Yup, Bitcoin is a completely rational currency

This chart of Bitcoin is a classic example of a bubble that has popped. It’s over. It’s not ever going back to near 20,000. Instead, sooner or later, Bitcoin price will approach zero. Yes, it will.

Not only was the cryptocurrency sector filled with visionary bubbleheads saying “This time is different,” (Pro tip: No, it wasn’t), scamsters and criminals moved in. Initial Coin Offerings had money just vanish. Oh gosh, we’re sorry millions got stolen. And since y’all wanted to be far away from the damn gummint interfering, there is no regulation or oversight. So,  the money is gone. Cryptocurrency exchanges were raided too. For example, Mt. Gox said, oh, $450 million got stolen, and shut down. I’m going to put on my tinfoil conspiracy hat now and opine that some of these thefts were inside jobs.

Also, cryptos are widely used for money laundering and tax evasion. Astonishingly, they thought their schemes were bulletproof and the money could be hidden. They were  wrong. Does any rational person think governments will allow that kind of thing? Or that bad code written by amateurs will somehow be immune to governments who have huge resources? Of course it’s not.

I don’t think there has ever been an entire sector that skyrocketed as much and collapsed as quickly as the cryptocurrency space. The skyrocketing phase culminated at the turn of the year. Then the collapse phase set in, with different cryptos choosing different points in time.

It doesn’t help that regulators around the world have caught on to these schemes called initial coin offerings (ICOs), where anyone, even the government of Venezuela, can try to sell homemade digital tokens to the gullible and take their “fiat” money from them and run away with it. There are now 1,596 cryptocurrencies and tokens out there, up from a handful a few years ago. And the gullible are getting cleaned out.

And it doesn’t help that the ways to promote these schemes are being closed off, one after the other.

The overall cryptocurrency space, in terms of market capitalization, peaked on January 4, when market cap reached $707 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Less than three months later, market cap has now plunged by 65% to $245 billion. $462 billion went up in smoke.

WordPress.com has many new features now

I just revived my photo blog, bobmorris.wordpress.com on WordPress. com and am impressed by their multiple other options now. The basics are still free, and include free hosting. There are also three pay versions, two of which include hundreds of free pro themes. The top version allows Woocommerce, which is owned by WordPress, so you can have a store.

Personal is $4 a month. Removes ads. Email and chat support, basic customizing, Jetpack essentials.

Premium is $8 a month. Unlimited free themes, advanced customizing, sell with PayPal button, get paid for ads.

Business is $25 a month. Install plugins, including WooCommerce. Google Analytics. Unlimited storage.

WordPress hosting appears to be bulletproof too. A big advantage is you cn focus on content. WordPress handles all the back end stuff for you.

The image shows my photo blog. Let me know what you think. The theme is specifically designed for photo blogs.

Wynn rebranding. Management under ferocious attack

A cautionary tale, perhaps. Just a few months ago no one could have conceived Steve Wynn would be forced to resign and sell his stock, so the company could hold onto its gaming licenses. His ex-wife Elaine and Wynn General Counsel Kim Sinatra are in a death match fight. There is major and serious ongoing litigation. The Wynn name is almost certainly to be purged from all properties.

A few weeks ago no one thought Facebook would be in serious legal trouble worldwide, with multiple governments investigating. Just saying… Wynn, after it emerges from all this, will be mostly unrecognizable from what it is now, probably with new management. Facebook is going to have its day of reckoning too.

Wynn Boston project renamed.

Wynn Boston Harbor to be renamed Encore Boston Harbor.

Wynn Resorts clearly understands its brand has been tainted by the Steve Wynn scandal and is making moves to control the damage.

We say there’s a very real chance Wynn Las Vegas will also rebrand as the fallout continues. Wynn executives claim otherwise, but it’s becoming increasingly clear some executives at Wynn Resorts are full of what industry insiders refer to as “horse manure.”

Another shift in branding is the Wynn Paradise Park project, which is currently being referred to as just Paradise Park.

Elaine Wynn says she told Sinatra about rape allegations.

She said she told the general counsel of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts in 2009 that she had received information alleging her now ex-husband had “raped” an employee in 2005.

She says general counsel Kimmarie Sinatra later told her the accusation against Steve Wynn was “deemed not to have been an issue of concern for the company” and that it was “handled personally.”

Sinatra vehemently disagrees.

“I disagree vehemently with Elaine Wynn’s testimony. My recollection, which is clear, is that at no time did Elaine Wynn ever tell me that there was an allegation of rape against Steve Wynn. In the relevant conversation in which she promised to destroy Steve Wynn and said she didn’t care if that reduced the company’s stock price to zero in the process, Elaine Wynn made an oblique reference to a settlement, and nothing more. Elaine Wynn has repeatedly used the broad protection of the litigation privilege to unjustly smear my reputation.”

PS. I’ve been unable to determine if General Counsel Sinatra is related to Frank, in case you’re wondering.

Biggest expulsion of Russians ever

Today marks the biggest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats and intelligence agents ever. The US expelled 60 and closed the Seattle Embassy. Twitter buzz says there was a good reason for closing Seattle, that it was long overdue, but no one quite wants to go public yet with why. Hmm.

Fourteen EU counties plus others are expelling Russians too.

President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats the US identified as intelligence agents and the closure of a Russian consulate in Seattle in response to Russia’s alleged use of a nerve agent in the United Kingdom.

Of those being expelled, 48 of the alleged intelligence agents work at the Russian embassy in Washington and 12 are posted at the United Nations in New York.

The consulate closure and the expulsion of dozens of diplomats came on the heels of the UK’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats. Fourteen European Union member states also moved on Monday to expel Russian diplomats, European Council President Donald Tusk said.

According to Sky News (@SkyNewsBreak) on Twitter.

Ukraine is expelling 13 Russian diplomats,
Estonia is expelling the Russia defense attache.
Romania, Finland, and Croatia are expelling one Russian each.
Italy is expelling two.
Canada four.
Czech Republic three.
Denmark two.
France four.
Latvia one.
Poland four.
Germany four.

Facebook left the door open to Cambridge Analytica (and others)

Now departed Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos recently defended Facebook on Twitter saying Cambridge Analytica obtaining data on millions of Facebook users wasn’t a “breach.” Well, maybe technically no, it wasn’t. This is because Facebook 1) carefully wrote their Terms of Service so this wouldn’t be defined as a breach and 2) happily left the doors open for anyone to take the data.

Russia-linked “researcher” Aleksandr Kogan created a personality test that hundreds of thousands on Facebook took. What few knew, because it was, I think, carefully hidden, was that granting the test access to your profile also granted access to all your friends profiles. Because Facebook permitted that then (and has been forced to change that.) So, Kogan got info on millions of Facebook users, then shared it with Cambridge.

Lawfare Blog says there are multiple laws in the U.S. that might be used to prosecute, Facebook, Kogan, and Cambridge. Plus there will almost certainly be criminal investigations from UK, Europe,and Australia. Read the post for more.

In other words: Don’t worry everyone, Cambridge Analytica didn’t steal the data; we were giving it out.

And they were. As Ben Thompson notes, an old Facebook developer page shows that their API would allow developers to access not only to user account information, but also huge amounts of friend account information—things like “friends_interests,” “friends_religion_politics” and much more

The image shows an old Developer Page on Facebook showing how access to a Facebook user also gives access to info about Friends.

Expect this developer page to come up again in potential litigation and legislative hearings. It shows that Kogan did not need to get Facebook data through the back door, because he could waltz in through the front door—the door Facebook built for developers. This was not a breach of Facebook’s network. But it was a breach of users’ trust, general expectations and perhaps also Facebook’s terms of service.