June 2014

MONTHLY REPORT – JUNE 2014

BITCOIN

The Bitcoin Network

Ahead of yet another 12-14% difficulty increase coming in the next 15 hours, the Bitcoin network has reached nearly 100 petahashes of processing power, less than 8 piddling months after hitting 1 petahash.

Let that sink in.

It’s insane. It’s beautiful. It’s utterly mesmerizing. – Peter Dushenski

 

Catalysts Coming

210 days since last #bitcoin peak…about same amount of time it took to reclaim $266 peak in 2013. Catalysts coming… – TwoBitIdiot

 

Real Institutional Investment Coming

* Singapore sovereign wealth fund experiments with Bitcoin. Temasek Holdings has a $172bn portfolio and had a net income of $12.1bn in 2013.

Several elements within other large banks and financial institutions are known to be interested in cryptocurrency and keen to invest in bitcoin companies, but none have admitted it openly and most still balk at any mention of their name in the same sentence as ‘bitcoin’ – Jon Southurst

 

* On the Wall Street front, I can’t tell you how many days a week I’m doing speaking and meetups with global banks. It is going to happen. We’re at an inflection point where we’re going to see some real institutional money move into this space – Barry Silbert

 

* What we’re hearing is that some of the big broker dealers on Wall Street are setting up small trading desks just to get exposure to the asset and understand it. That’s the approach now as opposed to a year ago when people thought governments would never allow it, and banks just wanted it to go away. All of the major banks now have teams trying to make sense of bitcoin.

A year ago, most governments and big banks frankly just wanted bitcoin to go away. They were like: ‘this is a joke, I want this to go away. I’m just going to ignore it.’ It’s not going to go away. So now people are saying: ‘it’s not going away and there’s big money coming into this, this is a real innovation, we need to get our heads wrapped around it, and we need to figure out whatever rules we’re going to wrap around it – Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle

 

 

ALTCOINS

Ethereum

The idea of a generalized blockchain platform with Turing complete language that can enable a myriad of applications to be custom written for that language.

I think that is a tremendous innovation, and I’m not saying Ethereum will be it but what Ethereum does will happen one way or another, perhaps by Ethereum, perhaps by a clone of Ethereum or perhaps by something that comes even later, but it gives you a glimpse into just what is possible.

The design pattern of a Turing complete platform based on the blockchain for negotiating contracts is brilliant and genius on a level almost equivalent to Satoshi in terms of taking existing technologies and just pushing them to a whole other level. I think Vitalik is one of the most brilliant people ever for building and designing it and coming up with the idea – Andreas Antonopoulos

 

 

MINING

Mining Rig Obsolescence

The overall network hash rate has been doubling every 3-4 weeks, and therefore, mining equipment has been losing half its production capability within the same time frame.

After 21-28 weeks (7 halvings), mining rigs lose 99.3% of their value. So there is very high equipment turnover in the mining industry – Ittay Eyal & Emin Gun Sirer

 

 

EQUITIES

BitFury

BitFury Group Ltd. last week secured one of the largest rounds of funding in the bitcoin sector, bringing in $20 million.

It is already one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining companies, which use semiconductors and servers to produce fresh bitcoin.

BitFury hopes next year to become the first bitcoin company to go public.

BitFury is slated to open the world’s largest data center aimed at producing bitcoin near Tbilisi. It will have electric power capacity of 20 megawatts

Bitfury – 2013

Revenue $30mill

Bitfury – 2014 Forecast

Expected Revenue $210mill

Expected EBITDA $120mill

– Yuliya Chernova

 

S&P500

S&P500 is now at all time high on the news of an economy that collapsed 2.9%. Rigged markets? Nothing to see here, move along peasants – Andreas Antonopoulos

 

 

COMPANIES

Soylent

A liquid food product designed to be nutritionally complete. It’s a food, not a supplement. It has everything the body needs to be healthy, you can live on this entirely. It’s been 90% of my diet for the last year and a half – Rob Reinhart, Soylent

 

Uber

How’s this for “holy shit” perspective: uber only investment to grow faster & larger than bitcoin in any 5yr period ever – TwoBitIdiot

The Uber network valued at $17bn is worth 2x the Bitcoin network – Jackcliu

I don’t think people know exactly how much Bitcoin needs to appreciate for various use cases –Romanizer

 

Uber & Lyft Ignore Cease and Desist from the State

Uber and Lyft car services have said they will continue to operate in Virginia, despite a cease-and-desist letter from the state saying the service is illegal because it hasn’t received authorization from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Uber sent an email to all registered customers Friday, saying:

“You may have heard that Uber received a cease and desist letter from the Virginia DMV yesterday. We wanted to write to let you know that Uber will operate as usual, and we plan to continue full-speed ahead with our commitment to providing Virginians access to safe, affordable and reliable rides.”

In a response to the company’s email to customers, the National Taxicab Association issued a statement saying Uber had “declared war on the rule of law.”

NTA said Uber was “facing lawsuits, cease and desist orders, and warnings over its lax insurance and background checks across the nation” and that the “company’s arrogance is staggering.” – Scott Neuman

Interesting that a $17 billion company has chosen to defy the state. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come – Lee Banfield

 

 

PRIVACY

On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago – from EFF – Glenn Greenwald

 

My top 10 From the EFF Report

1) The XKEYSCORE program analyzes emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals anywhere in the world.

2) The NSA has plans to infect potentially millions of computers with malware implants as part of its Tailored Access Operations.

3) The NSA tracked access to porn and gathered other sexually explicit information “as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches.”

4) The Guardian reported: “In one six-month period in 2008 alone, [GCHQ] collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8-million Yahoo user accounts globally.”

5) The NSA’s Dishfire operation has collected 200 million text messages daily from users around the globe, which can be used to extract valuable information such as location data, contact retrievals, credit card details, missed call alerts, roaming alerts (which indicate border crossings), electronic business cards, credit card payment notifications, travel itinerary alerts, and meeting information.

6) The fruits of NSA surveillance routinely end up in the hands of the IRS. Like the DEA, the IRS uses parallel construction to cloak the source of the tip.

7) The NSA had a secret $10 million contract with security firm RSA to create a “back door” in the company’s widely used encryption products.

8) NSA undermines the encryption tools relied upon by ordinary users, companies, financial institutions, targets, and non-targets as part of BULLRUN, an unparalleled effort to weaken the security of all Internet users, including you.

9) Microsoft, like other companies, has cooperated closely with the FBI to allow the NSA to “circumvent its encryption and gain access to users’ data.”

10) The NSA program MUSCULAR infiltrates links between the global data centers of technology companies such as Google and Yahoo. Many companies have responded to MUSCULAR by encrypting traffic over their internal networks.

Lee Banfield

 

 

PLACES

What Defines your Nationality?

Language? Currency? Where you live+work?

Now Bitcoin, Google translate, telecommuting changes everything – Peter Diamandis, Co-founder of Singularity University

If Telepresence keeps improving exponentially it will change everything within a decade. See “Telepresence / Snowdenbot” comments in the Singularity section below – Lee Banfield

 

New Hampshire: The Free State Project

A Libertarian testing ground for Bitcoin, 3d Printers, and Drones.

Everyone I met in the Project owned Bitcoin and was willing to accept it for goods and services.

Erik Voorhees, a Bitcoin entrepreneur moved to New Hampshire in May 2011 to join the Free State Project. It was there that he first heard about Bitcoin after someone posted about it in the Free State Facebook group. “Very few Free Staters knew about about it at that point. They don’t like using government money, but they were more into gold and silver than virtual currency,” he says. “I went down the rabbit hole and couldn’t stop talking about it, and then warmed other Free Staters up to it.”

Voorhees notes that Roger Ver, a Bitcoin entrepreneur who lives in Tokyo, was also an early signer of the Free State petition, and bought Bitcoin ads on Free Talk Live, a libertarian radio station associated with the project

Most people in the Free State Project are technology-oriented, and many come from a programming or computer background. The libertarian way of thinking is pretty common among technologists,” says Lamassu’s Zach Harvey, 35. “They want to teach themselves as much as they can in order to be free, and you have to use technology these days to be free. Bitcoin is the perfect fit for this group, a government-free currency with freedom programmed in.

Cody Wilson compares the Free State Project in New Hampshire with Silicon Valley; both places have libertarian-leaning techies trying to make disruptive technologies popular. “Silicon Valley is more capitalized and less about practical liberty than the Free State community, which has a better stake in the freedom at the heart of these technologies,” he says. “It’s the hotbed of libertarian activism in the country – Kashmir Hill

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

Computer Program Passes the Turing Test?

I think this is premature. I am disappointed that Professor Warwick, with whom I agree on many things, would make this statement.

In my 2004 book The Singularity Is Near, I anticipated that there would be premature announcements of this kind.

I chatted with the chatbot Eugene Goostman, and was not impressed. Eugene does not keep track of the conversation, repeats himself word for word, and often responds with typical chatbot non sequiturs.

In my 1989 book The Age of Intelligent Machines, I predicted that the milestone of a computer passing the Turing test would occur in the first half of the 21st century. I specified the 2029 date in my 1999 book The Age of Spiritual Machines. After that book was published, we had a conference at Stanford University and the consensus of AI experts at that time was that it would happen in hundreds of years, if ever.

In 2006 we had a conference called “AI at 50” at Dartmouth College, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Dartmouth conference that gave artificial intelligence its name. We had instant polling devices and the consensus at that time, among AI experts, was 25 to 50 years. Today, my prediction appears to be median view. So, I am gratified that a growing group of people now think that I am being too conservative – Ray Kurzweil

 

Voice Recognition

Tim Tuttle, CEO and founder of Expect Labs, said in the last 18 months, voice recognition accuracy improved 30%—a bigger gain than the entire decade previous. A third of searches are now being done using voice commands.

Voice recognition uses machine learning algorithms that depend on people actually using them to get better. Tuttle believes we’re at the beginning of a virtuous cycle wherein wider adoption is yielding more data; more data translates into better performance; better performance results in wider adoption, more data, and so on – Jason Dorrier

 

Telepresence / Snowdenbot

The futility of geographic occupancy limitations in a telepresence world? http://www.wired.com/2014/06/inside-edward-snowdens-life-as-a-robot/

What will be the purpose & justification for immigration restrictions in a world with ubiquitous, ultra-hi-def, free telepresence? – Marc Andreessen, Co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz

 

For at least the past three months, Snowden and his supporters have been experimenting with a Beam Pro remote presence system, a Wi-Fi-connected screen and camera on wheels that Snowden can use to communicate with the staffers in the New York office of the American Civil Liberties Union, according to his ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner.

From a computer in Moscow, Snowden can turn on the video bot and wheel around the ACLU’s office on a whim. 

“He’s used it to roll out into the hallway and generously interact with large numbers of ACLU staff,” says Wizner. “I think it can be a profound response to exile.”

Once, the non-profit’s executive director Anthony Romero gave the Snowden-possessed machine a walking tour of the building. Another time, Wizner had to jump on a phone call during a meeting with his whistleblower client. When he got off the phone, he found that Snowden had rolled the bot into civil liberties lawyer Jameel Jaffer’s office and was discussing the 702 provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “It was kind of cool,” Wizner says.

Trevor Timm, the director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation where Snowden sits on the board, says Snowden had been interested in trying the telepresence bot even before his TED talk.

“He was telling people for a while that it could be this game-changing technology,” says Timm. “I don’t think anyone quite believed him until we saw it in action…All he needs is arms to open doors, and he can go wherever he wants.”

Glenn Greenwald wrote that he’d like to see the robot unleashed in the NSA parking lot

– Andy Greenberg

 

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