Loren Steffy, Award-Winning Author and Columnist

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Texas Monthly  article, August 2014.
In my latest Texas Monthly column, I take a look at the state's hottest new cottage industry: Bitcoins. The virtual currency took the online world by storm a few years ago, and while it still has plenty of skeptics, Texas has become one of the leaders in developing rules and applications for virtual currency:

Texas," says Jeremy Kandah, "is the most Bitcoin-friendly state in the union." Kandah, a member of the Austin venture capital group Bit-Angels Network, has his reasons for asserting that the Lone Star State is bullish on the headline-making virtual currency. BitAngels, after all, is in the business of convincing Bitcoin-related start-ups that Texas is where they should be turning for capital. But once you start paying attention, you notice that Kandah's enthusiasm is more than just your typical chamber-of-commerce boosterism. Texas dwarfs even Silicon Valley as a Bitcoin pioneer, which is one reason Kandah, like many others who want a piece of tech's new big thing, recently moved here from California. "We have one of the biggest concentrations in the country of Bitcoin users and Bitcoin technology companies," says David Johnston, the managing director of BitAngels' sister company, the Decentralized Applications Fund. Why is Texas so attached to Bitcoin? Our hands-off regulatory philosophy, which could encourage entrepreneurs to take a chance on a virtual currency, likely has something to do with it. And there's no doubt that the state's libertarian leanings play a role; embracing Bitcoin is the ultimate statement of disdain for the Federal Reserve, the bete noire of Texas's Libertarian party standard-bearer Ron Paul. As Stockman said in an online video, "Digital currency's more about freedom. . . . Freedom to choose what you do with your money and freedom to keep your money without people influencing it by printing money or through regulation." Texas Bitcoin Association president Paul Snow likes to throw around libertarian boilerplate phrases like "the crumbling, diminishing dollar."
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Texas Monthly

Enbridge's Cross-Border Pipeline End Run Points To Keystone Protests' Futility

One of the biggest flaws in environmentalists' strategy of attacking the Keystone Pipeline has been the assumption that if the pipeline isn't built, global warming will be reduced somehow. That, as I've explained before, isn't likely to happen. But it's also becoming increasingly clear that blocking the pipeline won't even stop the flow of heavy crude from the Canadian oil sand to the U.S.


Enbridge building in Edmonton, Alberta(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Recent Books

My latest book, The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, was released in April, 2012. This is a very personal story for me, but also one I think you'll find interesting. In some ways, it's a book I wrote a little more each time someone asked me the seemingly simple question: "What does your father do?"

View the video below the see the reconstruction of the Kyrenia Ship

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  Interested in knowing more about the latest developments in energy and nautical archaeology? I've compiled two magazines on Flipboard, Energy Insights and Nautical Discoveries. They collect news from around the web, as well as my own posts on these subjects. If you're already a Flipboard user, you can simply search on the magazines' names at the login page. If you have any news links to add to either magazine, or you have any ideas for how to improve them, please let me know.

  Nautical Discoveries  Energy Insights
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