July 2014

MONTHLY REPORT – JULY 2014

BITCOIN

Investment Opportunity

“Bitcoin, at this moment, represents one of the greatest investment opportunities the world will ever witness” http://www.reddit.com/comments/2aqo04 – Roger Ver

 

Dell Largest Company to Date to Accept Bitcoin

If you’re a retailer, there’s really no reason not to accept Bitcoin at this point – Dell

 

Bitpay

Bad day for Visa… BitPay’s New Plan: Free, Unlimited, Forever http://blog.bitpay.com/2014/07/29/bitpay-s-new-plan-free-unlimited-forever.html – Erik Voorhees

 

3 Billion New People to Use Bitcoin

In success, it will become the predominant means of financial transaction for not only the developed world but the developing world, the group I call the rising billion. Remember that 3 billion new people are coming online this next decade who do not have access to credit cards or banks. Bitcoin is their method to transact.

These 3 billion people represent tens of trillions of dollars that will flow into the global economy. Given that there are only 21 million bitcoins, you do the math. –  Peter Diamandis, Co-founder of Singularity University

 

The Mainstream Narrative

The mainstream narrative has made a drastic shift. It seems that the media, despite all its claims that Bitcoin is dying or is already dead, has learned that crypto currency is here to stay.

Its resiliency has been tested and still it stands stronger than it has ever been before. That narrative of a shady underground currency used only by drug dealers and pedophiles is no more. Instead the conversation has shifted to that of the impact Bitcoin will have on disrupting billion and trillion dollar financial industries

Despite the gap that is left to bridge, I agree with Michael Novogratz who is a Principal at Fortress Investment Group. He see’s the amount of human capital moving into the space, some 30,000+ programmers and engineers, and wants to bet on that alone.

It’s not as if these programmers are appearing out of nowhere either. Bitcoin is stealing top talent from tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

Looking back just a couple years ago, the idea that well established professionals would give up fat paychecks, huge offices, lunch buffets, and a multitude of perks and privileges to work on a technology reserved only for a Den of thieves was unthinkable. Yet now it is a reality, with many of those daring to take the plunge likening the atmosphere surrounding the Bitcoin space to that of the internet in 1994 – CryptoTraveler

 

 

ALTCOINS

Ethereum

Ethereum has raised 25,000 Bitcoin ($15 million) in its first 16 days – Lee Banfield

 

Ethereum huge: persistent state, permissionless flexibility to create own Nakamoto-consensus apps. No opnn on price of ether. Ethereum has vast potential, whereas Bitcoin won’t ever do anything well beyond implementing a currency – Nick Szabo

 

Ethereum have any new useful ideas? seemed more kitchen-sink coin from current ideas. execution = script or development record? – Adam Back, Creator of Hashcash, 1997

Ethereum has the best ideas in block chain tech. Execution, not so much. They’ve combined most of the best ideas. Not about who originated. Execution = development record: not finishing what they start. –Nick Szabo, Creator of Bit gold, 1998-2005

 

 

EQUITIES

Cryptosecurities

Future of capital allocation: Ethereum raises $750,000 in 2 hours from private parties all over the world – https://blockchain.info/address/36PrZ1KHYMpqSyAQXSG8VwbUiq2EogxLo2 – Erik Voorhees

 

A Blockchain Based Stock Exchange

Overstock.com and its swashbuckling CEO, Patrick Byrne, are hoping to create a new kind of corporate stock based on the computer software that drives bitcoin, aiming to overhaul the stock market in much the same way that bitcoin overhauled how we store and exchange money.

On Tuesday afternoon, Overstock—one of the world’s largest online retailers, with $1.3 billion a year in sales—unveiled a webpage that explores how a public company could issue a “cryptosecurity” to potential investors.

In other words, all stock trades would be governed by tools in the hands of the general public rather than by a traditional stock exchange, such as the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange, and these trades would be mathematically verified and recorded in an online ledger that anyone can view at anytime—something that, Byrne believes, could eliminate some serious flaws in the world of high-stakes trading.

Overstock has already held extensive discussions with the founders of a project called Counterparty, which offers software that could help drive such a cryptosecurity, and if he decides this kind of thing is possible, he intends to “open source” a blueprint of his plan, so that any other company can make use of it – Cade Metz

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS

Fifty Things Liberty People Do

It’s about investing in yourself, backing the right causes in economic life, clawing our way toward personal freedom, and building robust institutions outside the state http://tucker.liberty.me/2014/07/01/fifty-things-liberty-people-do/

Jeffrey Tucker

 

OpenBazaar

We aren’t setting up a marketplace. We are creating a platform that let’s anyone create their own marketplace in a decentralized network. We aren’t charging for use and don’t have plans to make money on this.

Late August beta is the plan, and we need testers. It will stay open source. – CC_EF_JTF

 

Bitmessage

Is integrated into Monetas. Bitmessage is like email, but without the server. It’s email decentralized. This is what makes the holy grail breakthrough possible, which is decentralized exchange. It solves one of the core problems in the bitcoin ecosystem, and it will make possible a whole new generation of products and services.

Bitmessage gives us totally p2p communications, from which we can have decentralized discovery of market participants. This integration with Bitmessage has lots of potential implications, not just for cross server trading, but also p2p based legacy bank integration, the ability to move funds in and out of legacy banks in a p2p way.

Also it makes possible what we call “the bazaar”. This is like ebay except without the server. Anyone can have venues and vendors and post ads, have listings, ratings and reputations in a completely decentralized and p2p way.

You could also take the concept of the bazaar and have an App store, a completly decentralized p2p App store –  Chris Odom, Monetas July 2014 Update

 

Soylent

Soylent Now Accepting Bitcoin

Leap MotionBoosted BoardsSoylent, and iOgrapher are the launch partners for Shopify’s announcement meaning that each have enabled the Coinbase integration following a recent private beta testing period. (It has to be said that bitcoin and Soylent seem like an anti-establishment match made in heaven.) – Michael Carney

 

Powdered Science

The smoothie-like substance, which began life as a crowdfunding sensation last year before attracting heavyweight investors like Andreessen Horowitz, is basically powdered science — human nutrition reduced to its most basic essentials. Soylent’s spokesperson told me that they don’t expect most people to adopt a 100 percent Soylent diet, even though you technically can: each day’s packet contains roughly 100 percent (give or take a few percentage points) of your daily FDA-recommended allowance of fat, potassium, carbohydrates, fiber, and a selection of 23 vitamins and minerals.

Soylent isn’t just a science experiment for Silicon Valley movers and shakers who don’t have time to eat: eking out maximum caloric bang for your buck with a nutritionally complete substance could eventually be a huge deal in impoverished areas of the world.

 

What’s it like to spend a month in the post-food era?

I lost about 12 pounds along the way with very little health drama. For the most part, I actually felt great.

It was nice recouping significant time otherwise spent looking for and eating food — perhaps an hour a day or more. Furthermore, if I was ordering Soylent month to month, I’d be paying $8.50 a day to get effectively all the nutrition and calories I needed to stay alive for the price of a standard New York City lunch.

Soylent is very open about its product — the details of the concoction, which have evolved over the past year to improve its taste, texture, and nutrition, are widely available. The company publishes both its official recipe and hosts a surprisingly active “DIY” forum where Soylent connoisseurs and food hackers of all persuasions trade tweaks, pro tips, and entirely new bult-from-scratch recipes – Chris Ziegler

 

 

PRIVACY

Targets

Jake Appelbaum et. al, are reporting on XKEYSCORE selection rules that target users — and people who just visit the websites of — Tor, Tails, and other sites. This isn’t just metadata; this is “full take” content that’s stored forever – Bruce Schneier

 

Tor Attacked

On July 4 2014 we found a group of relays that we assume were trying to deanonymize users. They appear to have been targeting people who operate or access Tor hidden services.

While we don’t know when they started doing the attack, users who operated or accessed hidden services from early February through July 4 should assume they were affected – Arma

 

A Totalitarian Mentality

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

“At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores. The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said – Antony Loewenstein

 

Coinjoin / Zerocash

“Bitcoin is traceable” is a misleading statement; we’re fixing that flaw. #coinjoin #zerocash#bitcoin4bankers – Peter Todd

 

Censorship Resistant Marketplaces

If a system wants to be censorship resistant it has to have two very important qualities.

1) Decentralize the Locus of Control: If your organization has a headquarters, a CEO, a bank account, then men with guns can show up, they can shut it down or they can co-opt it.

2) Protect the Participants: You can do this with anonymity networks like Tor.

 

If you can trade guns and drugs on dark markets, you can trade more pedestrian items. Censorship resistant dark markets can circumvent capital controls for industries that are not explicitly prohibited.

There are at least two important elements of that:

1) Tax avoidance: Taxes make everything extremely expensive because they are multi-tiered (supplier taxes, transportation taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, social security taxes, health care taxes)

2) Go beyond trade barriers: Restrictions on what goods we can sell, to whom, where we can send them, how we can send them, etc.

 

Circumvention of capital controls is the killer feature of dark market places that is going to drive more and more industries into the dark market. I don’t mean all the companies that currently exist are going to be trading over Open Bazaar. Maybe Amazon or Overstock never wishes to do that, but more and more of the industry will go into these dark market places and eventually replace some of these old companies.

I am anticipating, in addition to a technological singularity, we will also see a private property singularity, where technology allows us to circumvent state regulations. As this happens, economic growth is going to get faster and faster and faster, it’s going to accelerate until the point where it’s going to be very difficult to predict what the market place will look like a year from now, and then a month from now, and then a week from now…

This technology gives us anonymous exchange on market places and anonymous money(using something like dark wallet). Politicians will not like this but they will be powerless to stop it.

The world 10-20 years from now, because of these mechanisms, is going to be so unrecognizable to us that it’s going to blow our minds. It’s partly to do with technology, but it’s got a lot to do with economic liberation as well. The story of the Silk Road is a blueprint for economic global liberation – Kristov Atlas

 

 

PLACES

Singapore

It’s awesome how much people know there. It’s like a modern version of ancient Athens, except instead of philosophy or drama being the thing, it’s the modern social sciences, economics, engineering, the biosciences. The citizenry is working at such an elevated level, so broadly.

I think it’s one of the most phenomenal aspects of the modern world, and hardly anyone is noticing it –Tyler Cowen

 

Crypto Valley: Zug, Switzerland

The neutral European nation is becoming a “mecca” for financial cryptography, says Chris Odom, the Chief Technology Officer at Monetas and the founder of the decentralized Open Transactions platform for encrypted financial tools.

Mr. Odom announced that he had finally moved his family from Austin, Texas, to Zug, Switzerland to be with the rest of the company’s team and help build the German-speaking region’s “Crypto Valley”.

Who are his new neighbors?

* Ethereum

* Bitcoin Suisse, a bitcoin ATM provider

* ProtonMail, which provides decentralized, securely encrypted email

* Threema, a secure version of What’sApp

* Silent Circle, whose BlackPhone project aims to provide secure, encrypted mobile telephony

Why the growth in Switzerland?

Odom attributes it to the country’s “legendary neutrality,” as well as its respect for privacy and security. It is already a tech hub for established names such as International Business Machines Corp. and eBay Inc . He points out that outside of its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, Google Inc.’s biggest engineering office is in Zurich – Michael J. Casey & Paul Vigna

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

5,000 Days of Orbital Colonization

In an anniversary that beautifully showcases the enduring greatness of man’s progress in space, yesterday marked the 5,000th day of continuous human habitation aboard the International Space Station – L. Lawless

 

Confirmed: Voyager 1 in Interstellar Space

Voyager 1 has entered a new cosmic realm.

The craft was launched in September 1977, about two weeks after its twin, Voyager 2. The probes embarked upon a “grand tour” of the outer solar system, giving the world some its first good looks at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the moons of these planets.

Like Voyager 1, Voyager 2 is still active and operational. It took a different route through the solar system and is expected to follow its twin into interstellar space a few years from now – Mike Wall

 

Rosetta Spacecraft Makes Historic Arrival at Comet

“After ten years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the Sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometres, we are delighted to announce finally we are here” –  Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General

“We’re going to have a ringside seat to see, for the first time, a comet turn into a comet, to develop its tail and explain what for centuries mankind has been puzzled by” – David Southwood

 

Life Expectancy

Within the next three decades, Aubrey de Grey believes there’s a 50/50 chance we’ll have marshaled the necessary therapies to add 30 years to life expectancy.

As a natural byproduct of these enabling technologies, those extra years ought to be healthier and more active. And that will only be the beginning. Those who live 30 more years will be alive to see additional advances add more years, and so on. The best we can do is keep our eyes on the prize. And for de Grey, the prize is clear, “I don’t want us to go on dying the way we always have.” – Jason Dorrier

 

Human longevity is going to grow very rapidly. In the past 60 years in developed countries, the lifespan has been increasing about 1 year every 4, so people live 15 years longer and healthy than they did in 1940. I expect that this will keep going on or accelerate.

One reason to be optimistic is that we live twice as long as chimpanzees. They live about 40 years, we live about 80 years and it’s been only about 4 or 5 million years, not many genes have changed, so it could be that you can double the lifespan by just changing a few genes, and I expect that we’ll discover what those are pretty soon – Marvin Minsky, “The Father of AI”

 

Achievable Developments in the Next 10 Years

I’m most excited about developments in the two areas that I’m pioneering: asteroid mining and the extension of the healthy human lifespan.

Through Planetary Resources, we expect to be identifying, prospecting and eventually mining materials from near-Earth asteroids well within this decade. This will create an economic engine that will propel humanity beyond lower orbit.

Through Human Longevity Inc, we will be creating the largest database of human genotypic phenotypic and microbiology data ever assembled and using machine learning to analyze it to truly understand disease and healthy aging. We feel we have the ability to extend the healthy human life by 30 to 40 years. For me, going to space and living longer — it doesn’t get better! – Peter Diamandis, Co-founder of Singularity University

 

Linear vs. Exponential Thinking

I’m currently 17 do you think I will see things such as life extension due the the eradication or management of Cancer, dementia, 3D organ printing etc within my lifetime? What are some technologies that seem way off to your average person that may become a reality within the next decade?

If you’re only 17, you will see a hell of a lot more than just life extension! You’re going to see colonies on Mars. You’re going to see us turn most everything we think of as science fiction today into science fact. We’re living during a time of accelerating change. Don’t think with your linear mind! Yes, we will solve cancer. Yes, we will solve dementia. Yes, we will start regrowing organs. All of this will happen faster than you can imagine.

I think the average person is a linear thinker and most of the extraordinary breakthroughs that will happen this decade will initially seem far off. Then, when the breakthroughs occur, they will take them for granted. So just think about artificial intelligence becoming your physician, or artificial intelligence becoming your personal tutor better than the best Harvard professor, or 3-D printing organs, or extending the human lifespan 30 years, or landing the first private citizens on Mars with in the next 15 years. These things all sound crazy until we make them happen – Peter Diamandis, Co-founder of Singularity University

30 steps linearly gets you to 30…30 steps exponentially gets you to a billion – Ray Kurzweil

 

Is The Singularity Near?

The answer is yes, depending on what you mean by near, but it may well be within our lifetimes – Marvin Minsky, “The Father of AI”

 

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