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Texas Governor: “Harvey Could Cost Up To $180 Billion”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday that it could cost as much as $180 billion to rebuild Texas following Hurricane Harvey, more than four times what most experts expected ($40 billion). If accurate, Harvey would beat out Hurricane Katrina (total: $160 billion) for costliest storm in US history.

“Katrina caused if I recall more than $120 billion but when you look at the number of homes and business affected by this I think this will cost well over $120 billion, probably $150 to $180 billion,” Abbott told Fox News, adding, “this is far larger than Hurricane Sandy.”

Aside from a handful of meteorologists like Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, who predicted – apparently with a surprising degree of accuracy – that Harvey-related costs could pile as high as $190 billion, few anticipated the extensive flooding damage the storm would cause in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, which contributes some $500 billion to US GDP every year.

Abbott, who offered his assessment of the damages during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said the devastation wrought by Harvey could be costlier than Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined.

But whatever the final total, Abbott said he's confident the federal government will authorize the assistance that President Trump promised, adding that the $8 billion that the White House asked for is merely a “down payment.”

Texas is still in “phase one” of the cleanup effort – i.e. first responders are still rescuing people in Beaumont and other parts of Southeastern Texas, where the storm made its second landfall.

“The president has made it clear, Congress is making it clear, this is just a down payment. Let’s not compare this to Sandy let’s compare this to Katrina. The population size is larger and the geographic size is far bigger than Hurricane Katrina and Sandy combined. It’s going to require even more than what was funded for Katrina which was $120 billion dollars…In the overall equation, the cost of this, if I understand it correctly, to rebuild Katrina was over $120 billion and when you consider the magnitude of this storm, when you look at the number of homes that have been mowed down and damaged, this is a huge catastrophe that people are going to have to come to grips with. It’s going to take years for us to overcome this challenge.”


"When you look at the number of homes and businesses affected by this, I think this will cost well over $120 billion...probably $150 [billion] to $180 billion."

Worse, according to preliminary estimates, less than 20% of Harris County homeowners are insured against flooding (some estimates have the number as low as 15%). So what will Texas do to aid these homeowners? Abbott said the state had established a fund to help ensure that all homeowners affected by the storm are “taken care of.”

“Waters are receding in Houston, but remember there are so many other parts of the state that are affected such as the Beaumont, where we’re still doing search and rescue missions. We are still in phase one of response. As it comes to the homeowners, we’re working on multiple levels to make sure that these homeowners will be taken care of. Trump has had all his cabinet members in Texas constantly.”

Meanwhile, Houston was still struggling to recover on Sunday, when the city forced the evacuation of thousands of people on the western side of town to accommodate the release of water from a pair of reservoirs that otherwise might sustain damage. The storm stalled over Houston, dumping more than 50 inches (127 cm) on the region in a matter of days. The city cut off power to homes on Sunday morning to encourage evacuations, but conflicting information about who must leave angered some residents.

The area was barricaded and military vehicles were stationed on the periphery to take people out. Some living near the reservoirs were told their homes were in danger of new flooding and would not be allowed to return if they left.

“It’s hard to get the real story. We’re having to make decisions on what we do day by day. Do we stay or go?” said Todd Kellenbenz, who lives in the affected area. 


About 37,000 refugees stayed overnight in 270 shelters in Texas plus another 2,000 in seven Louisiana shelters, the highest number reported so far by the American Red Cross. Some 84,700 homes and businesses were without power on Sunday, down from a peak of around 300,000, according to the region’s major electric companies.

Still, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city was making progress on several fronts, resuming city services and helping get people into housing and out of emergency shelters.

Trump visited Houston on Saturday to meet evacuees and rescue workers, an opportunity to show an empathetic side after some criticized him for staying clear of the disaster zone during a previous visit on Tuesday. Trump had said he did not want to hamper rescue efforts.

Trump and his wife Melania marked a national day of prayer for hurricane victims on Sunday by attending church services at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House.

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Philippine leader to meet Malaysian, Indonesian leaders over Daesh threat

ELLIE ABEN | Special to Arab News
Mon, 2017-09-04 00:44

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia to discuss closer counterterrorism efforts against Daesh.

“I have to talk to (Indonesian) President (Joko) Widodo. We’ve agreed that we’ll talk, the three of us, including (Prime Minister) Najib (Razak) of Malaysia. We’re just waiting for the timing,” said Duterte, raising the possibility of a joint task force to go after Daesh members.

He added that he will open his country’s borders to Malaysian and Indonesian authorities pursuing Islamist extremists.

Duterte said Daesh’s defeat in Syria will result in its members there trying to flee to places to which they have access, such as Marawi, the Muslim-majority city in the southern Philippines where government forces have been fighting members of the Daesh-inspired Maute group since May.

The crisis in Marawi have so far left more than 800 people dead and displaced thousands of residents.

Duterte said his meeting with Widodo and Razak is being worked out, with the venue either in Sabah, Malaysia, or Jakarta, Indonesia.

“To formalize an agreement, we have to meet face to face and agree on an agenda for the talks,” said Duterte. 

Meanwhile, his spokesman Ernesto Abella on Sunday said “it will only be a matter of time” before government forces “get” Isnilon Hapilon, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader designated emir of Daesh in Southeast Asia and one of America’s most wanted terrorists.

There are reports that Hapilon has left Marawi and has been seen openly on Basilan Island. But Abella said such reports require “further validation by the military and various security agencies.”

If Hapilon is in Basilan, “it would mean that he chose to abandon his men as the battle of Marawi nears its final stretch,” said Abella, adding that according to recent military assessments, Hapilon is still in Marawi.

A botched joint military and police operation to serve an arrest warrant against Hapilon in May triggered the Marawi crisis.
Authorities said he was in the city to join forces with Maute, which has pledged allegiance to Daesh. The Marawi crisis prompted Duterte to place the entire island of Mindanao under martial law.

Main category: 

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How To Make The Financial System Radically Safer

Authored by EconomicPrism's MN Gordon via,

Preventing the Last Crisis

Clear thinking and discerning rigor when it comes to the twisted state of present economic policy matters brings with it many physical ailments.  A permanent state of disbelief, for instance, manifests in dry eyes and droopy shoulders.  So, too, a curious skepticism produces etched forehead lines and nighttime bruxism.


The terrible scourge of bruxism and its potentially terrifying consequences. Curious skepticism can lead to the darnedest things, which is why Big Brother strongly recommends that citizens remain in a medication and cable TV-induced apathetic stupor. To make this happy outcome easier to achieve, stagnation in real wages was successfully introduced a number of moons ago; forced to work to exhaustion just to keep their heads above water, citizens tend to be more docile in their shrinking free time. [PT]


Nonetheless, these are small prices to pay for the simple delight that comes when a central planner opens their mouth and inserts their foot.  Last Friday, for example, Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a speech to her friends and cohorts at the annual central banker’s powwow in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  There she patted herself and the financial regulatory community on the back for what she believes has been a successful execution of financial regulations:

“The events of the [2008] crisis demanded action, needed reforms were implemented, and these reforms have made the system safer.”

How Yellen knows the reforms have made the system safer is unclear.  Like France’s impenetrable Maginot Line, the regulations Yellen lauds are backward looking.  They are suited to preventing the last crisis while ignoring new and greater threats amassing just beyond the horizon.


If mouse traps were designed like our nifty new financial regulations, this is what they would look like. Don’t you feel safer already?  [PT]


No doubt, the greatest of these mounting threats are of the Fed’s own making.  After adding $4 trillion to the Fed’s balance sheet and dropping the federal funds rate to near zero for many years they’re now in the early stages of their great endeavor to ‘normalize’ monetary policy.

But, alas, it’s no longer a normal world.  Years of abnormal monetary policy has fabricated an abnormal world.  Surely something will break before things are bent back into place, assuming they ever get there.


Dead Wrong

The reforms Yellen was referring to include the Dodd-Frank Act.  The Frank part of the regulation, if you recall, is former Congressman, and overall repulsive being, Barney Frank.  Despite being out of office for over four years, Frank’s grubby finger prints continue to besmirch the economy.

The Dodd-Frank Act, which was rolled out in response to the 2008 financial crisis, has turned out to be a classic case of knee-jerk regulatory overkill.  President Trump has promised relief to certain aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act’s suffocating regulatory regime, including stress test and capital requirements. These requirements force banks to keep more capital on their books as opposed to investing it in interest-earning assets.


Das abominable Frank, who lives on in the Act named after him. After aiding and abetting  the very lending practices that brought Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to their knees, he was somehow held to be the go-to person to work out a new set of regulations for the financial industry. He and Dodd created a telephone book-sized monstrosity of regulatory guidelines, which via implementation of administrative law by the bureaucracy has by now grown into several hundred telephone books of rules. The main effect of this was that the banking industry has become even more concentrated and so-called too-big-to-fail banks have grown even larger. They certainly are not happy with numerous aspects of the new regulations, but on the other hand, they no longer need to fear competition from upstarts, as compliance with this jungle of laws has essentially become unaffordable for institutions below a certain size threshold. [PT]


The rules also dictate how banks allocate their assets between highly liquid securities and illiquid loans – with greater preference for the former. Rolling back capital and stress test requirements would directly reduce compliance costs for banks and financial institutions.  It would also give banks greater autonomy in how they manage their lending operations.

But Fed Chair Yellen, a dyed-in-the-wool central planner, has a very narrow focus.  In her world, more control via more regulations always provides for a more stable financial system.  Yet she’s dead wrong.


We were unable find more recent data than those depicted in the above chart, so we cannot comment on the current situation, but shortly after the GFC, business closing did begin to exceed the number of new start-ups. Note that this trend has been in place for a long time – and it goes hand in hand with the growth on regulations in the Federal Register. The longest interruption occurred during the Reagan administration, which is not a coincidence: it was the only time in the entire post-war era in which the number of regulations in the Federal Register actually declined. This is of course precisely what one should expect – it is not rocket science. Unfortunately the political and bureaucratic elites are so far removed from the real world in their echo chambers that they apparently don’t understand even the most simple cause-effect chains. We should add, Mr. Bernanke also echoed the false claim that the mortgage credit market – one of the most tightly regulated sectors of the economy –  somehow suffered from “too little regulation”. It should be obvious that his aim was to deflect blame from where it should have been rightfully placed: the loose monetary policy of the Federal Reserve and the system-immanent drawbacks of a fiat money-based fractional reserve banking system that can expand the supply of money and credit willy-nilly. [PT]


The new financial reforms that were instituted following the 2008 financial crisis have had the adverse effect of constraining economic growth.  U.S. gross domestic product growth has lagged behind asset price and debt growth.  Moreover, more businesses are vanishing than are being created. Barney Frank’s maze of regulations has made it harder for small businesses and entrepreneurs to access the capital needed to grow and create jobs.


How to Make the Financial System Radically Safer

At the same time, the new financial reforms haven’t minimized risk.  Moreover, they’ve set taxpayers – that’s you – up for a future fleecing.  Congressman Robert Pittenger elaborated this fact in a Forbes article last year:

“Even Dodd-Frank’s biggest selling point, that it would end “too big to fail,” has proven false.  Dodd-Frank actually created a new bailout fund for big banks–the Orderly Liquidation Authority–and the Systemically Important Financial Institution designation enshrines “too big to fail” by giving certain major financial institutions priority for future taxpayer-funded bailouts.”

What gives? Regulations, in short, attempt to control something by edict.  However, just because a law has been enacted doesn’t mean the world automatically bends to its will.  In practice, regulations generally do a poor job at attaining their objectives.  Yet, they often do a great job at making a mess of everything else.

Dictating how banks should allocate their loans, as Dodd-Frank does, results in preferential treatment of favored institutions and corporations.  This, in itself, equates to stratified price controls on borrowers.  And as elucidated by Senator Wallace Bennett over a half century ago, price controls are the equivalent of using adhesive tape to control diarrhea.


The dangerous conceit of the clueless… the house of cards they have built is anything but “safe” and they most certainly can not “fix anything”. Listening to their speeches that seems to be what they genuinely believe. A rude awakening is an apodictic certainty, but we wonder what or who will be blamed this time. Not enough regulations? The largely absent free market? As they say, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (this quote is often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain: we think it doesn’t matter whether he created it, it is often quite apposite and this is a situation that certainly qualifies).  [PT]


The point is that planning for future taxpayer-funded bailouts as part of compliance with destructive regulations is asinine.  In this respect, we offer an approach that goes counter to Fed Chair Janet Yellen and the modus operandi of all central planner control freaks.  It’s really simple, and really effective.

The best way to regulate banks, lending institutions, corporate finance and the like, is to turn over regulatory control to the very exacting, and unsympathetic, order of the market.  That is to have little to no regulations and one very specific and uncompromising provision:

There will be absolutely, unconditionally, categorically, no government funded bailouts.

Without question, the financial system will be radically safer.

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Russia’s Rosneft, China’s CEFC Shake Hands on Joint <b>Oil</b> Exploration in Siberia

Russian oil giant Rosneft said Sunday it had concluded a contract with CEFC China Energy conglomerate for the supply of Russian crude oil to China ...

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Venezuelans Find A New Way To Fight Back

Authored by Rene Chun via The Atlantic,

Hyperinflation has driven thousands to seek out unorthodox currency.

In Venezuela, home to some of the worst hyperinflation since the Weimar Republic, a Big Mac costs about half a month’s wages. Or rather, it did, until a bread shortage forced the burger off the menu. The annual inflation rate is expected to hit 1,600 percent. Life resembles an old newsreel: long lines, empty shelves, cashiers weighing stacks of bills.

To survive, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to minería bitcoin - mining bitcoin, the cryptocurrency. Lend computer processing power to the blockchain (the bitcoin network’s immense, decentralized ledger) and you will be rewarded with bitcoin. To contribute more data-crunching power, and earn more bitcoin, people operate racks of specialized computers known as “miners.” Whether a mining operation is profitable hinges on two main factors: bitcoin’s market value—which has hit record highs this year—and the price of electricity, needed to run the powerful hardware.

Electricity, it so happens, is one thing most Venezuelans can afford: Under the socialist regime of President Nicolás Maduro, power is so heavily subsidized that it is practically free. A person running several bitcoin miners can clear $500 a month. That’s a small fortune in Venezuela today, enough to feed a family of four and purchase vital goods—baby diapers, say, or insulin—online. (Most web retailers don’t ship directly to Venezuela, but some Florida-based delivery services do.)

Under these circumstances, a miner starts to look a lot like an ATM. Professors and college students have mined bitcoin; so, rumor has it, have politicians and police officers. It has become a common currency even among non-miners: Peer-to-peer online exchanges (think Venmo, but with cryptocurrency) allow everyone from shopkeepers to a former Miss Venezuela to buy and sell with bitcoin.

But recently, Maduro has begun cracking down on mining operations, apparently finding in them a convenient political scapegoat—much as he calls those who seek to profit off inflation “capitalist parasites.” Yet trading bitcoin is still condoned. It’s as if Maduro realizes that cryptocurrency is one of the few things holding the country together.

Because Venezuela has no cryptocurrency laws, police have arrested mine operators on spurious charges. Their first target, Joel Padrón, who owns a courier service and started mining to supplement his income, was charged with energy theft and possession of contraband and detained for 14 weeks. Since then, other bitcoin rigs have been seized - and, in many cases, rebooted by corrupt police for personal profit. As a result, Padrón told me, many people have stopped mining. But Rodrigo Souza, the founder of BlinkTrade, which runs SurBitcoin, a Venezuelan bitcoin exchange based in Brooklyn, says that for others, the temptation is still too great to resist. “People haven’t stopped mining,” he told me. “They’ve just gone deeper underground.”

Venezuela’s most resourceful miners, in fact, are moving on to a new inflation-buster: the cryptocurrency ether (ETH). The profit margins are higher and, more important, the risk factor is much lower.

“Mining ETH or bitcoin is pretty much the same principle: using free electricity to generate cash,” one Venezuelan miner told me.


“But ETH mining is more affordable - all you need is free software and a PC with a video card. Any police officer is easily fooled into thinking your ETH miner is just a regular computer.

And so, as the presses churn out worthless bolivares, the miners carry on, tapping into the power grid, turning electrons into dollars.

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Russia’s Rosneft <b>oil</b> major, China’s Huaxin energy co. sign strategic cooperation agreement

Apart from that, the two companies inked a contract on supplies of Russian crude oil. The contract, according to the Russian oil major, is geared to ...

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Mnuchin: Debt-Limit Should Be Tied To Harvey Disaster Funds

After warning earlier this week that the Hurricane Harvey cleanup effort would drain the government’s coffers more quickly than expected – meaning that Congress would need to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling ASAP – Treasury Secre...

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What is Fort Galt? Interview With Founder Gabriel Scheare

Via The Daily Bell

Gabriel Scheare began mining Bitcoin in 2013 and then moved into real estate development a year later by co-founding Fort Galt, a new start-up village for entrepreneurs. He lives in Valdivia, Chile, near the project build site.

Listen to the full audio here, or read below for the slightly abbreviated transcript.

So What is Fort Galt?

Fort Galt is a startup village for entrepreneurs. So it’s not that unlike other gated communities, or homeowner’s associations, except that it’s very intentional in its design, and who it’s catering to.

It sort of came to being when I met my business partners, Luke and Lourdes Crowley at an entrepreneurship boot camp called exosphere. And that was a three-month program where a whole bunch of people gathered together in Chile from all over the world with business ideas and basically just trying to figure out what they wanted to do with themselves.

Some people had some good ideas, some not so much, but it was this great sort of an incubator type environment where there was a whole lot of cross pollination going on because everyone was living in close quarters, working in close quarters so ideas flowed very freely…

And so we really loved this environment… but it was very limited time wise, after the three months everyone went back to their home countries and fell back into their old habits. A lot of the business ideas never panned out and people just kind of let things fall apart.

But we got to thinking, what if we could solve that shortcoming at the end of the pipeline there. What if we could provide housing options, some kind of residential option for this where people wouldn’t have to go home after three months, where they could stay and keep working as long as they needed to.

We eventually got together… and we started basically asking ourselves what would our perfect community look like? Where do we want to live? How can we incorporate this theme into some sort of a permanent living environment?

And that was essentially three years ago and it has been sort of this slow step by step process of figuring everything out from absolutely nothing to where we are right now. Which is this gorgeous coast property in Valdivia rainforest. And we are essentially ready to pour concrete now once the weather clears up.

Did you all have this same Atlas Shrugged idea? Are you all big fans of Ayn Rand, or all pretty libertarian?

We all kind of have that background in common. It’s not a prerequisite for people moving in though. A lot of the people that we met at exosphere were very much not libertarians in their speech in what they professed. But what we found was that if you expatriate from your home country and you’re an entrepreneur… and go your own way and carve out your own way and make your own life–you’re pretty libertarian.

…So we did meet some of those, and some of those types of people even ended up joining us in the end. It was kind of reassuring that way and we have sort of incorporated that lesson in our own marketing and design. We don’t try to make it sound like we are only appealing to hardcore Objectivists. If you’re responsible for your own outcomes, if you’re a self-motivated self-reliant type person then you’re most of the way there.

It sounds like it’s more for young entrepreneurs and a lot of people that move there would have to be more location independent, is that correct?

That was the idea, and we incorporated in the design of our first main residential building, a handful of these small entry level affordable rooms with those types of people in mind. But we also found that we were appealing to a lot of other types that we didn’t count on.

A lot of retirees that are looking for an interesting environment to live in and interesting people to work around and a lot of ex-military people for some reason. They kind of go through this phase where they kind start to reevaluate their life choices and start planning an exit strategy and we tend to pop up on their radar.

How do you feel about the military people, is there a little piece of you that’s like, oh good, now we have this tight knit community that can defend itself?

The more talent we have the better. I kind of adhere to this concept of keeping the community small enough where you can actually know everyone very well. That’s the context I grew up in, in a small farming community. You didn’t have very many neighbors but you made the effort to get to know them very well because you knew you would have to lean on them sometimes.

It was kind of anarchism in practice just by default because there were no cops around. There was this one summer where we had all these straw bales that caught fire and the whole farm could have burnt down but the neighbors saw the smoke and they all came and put the fire out. Not the fire department the neighbors. So we are carrying that philosophy into this context. We want basically an environment populated your ideal neighbors.

Could this be a curation space for investors, with the young entrepreneurs living alongside older experienced retirees?

Absolutely, and that is one of the things that attracted me to Chile in the first place. There was this other project that was promising a very similar environment where you would have the young nimble start-up kids co-mingling with the older retiree people who have more experience to share, could be valuable mentors, maybe some investors with capital to share… so yea we are definitely working that angle.

How much of a town do you think you’ll be able to make it?

I’m a big believer Dunbar’s number which says once you get over 100 people it gets really hard to actually know them. So somewhere near 100-150 people, I would think would be kinda the max.

What will happen if there is overwhelming demand for this? Would you start another next door? Or say tough luck?

We just have to listen to the market on that. If there is a waiting list of people that want to live in the same general location, then we have to find another property close by…

But for me, the long term plan is to replicate this all over the world, using the Freemason concept of having a lodge in each town so people can travel freely and work easily and integrate into new places as they are traveling. So eventually we can network all these locations together to be a sort of decentralized nation that’s not dependent on any one physical country.

The fact that it’s on the coast, is that more than aesthetic? Or is there something there?

Ha! You’re thinking ahead. You can’t really look at the beach and not envision building some kind of a port there. It doesn’t have to be anything enormous but some kind of a dock or something at some point will definitely be considered. We do have members that have boats and it would be convenient for them. And of course, we are all big fans of seasteading so we would love to participate in that…

I’ve heard you say in the past, the reason you’re channeling Ayn Rand is that [the inhabitants of Galt’s Gulch] weren’t just going off on their own, they were going to Galt’s Gulch to live amongst these other producers. How can you make sure the people moving here are that type of person? Is there a curation process? 

Yes, we do vet people before we let them join. normally that just involves getting to know them a bit through conversations. And we have a lot of people that like to come down and actually visit the site see it for themselves. We have had to turn a few people away but not very many…

Right now all the big decisions are made by the founding partners, just by default, because we are the ones that are actually here doing stuff. As things come together and people move in on site and the population blossoms it will be up to the members to decide whether or not they like our service…

So people will own their own lots?

Yes. If you look on the website there’s a map showing the lots and you can buy any of those right now. We aren’t actively pushing them yet because we decided to focus on marketing the main building first because that’s kinda the reason for people to be here.

I mean unless you just love living on the coast in a gorgeous rainforest, which I mean I would. But that’s not enough of a reason to really justify leaving your life behind and moving to Chile and taking a huge leap like that. But once the crown jewel is in place then we think that will serve as a sufficient magnet to really attract people to come and buy lots…

In the main building in order to avoid all the SEC regulations and crap like that, we came up with a clever system kind of based again on the Freemason model of a private club. There’s a lot of loopholes around rules and things like that there, so what it is you’re are buying a membership into the clubhouse.

So you are not buying property which the SEC would regulate. We don’t have to worry about our US clients or anything like that because they aren’t buying land they aren’t buying any kind of asset. They are buying a membership which entitles them to exclusive use of their room. And it’s transferable, they can pass it on to their heirs, they can sell it. In practice, it is as if they bought the property. But legally speaking it is just a club membership.

And dispute resolution?

The first step is just resolve your own problems, come on, we’re all frickin grown-ups, act like them. But if that fails people agree to a third party arbitrator…

It’s just sort of a case by case thing, but there are steps in our policy to handle these things…

We’re definitely not like that stereotypical homeowner’s association that runs around measuring blades of grass.

Who’s gonna build the roads?

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. Seriously though, we do have these little paths throughout the village. How they want them built up, will be up to them, the members that is.

Right now they’re just tramped down dirt, they are fine for most cars. But if they want gravel they can have gravel if they want pavement that’s fine, if they want solid platinum, I guess that’s possible. It’s all comes down to how much do they want to pay for.

I once lived at a homeowners association in California that was built around of a golf course, and everyone resented that gold course because it was just a money pit. There was no avoiding having to pay for it so I definitely learned my lessons from that and we are not imposing costs on the members that they don’t want. It is just going to be up to them, how much service do they want, how much infrastructure do they want, and are willing to pay for.

What part of the project are you most focused on right now, where’s all your time and energy going?

… I started this new little project called the Crypt Academy which is essentially a one room schoolhouse. The idea being that we will offer free educational courses for the locals… to promote cryptocurrency use. Because here in South America it is still one of those crazy nerd things that doesn’t make any sense and is scary and stuff. We just need a physical interface to help people get comfortable to help people use it and try it.

The idea of the one room schoolhouse goes back to where I grew up. My grandparents went to one and that was very common back then where you’d have the older kids in school mixed in with the young kids so they could help them and then the young kids had fresh perspectives on things and they can help each other.

It’s just this melting pot of not just talent but also enthusiasm too because sometimes you can get burnt out. And sometimes the teacher needs help too like managing a bunch of kids is hard sometimes. We know this is a village where kids will be growing up so thinking ahead and having a facility like that in place will be useful. We can use it not just for putting on workshops but also for our own children to go to school in.

It almost sounds like this is an alternative to college?

Our experience at exosphere made [it] painfully clear. College and university or whatever is obsolete. That model is completely useless now, it looks like a joke. So we need to rethink this, and that doesn’t necessarily always mean making things more high tech more advances and weird.

Sometimes you can look to the past for inspiration too. And basically, with this one room school house that’s the point because we are teaching cutting edge scary tech stuff were balancing that out by doing it in a more comfortable old fashioned environment to help people feel comfortable through the process…

How can readers keep up with what you’re doing?

If you want to keep tabs on what we’re doing, we do have a mailing list for the newsletter at

[We’re] gearing up to do fundraising for the construction of crypt academy, so the fundraising will be going through September… and you can keep track of that at

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