Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Wherever you’re tuning in to us from, thank you for joining us for BlockBali.
My name is Patrick Tan, and I’m the CEO and General Counsel for Novum Alpha, a quantitative digital asset trading firm, as well as General Counsel for the Novum Group, a diversified cryptocurrency and blockchain services companies with interests in media, software development, trading and services.
It is my privilege to welcome you to BlockBali 2020 and Novum Alpha is proud to be the gold partner for this year’s event.
But what a difference a year has made!
As you can see from where I am seated, I am unfortunately not in Bali, one of the most beautiful places on earth. …
Forget about getting a word in, it was virtually impossible to even get a thought in as delegates from the various tribes bickered noisily at the table, each shouting above the other.
No, this wasn’t the United Nations General Assembly congregating in New York City, or a gathering of tribal leaders of the Maasai on the vast plains of Tanzania.
Instead, this was a gathering of the Saunders clan at a nondescript brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, arguing with each other over whose turn it was to host Thanksgiving Dinner this year — a responsibility that everyone and no one wanted. …
“When I first left the commune, I was lost. I didn’t know anything else. You have to understand, it’s not like a religion or anything, it’s all I ever knew.”
Now some thirty-five years later, Douglas Pizzaro, a 54-year-old landscaper looks back on his years in a commune, which he was rescued from.
In the Big Sky country of Montana, you can drive for miles without meeting a single soul.
Yet for the thousand-odd people living in the foothills abutting the Rocky Mountains, they could just as well have been living on another planet.
For the followers of the Reverend James Turnbull, that small patch of America was their entire life. …
In the fifth month of the fourteenth year of the Shang dynasty, Emperor Lu Shou was busy fending off threats to his land coming from the restive western reaches of his vast empire, that stretched from the Mongolian steppes all the way to the eastern coast of China.
But that wasn’t the only challenge facing the Jade Emperor (as he was known), a poor harvest, often seen as a celestial rebuke of the Emperor’s leadership ,as well as the failure to produce a male heir to the throne from his Empress were all complicating matters within the Shang court.
Against this backdrop, the one thing that the Jade Emperor could rely on was the backing of a capable cadre of eunuchs and generals. …
By this stage of the interrogation, Tameer Hussain was wondering if he would ever see the light of day again. Staring directly into the eyes of the Director of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, he repeated,
“I’m telling you I didn’t know about the American drone strike, if I had known I would have asked them to call it off.”
The Director gave a half smile and with a slight motion of his head, signaled for Hussain’s interrogators to continue beating him,
“You see, I have a very simple rule. …
In the spring of 2002, Paul Bladscoe, a U.S. Special Forces soldier was speaking via his interpreter to a local tribal leader in the dusty, sand swept hills of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, trying to get leads on the location of another Al-Qaeda leader.
The U.S. War on Terror was just getting into full swing and Bladscoe was one of dozens of Special Forces teams spread across Afghanistan, from the tundra to the hot and humid lowlands, hunting for Al-Qaeda leaders responsible for the deadly September 11 attacks on U.S. soil, as well as their Taliban hosts.
But what Bladscoe was increasingly realizing was that taking out one Al-Qaeda leader had a limited effect on the organization’s capability to strike back. …
Thomas Billings was the epitome of caution. An accountant by trade, Billings would check four times before crossing the road, use a virtual private network and store his passwords in a safe, changing them periodically every three months.
At work, Billings could be found in the office late into the night, making sure that every ledger entry was accounted for and that every discrepancy was flagged and highlighted.
As accountants go, Billings was both favored and feared for his meticulousness.
And that attention to detail carried across to his daily life, where his modest stucco home was unadorned by any frivolity, his only indulgence being his pet cat, aptly named Integer, a play on its ginger coat. …
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“It’s great. The working conditions are good and there’s a canteen with free meals, healthcare,” says Akola Abdullah.
In the arid sand-swept landscape that looks like it could have been from the set for Mad Max: Fury Road, Akola and a few hundred other Somali workers, alongside several dozen Chinese supervisors, are working on a pipeline that would bring millions of gallons of crude oil to a deep water port on the Gulf of Aden.
Despite facing one of the most pirate-infested waters in the world, the soon-to-be bustling port of Eyl is being slowly but surely carved into another Chinese deep water port that will secure the Middle Kingdom’s vast energy needs for centuries to come. …
“It can’t be done. Your grandfather and his father before him have always been in the whale oil business, and I’ll be damned if any son of mine decides that he wants to go into gas lighting,” and with that Henry Cabot threw down his workmen’s gloves on the whale oil-lit workbench in anger.
Cabot Junior looked at his father helplessly.
Sitting on the docks in Sag Harbor, New York, the Cabots, a whaling family for generations were squabbling near their humble fleet of whaling boats.
But it wasn’t that Cabot Junior was looking for a different life, whaling was rough work but the rewards were immense, it was more that he had a sense his business was in its twilight. …