Growth in the Bitcoin Ecosystem: September 2013 – September 2014
Wallets = 5x
Merchants = 8x
All Time VC Investment = 10x
Network Hash Rate = 216x
Market Cap = 3x
There were 1.2 million new bitcoin wallets created in Q3, representing 21% growth quarter-over-quarter. We continue to forecast 8 million total bitcoin wallets by the end of 2014 – Coindesk: State of Bitcoin Q3 2014
Investment Banks Call Out Bitcoin
* Bitcoin is going to try and eat our lunch. And that’s fine. That’s called competition, and we’ll be competing. – Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase
* You have to be respectful in the face of new technologies like Bitcoin, but you don’t capitulate, you adjust and take advantage. Consumers feel better putting their money with a brand they recognize. We have capabilities and resources that are very powerful – James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley
Full Bitcoin Nodes
There are currently less than 7,000 active full nodes for the entire Bitcoin network. Our future and our security necessitates that we keep the number of good nodes as high as possible and their distribution as broad as possible.
If you own even a single bitcoin, you have the responsibility, nay the duty!, to support the network by running a full node.
Whether you think of running a full node as an insurance policy on your coins, as an altruistic act, or something else, you may have been hesitating up until now because of practical considerations like noise, heat, space, or the availability of a spare computer. Running a remote node on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) solves all of these problems and is so affordable that you actually must do it.
If you’ve followed these steps correctly, you’ve just made the single most important contribution to the Bitcoin network that’s you’ve ever made in your entire life. – Pete Dushenski
Competing Block Chains
A centralised data centre is more secure than the second strongest distributed block chain.
#zerosumgame – Jon Matonis
The Russian Ruble
Wealthy Russians are beginning to worry about their currency and move into dollars, as the ruble hit record lows almost daily in the past week under pressure from cheaper oil and Western sanctions.
“People mostly buy $50,000, $100,000 or $200,000 in cash,” said Pavel Stukanov, deputy head of the exchange department at Lanta Bank, a midsize lender in Moscow. “These aren’t ordinary people, but those who get the picture.”
“Those who have any savings have lost all illusions about the ruble and are trying to protect their money,” said a senior executive at one of Russia’s largest banks, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The ruble fell to 40.38 per dollar, down 18% for the year – Andrey Ostroukh
No wonder the government are making moves to ban bitcoin and impose harsh penalties. Russia has an educated population with strong technical skills and a widespread awareness of digital currencies. If people start to consider moving into bitcoin along with the dollar it could spiral out of control pretty quickly – Lee Banfield
Samsung Electronics could be the world’s cheapest mega-cap stock. The South Korean maker of cellphones, tablets, memory chips, and big-screen TVs trades for eight times estimated 2014 earnings.
Samsung trades for just a 5% premium to book value, a level that historically has been a floor for the stock. Book value mostly reflects cash and factories, not intangible items.
The company is valued at 50% of annual sales, based on its enterprise value (equity-market value less net cash and investments). Apple is valued at 2.5 times sales.
Samsung is a colossus, with $200 billion in expected annual revenue—more than enough to qualify as the largest technology company in the world. It boasts a market value of $150 billion, and accounts for 15% of Korea’s Kospi index. It’s also the biggest company in key developing-country equity indexes.
PROJECTS / COMPANIES
Dronecode: the open-source UAV platform, by the Linux Foundation
From improving agriculture to improving search and rescue, from tracking endangered species to tracking hurricanes, drones can change our world for good – dronecode.org
Bitcoin Wi-fi System Enables Payments for Sharing Internet
Users are mainly thinking about sharing their Internet access with their neighbors or strangers in the park right now, but it’s possible that this sort of technology could be used to bootstrap much larger mesh networks in the future.
One of the main issues with mesh networks right now is there is not much of an incentive to join the network, unless you’re someone who is extremely interested in the idea of cutting out ISPs. If this kind of system were implemented on a massive scale, it could create the right incentives for people to allow others to connect easily to their devices for the purposes of routing traffic to someone else. While these kinds of mesh networks would likely start on a small scale in larger cities, it is unknown how large they could grow once people realize they can get paid for routing traffic on a new, decentralized network – Kyle Torpey
Crypto Wars Redux
In 1995, the US government tried – and failed – to categorise encryption as a weapon. Today, the same lines are being drawn and the same tactics repeated as the FBI wants to do the same.
How strong is strong crypto? Really, really strong. When properly implemented and secured by relatively long keys, cryptographic algorithms can protect your data so thoroughly that all the computers now in existence, along with all the computers likely to ever be created, could labour until the sun went nova without uncovering the keys by “brute force” – ie trying every possible permutation of password.
The “crypto wars” of the early 1990s were fuelled by this realisation – that computers were changing the global realpolitik in an historically unprecedented way. Computational crypto made keeping secrets exponentially easier than breaking secrets, meaning that, for the first time in human history, the ability for people without social or political power to keep their private lives truly private from governments, police, and corporations was in our grasp.
The arguments then are the arguments now. Governments invoke the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse (software pirates, organised crime, child pornographers, and terrorists) and say that unless they can decrypt bad guys’ hard drives and listen in on their conversations, law and order is a dead letter – Cory Doctorow
Sabotaging Operating Systems, Hardware, and Standards
The most shocking Snowden revelation wasn’t the mass spying (we already knew about that, thanks to whistleblowers like Mark Klein, who spilled the beans in 2005). It was the fact that the UK and US spy agencies were dumping $250,000,000/year into sabotaging operating systems, hardware, and standards, to ensure that they could always get inside them if they wanted to.
The reason this was so shocking was that these spies were notionally doing this in the name of “national security”– but they were dooming everyone in the nation (and in every other nation) to using products that had been deliberately left vulnerable to attack by anyone who independently discovered the sabotage – Cory Doctorow
The Crypto Tools that Made the Snowden Film Possible
As a journalist, Laura Poitras was the quiet mastermind behind the publication of Edward Snowden’s unprecedented NSA leak. As a filmmaker, her new movie Citizenfour makes clear she’s one of the most important directors working in documentary today.
In the closing credits of Citizenfour, Poitras took the unusual step of adding an acknowledgment of the free software projects that made the film possible: The roll call includes the anonymity software Tor, the Tor-based operating system Tails, GPG encryption, Off-The-Record (OTR) encrypted instant messaging, hard disk encryption software Truecrypt, and Linux. All of that describes a technical setup that goes well beyond the precautions taken by most national security reporters, not to mention documentary filmmakers.
Poitras argues that without those technologies, neither her reporting on the Snowden leaks nor her film itself would have been possible – Andy Greenberg
Thailand Stands to Lose 20 to 30 per cent in Revenue from Tourism.
Between January and September, international arrivals at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport stood at 9.1 million, down from 11.3 million in the same period last year, according to the Immigration Police Bureau. This shows a 19-per-cent decline.
Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of ATTA, said the drop in tourist arrivals was mostly due to the martial law and that many tourists were choosing to travel to other countries – Suchat Sritama
France’s Brain Drain
The land of 400 cheeses, the birthplace of Molière and Coco Chanel, is facing an unprecedented exodus. Up to 2.5 million French people now live abroad, and more are bidding “au revoir” each year.
Centre-right deputies are convinced that the people who are the “lifeblood” of France are leaving because of “the impression that it’s impossible to succeed”.
“Young people feel stuck, and they want interesting jobs. Businessmen say the labour code is complex and they’re taxed even before they start working. Pensioners can also pay less tax abroad”
The French consulate in London has estimated that up to 400,000 French nationals live in the capital, a number equal to the population of France’s sixth largest city – Anne Penketh
Vietnamese are Bigger Believers in Capitalism than Americans
Pew Research surveyed people living in 44 different countries this spring. They asked a simple question: Do you agree with the following statement: “Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.”
Worldwide, two-thirds of those surveyed agreed, giving capitalism a thumbs up.
But the results get more interesting at the country level. In the U.S., 70% agreed that the free market is the way to go. Compare that to China (76% agree), India (72%) and South Korea (78%).
Vietnam dwarfed everyone though, with a whopping 95% in favor of capitalism – Heather Long
Asians are more Optimistic than Americans
Asians are particularly optimistic about the next generation’s financial prospects. Fully 94% of Vietnamese, 85% of Chinese, 71% of Bangladeshis, and 67% of Indians think today’s children will be better off than their parents.
Africans and Latin Americans are also on balance optimistic, while Middle Easterners tend to be pessimistic. And in Europe (25%) and the United States (30%), pessimism is pervasive – PewResearch
Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots – Naomi Brockwell
Unlimited Free Solar Energy in Just 20 Years
What energy crisis? In less than 20 years, solar power will be so inexpensive and widespread that it will meet the entirety of the world’s energy needs at virtually no cost, futurist Ray Kurzweil, told The Washington Post.
At present, solar power accounts for a scant 0.23% of US energy consumption, and about 1% of energy consumption worldwide.
However, the artificial-intelligence pioneer points out that solar power use has been doubling every two years over the past three decades, as well as consistently dropping in cost. Kurzweil, who is currently Director of Engineering at Google, says that at the current rate of growth, solar power will be able to meet today’s energy needs in about 14 years.
Given growing energy needs, Kurzweil predicts that solar power will be inexpensive and ubiquitous enough to power the planet in about 20 years – Ajai Raj
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