Monday 24th March

BITCOIN

Institutional Investment

Requests from 38 institutional investors representing +$250 billion to meet with me re bitcoin at Barclays Emerging Payments Forum tomorrow – Barry Silbert

 

Andressen Horowitz

Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen is doubling down on bitcoin amid turbulence in the virtual-currency world, in a bet that widespread adoption of the currency will fuel the growth of new businesses and technologies.

Mr Andreessen says bitcoin reminds him of the early days of the internet. “I’m having deja vu,” Mr Andreessen says.

“I’m completely unfazed and I plan to invest more”

Andreessen’s firm Andreessen Horowitz, has already invested $50 million in bitcoin and plans to invest hundreds of millions more over the next several years. – Gregory Zuckerman

 

Growth

Over the past 3 months, the number of Bitcoin Wallets hosted by Blockchain has grown frm 861,000 to 1,387,000 – a Growth of 60% – Tuur Demeester

 

The Thinkers Who Paved the Way

At a recent Bitcoin event in Austin, Texas, I heard the speech I always wanted to hear or even give.  It was about the cyberpunk/anarchist origins of Bitcoin technology

A system that not only operated outside the state but actually works to subvert the role of power in general. They imagined the possibilities of a global digital order that immunized itself against the great problems of our time. – Jeffrey Tucker

 

 

ALT-COINS

Mastercoin & Counterparty

What kills me about Mastercoin and Counterparty is that better designs were well known long before their birth.

Mastercoin-like designs were considered, coded and abandoned in 2012 as lame: https://github.com/jgarzik/smartcoin

Colored coin, N-way peg far superior – Jeff Garzik

 

Ethereum

We’re working heavily with OpenTransactions.

OpenTransactions technology allows you to do a lot of the same things that Bitcoin does except with much lower fees. You could do High Frequency Trading 10,000 transactions a second, almost no charge. You can do micro transactions.

It’s not going to be blockchain based and decentralized in the same way that Bitcoin is, but the servers are auditable so it’s very low trust in that sense.  If Mt Gox had been running an OT server as their backend, we would have known something was up. – Vitalik Buterin

 

Auroracoin

Auroracoin, the biggest surprise of the month of February. To be distributed among every Icelandic on March 25th

The success this country-based coin had achieved within a very short amount of time is spectacular. A classic Litecoin clone, its market capitalization has once even beaten the Litecoin itself.

With each Auroracoin currently trading at $14.23, each Icelander will have about $450. A coin that won’t be retrieved for the next four-months will be again assigned to a new round of the population. Thus, an Icelander has several opportunities to receive around $1,000 worth of Auroracoin.

If Icelanders decide to keep Auroracoin, its market value can see an upsurge. – Yashu Gola

 

 

EQUITIES

Russia

In a recent interview with Jim Rogers, the legendary commodities investor told ETF.com that he’s optimistic on Russia and that its “neglected” equity market was cheap. Well, with all the tension recently involving Russia, Ukraine and Crimea, Russia’s stock market has gotten even cheaper.

On March 3, 2014, the MICEX Index, which tracks the 50 largest and most liquid Russian stocks traded on the Moscow Exchange, plummeted nearly 11 percent. Two weeks later, the index still sits roughly 11 percent below its closing level on Feb. 28, 2014.

In line with Rogers’ observation, if you look at the price/earnings multiples (P/E ratios) of Russia ETFs compared with those of other ETFs focused on the emerging markets in general or on the collection of the BRIC countries, Russia all by itself currently looks like a steal. – Dennis Hudachek

 

 

COMPANIES

Exchanges

If you want your exchange to stay ahead of the game, start looking into OpenTransactions. Offer a webfront and always win. – Bryce Weiner

 

Alibaba

Best all time venture investment in absolute dollars?

$20MM into Alibaba by SoftBank now worth $60Bn. – Michael Kim

 

SpaceX

The test of SpaceX’s renewable booster rocket technology will be the first of its kind and could pave the way to radically cheaper access to space.

“Reusability has been the Holy Grail of the launch industry for decades,” says Jeff Foust, an analyst at Futron, a consultancy based in Bethesda, Maryland. That’s because the so-called expendable rockets that are the industry standard add enormously to launch costs—the equivalent of building a new aircraft for every transatlantic flight.

Even without reusable rockets, SpaceX has already shaken up the $190-billion-a-year satellite launch market with radically lower launch costs than its competitors. The company advertises $55.6 million per Falcon 9 launch. Its competitors are less forthcoming about how much they charge, but French rocket company Arianespace has indicated that it may ask for an increase in government subsidies to remain competitive with SpaceX. – Michael Belfiore

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

The advances we’ve seen in the past few years—cars that drive themselves, useful humanoid robots, speech recognition and synthesis systems, 3D printers, Jeopardy!-champion computers—are not the crowning achievements of the computer era. They’re the warm-up acts. As we move deeper into the second machine age we’ll see more and more such wonders, and they’ll become more and more impressive.

How can we be so sure? Because the exponential, digital, and recombinant powers of the second machine age have made it possible for humanity to create two of the most important one-time events in our history: the emergence of real, useful artificial intelligence (AI) and the connection of most of the people on the planet via a common digital network.

Either of these advances alone would fundamentally change our growth prospects. When combined, they’re more important than anything since the Industrial Revolution, which forever transformed how physical work was done.

We can’t predict exactly what new insights, products, and solutions will arrive in the coming years, but we are fully confident that they’ll be impressive. The second machine age will be characterized by countless instances of machine intelligence and billions of interconnected brains working together to better understand and improve our world. It will make mockery out of all that came before. Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

 

Autonomous Cars

Trillions from autonomous cars?

No longer just the realm of science fiction. They are real and will be on roads sooner than you think.

Completely autonomous cars are set to be available before the end of the decade. Annual $1.3 trillion in savings in the United States (with over $5.6 trillions globally).

Accident savings (including injuries and fatalities) $563 billion per year. The authors refer to various reports, such as the World Health Organization  estimated 1.24 million deaths globally due to vehicle accidents. – Colin Lewis

 

 

PLACES

Earth

Earth narrowly averted catastrophe from a recent powerful solar flare. Could space weather become humanity’s greatest challenge? – Massimo Barbato

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bridaineparnell/2014/03/19/massive-solar-superstorm-narrowly-missed-blasting-the-earth-back-into-the-dark-ages/

 

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