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Downtown

Some hot tips on the heat

Be careful out there and look out for each other.

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The weather is going to continue to be nasty hot. Please hold off on yard work and check in on neighbors. If needed the city has opened two cooling stations today to assist residents with the forecasted high temperatures. City cooling stations are opened when the temperature and/or heat index is expected to reach or exceed 95 degrees.

The City will open a cooling station today, Monday, July 25 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Department of Social Services, 900 East Marshall Street.

The City will open a cooling station today, Monday, July 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Southside Community Services Center, 4100 Hull Street Road.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

Downtown

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU holiday donation drive now underway

Community members can drop off new wish list items on December 16, 18, and 19.

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Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is once again offering the community a chance to elevate the patient experience through holiday donations that go directly toward the child life team.

This year, the community is invited to support CHoR through a number of ways, ranging from donating in-demand, brand-new toys to donating funds that will directly impact the child life team. Child life at CHoR is comprised of 13 specialists trained in helping children and families adjust and thrive in the hospital setting.

How to give:

  • Online cash donation: Select child life in the gift designation field at chfrichmond.org/donate.
  • Mail checks: Please note: child life in the memo and send it to Children’s Hospital Foundation, Box 980693, Richmond, VA 23298.
  • Mail Amazon, Walmart, and Target gift cards: Mail to Child Life Department, Box 980202, Richmond, VA 23298-0202.
  • Purchase wish list items: Visit wish lists on chrichmond.org/childlife to purchase items online from Amazon and have them shipped directly and safely to child life.
  • Drop off items on Dec. 16, 18, and 19: Shop the child life wish lists and deliver donations to Children’s Emergency Department Street Entrance (1213 E Clay Street) on the brick pavers.
    • December 16, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    • December 18, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • December 19, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

“Even with updated guidelines, there are still so many creative and meaningful ways to give back and make this holiday season as special as possible for children and their families,” said Emily Toalson, director of major gifts for Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Every donation makes a difference, and we encourage you to consider helping us spread the holiday joy through one of our many ways to give.”

Child life at CHoR accepts all new toys and items from brands like Fisher Price, Little People, Playskool, Oball, or Melissa and Doug. Additionally, CHoR is unable to accept used items, religious or political items, violent toys (i.e., nerf guns), dollar store items, or holiday-themed items.

To learn more about the impact of your gift or how to donate, visit chrichmond.org/childlife.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Downtown

Virginia cryptocurrency investors want lawmakers to create regulation

Virginia cryptocurrency investors hope lawmakers will consider regulatory policies for the digital asset industry in the 2023 General Assembly, saying a framework is needed with the increasing number of investors and recent market volatility.

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By Chloe Hawkins 

Virginia cryptocurrency investors hope lawmakers will consider regulatory policies for the digital asset industry in the 2023 General Assembly, saying a framework is needed with the increasing number of investors and recent market volatility.

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11. It was one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, valued at $32 billion in January. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried released a statement on Twitter, saying he was “shocked to see things unravel the way they did.” 

The company did not have enough emergency reserves to float the “bank run” of customer withdrawals, which led to bankruptcy, according to a statement released by Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Massachusetts. Lynch is the chairman of the Task Force on Financial Technology. 

At least $1 billion of FTX customer assets “are currently missing,” according to the release, though multiple reports include the total could be much higher.

FTX was headquartered offshore, and Lynch pointed to the need for “thoughtful regulation” to protect U.S. investors and maintain stability in the digital assets industry. 

Only a few Virginia bills related to cryptocurrency have been previously introduced. Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, introduced House Joint Resolution 153 in 2018. The measure would have created a one-year subcommittee of 13 members — legislative and nonlegislative members — to study the potential implementation of blockchain technology in things such as government record keeping, delivery services and information storage, and also to study how blockchain technology could stimulate growth in Virginia’s information technology industry. 

Del. Karrie Delaney, D-Fairfax, introduced a bill this year to create a two-year, 20-member subcommittee to identify opportunities and establish a potential regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. 

The Virginia Blockchain Council is a tax exempt trade organization based in Central Virginia. Its mission is to build community through education and blockchain-based web technologies, according to its website. The organization was founded in 2017 by executive director Greg Leffel, and has approximately 1,600 members, he said. 

Cryptocurrency trade groups organized in response to the rise of investors, according to Leffel. He said he would like to see the General Assembly tackle sandbox regulation. 

Sandbox regulation ultimately provides more consumer protections. It improves business models in an isolated software environment such as cryptocurrency, according to the Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA. The FCA regulates financial services firms and financial markets in the U.K.

Policy such as sandbox regulation helps companies innovate but with oversight. It can build cooperation between the regulator and the companies, according to FCA.

At least 20 other states including Maryland have passed blockchain technology legislation. Some states, including Nevada, Arizona and Utah, have established sandbox regulation. It is the newest policy being discussed at state level, Leffel said.

Two bills were introduced in the past General Assembly session to create a Department of Regulatory Innovation that would oversee a “Virginia Regulatory Sandbox Program.” The bills did not advance to the legislative floor, although a health care sandbox regulatory agency proposed by Davis made it through the House. Davis did not respond to multiple interview requests by phone or email.

The main purpose of sandbox regulation, Leffel said, is to let other companies and markets know Virginia is “open for business.”

“It’s a signal that we’re willing to support its [cryptocurrency] place in the marketplace,” Leffel said. 

Cryptocurrency security is important, according to Leffel. The protection of the average investor is what matters most — knowing what the product is, and what they’re actually investing in, Leffel said.

“People need to understand that there are scammers, like the chance of rug pull,” Leffel said. 

Rug pull is a cryptocurrency scam where people or companies hype up the value of the product to attract investors and obtain their digital coins before shuttering, according to Leffel. “We want to make sure that there’s a framework there that protects [investors],” Leffel said. “I’m also a huge advocate for seeing how this technology is going to impact everyday life.” 

The Virginia Blockchain Council partnered with the Virginia Commonwealth University Blockchain club last year, according to Leffel. The VCU Blockchain club is not student-exclusive, according to club president Francesca Bercasio. Bercasio is a senior seeking a finance technology degree. 

“I chose to join because I believe this technology will disrupt so much due to the features it has,” Bercasio said. “Also I think the culture the club promotes is inclusive; I’ve always felt seen and heard.” 

Cryptocurrency will impact technologies such as engineering, marketplaces and even art curation that rely specifically on third parties, Bercasio said

“For example, financial transactions are now settled in minutes, rather than days,” Bercasio said. 

VCU Blockchain plans to expand, and connect with more people off campus, according to Bercasio. She hopes the university will consider teaching blockchain to increase literacy.

“We want to encourage VCU to add a cryptocurrency curriculum,” Bercasio said. “And instituting a program either in lectures or through the da Vinci Center at VCU.”

The da Vinci Center for Innovation at VCU is an academic workshop space which promotes innovation and entrepreneurship through cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Richmond local and VCU Blockchain member Dave Benz joined VCU Blockchain in 2021, he said. Benz joined because he was interested in cryptocurrency for “quite awhile.”

Benz has learned many things from his VCU Blockchain members, and is grateful that they are accommodating to his lack of knowledge on the new technology, he said. 

“They’re very knowledgeable and up-to-date folks,” Benz said. “I always learn something new when I go [to meetings].”

Benz said he is the oldest member in VCU Blockchain by decades, but is grateful for how accepting everyone is. 

“Everybody has been very friendly, and helpful with my lack of understanding on certain things,” Benz said. “They’re also willing to listen to my thoughts and ideas which is great.” 

Virginia resident and college student Johnnie Walker III invests in cryptocurrency as a “safety net,” although he said he does not have other investments. 

“Slowly investing throughout the years and into the future will set me up at a certain point when I don’t want to work anymore,” Walker said. “If something were to come up, I have that money.”

Walker began investing in cryptocurrency during his junior year of high school in 2017, he said. 

“I kind of just ride the waves of highs and lows in the market,” Walker said. “I have made a comfortable amount; it’s been good.” 

Walker wants to see more preventative and security policy around cryptocurrency investing. He anticipates cryptocurrency “taking off” in the future, Walker said.

“I feel comfortable as an investor as long as they continue to develop it,” Walker said. “It would make me lean more towards putting my assets into crypto rather than banks.” 

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Bike the Holiday Lights

BASKET & BIKE and RVA on Wheels want to share the joy of bike riding in the city during this festive time of year.

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From now until January 8th there is a unique way to check out the holiday lights in Richmond. BASKET & BIKE and RVA on Wheels have teamed up to provide Richmond with a variety of tour experiences and rentals on wheels, and they will serve as your go-to place to test and purchase your new classic or electric bike, along with all the gear to outfit your bike style.

We’ll bike Downtown Richmond while the sun’s still out to stay warm! Chase the sunset with us on the avenues and bike lanes for a seasonal ride on classic or electric wheels. As dusk approaches, pass through holiday lights downtown where your tour ends with a voucher for a beverage (wine, beer, tea, coffee) at neighbors, Urban Farmhouse.

BASKET & BIKE Classic Bike $95
RVA on Wheels Electric Bike $125
Starts and Ends at 1301 E. Cary St.
Website and more Info

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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