Episode 175 – Musk wants Mars, Bitcoin Unlimited’s Minimum Viable Hard Fork, Yo dawg I heard you like bad beer

Miller and Budweiser now owned by one massive company. Wells Fargo CEO sentenced to 3 years in prison for banking scandal… just kidding, he was given a slap on the wrist. Facebook is going to help feed into Middle Eastern anger by censoring arab discontent. The Federal Reserve is terrible at economics. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is going independent. HP ink cartridges will soon have the DRM hacked and a cheap workaround publicized. Bitcoin Unlimited hashrate is on the rise and sights now turn to the Minimum Viable Hard Fork to spin off the main Bitcoin Core chain.The Japanese version of BitPay, called Coincheck, is allowing users to pay their Utility bills with bitcoin. Dash version 12.1 heads to the testnet and heralds some big changes in the coming updates. Fortune magazine covers Vitalik Buterin, twice. To SpaceX and beyond, Musk wants Mars.

We’ve written out short overviews of the topics discussed on today’s show below; be sure to listen in to the whole podcast to get more information, insights, and thoughts on each of them from JJ, Darren, and Randy!

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Upcoming interview with Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project   Marijuana Policy Project
We’ve also got a special bonus episode this Friday: Darren and Randy sit down for a conversation about “The Painful Economics of the War on Drugs” with Matt Simon, New England Political Director and Legislative Analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project!

Traditional Markets
Gold $1322
Silver $19.19
Oil $47.28
Dow Jones 18,339
30 Year UST 2.289%

Crypto Markets
Bitcoin (BTC) $604
Litecoin (LTC) $3.84
Ether (ETH) $13.29
DASH $11.59
Monero (XMR) $9.35
STEEM 0.00084094 btc (~$0.50)
AMP 0.00027450 btc (~$0.16)
1 Doge = 1 Doge

SABMiller investors cheer $100 billion-plus AB InBev takeover
SABMiller has gotten approval from its shareholders to purchase Anheuser-Busch InBev for approximately $102 billion, one of the largest corporate buyouts in history. The resulting multinational brewing corporation will produce more than a quarter of the world’s beer and become the fifth largest consumer goods company.

Wells Fargo CEO to forfeit $41 million in performance pay after sales scandal
Three weeks after news broke of a massive banking scandal at Wells Fargo, it’s been announced that CEO John Stumpf will forfeit $41 million of unvested stock awards, not draw a salary while the investigation is underway, and will not be eligible for any bonus pay this year. Wells Fargo was recently fined $185 million by regulators because 5,300 bank employees reportedly created over 2 million fraudulent accounts since 2011.

Carrie Tolstedt—the Wells Fargo executive in charge of the unit where the fraud took place—is retiring this year, with great praise from Stumpf. We reported last week that Tolstedt would be leaving Wells Fargo with an impressive $124.6 million paycheck, but that has apparently been clawed back slightly along with Stumpf’s pay, requiring her to forfeit $19 million in unvested stock awards and any possible bonus pay for 2016.

Facebook is Censoring Posts for the Israeli Government & Violating WhatsApp Users’ Privacy
The Israeli government is working with Facebook to censor posts that they view as extremist from Palestinians, yet some of the very same Israeli government officials are using Facebook to say extremist things about Palestinians and those are not being censored. Hmmm…

Facebook is also under scrutiny in Germany for violating WhatsApp user privacy. When FB purchased WhatsApp in 2014, it was claimed that no WhatsApp user data would be shared with Facebook, but FB has begun collecting, sharing and storing data about WhatsApp users, though a German court is now asking them to stop.

Is the Federal Reserve politically biased? Look at its interest-rate decisions as election near
Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen spoke in front of Congress today and claimed that the Fed had “no fixed timetable” for increasing the interest rate, though she’d previously stated that a rate increase would be possible before the year’s end “if we continue on the current course of labor market improvement, and there are no major risks that develop and we stay on the current course.”

Federal Reserve rarely hikes interest rates near a presidential election

A look back at the last three decades shows that the Federal Reserve rarely hikes interest rates within two months of a presidential election. (The Fed’s rate-setting committee didn’t begin announcing its decisions until 1984.)

Donald Trump recently called out Yellen, saying that she “should be ashamed of herself” for keeping interest rates so close to zero for so long. “It’s staying at zero because she’s obviously political and doing what Obama wants her to do,” Trump continued.

Yellen, a democrat, was appointed as chair of the Federal Reserve by Barack Obama in 2013. A rate hike could slow the economy, which could prove harmful for Clinton’s campaign; her economic policies are largely viewed as little more than a continuation of Obama’s policies.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard has also come under scrutiny for donating $2,700 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. This is the maximum allowed for individuals to contribute, and there are theories growing that Brainard is vying to get a position as Treasury Secretary if Clinton wins. Yellen denies having any knowledge of communication between Brainard and Clinton.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is going independent
ICANN is a Los Angeles based nonprofit that keeps track of all the web domains and IP addresses in the world. ICANN has been overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department since its founding in 1998, but that contract ends on Sept. 30 and it’s being reported that the Obama administration plans to let ICANN become fully independent, much to the chagrin of fearmongering politicians.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls on Hewlett-Packard to remove Digital Rights Management from its printers
Like using recycled or refillable ink cartridges in your printer? Not anymore you don’t, if your printer is made by HP. Hewlett-Packard just released a “security update” that also implemented DRM on all of its printers. Activist Cory Doctorow wrote an open letter to HP CEO Dion Weisler on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asking that they apologize to customers immediately and restoring the original functionality to its printers, calling this a “bait-and-switch tactic.”

Bitcoin Unlimited rises to number 2 on Slush Pool & spawns “Minimum Viable Hard Fork” research
Roger Ver’s Bitcoin Unlimited protocol—which seeks to abolish Bitcoin block size limits—has become the second most popular Bitcoin protocol according to a vote of Slush Pool miners based on hashrate.

Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Classic

New research is also underway to find a good point for a “Minimum Viable Hard Fork” that would allow Bitcoin Unlimited to separate from the current Bitcoin network. “The historical limit of [1 Megabyte] was put in as an anti-spam mechanism by Satoshi, not with the intention of limiting growth of Bitcoin. The refusal by the existing developers (Core) and a majority of miners to raise this limit (even to 2MB) is what is motivating a hard fork (and this requirement in particular) to overcome this limitation and restore growth.”

Japanese renters can now pay Utility bills with Bitcoin
The Japanese version of BitPay, called Coincheck, is allowing users to pay their Utility bills with Bitcoin. Woohoo!

Dash v12.1 heads to the testnet
The second phase of public testing for Dash 12.1 is heading to the testnet. According to Dash Lead Developer Evan Duffield: “12.1 can be thought of as a pre-alpha of the evolution software, where all eventual functionalities will be accessible through low level APIs, allowing users to integrate existing software and experiment with Dash before it goes completely live and is accessible through friendly interfaces.”

Dash will also be introducing additional functions such as superblocks, proposals, and contracts in the 12.1 software.

Fortune Magazine covers Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin… TWICE!
In addition to earning a spot on Fortune magazine’s “40 Under 40” list, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin also got a great profile written about him by the mag: “Can This 22-year-old Coder Out-Bitcoin Bitcoin?” The article does a fair job of reporting on The DAO hack that happened several months back, while still lauding Buterin’s work and vision for the future.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk plans to get humans to Mars in six years
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has outlined his highly ambitious vision for manned missions to Mars, which he said could begin as soon as 2022 – three years sooner than his previous estimates. He said there were “two fundamental paths” facing humanity today. “One is that we stay on Earth forever and then there will be an inevitable extinction event,” he said. “The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization, and a multi-planetary species.”

Elon Musk wants to colonize MarsInitial designs show the transport vehicles being almost as long as two Boeing 747 aircraft, and each could initially carry up to 100 passengers. Musk also outlined a system by which fuel could be synthesized on Mars from water and carbon dioxide in order to fuel return journeys to Earth. (Elon Musk / Mars image via Business Insider)

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