Exclusive: The Truth Behind the Bitcoin “Cult” Trying to Buy a Church in Brooklyn

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Word has it that a cryptocurrency “cult” is trying to buy a church in Brooklyn. Here’s what we know.

Last week, these fliers started popping up around Williamsburg, Brooklyn:

The Facebook page for the protest, run by a Judy Gunderson, linked to an actual Facebook page:

And the “cult” that Ms. Gunderson was linking to was, yes, The First Church of Crypto:

People on Twitter, of course, went nuts (look for yourself).

There was a (very excited) Reddit thread on it:

And some people started a Telegram group to talk about it:

Yes, there was even an Overheard In New York post about it:

Before this goes any further, and any reporters sink their teeth into it, let’s take a glimpse at the source code of the First Church of Crypto site:

 

Yeah. April Fool’s, dummies. That was us.

With good reason.

But before we get there! A brief making-of:

  1. Yes, we actually hung flyers last week around Williamsburg.
  2. We spun up the “Church” site. Which, true story, at one point included a rewritten version of the Serenity Prayer (“Satoshi, grant me the wisdom…“).
  3. We took out a bunch of targeted Facebook ads.
  4. The entire thing took a few hours.
  5. And over the weekend, a bunch of people not only bought the idea hook, line, and sinker, but to our surprise, propagated it and actually wanted it to happen.

Let’s linger on that last point for a moment:

A bunch of crypto bulls thought it’d be a good idea to spin up a church in praise of cryptocurrency to replace a real church in Brooklyn.

Out of the hundreds of people who bought this reality sight-unseen, there was just one, dumb, random Pepe on Twitter who had our number. That’s it.

And that, right there, might explain much of the cultural problem around cryptocurrency:

The fervor around crypto, perpetrated by its loudest, most absurd, unilateral boosters is comically, blindingly obtuse to its own dumbassery.

The ideas behind decentralized currencies and blockchain are fascinating, and hold tremendous amounts of potential, blah blah whatever. Look: If you’re reading this, you already know how important and great blockchain could be. And if you’re a cogent, thinking, sentient human being who hasn’t caught the crypto vapors past the point of common sense, you also know it could be even greater if the, uh, culture and literacy around it weren’t such an absolute, utter shitshow (to say nothing of the bad actors, charlatans, and snake-oil slingers exploiting this uncharted territory).

It’s really too bad that there’s not a single must-read publication for breaking news, gossip, commentary, and analysis about cryptocurrency and its culture — its highs and lows, the most brilliant iterations and the most idiotic pratfalls, the big-time titans, the low-grade conmen, the shitcoins, the Lambos, the fortunes, the face-falls — that isn’t just a mash note, or a dumping ground for press releases, or yet another site for hot takes and explainers where someone tries to craft a shitty blockchain metaphor around a deck of cards for the umpteenth time. A site where no token is sacred, no moon hangs too high, and no bag is too rekt.

Which is why we’re launching one. Hodl on to your bags, coins, and asses:

Blocknik, a new site about cryptocurrency from Futurism Media, is coming. Summer 2018.

Sign up here to be first in the door.

*Oh, and if you know anyone: We’re putting a premium on talent, and looking for funny, sharp, brilliant writers who can rise above the current Rainman-esque standard of dialogue about crypto, and who would like to do it for what’s gonna be the most fun, hysterical gig in the space. It’ll also pay well, and in fiat currencies. If you’re interested — or know anyone who is — give us a shout.

The post Exclusive: The Truth Behind the Bitcoin “Cult” Trying to Buy a Church in Brooklyn appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

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Now The Church of England takes Apple Pay and Google Pay

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What can a church do when its younger parishioners stop carrying coins they can toss into the donation box? In the Church of England's case, it's to offer high-tech collection plates that accept Apple Pay, Google Pay and SMS mobile payments. Accordin…
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Church of England Now Accepts Apple Pay for Donations

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

In a bid to “revolutionise” the process of offering donations, making it “faster and easier for their congregations” to contribute to weekly offerings, The Church of England (CofE) officially announced the introduction of contactless payment terminals at as many as 16,000 religious sites including churches and cathedrals throughout the U.K., according to Mashable. The palm-sized […]
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Apple Pay collection plate being considered by the Church of England

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Looking to modernize, over 16,000 churches belonging to the Church of England are beginning to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay from congregations.
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Witnessing the Church of Elon Musk

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Way of the Future: A New Church Worships an AI God

Anthony Levandowski, the former Google and Uber executive currently at the center of a bombshell lawsuit filed by Waymo, says he’s serious about starting a religion centered around super-smart artificial intelligence.

Image credit: UC Berkeley Events/YouTube

In a rare interview with Wired, his first public interview since the Waymo lawsuit, Levandowski shed more light on his new church, “Way of the Future.” Here are some highlights:

  • The “Way of the Future” church will have its own gospel called “The Manual,” public worship ceremonies, and probably a physical place of worship.
  • The idea behind his religion is that one day — “not next week or next year” — sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence will be smarter than humans, and will effectively become a god.
  • “Part of it being smarter than us means it will decide how it evolves, but at least we can decide how we act around it,” Levandowski told Wired. “I would love for the machine to see us as its beloved elders that it respects and takes care of. We would want this intelligence to say, ‘Humans should still have rights, even though I’m in charge.’”
  • Levandowski is not the only tech luminary to worry about an super-intelligent AI, which others refer to as “strong AI” or the Singularity, although he prefers the term “Transition.”

Levandowski is currently at the center of a major lawsuit. His former employer, Google, alleges that he helped Uber steal intellectual property about self-driving car technology. Levandowski’s startup, Otto, was sold to Uber for $ 680 million in 2016.

The post Way of the Future: A New Church Worships an AI God appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Apple Offers Help, Gets Snubbed By FBI After Texas Church Shooting

In the wake of last Sunday’s horrendous church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, local authorities and investigators with the FBI revealed that lone gunman, Devin P. Kelley, was in possession of an unspecified iPhone model at the time he mercilessly gunned down 26 and wounded dozens more in the sadistic, coordinated attack.

Now, Apple has come out saying in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed News that it personally reached out to the FBI shortly after the attack in a bid to offer “assistance” getting into Kelley’s iPhone — even though the model, configuration, and security settings remain unknown, and Kelley, himself, is deceased due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound that capped his cowardly rampage.

Interestingly, while Apple appears to be taking the moral high-ground, FBI special agent Christopher Combs in a separate statement appeared to cast blame on the company in the wake of Sunday’s attack, indicating, without mentioning Apple by name, that tech-industry mandated encryption of user data is making it increasingly difficult for law enforcement to access information on electronic devices owned by nefarious actors, like Kelley.

“Law enforcement is increasingly not able to get into these phones,” Combs said at a press conference, while adding “I can assure you that we are working very hard to get into the phone.”

A Missed Opportunity?

Combs’ comments appear to have been questioned in a number of media reports following the attack, including by CNBC, who yesterday reported that FBI officials never actually contacted Apple in search of help getting into Kelley’s iPhone — especially when they could have, during the “critical 48-hour period” in which investigators could’ve technically used Kelley’s own fingerprint to unlock the device themselves.

Meanwhile, Apple in its statement contends that it did, in fact, extend an offer of help to the FBI once it learned that Kelley owned an iPhone.

Worth noting is that even though Apple ultimately offered to help the FBI, its material support would not have included simply giving the Bureau Kelley’s passcode or unlocking the device for them, which was a major issue of contention over which Apple and the FBI have previously sparred. For instance, back in 2015 when the tech-giant refused to help FBI officials unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, a fierce, lengthy, and otherwise expensive battle over encryption ensued.

Apple, however, indicated in its statement that it could have helped the FBI obtain other valuable information from Kelley’s iPhone, such as by helping “expedite legal warrant requests” to allow the Bureau legal access into Kelley’s iCloud account, where stored iPhone backups might exist and reveal crucial evidence.

FBI Fires Back

Considering the he-said, she-said nature of their argument, it might appear that the FBI is trying to use the shooting as an opportunity to push companies like Apple into being more cooperative and adopting weaker encryption policies. It’s also likely that the FBI simply doesn’t want to have to deal with Apple’s policies in the first place, and so it’s therefore trying to paint the iPhone, itself, as “the obstruction.”

At the end of the day, of course, it’s worth pointing out that the FBI ultimately lost its golden opportunity to get into the iPhone, considering there was the “critical, 48-hour window” during which they very easily could have. It’s interesting to think that had law enforcement asked Apple for help in a more timely manner, they could have potentially obtained the information they were looking for.

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