Monday 19th May

BITCOIN

The Currency Revolution

In our Bitpay story @RichardBranson says banking in “midst of enormous change,” calls #bitcoin “currency revolution”  – Michael Casey

 

Bitpay Venture Funding

The rise of Bitcoin is in many ways reminiscent of the early days of the Internet or computers. In fact, we see strong parallels with when we witnessed the emergence of VOIP as a new frontier. Just as we backed Skype as a wide-ranging communication channel built on top of the protocol, indirectly placing a bet on the underlying technology, here, too, we’re investing in the infrastructure and tools that will help drive Bitcoin into the mainstream. That’s why we are leading a $30m (€22m) Series A investment round in BitPay Index Ventures

 

Merchants Using Bitpay

September 2012 = 1,000 total merchants

September 2013 = 10,000 total merchants

May 2014 = Over 30,000 total merchants

Lee Banfield

 

6,000 New Merchants

BitPay will provide technical assistance for the purpose of integrating bitcoin payments into Toshiba’s VisualTouch system. VisualTouch is used by more than 6,000 client-companies in the hospitality, restaurant, grocery and retail sectors worldwide. – Stan Higgins

 

Dark Wallet

Dark Wallet is fantastic. More privacy is better – Gavin Andresen

 

We have only seen privacy features nascently suggested in the original bitcoin protocol. Bitcon is not anonymity it’s pseudonymity and I would still say that Dark Wallet doesn’t get us there.

We want to suggest an alternative way of doing bitcoin. Pieces of core software that can be integrated into everyone’s bitcoin going forward in an antithetical way to the way that the state and other corporations had suggest bitcoin would be traced or integrated into the system – Cody Wilson

 

Amir Taaki, 26, is part of a faction fighting for the heart of bitcoin to remain in the anarchist cypherpunk community where it started, rather than complete its transformation into a professional, but ultimately neutered, digital currency. “The whole point of bitcoin is that it’s here now, it’s working, we don’t need to ask [for] anything.”

“A lot of people are asking regulators to give them regulation, and proactively censoring themselves to please people with power. It’s unbelievable, people are afraid to say anything because of the perceived threat.

“Instead, we need to be bold with these things. There’s a lot that’s possible with bitcoin. There’s a lot coming up.”

DarkWallet is Taaki’s way of being bold. Users can share “stealth” addresses, which let transactions occur between wallets known only to the sender and receiver. The secret address is shared cryptographically, ensuring that no third party can eavesdrop on the transaction. Another feature lets users automatically “mix” transactions. – Alex Hearn

 

 

ALTCOINS

Darkcoin

Darkcoin is up 3x this week and 8x over the last 3 months. It is the 7th largest cryptocurrency in the world with a market cap of  $28mill – Lee Banfield

 

Darkcoin’s unique anonymous payment, DarkSend, allows anyone to make transactions anonymously.

The innovation is in the mixing of inputs and outputs going through the DarkSend system. A users payment is automatically split into smaller denominations and pooled with the split-up payments of other users. Receivers of these payments draw these denominations automatically from the pools until they have received the correct amount . Anyone seeing the blockchain will see payments being made but they won’t be able to see who paid who. – darkcoin.io

 

EQUITIES

Overstock

I’m exploring listing Overstock on a block chain kind of stock exchange – Patrick Byrne, Overstock CEO

 

Equity Crowdfunding

Equity crowd funding (i.e., Kickstarter with stock rewards) is poised to partially negate New-Deal Era financial regulations by allowing anyone with a bank account and an Internet connection to stake venture capital. – Jim Epstein

 

Car Makers

In a recent blog post, Singularity University’s Brad Templeton (and consultant to the Google car team) said, “The past history of high-tech disruptions shows that very few of the incumbent leaders make it through to the other side. If I were one of the car makers who doesn’t even have a serious project on this, I would be very afraid right now.”

Templeton further notes that though Mercedes is furthest along of the major carmakers, its systems are still less capable than the Google car—in 2010 – Jason Dorrier

 

 

COMPANIES

Soylent

Bids for Soylent on eBay are $115 for a single pouch. – Chris Dixon, Andreessen Horowitz

 

DAOs, DACs, DAs

One of the most popular topics in the digital consensus space (a new term for cryptocurrency 2.0 that I’m beta-testing) is the concept of decentralized autonomous entities

Many of us have been frustrated by the lack of coherent terminology here; as Bitshares’ Daniel Larimer points out, “everyone thinks a DAC is just a way of IPOing your centralized company.”

Organizations with Humans at the Center

1 – Boring old organizations (Humans at center)

Google is an organization in this classification, not an autonomous agent, because (1) the work is done by people, and (2) the management is done by people

2 – Robots (Assembly Lines)

 

Organizations with Automation at the Center

3 – Distributed Autonomous Organizations

I would place Uber halfway between an organization and a DAO (although it’s not decentralized) because the primary decision-making process, the matching of drivers with passengers, is done automatically, though not all aspects follow that model.

4 – Artificial Intelligence (holy grail)

Vitalk Buterin

 

 

PRIVACY

All of the documents newly reported in “No Place to Hide” are now online, with some others http://glenngreenwald.net/  http://glenngreenwald.net/pdf/NoPlaceToHide-Documents-Compressed.pdf  – Glenn Greenwald

 

 

PLACES

Wall Street

I think that criminality on Wall Street goes far deeper than anything you could imagine, even in this audience – Patrick Byrne Overstock CEO at Bitcoin 2014

 

China

When a nation’s debt outstanding explodes from $1 trillion to $25 trillion in 14 years, that’s not capitalism, even if its red. #China – Rothbardian

 

The real estate market is imploding and defaults are going through the roof. Property vacancy rates in Zhengzhou are an astounding 23%.  Over the May 1-3 holiday weekend, new home sales across China’s 54 largest cities were 47% lower than last year.

This has been a long time in the making. According to data from the US Geological Survey and China’s National Bureau of Statistics that was compiled by the Financial Times, in just two years (2011 and 2012), China produced more cement than the United States produced in the entire 20th century.

Much of this development came from centrally planned monster infrastructure projects– bridges to nowhere, zombie train stations, and infamous ghost cities. So much excess inventory has built up, a major slowdown was inevitable. This is a huge issue for China given that housing sales comprised nearly 12% of GDP last year. – Simon Black

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

The First Robot Astronaut

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata is wrapping up his mission aboard the International Space Station.

He is leaving behind a mechanical friend, a humanoid robot named Kirobo, who has been his companion for the past six months

The robot’s makers claim it can process questions and construct answers without resorting to pre-programmed responses – Tom Santorelli

 

5 Areas in Robotics that will Transform Society and Their Economic Impact

1- Drones: The next 5 years for drones is very promising. Expect to see drones becoming part of society’s information infrastructure as News agencies, TV companies, photographers, real estate agents, moviemakers, industrial giants, pizza deliveries, logistic companies, local governments, agriculture and others embrace drone technology

 

2 – Medical Prodcedures & Operations: IBM’s Watson may become the best diagnostician in the world and be greatly in demand contributing billions to IBM’s sales whilst potentially saving millions of lives. The global medical robotic systems market was worth $5.48 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $13.6 billion in 2018, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 12.6% from 2012. Surgical robots are expected to enjoy the largest revenue share.

 

3 – Robotic Prosthetics & Exoskeletons: The economic market is currently quite small, somewhere around $100 to $150 million, however with the recent advances of prosthetics and exoskeletons it is expected to grow considerably to over $1.5 billion in the next 3 to 5 years and higher still thereafter

 

4 – Artificial Assistants: This domain has the largest possible early impact on the largest number of people. Artificial Intelligence pioneers such as Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweill have indicated anyone with a smartphone or tablet will be using ‘cognitive assistants’ by 2017

 

5 – Driverless Cars: Autonomous vehicles, including the iconic Google self-driving cars, will be on the road commercially before 2018. The long-term impact on society of self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles will be a radical change in how we commute. There will also likely be a sharp reduction in traffic accidents, the majority of which are caused by human error

Colin Lewis

 

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