Meet The Nuns Making CBD

Giving new meaning to “higher worship,” Sister Kate and her order of nuns produce premium CBD products that are popular around the world.

9 min read

This story appears in the October 2019 issue of Green Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

On a small farm in sleepy Merced, Calif., Sister Kate and a small order of nuns calling themselves the Sisters of the Valley are quietly cultivating, extracting, and distributing their CBD products to the tune of $1 million a year.

But Kate and her sisters aren’t ordinary nuns — at least, not in the traditional Catholic sense. These nuns model themselves after the French beguines, women in medieval times who lived and prayed together. Like nuns, Sisters of the Valley wear full habits and worship God but put the Mother Earth at the center of their spirituality. And their ultimate mission, according to Sister Kate, is “to get the most amount of medicine into the hands of the biggest amount of people, and to do it while building spiritual career choices and business ownership for women.”

How did this all come to be? We spoke with Sister Kate — real name, Christine Marie Katherine Meeusen — to find out.

RELATED: What Happens When AI Meets A Cannabis Grinder

What’s your origin story?

My history is pretty traditional. I was born and raised in Milwaukee. I married my second husband at the age of 30 and had three children. I ran a very successful consulting company, but my second marriage left me in total poverty with three middle schoolers. I was just your normal mom and corporate girl, and I went through this bad divorce and came to California.

I was raised with the Catholic nuns — I went to a Catholic school for eight years — and I always admired them. One could go down with the flu and another would take her place. There was nothing that could stop them on their mission. I was very influenced by them. But I never thought about being a nun myself. That didn’t come until the Occupy movement [in 2011]. And it really started [with erroneous reports that the U.S. Congress was declaring pizza a vegetable] and me saying, “Oh, hell, if pizza is a vegetable, then I’m a nun.” And so I went to an Occupy protest as sort of a protest nun.

You were protesting in a nun’s habit?

Yes, the traditional black-and-white. People and the media dubbed me Sister Occupy. I thought I’d had my 15 minutes of fame. [But then I started] delivering cannabis to sick people outside the protests. I really got in touch with my inner nun when I was bringing a guy who had two weeks to live his pot because that’s all he wanted, or bringing somebody who thought he was going to die cannabis plants to tend. And just understanding what the individual needed, comforting them on their way out or helping them find a reason to get out of bed again. I was doing all this through a traditional, old-fashioned collective that was allowed in those times. But I closed that business down because I realized it was never going to really grow. I wanted to get away from THC, and I wanted to get into something that was nonpsychoactive so I could bring in money from the outside world to this poor farm town.

So you weren’t against the psychoactive effects of THC; it was more a financial decision?

Yes, because if you look at the three years of revenue I did with the THC business, only being able to deliver it to the very sick and dying: Our first year was $30,000, our second year was $45,000, our third year was $70,000. Big deal. It will always be small, it will always be local, it will always be in the state [of California] and not reach the rest of the world.

In 2014, I got this great idea: I’m going to focus on a line of products that are less than 0.3 percent THC, made from hemp, so I can ship around the world. Now I just have to figure out how to grow it. I wanted a crop of nonpsychoactive cannabis, so I went to black market growers who I knew were planning an 80-plant grow operation.

I approached these guys and told them I wanted a quarter of the crop to be nonpsychoactive. Of course, they told me I was crazy, and that there was no way they were going to spend their time, nutrients, money, anything, on weed that doesn’t get you high. “You’re insane,” they said.

So I offered to guard it. I pretended I had a gun and had used a gun, even though I never had. And I went out and bought an RV so they would let me have a quarter of the crop. I guarded that crop like a fool. Obviously, about two weeks before harvest, there’s creepers around the property. I woke up to gunshots, and yes, I came very close to being killed. But it did give me the 15 pounds I needed to start my first line. 

And here we are. We did more than a million in sales last year, and there’s only about eight of us working full-time.

Image Credit: Dwight Larks | Sisters of CBD

That’s all from hemp products?

Yes. Our CBD topical salve is our best-seller, and the next most popular is our coconut oil that you drop in your mouth. We work with just CBD. Even though we feel like we’re giving away half the medicine, staying under 0.3 percent THC is a way to get it to [more] people. Now we do ship around the world, except Canada; since they deregulated, they’re not letting anybody else’s products in.

Do you have a store? How do you distribute your product?

We have no brick-and-mortar. We don’t sell our medicine at trade shows. We work from our farm, and we use the post office. 

You have a distinctive and specific method to growing your plant, right?

Every new moon, we start a batch of medicine and do a small spiritual ceremony. For the next two weeks, we go on a plant-based diet while we make that batch. At the full moon, we send a sample out for testing. Once it’s come back from the lab and the potency is right and the THC is low enough, then we have a little ceremony to move the medicines from the kitchen to the shipping room for packaging. Everything is done in prayer and contemplation and with chants and incense and ceremony around the moving of the medicine.

And you use cauldrons to cook your CBD?

They look like badass witches’ cauldrons, but really, they’re soup pots from restaurants. They top out at 130 degrees, and that’s what we needed because we found we could overcook the medicine and actually reduce the CBD potency.

RELATED: Is Hemp A Superfood? This Enterpreneur Bets His Business On It

So tell us a little bit about what the Sisters of the Valley believe.

We’re not affiliated with any traditional religion, mainly because they’re all patriarchal. We are independent. We call ourselves activist, anarchist, New Age, self-declared nuns. More officially, we consider ourselves beguine revivalists. The beguines were spiritual women in the early 1000s in Europe. They believed in women owning private property and would not affiliate themselves with any contemporary religion. They grew hemp and cannabis, and people came from far and wide to get their products because their hemp textiles and their hemp soaps and their cannabis medicines and their plant-based medicines were very effective, and they could be trusted. All the women here have a calling to plants, plant-based medicine, and Mother Earth.

Are you celibate, like Catholic nuns?

No. Our six vows are service to the people, obedience to the cycles of the moon, living simply, activism, chastity, and ecology. When it comes to chastity, we’ve chosen the definition that just privatizes your sexuality. So I can have sex; I just can’t tell you about it, or I’d have to kill you. [Laughs] It’s like that.

What do other nuns think of you?

We have a lot of support from the ex-Catholics. The existing Catholic nuns send us gifts and stand up for us, I think because now we’re four years into this and we’re not such a freak show. We’ve been able to convey that we’re true to our principles. The number one thing we hear from the Catholic nuns is that the work we do as activists couldn’t be done inside the patriarchy — kind of “Go, girl!” Right now, one thing I never thought I’d be doing is writing the Archbishop of Canterbury, but that’s what went on my to-do list today because [the Church of England] is going to be investing in [medical] cannabis businesses, and I think he can be helping us take women in England who are unemployed and get them involved in cannabis.

Take me through a day in the life of a Sister of the Valley.

Everything we do has to pass the test: Does it empower women or not empower women? If we had a very strict routine, we would all find that very disempowering. We very much value a quiet work environment and everybody staying in their own lane. We have lunch together on the farm, and that becomes our opportunity to exchange information or have a meeting if we need one. Other than that, everybody does their own thing. I like to get up and go to the gym in the morning. Sister Alice has fibromyalgia; you’ll never see her before 11. Sister Sarah is the ex-Catholic nun. She’s always up by 7 and she is always at her station by 8:30. But it’s very much an elegant, quiet dance we try to do and use the least amount of words but most amount of communication efficiency.

We have only three rules here. One is that we’re not allowed to show contempt — to anyone but lawmakers. Number two is “No surprises.” Three is “Always be camera-ready,” because we have an awful lot of media that comes here.

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Ethereum’s Hearthstone Rival Sets Volume Record After Blizzard Scandal

Ethereum (ETH) based trading card game Gods Unchained has far outstripped CryptoKitties by volume after a censorship scandal involving game-developer Blizzard.

As blockchain research platform Coin Metrics noted on Nov. 12, the past month has seen activity explode for the game, with interest dwarfing that of CryptoKitties at its 2017 peak.

Data: Gods Unchained volume five times higher

In terms of daily transfers of its non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Gods Unchained was recording almost 500,000 such transfers per day at the end of last week.

By contrast, even at the height of the CryptoKitties craze in late 2017, transfers there totaled less than 100,000.

The data underscores the backlash against Blizzard, the developer behind titles such as World of Warcraft, which last month became embroiled in a PR disaster involving China.

As Cointelegraph reported, the company rescinded prize money from the top player of its Hearthstone game, Chung Ng Wai (aka Blitzchung), after the latter voiced support for the Hong Kong protest movement.

Gods Unchained capitalized on the event, offering replacement winnings and other perks to Chung in a tweet which has now received over 33,000 retweets.

Price of control

As Coin Metrics notes, like Hearthstone, CryptoKitties players had considerably less control of their assets due to centralization.

“…Unlike Hearthstone, Gods Unchained is built on the Ethereum blockchain, and each one of its cards is represented by an ERC-721 token. This means that users truly own their cards and can trade them freely on the open market, similar to any other cryptocurrency,” it summarizes.

Somewhat ironically, Chinese authorities themselves subsequently went public with an endorsement of blockchain technology. 

At the end of last month, a raft of headlines emerged, among which was advice not to speak badly of blockchain or mistake the support for a shift in policy regarding cryptocurrencies.

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Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

In late 2008, an anonymous person named Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the Bitcoin white paper on Halloween. While Nakamoto is clearly the most famous anonymous crypto moniker, in the early days there were many other mysterious individuals scattered throughout the blockchain environment.

Also read: China Ranks 35 Crypto Projects as President Xi Pushes Blockchain

A Group of Anonymous Crypto Influencers

Ten years ago a person or group of people who called themselves Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the most revolutionary technology of our time. No one knows who Nakamoto is and the hunt for Bitcoin’s mysterious creator has encompassed the lives of many. There’s also been a whole slew of individuals who claim to be Nakamoto, but have failed to prove themselves to the greater crypto community. Despite being the most well known anonymous figure within the cryptocurrency circuit, there are many other individuals who have hidden under the cloak of anonymity while contributing to the blockchain ecosystem. The following is an in-depth look at some of the mystery bitcoiners who have become well known for a variety of reasons within the crypto space. A few of these anonymous characters disappeared like Satoshi and some of them are still in the community today.

James A. Donald

James A. Donald was an anonymous Canadian cypherpunk who was the first person to comment on and critique Satoshi’s white paper and theories. Donald argued with Satoshi about scaling on more than one occasion and detailed that he believed Bitcoin needed a layer of account. “We will need a layer of account money on top of the bitcoins, supporting transactions of a hundred-thousandth the size of the smallest coin, and to support anonymity, Chaumian money on top of the account money,” Donald wrote.

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

On November 17, 2008, Nakamoto sent Donald the Bitcoin source code for his review. “I sent you the main files (available by request at the moment, full release soon),” Nakamoto stated at the time. There have been numerous theories that claim Donald and Nakamoto are essentially the same people and the creator was merely talking to himself during the emails. However, most of the James A. Donald theories that tie him to being Nakamoto have been debunked and thrown out the window. James A. Donald has not made spoken to the Bitcoin community in years.

Theymos

The owner of r/bitcoin, bitcointalk.org, and the en.bitcoin.it/ (Wiki) page, Theymos is a well known character in the crypto space. Theymos has been involved with Bitcoin since the very early days and in recent years he’s been accused of mass censorship. The censorship accusations derived from the scaling debate and there’s lots of evidence that suggests Theymos and other r/bitcoin moderators repeatedly blocked all discussions that were for increasing the block size.

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

No one knows how Theymos accumulated so much power with all the bitcoin websites under his thumb. Prior to 2011, there were four r/bitcoin moderators and the owner u/Atlaslgo (now deleted), was wholeheartedly against the censorship of free speech. On July 19, 2011, the Bitcoin community at the time got very upset that Atlaslgo had planned to sell r/bitcoin and he was convinced to give it to the bitcointalk.org owner Theymos. The anonymous r/bitcoin owner Theymos still operates the same Bitcoin-centric web portals to this very day.

Artforz

The infamous Artforz appeared as a pseudonym on bitcointalk.org between July 2010-2012. Laszlo Hanyecz and Artforz were considered the first two people to leverage GPU miners when mining bitcoin. In July 2010, Artforz showed the world his ‘Artfarm’ and at the time the miner said he generated 1,700 BTC in six days. “I had 24 (Radeon) 5970s up until about late summer ’11,” Artforz told the Bitcoin community on February 11, 2012.

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

Between the summer of 2010 and the last time the community saw Artforz in 2012, he was accused of commanding most of the BTC hashrate during those years. For instance, on October 3, 2010, Theymos explained that the developer’s Artfarm could be processing 20-30% of the hashrate. However, on August 25, 2011, Artforz told the community another story and said he only captured roughly 1% of the network’s processing power. Artforz wrote the community for the last time that February in 2012, and no one’s heard from him since.

Sunny King

Another anonymous person with an interesting cryptocurrency history is the software developer, Sunny King, creator of Peercoin. King is known as the “grandfather” of the consensus algorithm proof-of-stake (PoS) because Peercoin was the first hybrid proof-of-work (PoW) and PoS system. The unknown blockchain engineer not only created Peercoin but he also developed the Primecoin project, which uses a PoW mechanism while it searches for prime numbers at the same time.

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

King’s Peercoin PoS concept has inspired many other blockchain projects that use the PoS consensus algorithm. The Peercoin creator disappeared for quite some time but has recently returned with another blockchain project called Vee.tech.

Rat4

After Peercoin was produced people attempting to harness PoS became very prominent. In early 2014, the anonymous developer called Rat4 designed a ‘PoS version 2,’ which was the first to combine staking with a multi-pool. Rat4 and Blackcoin kicked off the idea and many other PoS coins followed suit. According to the Blackcoin Github repository, Rat4’s Blackcoin codebase has been forked more times than most coins today. After Blackcoin there are now hundreds of PoS coins based on two major types of consensus: BFT PoS and chain-based PoS. The BFT method uses validators that are randomly assigned while chain-based uses an algorithm that pseudo-randomly selects a validator during a pre-selected time slot.

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

Brandon Chez

For a number of years, the owner of Coinmarketcap.com, Brandon Chez, kept an extremely low profile until he was doxxed by the Wall Street Journal on January 23, 2018. Since the site was created Coinmarketcap.com swiftly became a top digital currency website but no one really knew who was behind the web portal. This was until Chez decided to delist the exchange rates of South Korean crypto trading platforms on January 7, 2018. Chez recently sat down for a fireside chat with the anonymous Sunny King during The Capital conference. Behind a curtain, the two silhouetted figures discussed Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus, bitcoin, and quantum computing.

Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space
Brandon Chez and Peercoin creator Sunny King doing an interview this week at The Capital cryptocurrency and blockchain event.

Cobra

An individual named Cobra is the co-owner of the web portal bitcoin.org and a very controversial figure in the space. To this day, Cobra can be seen on Reddit forums and has a Twitter account as well. His commentary over the last year or so has been called “bi-polar” because he has complimented BCH on various occasions and other times snuffed the network. “Increased my holdings of Bitcoin Cash today,” Cobra explained to his Twitter followers.

At one time, Cobra asked the community and fellow bitcoin.org contributors to change certain statements Satoshi Nakamoto made in the Bitcoin white paper. Another time the anonymous individual suggested an immediate change to BTC’s PoW algorithm as a solution to growing mining pools. Cobra is still tweeting conundrums to this very day and remains a well known anon within the crypto industry.

There are a few other anonymous members of the crypto community that have affected the environment in either a positive or negative way. However, there is never an identity to blame or even congratulate in real life as many of these individuals, like Satoshi Nakamoto, have either disappeared or continue to remain unknown.

What do you think about the anonymous and mysterious people involved with the digital currency environment? Why do you think these individuals become anons? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, The Capital, metzdowd.com, and Pixabay.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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The Garage is a new blockchain-focused incubator based in Paris

Meet The Garage, a new incubator in Paris that is all about blockchain projects. Co-founded by Cyril Paglino from Starchain Capital, Fabrice Le Fessant from Dune Network and Oussama Ammar from The Family, the company will support blockchain startups, help big companies launch blockchain projects and educate engineers about blockchain development.

The Garage is a sort of puzzle made out of multiple pieces. First, it wants to create a community of startups and support those startups in different ways.

“We copy and paste The Family’s model, which means that it’s built on trust. We take 5% of equity after six months if the startup and The Garage are happy,” The Garage director Damien Daübe said during a small press conference yesterday.

In exchange for 5%, startups that are part of The Garage community get some help when it comes to product, engineering, press relations, marketing, etc. Eventually, The Garage wants to tap its network of investors to make some introductions and help them get some funding and traction.

There are already five startups participating in the program, such as Ipocamp, Ticket721 and Elite Chain. Eventually, The Garage wants to help 25 startups per year. The Family receives a lot of applications. You could imagine that The Family might recommend The Garage to some of them.

But taking some equity isn’t going to generate revenue from day one. The Garage is also going to work with Dune Network, the new blockchain from OCamlPro. According to The Block, OCamlPro was working with the Tezos Foundation but decided to part ways, create a fork and start a new blockchain.

The Garage is going to work with big corporate clients on some blockchain projects. This could generate some revenue much more quickly.

Finally, The Garage is also going to teach software engineers about blockchain development. The company will host with free lessons in the evening. There will be some online resources as well.

All of this is going to happen in a recently renovated building that looks like a hybrid between an Apple Store and a movie set. If you’re into concrete, metal and industrial design, it’s a beautiful place. It was mostly used for fashion week events until The Garage started renting it.

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E360: Success Is About More Than Revenue

Each year, the Entrepreneur 360 list celebrates well-rounded companies that are growing, thriving, and building legacies. Here’s how we identify them.

4 min read

This story appears in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What does a successful company look like? Marc Randolph offered an answer earlier in this issue. He’s the cofounder and first CEO of Netflix, and he suggested that every entrepreneur ask themselves a fundamental question: Why are we doing the things we do? “If people are doing this because they think they’re going to be rich? Not going to happen,” he said. “If they think they’re doing it because they’re going to be famous? Not going to happen. You have to do this because fundamentally, you love solving problems.”

This is true — and it’s also a good way to set expectations. “Solving problems” is simply the only thing an entrepreneur can control. Nobody can engineer wealth or fame, but we can devote ourselves to the grinding, occasionally thrilling, deeply satisfying task of picking apart problems and engineering solutions. Our expectations should be set there. Our goal is to fix things. And if we do it well, a company will be born out of our ideas. (And then, that company will create even more problems to solve!)

RELATED: How to Spend Less Time in the Office and Make More Money​​​​​​​

Randolph’s answer is also important because it sets up what comes next. If you create a company with the sole intention of amassing wealth, you’ll create a hungry, rabid, unstable entity. If you create a company with the intention of attracting fame, you’ll create a top-down organization that serves only your own needs. But if you create a company to solve a problem, you’ll attract people who are similarly minded, and you’ll all push each other to improve. This is the kind of company we want to celebrate. It’s the reason Entrepreneur 360 exists.

At Entrepreneur, we believe in building companies that last. We want to help entrepreneurs create legacies. And this is why we designed Entrepreneur 360 the way we did. It doesn’t just look at growth percentages or revenue figures, because we know those digits tell only a small part of a company’s story. (Think of the last startup that flashed around its 5,000 percent annual growth and hundreds of millions in revenue — revenue that, we’ll all generally come to learn, masked millions more in losses.) Instead, we took on the challenge of weighing the hard stuff: We looked at valuation and growth, yes, but also a company’s impact on its community and industry, the quality of its innovation, and the strength of its leadership. We wanted to see not just what a company’s output is, but the quality of its insides. We wanted to understand its team as much as its term sheets.

RELATED: How a Privacy-Centered Social Media Platform Acquired Millions of Customers With No Paid Marketing​​​​​​​

To do this, we asked for a lot of confidential information (and yes, we’re keeping it confidential). We did a lot of research. We built a process that evaluated companies holistically, not just by dollar signs. And when we crunched the numbers, these companies rose to the top. They are the exemplars of well-rounded companies — the ones that look at business from a 360-degree view.

Our hope is that by celebrating companies this way, we help change the narrative about what success looks like. You’ll have heard of some of these companies, but many others fly under the radar. They haven’t sought fame or fortune, so to speak. But they deserve the recognition and the revenue.

That, after all, is what it means to be a problem solver. You’re in the trenches. You’re focused on the task at hand. And then, if you do it right, every once in a while, you’ll stick your head up from the ground and be reminded that you’re a winner. Then you’ll get back to work.

Check out this year’s Entrepreneur 360 list and accompanying stories here

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City grandee Martin Gilbert new chairman of Revolut

Challenger Banks

The banking challenger has made a number of high-profile appointments across its senior management team in recent months.

City grandee Martin Gilbert new chairman of Revolut

Image source: Revolut

Martin Gilbert, former Co-CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen, has been appointed as the new chairman of Revolut

Gilbert, who cofounded Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983, which later merged with Standard Life, will take up the post at the start of January 2020 and has been “working closely” with Revolut’s CEO Nik Storonsky since March 2019 in an “advisory capacity”.

Revolut has made a number of strides forward in recent months including showing strong revenue growth in its latest numbers. It also has made a number of key appointments across its senior management team in recent months. Richard Davies, the former COO of HSBC Commercial Banking, joined as the company’s new Chief Operating Officer in July, while Dave MacLean, the former Finance Director at Metro Bank, joined in October as Chief Financial Officer. 

It signed deals with Visa and Mastercard, expanded into Australia and Singapore.

Nik Storonsky, Founder & CEO of Revolut said: “As we prepare to scale the business globally it’s crucial our senior team has a blend of forward-thinking creativity and experience. Martin is a respected veteran of the financial world, and brings unparalleled experience to Revolut. His knowledge will prove invaluable as we continue our mission to become the world’s first truly global bank.”

Martin Gilbert said: “Revolut is a unique proposition in the digital banking world, and I’m pleased to be joining the Board at such an important stage in its development. Nik and the team have made great strides towards building the bank of the future, and I’m proud to add my deep experience of Board governance and corporate growth to the Board as Revolut continues to expand on a global scale.”

Revolut launched in 2015 Revolut and now says it has eight million customers worldwide.

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With New Crypto Hardware Wallet, Evercoin Takes Aim at Trezor and Ledger

Evercoin announced the launch of Evercoin 2 today, Nov. 12, at New York Consensus Invest Summit. Evercoin claims that its new wallet is the safest hardware wallet currently on the market, providing users with an end-to-end encrypted ownership solution for cryptocurrency storage. 

Powered by YubiKey 5ci —  a security key designed to deliver strong hardware-backed authentication for iPhones and other devices — Evercoin 2 contains a hardware wallet no bigger than a house key. This is the first hardware wallet to use YubiKey 5ci for iPhone and USB-C for android devices.

The competition

“Unlike hardware wallets such as Ledger or Trezor, Evercoin 2 uses YubiKey to provide 360-degree internet protection. It’s designed to bring cryptocurrency adoption to the masses,” Evercoin co-founder Miko Matsumura told Cointelegraph.

Trezor and Ledger did not respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. 

Evercoin currently supports 20 digital assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Users are able to hold their own assets, while the built-in non-custodial exchange allows them to swap popular cryptocurrencies. Users are also able to link their bank accounts in Evercoin to exchange U.S. Dollars with cryptocurrencies and vice versa. 

The Ledger Nano S supports 22 digital assets and features a unique display screen to provide an added layer of protection when making payments, letting users to confirm the amount transacted and correct address. However, Ledger does not provide a built-in-exchange.And while Trezor wallets generally support over 1000 coins, these also do not contain an exchange to swap cryptos.

While Evercoin already functions as a mobile wallet app with a built-in exchange, Evercoin 2 is secured by hardware that is fully controlled by the user. This means that users get all the financial services expected from a service like Coinbase, but now have the option of keeping their private keys safe in a hardware device. 

The expert take

With these features in mind, John Jefferies, chief financial analyst at blockchain security company CipherTrace, thinks that Evercoin 2 is not, strictly speaking, a hardware wallet because it is an authentication device rather than a piece of hardware that physically stores private keys on the device. “It would be more accurate to describe the Evercoin wallet as a mobile software wallet that is protected by a hardware-based second factor,” he told Cointelegraph.

Matsumura pointed out that Jefferies’ definition is a correct stricter use of the term, but asserts that the current implementation goes beyond just an additional authentication factor because the key is being encrypted using on-key APIs rather than just the One-Time-Password features of the YubiKey.

Nonetheless, Evercoin 2 contains unique features that are intended to provide enhanced security through easy-to-understand procedures. 

For instance, if a user loses their private key, they can go into the Evercoin app and show their driver’s license to get it back or to receive a new one. This is unlike many exchanges and wallet apps, where losing a private key can mean that crypto is lost forever. However, if a third party is able to retrieve a user’s private key, there is the concern that the key may not be fully private anymore.

According to blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, misplacing private keys has resulted in the permanent loss of 2-3 million Bitcoin (BTC). While crypto users are often told to write down their 24-word private key phrase on a piece of paper, it’s almost impossible to ensure that this paper will remain safely stored and free from damage. 

“The thing to understand is what happens if you lose the physical hardware device,” noted Matsamura. “We then will need to recover your account using standard account recovery procedures from an Evercoin backup. The standard procedure involves a password to recover, but if you forget that, you can show your ID and recover with that.” 

Matsumura also claims that because the YubiKey 5ci functions intuitively, users can access their crypto in a safe and familiar way. He said:

“The Evercoin solution works like a hotel key —  you push the key in to your phone to unlock it, and when you pull it out it automatically relocks. It’s a simple, known concept to grasp. When you buy a house or a car, you always have ownership of key. You should have the same thing to protect your account of bitcoin, which is what comes out of YubiKey.”  

In addition, Evercoin 2 users will be able to make use of all of their YukiKey’s other functionality, such as securing email and social media accounts. Similarly, existing owners of a YubiKey 5ci can add hardware wallet storage to their existing device by downloading the Evercoin wallet app.

How Safe Is It, Really? 

While these features make Evercoin unique, hardware wallets are still prone to vulnerabilities that can occur when loading boot code, updating firmware, intercepting chip-to-chip communications and physical attacks.

According to Jefferies from CipherTrace, a best practice would be to have any type of hardware wallet certified by an independent lab like UL Labs to ensure that regulatory standards are met. While certification can be expensive, ranging anywhere between $100-200k per device, The Federal Information Protection Standards provides standards for encryption that is required by the U.S. Government. 

“I encourage hardware wallet vendors to pursue FIPS 140-3 or FIPS 140-4 to demonstrate that they have properly implemented the encryption in software and designed tamper-proof hardware,” Jefferies told Cointelegraph. Unfortunately, none have done so just yet.”

Jefferies also noted that the two leading hardware wallets, Ledger and Trezor, have both been hacked and have since been hardened. 

“In lieu of FIPS certification, I would select a hardware wallet that has a bug bounty program and has been available for sale long enough for penetration testers to have time to try to hack it,” said Jefferies.

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Foam Swab Manufacturer Super Brush LLC Exhibits at the 2019 COMPAMED International Trade Fair

Super Brush Logo

Super Brush LLC

US based Super Brush LLC travels to Düsseldorf, Germany this month for the COMPAMED International Trade Fair, to be held November 18th-21st, 2019.

Super Brush offers extensive experience necessary to design a foam swab to meet specific kit, package or application requirements.”

— Sales Manager, Diane Henry

SPRINGFIELD, MA, UNITED STATES, November 12, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — US based Super Brush LLC travels to Düsseldorf, Germany this month for the COMPAMED International Trade Fair, to be held November 18th-21st, 2019. COMPAMED is held parallel with the MEDICA tradeshow. These shows collectively draw the attendance of more than 5,100 exhibitors from 70 countries in 17 halls.

The team will show some of Super Brush’s 3,000+ lint-free, durable foam swabs that have provided critical solutions to cleanroom, pharmaceutical, medical, diagnostic, dental, veterinarian and additive manufacturing industries.

Super Brush offers extensive experience necessary to design a foam swab to meet specific kit, package or application requirements. Their swabs are engineered with no adhesives, so they will not contaminate fluid being applied. In addition, each mitt is made with durable, lint-free foam.

Super Brush can customize their swabs with:
• Foam mitts that are hydrophobic, hydrophilic, soft or coarse
• Overall-lengths ranging from 50 millimeters (mm) to over 2.5 meters
• Specified fluid delivery capacity
• Mitts as small as 1.7mm in diameter
• Colored handles for branding opportunities

For more information meet with the Super Brush team at hall 8A/C33 on November 18th-21st, 2019 from 10:00 to 18:00 or visit them on the web at www.superbrush.com or by email sales@superbrush.com.

For customized swab needs, talk with the team, or contact development@superbrush.com.

About Super Brush

Super Brush LLC specializes in the design, development, and manufacturing of foam swabs and applicators. From medical applicators to cleanroom-compatible swabs, Super Brush provides industries with technically advanced foam swabs for precision cleaning of laboratory equipment and delicate surfaces, collected samples, removing excess materials, applying lubricants, solvents, adhesives, topical antiseptics and a host of other solutions. ISO 13485:2016 certified, FDA registered.

Michael Lecrenski
Super Brush LLC
+1 413-543-1442
email us here
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How to Build a Crew That Will Help You Navigate Uncharted Waters

How do you build the right culture and mindset to help you achieve your ultimate goals?

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Charting the course of a business toward certain success might seem simple to someone sitting on the docks, but the view’s a lot different from the captain’s quarters. The only thing you can count on is rough seas between here and where you’re trying to go, so you’d better assemble a crew suited for the task ahead and a culture to ensure they’re as invested in getting to the other side as you are.

On this episode, Entrepreneur Network partner Jordan Harbinger talks to someone who’s assembled many crews and formed many company cultures: Ben Horowitz, co-founder and CEO of venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz and author of New York Times bestseller The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and his latest, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture.

Watch a preview of the episode above.

Related: Why Banks Pay People to Rob Them

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No one knows how effective digital therapies are, but a new tool from Elektra Labs aims to change that

Depending on which study you believe, the wearable and digital health market could be worth anywhere from $30 billion to nearly $90 billion in the next six years.

If the numbers around the size of the market are a moving target, just think about how to gauge the validity and efficacy of the products that are behind all of those billions of dollars in spending.

Andy Coravos, the co-founder of Elektra Labs, certainly has.

Coravos, whose parents were a dentist and a nurse practitioner, has been thinking about healthcare for a long time. After a stint in private equity and consulting, she took a coding bootcamp and returned to the world she was raised in by taking an internship with the digital therapeutics company Akili Interactive.

Coravos always thought she wanted to be in healthcare, but there was one thing holding her back, she says. “I’m really bad with blood.”

That’s why digital therapeutics made sense. The stint at Akili led to a position at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an entrepreneur in residence, which led to the creation of Elektra Labs roughly two years ago.

Now the company is launching Atlas, which aims to catalog the biometric monitoring technologies that are flooding the consumer health market.

These monitoring technologies, and the applications layered on top of them, have profound implications for consumer health, but there’s been no single place to gauge how effective they are, or whether the suggestions they’re making about how their tools can be used are even valid. Atlas and Elektra are out to change that. 

The FDA has been accelerating its clearances for software-driven products like the atrial fibrillation detection algorithm on the Apple Watch and the ActiGraph activity monitors. And big pharma companies like Roche, Pfizer and Novartis have been investing in these technologies to collect digital biomarker data and improve clinical trials.

Connected technologies could provide better care, but the technologies aren’t without risks. Specifically, the accuracy of data and the potential for bias inherent in algorithms that were created using flawed data sets mean there’s a lot of oversight that still needs to be done, and consumers and pharmaceutical companies need to have a source of easily accessible data about the industry.

”The increase in FDA clearances for digital health products coupled with heavy investment in technology has led to accelerated adoption of connected tools in both clinical trials and routine care. However, this adoption has not come without controversy,” said Coravos in a statement. “During my time as an Entrepreneur in Residence in the FDA’s Digital Health Unit, it became clear to me that like pharmacies which review, prepare, and dispense drug components, our healthcare system needs infrastructure to review, prepare, and dispense connected technologies components.”

The analogy to a pharmacy isn’t an exact fit, because Elektra Labs currently doesn’t prepare or dispense any of the treatments that it reviews. But Atlas is clearly the first pillar that the digital therapeutics industry needs as it looks to supplant pharmaceuticals as treatments for some of the largest and most expensive chronic conditions (like diabetes).

Coravos and here team interviewed more than 300 professionals as they built the Atlas toolkit for pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare stakeholders seeking a one-stop shop for all their digital healthcare data needs. Like a drug label, or nutrition label, Atlas publishes labels that highlight issues around the usability, validation, utility, security and data governance of a product.

In an article in Quartz earlier this year, Coravos made her pitch for Elektra Labs and the types of things it would monitor for the nascent digital therapeutics industry. It includes the ability to handle adverse events involving digital therapies by providing a single source where problems could be reported; a basic description for consumers of how the products work; an assessment of who should actually receive digital therapies, based on the assessment of how well certain digital products perform with certain users; a description of a digital therapy’s provenance and how it was developed; a database of the potential risks associated with the product; and a record of the product’s security and privacy features.

As the projections on market size show, the problem isn’t going to get any smaller. As Google’s recent acquisition bid for Fitbit and the company’s reported partnership with Ascension on “Project Nightingale” to collect and digitize more patient data shows, the intersection of technology and healthcare is a huge opportunity for technology companies.

“Google is investing more. Apple is investing more… More and more of these devices are getting FDA cleared and they’re becoming not just wellness tools but healthcare tools,” says Coravos of the explosion of digital devices pitching potential health and wellness benefits.

Elektra Labs is already working with undisclosed pharmaceutical companies to map out the digital therapeutic environment and identify companies that might be appropriate partners for clinical trials or acquisition targets in the digital market.

“The FDA is thinking about these digital technologies, but there were a lot of gaps,” says Coravos. And those gaps are what Elektra Labs is designed to fill. 

At its core, the company is developing a catalog of the digital biomarkers that modern sensing technologies can track and how effective different products are at providing those measurements. The company is also on the lookout for peer-reviewed published research or any clinical trial data about how effective various digital products are.

Backing Coravos and her vision for the digital pharmacy of the future are venture capital investors, including Maverick Ventures, Arkitekt Ventures, Boost VC, Founder Collective, Lux Capital, SV Angel and Village Global.

Alongside several angel investors, including the founders and chief executives from companies including: PillPack, Flatiron Health, National Vision, Shippo, Revel and Verge Genomics, the venture investors pitched in for a total of $2.9 million in seed funding for Coravos’ latest venture.

“Timing seems right for what Elektra is building,” wrote Brandon Reeves, an investor at Lux Capital, which was one of the first institutional investors in the company. “We have seen the zeitgeist around privacy data in applications on mobile phones and now starting to have the convo in the public domain about our most sensitive data (health).” 

If the validation of efficacy is one key tenet of the Atlas platform, then security is the other big emphasis of the company’s digital therapeutic assessment. Indeed, Coravos believes that the two go hand-in-hand. As privacy issues proliferate across the internet, Coravos believes that the same troubles are exponentially compounded by internet-connected devices that are monitoring the most sensitive information that a person has — their own health records.

In an article for Wired, Koravos wrote:

Our healthcare system has strong protections for patients’ biospecimens, like blood or genomic data, but what about our digital specimens? Due to an increase in biometric surveillance from digital tools—which can recognize our face, gait, speech, and behavioral patterns—data rights and governance become critical. Terms of service that gain user consent one time, upon sign-up, are no longer sufficient. We need better social contracts that have informed consent baked into the products themselves and can be adjusted as user preferences change over time.

We need to ensure that the industry has strong ethical underpinning as it brings these monitoring and surveillance tools into the mainstream. Inspired by the Hippocratic Oath—a symbolic promise to provide care in the best interest of patients—a number of security researchers have drafted a new version for Connected Medical Devices.

With more effective regulations, increased commercial activity, and strong governance, software-driven medical products are poised to change healthcare delivery. At this rate, apps and algorithms have the opportunity to augment doctors and complement—or even replace—drugs sooner than we think.

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