The plan for a worldwide campaign to fund billboards through non-fungible tokens started off with a jog near Zilker Park.
This past summer, Sam Feldman, founder of crypto explainer marketcap.guide, was running when he saw a billboard by Thom’s Market with a simple message: the right idea will fly. Inspired, he took a picture and added it to his Instagram story. He didn’t think much of it, but he says later that week, it sparked the idea to install a billboard that said “Bitcoin is a peaceful revolution.”
It was just an idea Feldman wanted out there. But later on, the idea morphed into a campaign to fund more and more through digital collectibles known as NFTs in a sort of “flywheel” approach. This way, 70% of the revenue could fund future billboards.
“What people are buying is, yes, the art,” Feldman said. But he added that it’s more about buying into an idea that other people will also buy into and that will continue to spiral.
5/ And the more people who believe, the more the billboard flywheel spins, and it spins faster and faster with each bid. pic.twitter.com/nNkVRkobEd
— Sam Feldman 🎈 (@sam_feldman_) November 4, 2021
“Basically what you’re buying is the first moment of this worldwide crypto education campaign where we’re going to plaster every city with crypto billboards that are all funded by you buying your NFT,” Feldman said. “And that spreads. And next thing you know, they’re in Australia. That’s the big idea.”
So far, he and his small team consisting of developers in India and Uruguay and a drone photographer have only reached Austin. The first one was put up on South Lamar featuring the name of the campaign, Crypto is Real. About 100 billboards have been purchased by Feldman's team since July and will be available for bid as an NFT within the next month, the team hopes. Feldman predicts it’ll have real value someday.
“I would guess that the first ones in this will be the most valuable,” Feldman said. “If this ends up taking over the world, and we have 100,000 billboards, whoever owns that art piece is going to have a pretty cool NFT on their hands.”
Feldman feels drawn to educate people about crypto because as his “Bitcoin is a peaceful revolution” mantra explains, he thinks it can make the acquisition and transfer of money fairer, and potentially help people gain upward mobility.
After all, his entrance to crypto came in 2017 while he was in a financial rut trying entrepreneurial ventures in Los Angeles. He realized he could only support himself for a few more months, his car got totaled and he had a panic attack from the stress. So, he figured, he was too poor to not buy crypto.
He bought IOTA, a ledger that had just recently been released and was a buy that took some skill. So he wrote a guide and posted it as a Quora answer that included affiliate links, which started earning him micropayments.
One day, he took the most recent 100 micropayments he earned, put them in a Google spreadsheet to do the conversions and realized he’d made $87 in the last three minutes. After 30 days, he’d made about $100,000. He then launched his own separate site, cryptoguides.org.
With crypto, he says, there’s an even footing with the decentralized quality where people can sit at their computers and be a part of mining.
In practice, however, the NFT economy has been found to be unequal too. A recent study in the science journal Nature found that “the top 10% of traders alone perform 85% of all transactions and trade at least once 97% of all assets.”
There’s also the environmental impact of crypto, brought by the computer power needed to mine, to consider. A University of Cambridge analysis estimated that Bitcoin mining consumes more than 121 terawatt hours a year. For perspective, that is more than the consumption of Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft combined. Feldman has addressed the energy critique through a billboard that reframes the conversation instead as the storing of energy rather than the use of it.
He argues non-crypto currencies also use up energy and that people don’t understand the benefit of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
“They just see ‘oh it’s wasting a lot of electricity; that’s not good,’” Feldman said. “It’s a pro and a con. It’s spending all this electricity. But I think understanding the value that it provides—which is a lot more elusive to understand than all the electricity that it’s spending—you could say it's wasting, but that’s sort of an opinion.”
Whatever people’s opinions, he still hopes the campaign serves its educational purpose.
“My goal is to not overly politicize it,” Feldman said. “And to say things that maybe people will take as political if they don’t know as much about it, but just to say things that are true.”
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By Eleanor Klibanoff
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional protection for abortion and allowing states to set their own laws regulating the procedure. This represents one of the most significant judicial reversals in a generation and is expected to have far-reaching consequences for all Texans.
Texas will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling, with narrow exceptions only to save the life of a pregnant patient or prevent “substantial impairment of major bodily function.”
The law that will go into effect in 30 days criminalizes the person who performs the abortion, not the person who undergoes the procedure.
This ruling will radically change the reproductive health care landscape in Texas and the entire nation, where more than half of all states are expected to essentially ban abortion in the coming months.
Most of Texas’ neighboring states are also expected to outlaw abortion as a result of this ruling, with one exception: New Mexico. As the sole outlier in the region, New Mexico is expected to become a haven for Texans seeking abortions. The state currently has no significant restrictions and no plans to limit access to the procedure.
Friday’s ruling represents a victory nearly five decades in the making for Texas’ anti-abortion advocates, who have played an outsized role in the national effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.
It also represents a crushing blow to the state’s abortion providers, who have fought to maintain abortion access in Texas amid a nearly endless parade of restrictions, limitations and political attacks.
Roe v. Wade’s Texas roots
Before it became one of the most well-known Supreme Court cases in the country, Roe v. Wade was just a Texas lawsuit.
More than five decades ago, a woman identified in the legal filings as Jane Roe, later revealed to be Norma McCorvey, wanted an abortion. But under Texas’ laws at the time, it was a crime to perform or “furnish the means for procuring” an abortion.
Two young female lawyers, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, saw an opportunity to use McCorvey’s case to challenge Texas’ abortion law more broadly. They filed a suit against Dallas County prosecutor Henry Wade, who would be the one responsible for bringing charges against anyone who violated the abortion law.
The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where in 1973 Justice Harry Blackmun shocked the nation with a ruling that blocked not just Texas’ abortion laws from being enforced, but all state laws that banned abortion early in pregnancy.
Blackmun agreed with Coffee and Weddington’s argument that the right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution extended to a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. That right to privacy must be balanced with the state’s interest in the “potentiality of human life,” a balance that shifted in the state’s favor the further along a woman was into her pregnancy.
This ruling did little to settle the abortion debate in the United States, instead kicking off nearly five decades of anti-abortion activism and legal challenges seeking to overturn the decision.
Texas, the birthplace of Roe v. Wade, has led many of those legal challenges, including a landmark 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld Roe v. Wade and the 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
But the Supreme Court has become much more conservative in recent years, thanks to three appointments by former President Donald J. Trump.
In late 2021, the court declined to block a Texas law that banned abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy through a novel enforcement mechanism that empowers private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” in an abortion.
That law remains in effect and will not be immediately impacted by Friday’s ruling.
In December, the court heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson, a challenge to Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Rather than considering just the law itself, the court agreed to consider the question of whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned — and today’s ruling gave the answer.
Ongoing legal questions
But if Roe v. Wade did little to end the debate about abortion in the United States, Dobbs v. Jackson is not expected to settle the question either.
Health care providers are worrying about how these laws will impact their ability to provide care for high-risk pregnancies or people experiencing miscarriages. Some local district attorneys have said that they won’t prosecute abortion cases in their jurisdictions.
One such challenge is already looming, as state Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Republican from Deer Park, has made it clear he intends to target nonprofit advocacy groups that help pregnant patients pay for abortions.
Under the current law banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, these abortion funds have helped hundreds of pregnant people leave the state to get an abortion. They’ve paid for travel, lodging, child care and the procedure itself, and they’re preparing for a surge in demand now that abortion is further restricted.
But Cain, an anti-abortion legislator, has issued cease-and-desist letters to these groups, warning that their work may be criminalized under the state laws that were on the books before 1973.
That argument didn’t carry much weight when Roe v. Wade was in effect. Now, legal experts say this may represent the first of many legal questions that will need to be sorted out by the courts as the state begins to navigate an entirely new reproductive health care landscape.
Arch Manning, the latest prospect in the Manning football family and No. 1 recruit in the class of 2023, has committed to the University of Texas.
Manning is the nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning and the son of Cooper Manning, a former wide receiver for Ole Miss. The Manning football legacy began with Archie Manning, Arch Manning's grandfather and namesake who played for the New Orleans Saints throughout the 1970s.
Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEmpic.twitter.com/jHYbjBaF5K
— Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
Manning joins head Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian's program after a disappointing 5-7 first season. Manning, who has been the starting quarterback at New Orlean's Newman High School since he was a freshman, was the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class, according to 247sports.
Manning had plenty of SEC suitors, including Georgia, Alabama and LSU, but committed to Texas after a recent visit to Austin.
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