Bitcoin’s Top ‘One Percent’ Controls Alarming Amount of Cryptocurrency Wealth

The top bitcoin holders control a greater share of the popular cryptocurrency than the wealthiest American households control in dollars, according to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found that the top 10,000 bitcoin accounts hold 5 million bitcoins, an equivalent of approximately $232 billion. With an estimated 114 million people globally holding the bitcoin, according to, that means that approximately 0.01% of bitcoin holders control 27% of the 19 million bitcoin in circulation, reports the Wall Street Journal.

— source | Dec 20, 2021

Nullius in verba

Malware from Fake Source, Whistleblower’s Gratitude and the Story of the Tek Fog Story

Tek Fog may be an app that aims to dehumanise and divide people, but our investigation into its use in 2020 also marked the beginning of our friendship.

On March 1, 2020, Ayushman and I met for the first (and only) time in person, outside a local market in Noida. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss a report I had independently published a few months earlier that highlighted the massive tweet volumes and complex hierarchies of the BJP and Congress IT Cells on Twitter. Ayushman was interested in finding common ground between his work as a research analyst at a digital forensic lab and the dataset that I had used to analyse the network of IT Cells. A day before we met, he was working on a two-part investigation into neo-Nazi groups on Telegram and was amazed at how the BJP network graph looked in one of my reports.

We planned to meet briefly over filter coffee at Lakshmi Coffee House, but the topic of studying dis- and misinformation in India was so intriguing that we kept discussing its different angles on the street for at least two hours afterwards. We finally decided to document our conversations, track the lifecycle of one of the bot accounts in the BJP and Congress networks, and meet again in a month to share and corroborate our findings. Little did we know that the country would come to a standstill in just three weeks, thanks to

— source | Devesh Kumar, Ayushman Kaul | 21 January 2022

Nullius in verba

Netaji Wasn’t a Friend of Hindutva, But its Adversary

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been infatuated with India’s anti-colonial nationalist leadership; not necessarily out of love and respect for the values that they stood for, such as anti-imperialism, a commitment to democracy and secularism. Their infatuation stems from a thirst for co-option as they barely have icons within Hindutva’s ideological past who participated in the national freedom struggle. Their icons do not match the contributions of the Indian National Congress (INC) leadership, including M.K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Maulana Azad, Badshah Khan, etc. Then, the selective co-option is designed to drum up their empty credentials by putting leaders who stood together against the colonial powers against one another in the most insulting manner.

After Patel, Hindutva’s latest catch is Netaji Bose. Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared that Netaji’s birthday would be celebrated as Parakram Diwas. An act that appears harmless on the surface becomes problematic when one looks at how it gets organised and bandied about in public by the government, wider Hindutva apparatus and worst of all, the PM himself.

During the West Bengal elections, the RSS-BJP tried its best to milk Netaji’s legacy by including one of his many surviving kins into the BJP and displaying some obscure and

— source | Shubham Sharma | 23 Jan 2022

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Nuclear Disarmament Urged by Catholic Archbishop

A number of disarmament groups and scientists have called on President Biden to take action to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile. In December, nearly 700 scientists and engineers, including 21 Nobel laureates, called on Biden to cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal by a third and pledge never to use nuclear weapons first. In addition, 60 groups recently issued a joint statement calling for the elimination of the hundreds of U.S. intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles now armed and on hair-trigger alert.

William Hartung is still with us. He has closely followed U.S. nuclear weapons policy for decades.

And this has never happened before. This is really good news. It’s an official document in the church calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. I think it’s the most important document in U.S. Catholic Church history. And many people are now saying that. As you know, the ban treaty has been so blocked and ignored, consciously and deliberately, by U.S. mainstream media, but so has Pope Francis’s dramatic calls in the last few years for nuclear disarmament, including at Hiroshima — has been totally ignored, especially by the churches here in the United States. Two weeks ago, Archbishop Wester of New Mexico issued this massive statement, which is an official church document, responding to both of these and issuing it in time for the anniversary of the ban treaty and Biden’s upcoming review of nuclear weapons. And as I said, this has never happened before.

— source | Jan 25, 2022

Nullius in verba

Hijacking WhatsApp to Drive BJP Propaganda

Technology developed and deployed by political operatives working to further the interests of India’s ruling party appears to have given them the ability to add script to the URLs of published news stories at mainstream platforms in order to redirect unsuspecting readers to fake news and also hack into and take over WhatsApp accounts, potentially exposing millions of Indians to the risk of identity theft.

Since the aim of the exercise is to use inactive hacked accounts to seed disinformation and fake news, vulnerable WhatsApp users also face potential legal liability in the event that criminal cases are filed relating to objectionable content simulated as emanating from their phone numbers.

Last week, The Wire published the first part of its 20-month-long investigation into the secret ‘Tek Fog’ app being used by cyber operatives to manipulate social media trends in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and target critics of the Narendra Modi government.

— source | Ayushman Kaul, Devesh Kumar | 10 Jan 2022

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16 Elite Universities Colluded to Limit Financial Aid

Sixteen elite universities were sued in federal court late Sunday over an alleged price-fixing scheme in which plaintiffs say the schools formed a “cartel” to limit the amount of financial aid they would each offer to low- and middle-income prospective students—breaking antitrust laws.

Five students who previously attended some of the universities filed the federal lawsuit in Illinois, arguing that in defiance of legislation passed in the 1990s, at least some of the schools take families’ financial needs into account when making admissions decisions. The schools in question are part of a group called the “568 Presidents Group,” which was formed after Ivy League schools were charged with price-fixing in 1991 and is supposed to admit students on a “need-blind” basis.

After the schools were accused of colluding with their competitors to set a formula for determining how much financial aid was needed by families—driving up college costs for all

— source | Julia Conley | Jan 10, 2022

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Panimara’s foot soldiers of freedom – 1

“Take back all these petitions and tear them up,” said Chamaru. “They are not valid. This court will not entertain them.”

He was really beginning to enjoy being a magistrate.

It was August 1942 and the country was in ferment. The court in Sambalpur certainly was. Chamaru Parida and his comrades had just captured it. Chamaru had declared himself the judge. Jitendra Pradhan was his “orderly.” Purnachandra Pradhan had opted to be a peshkar or court clerk.

The capture of the court was part of their contribution to the Quit India movement.

“These petitions are addressed to the Raj,” Chamaru told the astonished gathering in the court. “We live in free India. If you want these cases considered, take them back. Re-do your petitions. Address them to Mahatma Gandhi and we’ll give them due attention.”

Sixty years later, almost to the day, Chamaru still tells the story with delight. He is now 91 years old. Jitendra, 81, is seated beside him. Purnachandra, though, is no more. They still live in Panimara village in Odisha’s Bargarh district. At the height of the freedom struggle, this village sent a surprising number of its sons and daughters to

— source | P. Sainath | Jul 22, 2014

Nullius in verba