Investing in Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a classic venture capital endeavor: It will either work or it won’t. And if it doesn’t work, we will lose all our money. But if it does work, it will work in a spectacular way. Our investments will pay off 1,000 to 1 or 10,000 to 1 or some other crazy extreme, because these markets are so big – Marc Andreessen
Borderless, Permisionless, All Day, Every Day
Bitcoin is so cool. Just scanned a piece of paper in a youtube video with my phone and donated $5 to someone halfway around the world – Erik Voorhees
That is the kind of thing that makes me laugh when government officials say they want to regulate BTC! HAHAHAHA! – Eric
Once you’ve used Bitcoin for a while going back to our normal banking ways seem insane! – Lee Hughes
Bitcoin is Like Technology That’s Arrived from Mars
Bitcoin is like technology that’s arrived from Mars, and so regulators don’t know what to do with it. That’s a good thing.
There are regulatory arbitrage opportunities every step of the way. If the regulators are going to regulate banks, then you’ll have non-bank entities that spring up to do the things that banks can’t do – Marc Andreessen
3-5 Business Days
Dealing with banks feels like being asked to use a fax machine in 2014. Usually, the banks ask me to use a fax machine too.
In banking “3-5 business days” inconvenience is not due to a lack of technology. Make no mistake: It is a profit-center for the banks.
Of course, all the banking delays are asymmetric. They earn fees instantly. It’s only “money out” that takes 3-5 days – Andreas Antonopoulos
We’re Not Going Back to The Old Way
We have a chance to rebuild the system. Financial transactions are just numbers; it’s just information. You shouldn’t need 100,000 people and prime Manhattan real estate and giant data centers full of mainframe computers from the 1970s to give you the ability to do an online payment.
You would not today, starting from scratch, invent any of these financial businesses in the same way. To me, it’s all about unbundling the banks.
We’re not going to go backward. When people start doing things a better way, it kind of doesn’t matter what the old way was – Marc Andreessen
Merchant Adoption for the Masses
We are trying to determine a way to convince Craigslist to allow sellers to place a special “bitcoin” logo on each listing indicating the acceptance of bitcoin. Craigslist has millions (maybe billions) of active users and this could be the killer app we’ve been looking for to promote bitcoin use – boxer1969
You know how to get a girl to like you? You stop trying. Trying to make a girl like you who doesn’t, or even who’s neutral, only makes her resent you. Instead you need to do your own thing, improve yourself, and have a good time on your own. Eventually, she’ll see that you’re a great, fun-loving guy and she’ll be the one coming after you.
This is the exact same situation. Why twist arms for adoption when you can focus on making the technology so incredible that companies have to bow to real demand from their actual consumers? – enkrypt0r
Gold and Silver
For a huge part of civilized human history we used two metals as money: gold and silver. They were not perfect, but universally accepted and recognized.
There was a competition in private coinage. Kings and private merchants were making their own coins in gold and silver and selling them for premium. The well-recognized coin was easier to store and to verify if you trust the issuer. Instead of measuring each coin, you could simply read the number on its face. Names like “dollar”, “pound sterling” and others were all names for private coins or bullion and meant particular weight of the metal. That is, dollar was not some sort of separate money, it was simply a name for a certain amount of silver, like “gram” or “ounce”. The money was still the same — gold or silver, but there was a big variety of shapes of that money.
Today things are different. After several huge economic disasters created by the governments of Russia, Europe and U.S. in the beginning of 20th century, we now have state-issued money in almost every country with a nice twist that now the money is not redeemable for metals. People use that money, though, because various controls and regulations make it almost impossible to use gold, silver or respective certificates in daily transactions. – Oleg Andreev
The degree to which the fiat money statists have thoroughly routed gold and silver as money is impressive. Precious metals were the cornerstone of the monetary system for thousands of years, yet could not survive the onslaught of propaganda and attacks from 20th century governments.
The vast majority of people are totally oblivious to gold and silver as real money (see etymology of the words dollar/thaler, and pound), and are completely ignorant of it’s immense role in underpinning civilization. They’re too far gone to even begin to grasp this concept. Despite this catastrophic demise, gold and silver should still be respected and may be the only altcoins worth diversifying into – Lee Banfield
Why Open Transactions? Because Appcoins Suck
Here’s the endgame as I imagine it:
* Bitcoin is base money. It is used as cash for most types of routine purchases.
* The blockchain also serves a few non-monetary roles, like hosting colored coins.
* OT is a contract-processing system. It is used for financial instruments (everything that is not base money): loans, stocks, bonds, trade credit, smart contracts, all types of credit in general
* In order to achieve federation, OT will rely heavily on colored coins
* Colored coins can’t host their own metadata in the blockchain, so they need some type of external metadata processing system in order to be useful.
* OT will become the standard metedata system for colored coins
* OT + colored coins makes Ripple, Counterparty, Mastercoin, Bitshares, etc all redundant.
* Users will prefer OT+CC to all the above because OT+CC doesn’t require them to purchase tokens from IPO investors.
* Ethereum is impractical for reasons beyond the scope of this post
* Openbazaar-style functionality is already being added to the reference OT GUI
* OT will survive because it has avoided the mandatory token approach, all the other projects will not.
COMPANIES / PROJECTS
In the Bitcoin world, if it’s not open source, it doesn’t exist. Period. – Pierre Rochard
If you commit the crime of not identifying yourself, the government will take your money – Ryan X. Charles
We kindly ask all unverified account holders with a balance to get verified within 28 days of this announcement.
Failure to do so constitutes a breach of our Agreement and failure to remedy that breach. This will automatically result in the following: all unverified accounts holding a balance will be terminated, access rights will be removed, and the holders of these accounts will no longer be considered Bitstamp customers.
Any remaining balances will be subject to immediate seizure by and forfeiture to regulatory authorities – Bitstamp Team
Google and other investors are planning a huge investment in Magic Leap, a secretive but boastful company building hardware and software it says will deliver “cinematic reality”.
Sources say Google is leading what could be a $500 million funding round for the Florida-based company; Andreessen Horowitz may be one of the other investors in the consortium. Magic Leap already announced $50 million in funding earlier this year. Aside from a few cryptic interviews and press releases, Magic Leap has kept a low profile until recently, but it has drawn increasing interest from Hollywood and Silicon Valley. CEO Rony Abovitz, who previously co-founded a surgical robotics company that sold for $1.65 billion, has said the company is working on “what we believe will be the most natural and human-friendly wearable computing interface in the world,” but has kept it mostly behind wraps.
Abovitz and Magic Leap have given some hints about what they’re working on, though: They say they can deliver a more realistic 3-D experience than the kind offered by current technologies, including Oculus Rift, the 3-D headset; Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion earlier this year. “When you see this, you will see that this is computing for the next 30 or 40 years. To go farther and deeper than we’re going, you would be changing what it means to be human.”
In April, the company hired Brian Wallace, who helped Samsung develop its “Next Big Thing” campaign and then joined Google’s Motorola unit in 2012 as its chief marketing officer. At the time, Wallace said seeing a Magic Leap demo was “one of the most profound moments I’ve ever had.”
That’s the kind of quote that comes up with some frequency when people discuss Magic Leap.
Here’s games developer Graeme Devine telling Polygon about his first encounter with the company: “I went out there and had lunch with the CEO. He was drawing pictures of black holes and deep physics on the paper napkins. I thought, this has been a waste of my time. Then I went to the offices and I saw something that I did not think was possible. I like to think I know technology and I am not easily impressed. I worked at Apple, but when I saw what they were doing, I just said, immediately, ‘how can I help?’” – Liz Gannes & Peter Kafka
Peter Diamandis read my book The Singularity is Near while hiking in Patagonia. We had a dinner and he said we should start a university based on these ideas because [the book] changed his perspective. No other university really takes the view that all of these technologies—computation, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology (which refers to manipulating materials as an information technology)—are progressing exponentially, and it is going to lead to revolutionary changes in the world. That’s the fundamental thesis of Singularity University.
A unique part of our Graduate Studies Program is the team projects, where students self organize into small teams of 3-6 and take on a world challenge. The goal of each project is to positively affect a billion people within 10 years. These projects continue past the end of the summer and quite a few startups and nonprofits have resulted. A few examples:
Modern Meadow uses stem cells and 3D printing to create meat and leather without animals. I envision this approach is going to result in a revolution that will take place in the future called vertical agriculture, where we grow fruits and vegetables using hydroponic plants and meat without animals via in-vitro cloning. These meats can be healthier because we will be able to include omega 3 healthy fats, rather than saturated fats, and we can recycle all of the nutrients so there will be no environmental impact – unlike the environmental disaster caused by factory farming. Last but not least, there will be no animal suffering.
Cambrian Genomics has made the first system to actually print DNA, which can lead to bringing back extinct creatures. For example, we don’t have fully intact DNA of mammoths or dinosaurs, but we have fragments of them. We can put together a sequence in the computer and print it out using this type of technology.
Tridom is developing a way of using 3D printing to print homes.
By the way, I think we are probably 5 to 6 years away from the most revolutionary applications of 3D printing. 3D printing is now in a period of early enthusiasm, and which may be followed by a period of disillusionment, after which it will spawn a true transformation. I believe that in the 2020’s, 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing. We can already print out organs, and that will be considered to be very mainstream technology by the early 2020’s – Ray Kurzweil
PRIVACY / SECURITY
I use Linux because I value freedom in a device I use 10 hours a day – Manuel Araoz
Anonymous App Whisper Tracks Users for Governments
He’s a guy that we’ll track for the rest of his life and he’ll have no idea we’ll be watching him – Whisper Exec
FBI Demands Cell Phones Should Have Backdoors to Enable US Government Surveillance
Marching orders from US gov’t: It is critical that you secure civilian systems with hard crypto, and also deliberately leave gaping holes – Marc Andreessen
Just make it work for the good guys and not the bad guys, magical nerds! – Alex Stamos
Crypto Wars Redux: New Emphasis on Encryption as a Weapon
#^#$@@%! I thought we fought and won this fight in the 1990’s (Commerce Department Fines Intel Subsidiary for Exporting Encryption) – Marc Andreessen
The US Government has imposed a $750,000 fine on an Intel subsidiary for exporting encryption to China, Russia, Israel and other countries. The controversial move means the US Department of Commerce appears to be coming down heavily against the export of encryption even in cases where no export to sworn enemies of the US (Iran, Cuba and North Korea etc.) is involved – John Leyden
Finally the Brits are waking up to the absurdity that is the “TV License”. You buy a TV, pay 20% Sales tax, then every year a $234 license. Historians will be baffled by how the Brits put up with the BBC for so long, and it’s mad TV License regime that made up 1/3 of court cases – Beautyon
Washington D.C. Now the Most Expensive Place to Live in the USA
There is no greater signpost of the decay in America’s cultural, economic and spiritual life than Washington D.C.’s ascendancy into the most expensive spot to live in within these United States – Michael Krieger
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it – Frederic Bastiat
Dark Matter May Have Been Detected – Streaming from the Sun’s Core
First direct detection of dark matter, thought to make up most of the matter in the universe, would be a historic breakthrough
Martin Barstow, president of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: “This is an amazing result. If confirmed, it will be the first direct detection and identification of the elusive dark matter particles and will have a fundamental impact on our theories of the universe.” – Ian Sample
Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough
From speeding up ships to space travel, compact fusion is closer than you think – Lockheed Martin
* Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready in a decade.
If it proves feasible, Lockheed’s work would mark a key breakthrough in a field that scientists have long eyed as promising, but which has not yet yielded viable power systems. The effort seeks to harness the energy released during nuclear fusion, when atoms combine into more stable forms.
We can make a big difference on the energy front,” McGuire said, noting Lockheed’s 60 years of research on nuclear fusion as a potential energy source that is safer and more efficient than current reactors based on nuclear fission – Andrea Shalal
* What Lockheed is claiming is they’ll be able to build a Compact Fusion Reactor about the size of a 747’s engine, able to fit on the back of a semi truck in other words, capable of producing about 100 megawatts of electricity.
If they’re right this changes everything. Current fission reactors are huge, require immense amounts of security and produce waste we’ll never see the end of — they’re still cleaner than coal and such and we can reprocess the waste for other uses and for fuel, but it’s still horribly radioactive and a security threat.
So why is this a game changer? Simple. We’re talking about limitless, clean, very nearly free power – Patrick Richardson
Biology is Now an Information Technology
Now that we understand biology as software, our ability to both sequence DNA and actually change this software is progressing at an exponential pace. People assume that the advance of medicine is going to proceed the way they’ve seen it before biology was an information technology because of our linear intuition, but it’s accelerating because of this exponential advance.
This evolution will ultimately lead to a singular change in humanity, where we will transcend our biological limitations – Ray Kurzweil
Integrating Technology into your Body is Perfectly Normal. Ever Heard of Contact Lenses?
Integrating technology into your body – being a cyborg, in other words – is perfectly normal, and has been perfectly normal for centuries. (Picture an oldey-tymey pirate. Peg leg? Hook hand? CYBORG. And it goes back even further: the first glasses were invented in the 13th century, the first prosthetics date to BC).
So why do we go into panic mode when someone introduces a new way for humans to twine their lives with technology?
Part of it is just our relentless human drive toward mediocrity; anything new and confusing, however valuable, will be a source of fear and trumped-up nostalgia. But we also make a fetish of the “natural”, as though existing in a state of nature – somehow rooting technology out of our bodies and our lives – would work out especially well for human beings. Don’t kid yourself; in a state of nature, you’re a grub.
Integrated technology is not newfangled at all; it’s practically as old-fangled as it gets. We’ve been posthuman almost as long as we’ve been human, and that’s an essential component of the human experience. We’re not losing ourselves to technology; technology makes us who we are – Jess Zimmerman
First Demonstration of AI on a Quantum Computer
A team of Chinese physicists have trained a quantum computer to recognize handwritten characters, the first demonstration of ‘quantum artificial intelligence”
“The successful classification shows the ability of our quantum machine to learn and work like an intelligent human,” say Li and co.
That’s an interesting result for artificial intelligence and more broadly for quantum computing. It demonstrates the potential for quantum computation, not just for character recognition, but for other kinds of big data challenges. “This work paves the way to a bright future where the Big Data is processed efficiently in a parallel way provided by quantum mechanics,” say the team. There are significant challenges ahead, of course. Not least of these is building more powerful quantum computers. The devices that rely on nuclear magnetic resonance cannot handle more than handful of qubits.
So physicists are racing to build quantum computers that can handle significantly more qubits. This is a race with fame and fortune at the end of it. There is no shortage of runners and the team that pulls it off will find an important place in the history of computing and physics in general.
With a few hundred qubits, who knows what quantum artificial intelligence could do. – The Physics arXiv Blog
Report Explores How Ultrafast Internet Opens up New Possibillites
The report focused on possibilities of “gigabit connectivity” or speeds of 1,000 megabits per second – around 50 to 100 times faster than the average fixed high-speed connection.
Superfast Internet connections are likely to open up new kinds of communication such as “telepresence” and improve services such as remote health care, a survey of experts showed Thursday. The ultrafast connections, expected to be widely deployed in the coming years, can open up a range of possibilities by delivering “immersive” experiences and virtual reality, according to the experts polled by the Pew Research Center and Elon University.
“People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence – enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary,” the report said.
David Weinberger, a researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said that with these connections, “There will be full, always-on, 360-degree environmental awareness, a semantic overlay on the real world, and full-presence massive open online courses. Plus Skype won’t break up nearly as much.”
Marti Hearst, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, said the new connections means people will “play sports and music virtually, distributed, across the globe” and that some can have “virtual Thanksgiving dinner with the other side of the family.” – Recorder Report
On the Long, Long Trip to Mars, Virtual Reality could Keep Astronauts Sane
Six people entered a habitat in Hawaii this week that is meant to simulate Mars. They will spend eight months sleeping, experimenting and living as if they were actually millions of miles away on the Red Planet. And for the first time, they will cope with the help of an unusual piece of technology: Oculus Rift.
The Rift headset at the Hawaii habitat contains a program known as the Virtual Space Station. Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of California-Los Angeles and the Troupe Modern Media have spent the last 13 years working to develop it, an effort NASA recently rewarded with a fresh infusion of $1.6 million. Virtual Space Station is meant to help astronauts feel calm and at home by immersing them in, say, a video of a beach or pictures of their family.
Virtual reality images on their own are extremely powerful. Unlike a picture that is printed out or on a computer screen, virtual reality can really make the wearer feel like they are there. Dartmouth is pairing the content with realistic sounds and smells too, so an astronaut’s walk on the beach can bring the brain even deeper into an experience.
If a more serious mental health situation arises, astronauts could also use virtual reality for therapy. Communication lags or breakdowns can cut astronauts off from resources on Earth. Virtual Space Station includes pre-recorded videos from psychologists and other resources to recognize and treat problems like depression and anxiety – Signe Brewster
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