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Bitcoin will bounce back!


History, the scriptures and our own personal lives are littered with heart wrenching examples of ingratitude from those that we sought to help and relief from misfortune, anguish and distress. Bitcoin emerged as the savior and benefactor of the free market economy following the chaos of the 2008 global financial crisis. The economic meltdown was recorded as the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929.

It was a clear demonstration of how, “control of fiat or conventional currencies by governments and the banking elites has led to world wars, depression, inflation, enormous government indebtedness and the rise of leviathan states that learned to print their way to power and riches,” surmises Jeffrey Tucker, economist and editorial director at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Bitcoin was created to challenge the conventional financial system and return ownership of money to the people, beyond the reach of banks and the state. The digital asset presents a radical approach to money and finance giving ordinary citizens business and investment opportunities in the emerging monetary system. In the face of such developments, it is a given that neither the banks nor the state was going to lay down and roll over when confronted with the disruptive power of the digital currency that threatened their world currency dominance.

Phindi Lukashe a local crypto observer says, “The IMF underestimated the impact of platforms such as Mpesa (services for the unbanked like My Zaka and Orange Money). When they ultimately woke up to the realization that these technologies were big money spinners, the horse had already bolted.

They have been fighting cryptocurrencies for some time now but its futile and you can tell they’ve adopted a strategy to contain cryptocurrencies rather than fight the technology. This is similar to what the music companies should’ve done with the internet when download sites first emerged. That way they could have contained and controlled this animal.”

Without trivializing the recent dramatic drop in the Bitcoin price, the worst performance in its 10 year history, one can discern that the current chorus of cynical crypto-bashers who are writing the presumptuous and delusional Bitcoin obituary are doing the government and banks bidding. The gloves have come off and government and the banks have taken the propaganda fight to Bitcoin, the leader of cryptocurrencies.

In addition, these institutions are lining up solutions to kick Bitcoin and its crypto family to the curb, challenging the fintech startups that are vying to take away their monopoly and world dominance. These developments have prompted British computer programmer and businessman (Founder of software company McAfee Associates) John McAfee to state that, “We are in a revolution against the waning power of governments and banks and their only weapon is sowing fear.”

However, the propaganda war against the prolific digital currency comes too little, too late, and Swedish politician and information technology entrepreneur, Rick Falkvinge states that, “Bitcoin will do to banks what email did to the postal industry.” Crypto enthusiast Tim Draper takes the argument further and declares that he is unfazed by the recent drop in the Bitcoin price, “The internet started the same way, it came in big waves and then it kind of came crushing down before bouncing back and triggering the dot-com boom that ultimately leveled out and enjoyed global adoption.”

Bitcoin is the first open-source, peer-to-peer, digital cryptocurrency that does not have any centralized server used for its issuing, transactions and storing. It uses a distributed network public database technology called blockchain, which requires an electronic signature and is supported by a proof-of-work protocol to provide the security and legitimacy of money transactions.

Bitcoin is both a store of value and a transactional currency which is issued by users with mining capabilities and is limited to 21 million coins. The new technology offers substantial opportunities for new entrants into the financial sector as it harnesses the power of technology and brings competition and innovation into the banking sector.

Although no definitive reason has been advanced for the recent dramatic fall of the Bitcoin price, prominent cryptocurrency analysts have said the recent hard fork and consolidation of the Bitcoin price could have been the two significant contributors to the fall. A fork (or sometimes hardfork), as it relates to blockchain technology, is a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa). This requires all nodes or users to upgrade to the latest version of the protocol software.

Tim Draper’s view is that Bitcoin is enduring a crypto bear market cycle following its meteoric rise in December and January earlier on. He says that despite being a highly volatile asset, it has proven that it is the hardest money ever created and has been the best performing asset class over the past 10 years. Draper who holds 40,000 Bitcoins he bought from a US Federal auction for US$600 apiece says historical analysis of Bitcoin gives perspective that the worlds best performing currency is resilient and merely going through a crypto winter from which it will rise and surpass fiat money.  

Analysts predict that the ongoing infrastructure and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payment system that is being put in place will ultimately make it easier to spend and invest using cryptocurrencies. This will bring the institutional buys to invest in digital currencies and drive currencies like Bitcoin into the mainstream. “Such developments will see Bitcoin triumph over fiat currencies because its finite supply will always be a better store of value over time,” they say.

Asked if he was thinking of selling his Bitcoin for fiat money in the face of Bitcoins dramatic fall and all the fearmongering and crypto-bashing that is currently ongoing, Tim Draper’s response was, “Why would I sell the future for the past?”

It is ironic that the very technology that has been created to save the world from the excesses of governments and banks is being vilified not only by those who benefit from the status quo but by also those who are robbed and abused by the current system. Draper says he wonders why all the noise is directed at Bitcoin when it isn’t the only technology that took such a dramatic knock recently and that other assets including Bitcoin have had even more dramatic falls in the past from which they recovered. The unapologetic crypto evangelist however says, “Bitcoin will rise again, and the global economy will inevitably transition to cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is here to stay!”

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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