#2 - Bitcoin miners, Kazakhstan, salary raises, article 13, VPNs and fools day.
Are Bitcoin miners responsible for Kazakhstan protests? Not so fast.
When the Kazakhstan government shut down the whole internet to stop the riots, they started a butterfly effect that hit hard on the Cryptocurrency markets. One-fifth of the computing power to create new Bitcoins and sign the transactions faded away.
Of a sudden, all the Bitcoin miners hosted in the country could not connect to the Bitcoin Network. Kazakhstan became the second-largest mining state when China banned Cryptocurrency mining. A country with cheap energy and sharing 1200km of land borders was a perfect destination for exiled Chinese miners. In just a few months, the impact on the electric grid was massive, with an increase of almost 10% in consumption. The authorities started to buy electricity from Russia to keep up with the demand. The infrastructures of both countries are connected thanks to the USSR’s legacy of a power-connected grid. Russia took advantage of the urgency, and they sold the energy at higher prices than the commercial rates. It was essential to guarantee electricity supply and avoid blackouts during wintertime, even at end-consumer rates never seen in a country where energy is cheap. But is this the beginning of the unrest?
Kazakhstan has enormous resources like gas, oil, coal, and uranium. Very dependant on cheap and contaminating coal, they were transitioning to cleaner sources when the perfect storm hit them. The population used to pay at a discount any energy source, so when the price of the autogas (very popular to power cars) doubled, they did not understand how this could happen. And suddenly, the peaceful but geostrategic country needs help from Russia to control the riots.
Are the Bitcoin miners responsible for the unrest? I don’t think so. Maybe the spark. It is very tempting to create a narrative in which cryptocurrencies have the power to undermine countries. But it all sounds like an energy crisis, as we have already seen before in history.
That time of the year to negotiate your raises and bonus
The time of the year to review your raise and bonus is coming. Happy with the outcome? congratulations! But if you are disappointed, this is probably one of the worst professional periods of the year. There are multiple reasons for a poor performance review. Even your manager and the company could be right. Or if they are wrong, maybe there is no reason to leave the company. Only when a company gives clear signs should you decide to pick your stuff and leave.
Nobody ever taught me how to negotiate a raise or performance bonus. Learning about it early in my career could save me a lot of headaches. Here goes some advice about the negotiation. Or, if you have decided to leave, do it like a boss.
Article 13, VPNs and a Spanish fools day joke
Sometimes we Spaniards can read an English-speaking April fool’s joke in major Spanish media outlets when a naive journalist forgets about the date and publish it without checking the sources. But it’s pretty unusual to read a trick of the ‘Día de Los Inocentes’ from a Spanish-speaking outlet in the English-speaking media.
Last week I read several articles claiming that the EU wants to ban VPNs. HackerNews and Reddit also linked the article. The text was utterly insane comparing the EU with China, North Korea, Belarus, or Turkmenistan. The fact is that
fake news rumors about the EU banning VPNs applying Article 13 are not new. But this was nuts.
After some search, I found the source of the article in Spanish. And it was a ‘Día de Los Inocentes’ prank, as expected. So now, an English-speaking journalist took the bait and spread the joke without noticing.
Other interesting stuff
Bad news for privacy if you are a Chrome user: the new Keyboard API in Chrome 97 could fingerprint users, according to Mozilla, Apple, and Brave.
This week I will not share a music snippet. I could not find a known rock band from Kazakhstan. Instead, a fragment of the interview in Lex Fridman’s Youtube channel to Peter Wang (CEO Anaconda) about the end of software.
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