More than 1,000 people have so far signed up to the pro-Trump cryptocurrency magacoin, including conservative media personalities and Republican figures, the Guardian can reveal.
The news comes after poor security configuration in a website associated with magacoin exposed the email addresses, passwords, cryptocurrency wallet addresses and IP addresses of users who have bought in to what its promoters describe as the “digital currency for the MAGA community”.
The data also reveals that the lion’s share of the cryptocurrency so far produced has been allocated to the self-described creator of magacoin, a pro-Trump consultant who owns an LLC associated with the cryptocurrency, and a Super Pac associated with the same consultant.
The information, provided to the Guardian by a self-described hacktivist, unveils the reality around the cryptocurrency whose creators say it is made “by America First Conservatives out of frustration with ‘Losing the Election’ and a desire to fight back by supporting MAGA candidates”.
The vast majority of those sign-ups have only 100 magacoins, the amount offered free in initial publicity to early sign-ups who can claim their share of “75 million MAGACOINS”. The website, echoing widespread rightwing falsehoods about the 2020 election result, says it chose that number “to represent the 75 million voters who were disenfranchised on November 3rd, 2020”.
Other users, however, have greater holdings, and at least some of them may have taken advantage of the cryptocurrency’s Ambassador Program, in which promoters are offering 1,000 free magacoins to approved radio hosts, media personalities, bloggers and grassroots groups who sign up to help promote the currency to their audience.
One account with 1,500 magacoins is associated with the email address of the rightwing broadcaster John Rush, whose Rush To Reason program airs on Denver’s KXL conservative talk station.
Rush recently played host on his program to Marc Zelinka, whose Littleton, Colorado-based used car company, Carmart Inc, applied in April for a trademark for magacoin. Zelinka also administers the magacoin Facebook page, and is credited in conservative social media and on Rush’s show as the creator of magacoin.
Another email address is associated with the Youth Federalist Initiative, a Colorado Republican party-associated effort at youth engagement. The email suggests that the cryptocurrency is in the possession of Evan Underwood, a Colorado Republican activist, podcaster and chair of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans.
Magacoin has been connected in reporting by the Daily Dot with a North Carolina-based Trumpist political operative, Reilly O’Neal, who is the principal of a North Carolina LLC, Magacoin Inc, which was registered last April.
In a telephone conversation, Zelinka, the self-described creator of the cryptocurrency, said that “I don’t control it any more”, and that he had passed the cryptocurrency project entirely to O’Neal.
The Guardian has discovered more extensive connections between O’Neal and the cryptocurrency.
Last month, a Super Pac called Magacoin Victory Fund was registered with the Federal Election Commission. The Super Pac’s main mailing address is a post office box in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is also associated with several other O’Neal-controlled companies and political entities.
According to North Carolina state records, other companies headquartered at the PO box and solely controlled by O’Neal include Rightside Lists LLC and Mustard Seed Media LLC – part owner of Big League Politics.
On magacoin’s front page and in promotional emails it announces that “10 Million MAGACOINS have been donated to the MAGACOIN Victory Fund, a SuperPAC created to support MAGA candidates across the country who will fight for individual rights, religious liberty, protecting the unborn, the 2nd amendment, freedom of speech and the entire America First Agenda”.
The records reflect this gift, with 10 million magacoins associated with an email hosted at the domain of O’Neal’s political consultancy, Tidewater Strategies. Another Tidewater email address is associated with holdings of just over 2m magacoins.
Another 2m magacoins are associated with Zelinka’s phone number and an old email address of Zelinka’s which alludes to his used car dealing.
Previously, O’Neal worked on several North Carolina and national political campaigns, including the campaign of the pro-Trump former judge and accused paedophile Roy Moore.
His political consultancy, Tidewater Strategies, received large sums from mostly Trumpist Republican candidates in the last election cycle, many of whom failed to win office.
O’Neal also reportedly has a stake in the far-right conspiracy-minded website Big League Politics (BLP) through another of his companies, Mustard Seed Media.
That publication’s editor, Patrick Howley, was discredited on the witness stand in the trial of leftwing activists about whom Howley and others fomented conspiracy theories, in order to shift blame from James Fields after he murdered Heather Heyer after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
BLP recently ran a major story on magacoin, promising that the cryptocurrency would “create an ecosystem where pro-Trump individuals can support pro-Trump businesses and candidates without using a financial instrument that benefits the globalists”.
The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.
Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.
Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.
This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.
“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.
“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”
Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.
She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.
“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.
The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®
Charles River is expanding its testing capabilities in Ballina as part of its partnership with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.
Contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories is planning an €8m site expansion in Ballina to facilitate batch release testing for Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.
The expansion at the Mayo site will create an additional 1,500 sq m of lab space and 90 highly skilled jobs in the area over the next three years.
The company provides longstanding partners AstraZeneca with outsourced regulated safety and development support on a range of treatments and vaccines, including testing and facilitating the deployment of Vaxzevria for Covid-19 and Fluenz for seasonal infleunza.
The latest investment follows earlier expansions at the Ballina site and Charles River recently announced plans to establish a dedicated laboratory space to handle testing of SARS-CoV-2 and other similar pathogens that cause human disease.
“We are incredibly proud of the transformational changes we have implemented on site and the role that Charles River has played in supporting the safe and timely roll-out of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine,” said Liam McHale, site director for Charles River Ballina.
“Throughout the pandemic, our site remained fully operational while keeping our employees safe and having a positive impact on human health. Our expanded facility will provide us with the increased capacity needed to continue the essential services we provide to our clients.”
Charles River acquired the Ballina facility, which focuses on biologics testing, in 2002. The company employs 230 people at its two facilities in Ireland, including the Mayo site and a site in Dublin, established in 2017, which serves as the EMEA and APAC headquarters for the company’s microbial solutions division.
IDA Ireland is supporting the expansion. Mary Buckley, executive director of the agency, said Charles River is an “employer of long standing” in Co Mayo.
“The enhancement of its product lines and the development of additional capability at the Ballina facility is most welcome,” she added. “Today’s announcement is strongly aligned to IDA Ireland’s regional pillar and its continued commitment to winning jobs and investment in regional locations.”
Dan Wygal, country president for AstraZeneca Ireland, added: “Our Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, undergoes extremely robust safety and quality testing prior to becoming available for patients. We are committed to bringing safe, effective vaccines to Ireland and other markets as quickly as possible, and Charles River will continue to be an important partner in this regard.”