The Future of Bitcoin, Amazon Steps Up, and It’s Not Easy Being Green


The Future of Bitcoin
It’s hard for non-economists (and, frankly, some economists) to get their heads around Bitcoin. The non-economic aspects are so fascinating (who is Satoshi Nakamoto? how are these things mined?) it’s easy to forget how fundamental a challenge it is to traditional currencies — and how neatly it fits in with the history of money. When Bitcoin Grows Up (London Review of Books), an extended (more than 10,000 words) essay by John Lancaster, rewards the patient with a hard-headed look at what’s new about Bitcoin and what looks quite similar to the current system. Perhaps best of all, Lancaster refrains from the “blockchains will solve all our problems” conclusion that infects so much writing about where Bitcoin might be going.

Amazon Steps Up
As part of its downtown Seattle expansion, Amazon now owns a building that used to be a Travelodge. Along with the nonprofit Mary’s Place, it has a test plan to housing 200 homeless people there for a year. “It’s an example of collaboration,” Mayor Ed Murray told The Seattle Times. “This problem cannot be solved by government by itself. It cannot be solved by nonprofits like Mary’s Place by themselves. The fact that Amazon has chosen to be a partner in probably the most difficult crisis the city is facing right now says a lot about their willingness to help us build community and be incredibly caring business partners.”

It’s Not Easy Being Green
The good news: After having sold nine billion K-Cups that couldn’t be recycled, Keurig will soon put a recyclable version on the market (NY Times). The bad news: the new ones aren’t compostable either, so Keurig will continue to ship billions of disposable plastic cups every year. Similarly, Quartz wonders whether H&M is misleading customers about its sustainability efforts. Turns out it’s a lot easier for the retail chain to hire M.I.A. to hype its green efforts than to figure out what to do about its massive environmental footprint.

Forget Drivers. It’s Cyclists You Need To Be Worried About
Anyone who’s ever tried to build infrastructure in a city knows that it’s hard, especially when replacing incumbent infrastructure. If you’re trying to rethink your city as more bike-friendly, prepare to start with small projects to prove such moves are viable, according to a Portland State University study (Wired). But watch out for how cyclists respond to initial moves, says Ahmed El-Geneidy, associate professor at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning in Montreal. “You cannot take anything from cyclists — you cannot,” says El-Geneidy, who, according to Wired, “compares riders guarding bike lanes to a lioness protecting her cubs.”

Well, It’ll Be Easier To Memorize the State Capitals
Those following the ongoing presidential primaries are forgiven for wondering whether we could organize the lower 48 more intelligently. For example, what if we morphed the continental U.S. into seven mega regions? Parag Khanna, a senior fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, wonders just that in the Times, argues that the current structure of the U.S. is outdated, and concludes that “The 21st century will not be a competition over territory, but over connectivity — and only connecting American cities will enable the United States to win the tug of war over global trade volumes, investment flows and supply chains.” Related, Corin Faife celebrates The Rebirth of the City-State (How We Get to Next), showing that technological, cultural, and environmental factors are combining to disrupt the nation-state in favor of an ancient alternative (a strong example of which is in Singapore, where you can find Parag Khanna).

Photo: Crypto Coins News

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