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Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking
thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020. The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more. In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States. Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000. DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain. While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO. Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud. On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams. His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund. Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity. You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race? I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned. I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated. Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well? Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump. In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly? Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.” We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was. You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business? All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups. were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that? Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases. Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case. You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not? Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn. You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN? I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles. In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad? I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses. Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there? My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information. [Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”] What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer?[Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.] I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak? I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored. What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein? I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality? I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right? [Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.] Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy. You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean? “Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it. I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice. Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests? I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests. My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality. Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that? I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability. [Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.] You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that. Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa. I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people. You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City? I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future. You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship? No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions. What do you think the investigation will find? I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad. [Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”] But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details. [Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.] We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert? You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room. Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here. She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time? Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job. During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart? I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans. Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election? Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention. Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material? Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.” [Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.] So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser. Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is? We all are Satoshi Nakamoto. You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man? I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend. OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
[Saturday, November 17 2018] Colorado adopts California emissions standards; It's now cheaper to build a new wind farm than to keep a coal plant running; Oil Demand for Cars Is Falling: Electric vehicles currently displace hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day
mvea Bitterness is a natural warning system to protect us from harmful substances, but weirdly, the more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine due to genetics, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study, which may be due to the learned positive reinforcement elicited by caffeine. Comments || Link
salvatoreportofino TIL that production of “No Country for Old Men” in Marfa, Texas was shut down for a day because of smoke drifting over from the nearby set of “There Will Be Blood” Comments || Link
diyblogger TIL most of the actors that auditioned for the role of Al Bundy on the sitcom Married with Children played him as angry and yelling. Ed O'Neil was the only one that portrayed him as a resigned loser Comments || Link
Starfthegreat TIL that the first Indian restaurant in the UK predates the first fish and chip joint by at least 49 years Comments || Link
Mass1m01973 The lilac-breasted roller is an African member of the roller family of birds. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails Comments || Link
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Book excerpt: Imogen Heap: “Tiny Human”. Total sales: $133.20.
I’ve told this story before, but somehow the sales figure “$133.20” has yet to be burnt into the history of Blockchain from now unto the end of time. Webpage version, with working links for all the references. Others had already been thinking along blockchain lines. Imogen Heap has been recording through major labels for a couple of decades now, and, in the course of a string of chart albums and Grammy nominations, has experienced quite her share of the music industry’s duplicitous incompetence, and wants something better. In late 2015, Heap introduced Mycelia, running on the Ethereum blockchain. Her motivation was to cut through the tangle of bad deals and obscure rights the record industry offered. She found herself free of previous deals, and so released her new song “Tiny Human” as the test case. “Its success will come from the adoption of millions of music lovers.” (1) Mycelia worked with Ujo Music, an attempt to automate the back-room disbursement side put together by Ethereum development company ConsenSys, whose Vinay Gupta had first told Heap about smart contracts. Heap’s explicit goal is to have all music you’ve “bought” (not just hers) behave as spyware: (2)
We know less about what our songs get up to once they’ve left ‘home’. What would I like to read on these postcards from our songs? Well, how many times it was played, by who and where would be a great start.
The last Imogen Heap release with spyware was the 2005 Speak For Yourself CD with Sony’s rootkit malware, an initiative that didn’t go down so well then either. The press coverage of Heap’s new initiative was vast, and her name is still routinely brought up whenever blockchaining the music industry is mentioned. What I’ve yet to see anyone mention is how well it did in practice. Total sales of “Tiny Human” through Ujo Music on the Ethereum blockchain were … $133.20. Not $133,200 – but one hundred and thirty-three dollars and twenty cents. (3) It literally got more press pieces than sales. It was taken off sale some time in 2016. (4) It didn’t help that purchasing it was almost impossible for an ordinary human music fan. You went to the page, clicked “Download”, followed the instructions to create an Ethereum wallet, and went off to a Bitcoin exchange to buy bitcoins then exchange those for ether, as ETH wasn’t widely traded directly to dollars at the time. Getting hold of the Bitcoins required you either to send a pile of government identification to an unregulated exchange, deal with crooks or both. Once you’d done all this, you got a download key. The process was also ridiculously glitchy and buggy. “The exact ether amount is a bit of a gamble.” (5) Ujo Music later posted a rambling nonexcuse for the “Tiny Human” disaster, in which they admitted that they’d only researched what the hell they were doing after they’d done it. As they put it: “we are but a few bright-eyed technologists with a special hammer, looking for the right nail.” (6) You’d think that at that point Heap would be wishing she’d just put it up on Bandcamp, but she’s still pursuing the blockchain dream and selling others on it, particularly the Featured Artists Coalition, i.e., the stars who did quite well out of the old major label system and would like to keep something that works like that. Never give up! A record shop needs not to be harder to use than a BitTorrent client. iTunes, Netflix and Spotify made it big by being more convenient than piracy, and there is nothing convenient about dealing with blockchains. For buying music online, Bandcamp has all comers beat for a convenient record shop experience that delights both buyers and sellers, pays 85% to the artist and doesn’t have any use for a blockchain. 1 George Howard. “Imogen Heap’s Mycelia: An Artists’ Approach for a Fair Trade Music Business, Inspired by Blockchain”. Forbes (contributor blog), 17 July 2015. 2 Imogen Heap. “What Blockchain Can Do for the Music Industry”. Demos Quarterly #8, Spring 2016. 3 Screenshot of payouts as of August 2016, uploaded by me 6 November 2016. 4 Screenshot of the Ujo Music purchase page for “Tiny Human” when I clicked “Download” in August 2016. 5 andrewkeys. “Purchase Imogen Heap’s “Tiny Human” with Ether on ConsenSys project, Ujo, the decentralized peer-to-peer music platform!” Reddit /ethereum, 3 October 2015. 6 “Emerging from the Silence”. Ujo Music blog, 29 August 2016.
I have more money coming in than I need. How am I doing?
I've been following /personalfinance for about two years. I've only recently entered a situation where I don't exactly know the best way to proceed, even based on what I've been reading. I've learned a ton, and now, fellow redditors, I really could use your advice because I recently got a nearly 50% raise and feel like I've got too much money that isn't working for me. I read a little bit ago that the best views are tables depicting assets, debts, income, and regular, budgeted expenses. I'm trying that format, so I hope that this isn't too difficult to follow, or TMI. 29 year old male software engineer in the American rust belt.
I started saving for retirement in 2012.
100% in Target Date 2040 (VFORX), 0.18% exp ratio. Already fully funded for 2014.
Employer-tied Traditional 401(k)
100% match to 5%, 1% automatic. Fully utilitized, so depositing effectively 11% of paycheck. 100% in Target Date 2045, 0.13% exp ratio. Employer contribution paid in December (probably gives away my employer, haha :-/). This means ~$460/mo from me, so $5520 * 2 + $1104 = $12,144/yr growth at the moment. I just got a large raise, so my current balance doesn't really reflect the current contribution rate yet.
Stock in my bank
Held in certificate
Quarterly dividends are 10¢-15¢/sh and reinvested. Super long.
$5,481 in unrealized losses from bad choices ~2009-2010. Virtually untouched since then. Probably should be selling these off in $3,000 chunks for tax deductions because they're not likely to recover anytime soon. Two Greek shippers and an dotcom company that is now a penny stock.
Negligible APR, historically my emergency fund account. < $2 in interest in the five years I've had the account.
0.1% APR, backup savings, or "holding area" so that bonuses and whatnot stay out of my checking calculations
0.1% APR, tax cache account (so that I always have enough for property taxes). Excess trimmed yearly into holding area.
Non-interest-bearing, usually kept above $2,000 and funds exceeding $5,000 moved to backup quarterly
~20 BTC. Holding, replaced when spent
Misc other cryptos
Zillow estimate*. Likely to stay until at least 2016, probably 2018, unless something unexpected happens (major income, kids shudder, etc.).
* I know Zillow & KBB aren't terribly reliable sources of information, but they are close enough for illustrative purposes. I've got some other reasonably expensive assets that haven't been appraised (musical instruments as old as 150 yrs with historical value) or will depreciate (computer stuff, nice TV, etc.)
15-yr starting Sept 2011
6-yr starting May 2014
Credit card, 0% for 12 months, will pay off within.
I handled the financing on the on the SUV very stupidly. The loan is through a semi-shady bank that has no web site and does not mail statements. I have no evidence that my payments were made except for ACH debits, and I have no idea what my real balance is! I'm planning to take out a home equity loan through my bank (5 year, 2.99%) if the second mortgage interest deduction will save me more than the cost of the HELOAN origination fee (~$100) and the cost of early termination of the car loan ($195 until 12 months, $145 after) over the next 18-24 months. $38,000 student loans paid off in 2012, after only 4 years, average APR 5.75%. Booyah. Had some big, unexpected bonuses that helped a lot.
Twice per month
This is after taxes, 401k contribution, long-term disability (66% salary for life), insurance, etc. Performance or profit-sharing bonuses are unpredictable. I do have an incentive bonus that will net me $24,000 pre-tax on May 30, 2015. This is guaranteed as long as I am still an employee of my company. My position is very secure: I'm more likely to quit out of "do something else with my life" than I am to be laid off or fired.
Many are exact, but some are budget amounts. It's pretty obvious based on what it is.
Amount Monthly (average for periodic)
Two people who eat pretty heathy and like nice steaks and shrimp and organic shit. This budget item actually hasn't changed since I was making half what I am now four years ago. Fuck Whole Foods, though. Buy local.
This has had a 200% rise in the past few months, because I got a big raise. We have no problem cutting this back if we had to.
~4.8% of assessed value. Moved to tax cache monthly. ~$4,800 yearly. Ouch.
Store card balance
Usually under except Jan-Feb, which is $200+.
Very accurate average.
Treated as irregular expense
This will go up, because I've not had the new SUV long enough to understand how much more than my old SUV it uses.
150/65 FiOS. Two year contract expires in July, so likely to shoot up. We don't have cable TV and are fully capable of saturating the pipe.
Subs for me and my parents
I own too many of these.
Convenient for how much I buy on Amazon
Just call and threaten to cancel every five months to get the lowest rate
Free Software Foundation donation
Do it. I give to some other orgs irregularly.
My parents take care of my vehicle insurance as my birthday and Christmas presents. I'll be taking that over in 2015, so that'll add $900 semi-annually, or ~$150/mo. At current payment rates,
Store card payment goes away February 2015.
SUV loan payment goes away ~November 2015.
Mortgage payment goes away September 2022 at current payment rate. I don't expect to lower this for the life of the loan.
I may snowball/avalanche these payments at times, to accelerate my mortgage payoff by up to four years, as long as I've fully funded my retirement accounts.
I'd like to retire by 45 at the earliest reasonably, and definitely by 55. I'm 29 now.
I'd like to move by 2018. Our taxes are exorbitant and I didn't realize that until after we'd been here for a year and put considerable money into making the place "ours". Hell, two streets over, my school taxes would be half what they are here. Real estate in my area is ~$100k-$200k.
My car is nearing 100,000 miles and I'd really like to replace it shortly thereafter, most definitely before 120,000 miles. This is likely to happen as early as the moment the SUV is paid off.
I've dealt with enough used cars in my life to virtually swear them off. They've not been worth the uncertainty, inconvenience, and headache, and I think I'm willing to sacrifice some future income in order to have peace of mind in the present.
Likely to go for a new Nissan Juke ($25k), Range Rover Evoque ($50k), or Tesla Model X ($75k pre-incentive, /buyitforlife?), depending on my salary at the time this comes to pass.
Wedding. Fortunately, I'm not the decadent type, nor is my girlfriend. We're still trying to compromise on a budget, though.
I'm OK with a potluck hootnanny in a field somewhere rural, while she'd rather have a more traditional dinner reception. Our tentative guest list is nearing 200. I'm trying to keep the budget to $5k-$10k, going higher if and only if she's able to increase her income before we commence the real planning.
Honeymoon is likely to be where we spend a lot of money. I don't take vacation very often, so going somewhere nice/exotic/expensive is likely to happen.
Kids aren't really in the pipeline, but happy accidents happen and I do want to be prepared financially for it. We were both brought up lower middle class (her family was closer to poverty at times) and want our family to be more well-off than we were.
How am I doing?
What can I be doing better? Is there something that I'm missing? I feel like I'm doing pretty well, but I could be doing better. Continuous improvement is a large part of my life, so applying it to my finances is an logical step. I've made some mistakes playing with stocks, but learned a lot in the process. Pat me on the back, or slap me upside the face with a harsh stick of reality.
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