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Alaska state regulators urge caution to investors eyeing cryptocurrencies

first_imgSome Alaska businesses have accepted bitcoin, including Gold & Silver Exchange in Juneau at the time of this photo in January 2014. The state Division of Banking and Securities urged investors to approach cryptocurrencies like bitcoin with caution. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are drawing interest as investments. State regulators issued a statement Thursday advising investors to approach them with caution.Listen nowA cryptocurrency is a digital medium of exchange that’s created independent of banks or governments. Cryptocurrency prices have been swinging wildly.The price of one bitcoin rose from $1,000 a year ago to roughly $14,000 today.Kevin Anselm wants Alaskans to know a few things about cryptocurrencies before they spend conventional currency – also known as dollars – on them.She’s the director of the state Division of Banking and Securities.“We just want people to know that these aren’t a typical investment,” she said.Anselm said it’s most important for investors to ask questions.“What exactly do I get for my investments?” she said. “Will it be tangible? Is it kept in some sort of a blockchain? And if it’s in a blockchain, what is a blockchain and how does that operate with your investments?”She emphasized a basic point.“People need to understand what it is they’re really investing in and what they can expect – and what the offerer is offering – as a return,” she said.Anselm said cryptocurrencies are subject to minimal regulatory oversight. She also said they’re susceptible to cybersecurity breaches or hacks. And there may be no recourse should the cryptocurrency disappear. They’re not federally insured.Anselm said anecdotal reports of Alaskans being asked to buy into new cryptocurrencies prompted the division’s advice.“We’re seeing a number of people contacted by sellers of virtual currencies or sellers that want people to get in on initial coin offerings, including virtual currencies,” she said.Some Alaska businesses accept bitcoin.One is Alaska Robotics, a Juneau comic book and art store. Co-owner Pat Race said he’s only seen about a dozen bitcoin transactions over four years – and he’s selling some of the bitcoin the store has.“We’ve sold some of them because the price is kind of crazy right now and so it seemed like a good idea to unload some of them,” he said. “I wouldn’t be investing in bitcoin right now. Like, I would build a time machine and go back to 2013 and put your money into bitcoin.”Race is glad the state is telling investors to be careful.“I think there are a lot of things that are really shady in the bitcoin/cryptocurrency/blockchain sphere right now,” Race said. “There are a lot of people that are taking advantage of people that don’t know very much about it. So if you’re unfamiliar with the technology and unfamiliar with that space and you want to invest in it, you should definitely do some homework before you throw money at it. Because there are a lot of opportunities for that money to vanish.”Alaskans can contact the division if they have questions about cryptocurrencies.last_img read more

Theres still hope – behind gentrification drama The Last Black Man in

first_imgGentrification Shares8282 Facebook Director Joe Talbot and star Jimmie Fails discuss their buzzy, award-winning film that looks at a city they love as it falls further from their grasp Charles Bramesco Outside the multiplex: the best smaller films to see in the US this summer “It was important to us that a lot of the cast be from San Francisco,” Talbot says. “People like the Greek chorus, they’ve been in the city forever. It’s about authenticity, sure, but it’s also about showing how fuckin’ talented the city is. People have been doing incredible work for decades, and we wanted to show off some of the ones we grew up with.”That spirit of pride comes through in every aspect of Talbot and Fails’ style, their method packed with touches of specificity to convey maximum adoration. Jimmie and Montgomery get around by doubling up on a single skateboard, a nod to the city’s history as a cradle for black skating culture in America. “Back in the ’90s,” Fails recalls, “San Francisco was a mecca for skateboarders. The hills attract a lot of people — black, Asian, Latino. That’s where the melting-pot thing feels strongest.”At every possible opportunity, they made the choice that would enhance their film’s street cred, and that included the soundtrack. A more somber cover of ‘60s pop standard “San Francisco” from R&B crooner Michael Marshall scores one pivotal scene and gave the trailer a stirring musical component, but it represented something more significant to Talbot and Fails. “It was great to have it adapted by Mike, his soulful voice was perfect,” Fails says. “He made it sound like gospel. I’d never really heard the song until I heard his version. It never hit me that way, and that’s been a common reaction.”Talbot adds: “It was really written for Monterey Pop, for locals nervous about the kids that would descend on Monterey, both reassuring them that the kids would come peacefully – ‘wear flowers in your hair’ – and urging the kids to do just that. Kind of bizarre. Over time, a new warming nostalgia has formed around what’s really a pretty song. But today’s San Francisco isn’t the same city it was in the ’60s, and we wanted the song to reflect that.” Pinterest Share on Messenger Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. features Pinterest Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors in The Last Black Man in San Francisco Photograph: Laila Bahman/A24 Share on LinkedIn 2:07 Share on Twitter Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot on the set of The Last Black Man in San FranciscoPhotograph: Adam Newport-Berra / A24 Share on Pinterest Perhaps most crucially, Talbot and Fails extended their guiding principles of empathy and respectful engagement past their relationship to the city, and applied them to their relationship to one another. They both recognized the fraught optics of a white man assuming the position of steward to a black man’s life story, but felt that the racial dimension had little bearing on their process. “You don’t want to say you don’t see color,” Fails says. “But it’s like, this is my best friend. We’re not just collaborators, like, he’s telling my story and I’m OK with that. This is my best friend.”“It’s a worthy discussion,” Talbot clarifies. “There really are a lot of stories in San Francisco that I’m not the right person to tell. But because Jimmie and I have worked together for so long and been close for even longer, it just felt natural to do it this way.”They don’t labor under any delusions that the movie they’ve made can be a substitute for activism, but hope that it might be a catalyst for the same. They agree that only through purposeful unity can collective action be made possible, and strive to foster that ideal through their film’s big, open heart. Their fondness for the city only gets stronger as tech moguls continue to carve it up. Talbot and Fails posit love as resistance, cinema as call to action, and themselves as servants to a higher cause.“We feel critical of the city, and take issue with what’s happening there,” Talbot says. “But I don’t think that the battle’s lost. I think there’s still hope for San Francisco.”“It’s about coming together, the real San Franciscans who are still there,” says Fails. “Creating one voice to represent everyone. You can fight back with art, that worked for them in the ’60s. But only because they banded together and had that community feeling. That’s the way to do it.”The Last Black Man in San Francisco is now out in the US and will be released in the UK later this year Sat 8 Jun 2019 02.00 EDT From the earliest planning sessions over aimless constitutionals through the streets they’d make their set to the last day of post-production, Talbot and Fails emphasized a DIY-style ethic of ground-up support. After all, that’s how they got their start; their rambling conversations eventually “congealed” (Talbot’s word, enunciated with a theatrical relish) into an outline of something that could be a story. Over the next couple of years of grassroots development, the proof-of-concept trailer they put together as a calling card drew the attention of creative types sharing in his crusade. Talbot takes issue with this characterization of his narrative, though: “People were inspired by Jimmie.”A short film titled American Paradise got them into Sundance’s good graces in 2017, and a Kickstarter fundraiser brought them the money required to complete their first feature-length effort. Two years later, Sundance welcomed them back as returning heroes, sending Talbot off with US dramatic directing award. San Francisco raised them and took care of them when their careers were still in the fledgling stages, and they used their resources to return the favor.Talbot and Fails attracted the best and brightest of San Francisco’s thriving arts scene and put them to work on both sides of the camera. They packed the cast with actors with an innate feel for what makes the neighborhood unlike any other, scoring their first big name with born-and-raised Bay Area guy Danny Glover. Other behind-the-scenes personnel contributed perspective and expertise; ride-or-die producer Khaliah Neal knew the terrain like the back of her hand, while Berkeley-bred consultant Emma Nicholls brought a facility for performance art that shaped Jimmie and Montgomery’s act of artistic rebellion in the film’s final stretch. Play Video @intothecrevasse The Last Black Man in San Franciscocenter_img Support The Guardian Share on Facebook Twitter Last modified on Sat 8 Jun 2019 05.12 EDT The Last Black Man in San Francisco – video trailer Share on Facebook Read more ‘There’s still hope’ – behind gentrification drama The Last Black Man in San Francisco Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails at the Last Black Man in San Francisco premiere. Photograph: imageSPACE for/REX/Shutterstock ‘There’s still hope’ – behind gentrification drama The Last Black Man in San Francisco Facebook Since you’re here… Drama films Twitter The Last Black Man in San Francisco San Francisco Share via Email Share via Email The Last Black Man in San Francisco, the debut film from director Joe Talbot and star/partner/friend Jimmie Fails, is about a city in danger of disappearing. Fails, playing a fictionalized version of himself, and right-hand man Montgomery (Jonathan Majors) mount a quixotic effort to reclaim his African-American family’s gorgeous Victorian home that has long since been purchased by white owners and insufficiently loved ever since. But even in the year since Talbot and Fails, Mission-Bernal district residents both, wrapped shooting, their vision of a partially vanished San Francisco has already been overwritten. Topics Share on WhatsApp “It became a common theme, us getting into places right before they were gutted and bulldozed,” Talbot tells the Guardian at the offices of boutique distributor A24, clad in a well-worn black-and-orange Giants cap. “The Candy House in Double Rock, they tore those housing projects down after we finished shooting. Montgomery’s house, which is at the furthest corner of Hunters Point, has those two empty lots on either side in the movie. Now one of them is filled with, what’d you call it, a glorified cardboard box?”“Shelving,” Fails grumbles. “The building looks like shelving.”With straits as dire as they’ve ever been, these two pals conceived their film as an affectionate salvage ethnography for a special corner of America threatened by gentrification. “It’s as much our valentine to San Francisco as it is an attempt to archive everything we love, so our kids can see it someday,” Talbot explains. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of policy, the script — based on Fails’ actual experiences with his former house — provides a guide to pushing back against the forces of so-called ‘urban development.’ Talbot and Fails genuinely believe that through cooperative togetherness, the Bay Area region’s rich heritage can be preserved and continued.“If you talk to your neighbors and participate in the local culture, that has a different effect on the community than if you don’t,” Talbot says. “People think of themselves as gentrifiers and don’t get involved because they’re scared of confrontation, they have some sort of guilt that goes along with that. But many of the great San Franciscans, who fought for the city and made it what it was, were not from San Francisco.”Looking at the land they call home, they both wanted to build something inclusive and tender and just. So, after shrinking the scale of their ambition from the size of a metropolitan area to that of a movie set, they did. 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