Voters head to the polls tomorrow (11 April) for the run-off election between presidential candidates Andres Arauz, a left-wing economist, and Guillermo Lasso, a right-wing banker. The winner will inherit a divided nation and bleak economic outlook.

Quito, Ecuador — Tanks and barbed wire surround the National Electoral Council as Ecuador prepares to choose a new president after a disputed first round of voting and rising tensions between the two candidates ahead of Sunday’s run-off election.

Nearby streets are open, but nearly deserted after the government imposed a “state of exception” that restricts traffic based on licence plate numbers and includes a nightly curfew, both designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

At the centre of the election: the future of Ecuador’s economy. Recent polls show a close race between Andres Arauz, a left-wing economist who plans…


Near the peak of US deaths, I moved to Ecuador

I was in New York when Covid-19 hit last year — and it hit hard. In early February I moved to Ecuador, and it’s been interesting to see how each place has reacted differently to the pandemic. Both are places I am intimately familiar with, having lived off and on in each for more than a decade.

My first impressions in Quito, the capital, were extremely positive. Everyone wore a mask and they wore it correctly. Not some. Not most. Everyone. Entering any building required a temperature check and a spray of alcohol on your hands. Some places also spray…


* hodler is an intentional misspelling and a Bitcoin meme

An hour after I first heard of Bitcoin, I knew it would change the world. That was eight years ago.

Back in 2013 I first read the word ‘Bitcoin’ in a news article about a bank bail-in in Cyprus. The government was in debt and their solution was raiding personal bank accounts. The article mentioned this also led to a boon in Bitcoin — a new digital currency that existed beyond the reach of the government.

Wait, what?!

It was just an aside, but it struck me. A few years earlier I was deported from my adopted home in Ecuador…


The meteoric (and illogical) rise of GameStop is just the beginning

source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-rich-got-richer-during-covid-19-heres-how-american-billionaires-performed/

The status quo is under attack. Its power has always been more illusion than fact, and that façade is becoming more transparent. This is broadly true, but also specifically from the vantage of how we determine value.

Oil futures traded for negative dollar values in 2020. In 2021 the stock price of GameStop, a retail-based video game store which was struggling even before the pandemic, rose 2,000% (20x) in a fortnight.

The old truth has always been that value is dictated. The new paradigm is that it is subjective. We decide.

My primary window into this over the past decade…


It’s my last night in Ecuador and I’m leaving a bar with some friends when one of the bartenders runs out after us.

“Are you the guy who exchanges $2 bills?”

“Yeah”

He pulls out a ten. “I’ll take five.”

Fifteen years after Ecuador adopted the US Dollar as it’s official currency, the issue still stirs debate. Dollarization was so unpopular when first announced that protesters took over the capital and the government collapsed. The replacement government stuck with the plan though. There wasn’t much choice. …


In April 2005 I was living in Cuenca, Ecuador, teaching English. I had just graduated college in the United States and was still very new to the place — but there was already a simmering fire about to explode. The President, who was hailed as a courageous defender of the nation’s heritage and champion of the poor when elected, had quickly moved to the right as soon as the votes were counted. A few months previous to my own arrival, he had fired an unsympathetic court and replaced it with his friends. …


My window was open, and I heard a cacophony of celebration pour in from outside. It didn’t build but exploded all at once as if the entire neighborhood had found out simultaneously. I knew immediately what it meant: Donald Trump had lost. People hung out of windows banging pots and pans, cheering and screaming while a rhythmic pulse of car horns blared up from the street in all directions.

I live at the very top of Manhattan in Washington Heights, a mostly Dominican neighborhood, and decided to ride my bike all the way down the island to witness the varied…


Or, how to cede your power in one easy step

There is tremendous energy wasted on electoral politics. At best it is a distraction, at worst it serves to suffocate any alternative.

To clarify, this isn’t an attack on voting per se, it’s an attack on what large scale political elections in the United States have become.

We are beaten over the head our entire life with the notion that change begins at the ballot box. That’s false. The reality of change is that it’s uncomfortable. Voting will never yield substantive change because it is designed to prohibit the very discomfort which is a necessary prerequisite to substantive change.

In…


Their focus on privacy and decentralization carry forth the original Bitcoin vision

When I first became aware of Bitcoin, it was a revolution. It seemed immediately clear that it would cause major disruption to the status quo or be suffocated in its infancy. This was in early 2013, so it was already going for four years, but the project was still in the early stages. It seemed possible, nay probable, that the full weight of governments and central banks would come down on it and the community consisted of lots of visionaries and dreamers who thought Bitcoin could disrupt a corrupt system.

A lot has changed since then. Bitcoin is no longer…


But this time, the guns will turn inward

A few days ago, a car drove through a Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square. Maybe it hit home because I had been considering going, or maybe it was following the story online and scrolling though the endless comments. It was clearly an intentional act meant to physically harm protesters. That’s attempted murder. Yet, many internet comments defended the driver and attacked the protest — ‘That’s what you get for blocking the street, lol.’ The ramming took place in a crosswalk while the driver had a red light in an area that is mostly a massive pedestrian plaza with…

John Dennehy

Writing about social movements, international politics and cryptocurrency — often from South America or Asia. Author of Illegal https://amzn.to/38NQveX

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