Even Londoners without their finger on the financial pulse are likely to have heard of Bitcoin, a mathematically impeachable form of digital currency – just one of many emerging cryptocurrencies being used around the world. Whether that knowledge comes from it’s shady associations with the dark web and sites like Silk Road or because it hit the news as the world’s first decentralised digital currency (making it free of the intervention and fees of banks and governments), it’s clear that cryptocurrencies aren’t disappearing anytime soon.
There have been plenty of cryptocurrency developments in East London in recent times. 2014 saw Britain’s First Bitcoin ATM Arrive in a London Cafe and East London burger vendor Burger Bear announce that 25% of their revenue was settled in cyptocurrencies. And now, in his quest for a global revolution, political activist and comedian Russell Brand is looking to crypto currency and crowd funding as a way of negating and avoiding the capitalist system. Max Keiser, host of Keiser Report, a financial program broadcast on Russian state media channel RT, believes such a combination can set the stage for a new era.
Russell Brand and Max Keizer – co-revolutionaries in East London
Brand has taken the revolutionary idea of the cryptocurrency and teamed up with the StartJoin crowdfunding platform to help people break away from conventional monetary and financial systems.
“Essentially what we need is alternative systems and models, and alternative currency is an integral part of that,” Brand told Max Kaiser, the co-guru behind the financial side of the StartCOIN project. The StartJOIN platform calls itself a “new style of crowd funding technology” that uses social media and crowd technology to fund local projects, The platform rewards active community members with crypto-coins that can be spent on backing other projects, exchanged or cashed out.
“I’m very interested in setting up social enterprises, such as our cafe that we’ve started, replicating that model more and more,” Brand explained. “Small businesses, practical, functional things where people can come together in an entrepreneurial spirit, creatively, and work together – hopefully ultimately using an alternative currency and completely negating and avoiding the system.”
The cafe in question is Trew Era cafe, to which Brand donated the profits from his book Revolution, located opposite Hackney’s New Era housing estate. Brand gave vocal backing to the campaign against eviction in the estate, where landlords intended to treble the rent for existing tenants. According to Brand, the cafe is a permanent symbol of the victory of a grassroots movement over corporate interests; a place for the people of the New Era estate to gather for social and political purposes, while also contributing to the community.
Crowdfunding through StartJOIN also funded the replacement of The Sun’s awning over Hoxton News with branding from his Youtube series ‘The Trews’ during Occupy Rupert Murdoch week.
Hoxton News after replacing The Sun’s awnings
Crowdfunding through StartJOIN funded the replacement of The Sun’s awning over Hoxton News.
Max Keiser has big plans for the two new ventures, StartJOIN, the crowdsourcing website and StartCOIN it’s associated cryptocurrency…
“We’re giving millions of dollars away to people using scratch cards and using it online to fund these projects that are funding the basis of a political revolution that is Russell Brand’s revolution. So this is a new economy, a new currency. This is quantitative easing for the people, you can spend it on the projects that you are endorsing and behind,” adding that one could of course cash these coins out as well. “This is a currency that could be a currency of the revolution.”
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