across the United States including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years, with the potential for additional expansion elsewhere in the US over time.
The new site will cover roles across engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales and customer support, and like all of Apple’s facilities, will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The company is already a big deal in the area, initially setting up shop in 1992 with fewer than 100 jobs. Now, with 6,200 employees, it’s Apple’s largest center of employment outside of its Cupertino, California headquarters.
Apple already added 6,000 US jobs this year, but the Austin announcement puts it firmly on track to reach its goal of adding 20,000 domestic jobs by 2023. Its other proposed sites will employ around 1,000 people each, but are particularly important for another reason: proximity to the competition. Seattle is home to Microsoft and Amazon, while San Diego is the US base of chip giant Qualcomm. Apple choosing to settle in these areas not only lets it keep an eye on its rivals but also nearby talent. It sends a strong message that despite flagging sales and question marks over the future of the smartphone market, Apple’s doing better than fine.
Bees with tiny sensor backpacks could help farmers track crops
Farmers can use drones to monitor their fields, but they have their limits when they can rarely fly for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time. University of Washington researchers might have a smarter way: recruit some insect friends. They’ve developed sensor backpacks that are light enough (about 0.0035 ounces) and efficient enough to ride on a bumblebee, but capable enough to collect data for seven hours at a time over relatively long distances. You wouldn’t have to replace packs very often, either, as they could just fly into their hives to wirelessly recharge and transmit data.
The trick was to find a way to track the bees’ locations without using power-hungry GPS. Instead, they set up multiple broadcasting antennas and had the bee’s pack triangulate positions based on signal strength and the angle difference. The insects would send their data using backscatter, or reflecting radio waves from nearby antennas.
The example backpacks can only store about 30Kb of data, limiting them to collecting basic info like humidity, light and temperature. And you can’t control them like you would a drone. The scientists hope to craft more elaborate data gathering technology (including live data), however, and they could tell backpacks to only collect data when the bees fly into certain areas. Eventually, you could see farms where bees are continuously checking on crops, noticing things that high-flying drones can’t — and without the noise of their machine counterparts.
2019 BMW M2 Competition: A driver’s car through and through
Earlier this year, my colleague Jon Wong had a chance to drive the 2019 BMW M2 Competition on a race track in Spain. He came back raving about the car, concluding that, “I still got nothing when it comes to finding major flaws with the M2.” But would my experience driving the Competition on regular Midwestern roads — often cold, damp roads at that — lead me to the same conclusion as a blast on a sunny circuit?
Too often, cars that excel on the track are a bore on the street: the tuning that makes them so capable at full tilt can dilute driving fun and pleasure at road-legal velocities. That does not, fortunately, apply to the M2 Competition. Instead, it delights in communicating with its driver and excels in putting all its power to the road. I’m quite happy to report that the M2 Competition remains a stellar tool for driving pleasure no matter where you take it.
Built for speed
The transformation into the M2 Competition was a serious affair, with the car ditching its old single-turbo, 365-horsepower engine in favor of a 405-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six derived from that in the M3 and M4. So, too, was the entire chassis upgraded, with a gorgeous carbon-fiber strut brace from the bigger M cars, as well as enlarged brakes and new suspension parts all around.
That engine delivers stupendous acceleration, with the car’s electronically controlled differential and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires putting up a strong fight against 406 pound-feet of torque. Off the line, the M2 Competition is of course a rocket, hitting 60 miles per hour in a claimed 4.0 seconds as the tires scrabble on pavement.
But it’s just as brutal at speed, dispatching passing maneuvers in the blink of an eye. Turbo lag is practically nonexistent, with the engine serving up near-instantaneous reactions to the throttle pedal. Still, horsepower builds and surges as revs rise; even though peak torque arrives at just 2,350 rpm, there’s big satisfaction in winding out the tachometer toward its 7,600 rpm redline.
You got lots of auditory feedback, too, with growling and snarling from the quad exhausts as the engine builds speed. Still, it’s not the sort of engine note I’ll dream about and remember for years to come, but it is a fair bit more exotic — and less vacuum cleaner-like — than some other BMW M cars. Think less Adele belting out a ballad and more Rage Against The Machine shouting into their mics. Which isn’t a criticism, as performance cars are supposed to sound angry.
While there are several settings for the engine response, dual-clutch transmission performance and traction control, you won’t find a button for the suspension. Unlike nearly all modern performance cars, the M2 Competition does without adaptive dampers. I appreciate the simplicity: here’s one ideal suspension setup that’s ready to go from the moment you get in the car.
The suspension works wonders, too, keeping the BMW flat and planted no matter what the road throws at it. There’s very little dive or roll, but there is enough compliance that the rear tires don’t skitter around at every bump or expansion joint; you can drive hard on rough roads without the suspension getting unsettled. Moreover, there’s wonderful directness from the steering, both in its responses and its feel. More than any BMW in recent memory, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is chatty, twitching and weighting up in response to what the front tires are doing. All that feedback gives me more confidence to push the M2 harder.
My test car’s optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission does a remarkably good job of smoothing out stop-and-go driving while also serving up lightning-fast shifts when I tug the paddles. (It doesn’t, however, creep in traffic like a torque-converter transmission, which takes a bit of adjustment.) Yet as good as it is, I wouldn’t spend the $2,900 for it when I know a six-speed manual transmission is standard.
It’s perplexing that a performance car wouldn’t have an engine-temperature gauge anywhere in its cabin. But otherwise the inside of the M2 looks sufficiently Competition-spec, with matte-finish carbon fiber, lots of orange stitching, just-snug-enough bucket seats and, yes, even “M2” seat badges that illuminate when you unlock the car at night. The paddle shifters are easy to reach with my fingertips and move with a satisfying click. As ever, BMW’s M-specific shift lever is unnecessarily fiddly, with no “Park” position: simply leave the car in “Drive” and turn it off. And there’s an empty switch blank where the adaptive-damper button would be in other 2 Series models, which looks a tad cheap on a car costing north of $60K.
There is no free lunch when it comes to building performance cars, and thus like so many of its rivals, the M2 Competition is abrasive when you’re not driving at maximum attack. For starters, it’s loud, with roaring from the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and constant droning from the engine. If you’ve got the engine stop-start feature enabled, you’ll also enjoy big clunks from the dual-clutch transmission each time the engine slumbers and reawakes. (Fortunately, if you disable the stop-start system it stays off permanently — unlike most modern cars, which automatically re-enable the fuel-saving tech on every drive.)
But you may want to leave that button enabled, because the M2 Competition delivers much worse fuel economy than its predecessor. It’s rated for 17 miles per gallon city and 23 mpg highway (with the dual-clutch transmission), decreases of 3 in both measure compared to the 2018 M2. For a point of comparison, consider that those are the same EPA ratings as the Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe — a car which has two extra cylinders and 93 additional horsepower.
The BMW also rides with all the compliance of a skateboard over cobblestones; its chassis is constantly in motion, bouncing and jiggling over even the smallest road imperfections. It’s tiresome and makes me wonder if the M2 Competition actually could have used some adaptive dampers with a Comfort mode. And, of course, like many performance cars with wide tires and feelsome steering, you get plenty of tramlining and bumpsteer; the M2 needs constant steering correction on highway drives.
Of course, most buyers probably don’t care that the M2 is a bit rougher to live with than a 230i. I sure don’t: it’s worth the trade-offs for me to have so much fun behind the wheel. But the Competition is stiffer and louder than many comparable sports coupes, so if you have a long commute, it might grate on you after a while.
Modest tech complement
There’s a modest amount of onboard tech to keep you entertained. An 8.8-inch infotainment display is standard. Operable either by touching the screen or using the rotary control knob (on which you can also write letters or numbers), the system works swiftly and simply. As with other modern BMWs that use this system, allow me to gripe that while Apple CarPlay is included, you’ll need to pay an annual subscription fee; Android Auto is not supported at all. Navigation is built-in, as are M-specific displays for the engine’s instantaneous horsepower and torque output.
The level of active-safety technology of offer is about average, with precollision warning and braking and lane-departure warning standard. But there are no option packs for adding, say, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control or lane-keep assist. My tester also boasts a Wi-Fi hotspot and a wireless phone-charging pad, both of which are part of the $1,200 Executive package that also includes LED headlights and a heated steering wheel.
Pay to play
Sure, the BMW M2 Competition isn’t cheap, at $59,895 with destination to start; my tester rings in at $64,545. That’s pricier than, uh, competition like the 400-hp Audi RS3 ($54,900) and even the 526-hp Ford Mustang GT350 ($60,135). But it is a decent discount versus BMW’s larger M cars, with the M3 sedan starting at $68,445 and the M4 coupe coming in at $70,145. Frankly, it’s better to drive than the M3/M4, too: the M2 is just more engaging, better able to use all its power and more exciting on public roads.
The M2 Competition is an unabashed performance machine, with heroic acceleration, mighty grip and a fantastic amount of driver involvement. While it can be a bit of a brute for the daily commute, I appreciate a sports car that doesn’t make too many compromises to appeal to a wider audience. If you want to go fast and have fun doing so, the M2 Competition is here to help.
When the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) set out to tag razorbills, their aim was to track their behaviour and movements along the coast of North Wales. The tag data revealed that, at night, these seabirds spent a lot of their time idle on the sea surface. “We saw this as an opportunity to re-use the data and test if the birds might be drifting with the tidal current,” says Matt Cooper, a Master of Oceanography graduate from Bangor University in Wales. It turns out they were, according to a new study led by Cooper that shows the potential of using seabirds to measure ocean currents. The results are published today in the European Geosciences Union journal Ocean Science.
Using seabirds to tell us about the tide could be especially useful for the marine renewable energy industry. Generating tidal energy requires detailed knowledge of current speeds. Scientists and engineers traditionally measure tides by using radar or deploying anchors and buoys with scientific instruments. However, these scouting methods are challenging and expensive. If tagged seabirds could provide tidal data over a large area, they could help identify sites that would be good sources of tidal energy.
Cooper’s supervisors at Bangor University knew of his interest in tidal energy and data collection, so they suggested he look into seabird data collected by theRSPBto see whether it would be possible to extract tidal information from it. A few years earlier, from 2011 to 2014, aRSPBteam had fittedGPStags on razorbills on Puffin Island, North Wales, to study their distribution and breeding and feeding behaviours. These black and white seabirds, similar to puffins and guillemots, only come ashore to breed. They spend most of their time at sea, foraging or resting on the ocean surface.
The data collected when the birds were sitting on the sea surface for hours on end were interesting in terms of bird behaviour, but the Bangor University researchers saw another potential use. “We took data that was discarded from the original study and applied it to test a hypothesis in a different area of research,” says Cooper. “As far as we are aware, this paper is the first to describe the use of tagged seabirds for measuring currents of any kind,” the researchers write in their Ocean Science study.
The non-invasiveGPStags on the razorbills recorded their position every 100 seconds. With a set of positions and a known time between each of them, the scientists could calculate the speed and direction of the birds’ movements. After the sun set, the birds spent long periods at rest on the sea surface, drifting passively with the current. “[At these times] their changing position would reflect the movement of water at the ocean’s surface,” Cooper explains.
With speeds of more than 1 metre per second, the average tidal currents in the area of the Irish Sea the researchers focused on are very fast, faster than a razorbill can paddle, but much slower than the speeds the birds reach when flying. This means the team could filter out the times when the birds were flying. In addition, the filtered data showed that, when the birds were drifting, the direction of movement changed at the times of low and high tide, when the currents in the area were expected to change from ebb to flow and vice-versa. Therefore, the team could be sure that they were tracking the speed and direction of sea currents rather than the birds’ independent movements.
Using seabirds to measure tidal currents has limitations. “We must remember that these birds are behaving naturally and we cannot determine where they go,” says Cooper. But the Ocean Science study shows there is potential for this inexpensive method to provide crucial tidal information over a wide area. By studying other tagged seabirds, we could learn more about our oceans, especially in more remote regions where it is challenging to collect oceanographic data.
Cooper also hopes the method can reduce the costs of generating tidal renewable energy, “which has been a barrier to the development of this much needed industry.”
Keyto breath analyzer promises to keep your keto diet on track
The low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular in recent years. Keyto is looking to capitalize on the dietary trend by launching a smart breath analyzer and accompanying mobile app that the company claims can determine how efficiently your body is burning fat and provide tips on how to improve and adhere to the lifestyle. The device is available for $99 on Indiegogo.
To understand how the Keyto system works, it’s important to first understand the concept behind the ketogenic diet. Followers of the dietary plan eat primarily fats and protein, while significantly reducing their intake of carbohydrates. The result is ketosis, a state in which the body starts to burn stored fats for fuel and produces ketones, which are a byproduct of the process.
According to Keyto, its sensor measures the acetones — a byproduct of that byproduct — in your breath to determine your level of ketosis. There aren’t a ton of studies about measuring acetones orally, there is some research that suggests it is a reilable indicator of ketosis. That information will then be presented in the same style a fitness tracker might show you how many steps you’ve taken in a day.
In addition to compiling data about your body’s progress, Keyto also is also promising to give pointers on how to improve your diet and better optimize your results. While there are other ketone breath analyzers on the market, Keyto’s plan is to stand out with its mobile app. It will supposedly show individualized meal recommendations that will keep you on track and has a built-in library of keto-friendly recipes. It will also be designed serve as a community hub so keto dieters can connect with one another and share stories and support.
Keyto isn’t the first tracker to try to focus on diet rather than than fitness. The controversial Healbe GoBe promised users it could count calories but never quite delivered. Apple has also reportedly been working on a blood sugar monitoring sensor for its Apple Watch that could help diabetics manage their condition.
Keyto is being made available first through Indiegogo for $99, with the early run ready to ship starting January 2019. The company says the device will retail for $150 when it’s made widely commercially available, though it didn’t provide a timeframe.