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Every day, a repurposed garbage truck ferries visitors up El Salvador’s Conchagua Volcano to an ecotourism retreat. The vehicle thunders along a cratered road, tossing passengers from side to side. At the summit, they spill out into the sun-dappled forest and are rewarded with sweeping vistas of the deep blue Gulf of Fonseca.

The retreat is named El Espíritu de la Montaña (Mountain Spirit) to reflect the indigenous Lenca belief that a holy presence inhabits the dormant volcano, sometimes manifesting as a butterfly or eagle. Owner Luis Diaz began developing the site seven years ago. But the serenity he found there may not last.

The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced in November 2021 that the volcano will become home to a glittering new Bitcoin City. A vast construction project to remodel virgin forest into a vibrant metropolis could soon be underway.

Renderings shared by the government show a circular conurbation emanating from a B-shaped central plaza, and a technicolor street plan that looks like what you might see squinting into a kaleidoscope. The idea is that the local economy will run on Bitcoin, and the city will be powered by geothermal energy from the volcano. The only taxes residents will pay will be on the goods and services they purchase.

To fund the city, El Salvador is selling $1 billion worth of debt in US dollars as “Volcano Bonds.” Half of the money invested in the bonds will fund the construction of Bitcoin City and Bitcoin mining operations, and half will go toward buying Bitcoin—which could someday be used to pay off the bonds if the price of Bitcoin goes up. 

Salvadoran finance minister Alejandro Zelaya said in early April that the bonds had attracted $1.5 billion in demand and would be issued soon following delays. Most bonds are expected to be purchased by crypto investors—some of whom, if they pay up to $100,000, may be granted Salvadoran citizenship. 

If it’s ever built, Bitcoin City will be a shining realization of crypto’s world-building aspirations. The dream doesn’t stop there, though. A growing number of crypto investors are also trying to persuade other governments to create semi-autonomous zones that double as laboratories for economic experimentation, claiming it will stimulate growth and enrich nearby communities. 

But in Central America, foreign investors have parachuted in with promises of prosperity before, only to grab land and extract value for themselves. The region has a long history of economic exploitation—the most glaring example being the “banana republics” of the first half of the 20th century, when the United Fruit Company controlled vast swaths of land and seized political power in Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. More recently, “export processing zones” carved out for international garment-making companies have become home to sweatshop-style factories that have abused workers’ rights.

crypto-cities concept
MICHAEL BYERS

While some politicians and residents believe in crypto’s potential to jump-start the economy, others see history repeating itself. As El Salvador’s experiment takes shape in the form of Bitcoin City, a similar development is already underway in Honduras—but backlash from locals has put its future in jeopardy. Proponents hope to spawn a hundred more Bitcoin Cities, but others question who these projects are really for, and whether the countries serving as test beds will truly benefit.

The pitch

“Bitcoin citadels” have long captivated early crypto investors and entrepreneurs. Some see it as inevitable that crypto will explode in value and the fiat currency system will crumble, forcing wealthy investors to sequester themselves in fortified compounds to keep the barbarians at bay. Others, inspired by the chance to decouple from the concept of nationhood, see crypto as a way to exit a traditional financial system tethered to antiquated notions like taxation and public expenditure. 

Libertarian attempts to create autonomous mini-civilizations go back at least to the 1960s, but crypto is reinvigorating this old dream with a fresh infusion of cash and hype.

Crypto enthusiasts have tried to construct their own utopias before.

Crypto enthusiasts have tried to construct their own utopias before, with lackluster

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By: Laurie Clarke
Title: Crypto millionaires are pouring money into Central America to build their own cities
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/04/20/1049384/crypto-cities-central-america/
Published Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2022 09:00:00 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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