Crypto Guy: Desperately Poor People Could Be NPCs in Video Games

Getting paid to play video games might sound like a dream to some.

But if the rise of “play-to-earn” games is anything to go by, the reality looks far more like a nightmare. Take the gamers in the developing world who found a new way of earning a living with these games — before, in many cases, getting the rug pulled out from beneath them.

Despite this litany of failure, one crypto advocate has an even more ghoulish suggestion: exploiting the wealth gap in the developing world to fill future games with human-controlled non-playable characters (NPCs).

“With the cheap labor of a developing country, you could use people in the Philippines as NPCs,” Mikhai Kossar, an NFT gaming consultant, told Rest of World.

These NPCs could “just populate the world,” he said, or “maybe do a random job or just walk back and forth, fishing, telling stories, a shopkeeper, anything is really possible.”

In short, it’s a demeaning and tragic vision — and one with precedent in the blockchain world.

Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn game that allowed gamers to collect tradeable crypto tokens by playing it, became a way to make money when hard times hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Philippines in particular, where the average income is low, thousands of gamers found a new way of earning cash by mining in-game currency in Axie Infinity and trading it in for real-world, fiat money.

Despite games like Axie Infinity becoming victims of the crypto crash — the game’s tokens became practically worthless earlier this year, with its in-game economy collapsing like a house of cards — crypto advocates are already wondering what’s next.

And as Kossar’s comments go to show, there are visions even more twisted.

Keep reading

‘They Don’t Know How They Sound’: Critics Roast Energy Secretary For Telling Poor People To Buy Solar Panels

Critics absolutely roasted Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm after she suggested that lower to middle class Americans could fight the rising cost of living by investing thousands in solar panels and other green energy initiatives.

Granholm made an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” to explain how the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act — which has since been touted as a tax, energy, and health care bill — would impact everyday Americans who are struggling with record-high inflation, food, gasoline, and energy costs.

“If you are low income, you can get your home entirely weatherized through the expansion from the bipartisan infrastructure laws, a significant expansion — you don’t have to pay for anything,” she said, adding, “”If you want heat pumps, insulation, new windows, that is covered,” she said. “If you are moderate income, today you can get 30% off the price of solar panels. Those solar panels can be financed, so you don’t have to have the big outlay at the front … If you don’t qualify for the weatherization program, you will be able to, starting next year, get rebates on the appliances and equipment that will help you reduce your monthly energy bill by up to 30%. That is all about reducing costs for people.”

But as critics quickly pointed out, people who were struggling to feed their kids or wondering how they’d afford the gas to get to work were not just waiting on a 30%-off sale to make the jump to solar — they were just doing what they could to get by.

“GOP just needs to run ad after ad of Granholm telling the poors to buy solar panels and electric cars to save money,” Erick Ericksen tweeted.

Keep reading

Miami proposes relocating city’s homeless to island near sewage plant

Miami may relocate some of the city’s homeless population out of the streets and into city-sponsored encampments on an island housing a wastewater treatment plant.

Earlier this year, Miami-Dade’s Board of County Commissioners asked city officials to come up with ideas to mitigate its homeless population in the city, according to the Daily Mail.

City Manager Art Noriega called for an encampment to be established on the northern region of the Virginia Key island, one of five locations being discussed, beside a sewage treatment plant and a biking trail. The other four possible locations as options include three parking lots, two of which are located near residential buildings.

The city is considering the proposal that would relocate homeless people, which was recently recorded at 1,525 people, who live on the street in heavily populated tourist areas, like downtown, Overtown, and Little Havana.

The proposal details a plan to establish as many as nine large tents, which can hold up to 22 people, and a parking lot in the northernmost region of the Virginia Key.

Keep reading

22 States Sue Over ‘Gender Identity’ Rule Controlling $29 Billion For Poor Kids’ Meals

Twenty-two states are suing President Joe Biden’s administration for threatening to zap school-meal program funding unless the states comply with new rules surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

The lawsuit represents the latest volley fired in the ongoing battles between state officials and Biden, who they accuse of usurping their authority through his executive orders.

The states complain that a federal nondiscrimination rule, set to take effect Aug. 15, seeks to impose “obligations that apparently stretch as far as ending sex-separated living facilities and athletics and mandating the use of biologically inaccurate preferred pronouns,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Tennessee, on July 26.

“The Biden administration’s sweeping rhetoric treats normal practices, such as sex-separated bathrooms and athletics, as ‘discriminatory’ even though DOJ and the Department of Education treated those as legal, nondiscriminatory practices as recently as last year,” the suit says.

A fact sheet about the proposed policy cited examples of discriminatory acts, as interpreted by bureaucrats, under the new rule: “Preventing a transgender high school girl [a biological male] from using the girls’ restroom” and “preventing a transgender high school girl [a biological male] from “try[ing] out for the girls’ cheerleading team,” the lawsuit says.

Keep reading

Disarming the Poor: Congress Proposes 1,000% Tax on AR-15s

If Congress won’t ban AR-15s, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (VA) wants to slap a 1,000% tax on them – which would of course mean only people with lots of money, such as drug dealers and rich people, could afford them, while punishing lower-income Americans.

Introduced last week, Beyer’s Assault Weapons Excise Act has 36 Democratic co-sponsors, according to the Washington Post. The group hopes the idea might bypass the Senate filibuster, which would require the support of at least 10 Republicans.

According to Beyer, the idea is to increase the price to such a degree that it significantly limits who’s able to buy them. The tax would also apply to high-capacity magazines.

“It’s trying to hit the sweet spot, where it’s not an all-out ban, but people’s independent purchasing decisions would be much more ‘no’ than ‘yes,’” Beyer told the Post, adding. “You want to shift the demand curve pretty significantly.”

Beyer said part of the thinking behind the 1,000 percent figure was to have a high-enough fiscal impact that the Senate parliamentarian would find it qualifies for inclusion in a reconciliation package, meaning it could pass the Senate with a simple majority. -WaPo

“In a nation crying out for progress on gun safety, we would present a plausible way forward in this Senate,” he said.

The tax would only apply to newly purchased guns, and would not apply to government buyers. The proceeds would go into the general fund.

Keep reading