MONTHLY REPORT – OCTOBER 2014
The 5th of October in Bitcoin Price History
2011: $4.90 +82x
2012: $12.75 +2.6x
2013: $121.49 +9.5x
2014: $304.16 +2.5x
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
VC Investment in Bitcoin
2014: $268m (so far!)
Transactions / Price / Volatility
* If bitcoin price had gone in a straight line from 1yr ago to now (~$200-325), story would be about the amazing ecosys dev we’ve seen in 2014 – Dan McArdle
* Consider that if data on startups and their equity were collected and indexed like DJIA, bitcoin, et al. the swings would look similar — and in some cases much more violent — than bitcoin –Here4Downvotes
There is not a neuron in my brain that believes the price in 5 years time is going to be as ridiculously low as it is now. I’m all euphoria at this moment, seriously. – bitcoin.txt
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
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
Competing Block Chains
A centralised data centre is more secure than the second strongest distributed block chain.
#zerosumgame – Jon Matonis
Global e-commerce giant Overstock.com has hired the developers behind peer-to-peer decentralized exchange Counterparty to develop a new stock market platform powered by cryptocurrency technology.
The developers will work on a platform called ‘Medici’, an evolution of Overstock’s previously announced ‘cryptosecurity’ offering that will allow not only Overstock, but other businesses, the ability to issue cryptosecurities to the investing public.
With the announcement, Counterparty founders Robby Dermody and Evan Wager told CoinDesk that they have now turned their focus primarily to the Medici project, though this will entail work for Counterparty as Medici will be built on top of the Counterparty protocol. Dermody and Wagner are now working to find replacement candidates to cover their duties at Counterparty while working on Medici.
Launched in January, Counterparty quickly built itself into a market leader using a DIY approach, the bitcoin protocol and Counterparty’s own native currency XCP to facilitate digital asset exchange. “They’re true to the ethics of bitcoin, true to the open-source nature, they’re true to the principles,” Byrne added.
Byrne went on to laud Krellenstein, Dermody and Wager for their dedication to philosophy, math and computer science, as well as their decidedly non-Wall Street approach to finance.
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.
USG Rigged Fiat Markets: A Massive Dekulakization Experiment
decimation: The other day I was trying to find an etf or stock that didn’t depend on ‘bezzle’ (ie usg fiat finance). I didn’t succeed.
mircea_popescu: this is roughly equivalent to, “the other day, i tried to find a natural process going backwards in entropy. i didn’t succeed.
decimation: yeah I figured it was hopeless, but I wanted to pretend like my bezzlars were not locked in a usg approved cage
mircea_popescu: the thing is, without bitcoin that cage can’t even be made apparent (insmuch as the most you could do, cca 2010 or before, was to move them into… another cage, worse made)
decimatio: with bitcoin, the ‘free market’ in us finance starts to look like a massive dekulakization experiment
“Owning” NYSE Stocks
Purpose-theory is a NYSE stock, it’s a mortgaged home, it’s a webwallet, it’s the appearance of ownership and control where there’s precisely none to be had. If you “own” these things, you are what’s owned. Full stop.
This is one of the primary reasons why Bitcoin is such a big fucking deal: because it makes ownership, as defined by one’s ability and authority to destroy something, possible for a unit of account. Not since physical gold was a thing has this been the case – Pete Dushenski
COMPANIES / PROJECTS
OpenBazaar vs. Alibaba
* OpenBazaar Beta 2.0 was just released: https://blog.openbazaar.org/launching-openbazaar-beta-2-0/ Thanks to the 40 people who contributed code in the past month! – OpenBazaar
* OpenBazaar is operative right now. People buying honey, books and pens. Not as scandalous as WIRED would like – Washington Sanchez
* Decentralized market & currency exchange. Probably only one of the most significant projects on Earth – AnonyOdinn
* Decentralized marketplaces for the masses, using bitcoin, are more important than sidecoins, tokens & crowdfunding – Washington Sanchez
* Alibaba has made more money in the last 20 days than Amazon has made in the last 20 years – Bill Gross
* Alibaba’s market cap of $250bill is higher than Wal-Mart – Lee Banfield
The startup, led by CEO Rony Abovitz, announced today the close of its $542 million Series B, featuring investors led by Google, Inc., and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment.
The list of investors reads like a who’s who of influential companies and individuals across various industries, and Abovitz explained to TechCrunch that the reason for that is that the tech’s potential isn’t limited to any one field, which he says puts its potential market size in the trillions of dollarsannually range. That could explain the valuation of Magic Leap, which is north of $1 billion, given that this round is still a minority investment, per Abovitz.
Based on his comments, it sounds like artificial, but extremely realistic images might be projected directly onto a user’s retina to achieve this effect, but we may have to wait until an official reveal to learn more about the nature of the device(s) in use here.
What Abovitz would tell me is that they think of Magic Leap’s capabilities in terms of both the phrases “the world is your new desktop,” and “the world is your new silver screen,” meaning it provides a visual experience not bound by traditional media content consumption devices. The use of both those phrases also hints at some of the potential markets for the tech – silver screen includes Hollywood in the mix, which helps explain why both Legendary Pictures, and Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull personally invested in Magic Leap as part of this round.
“I was an Oculus Rift investor, and they’re certainly doing some amazing things,” Tull explained in a separate interview with TechCrunch. “Magic Leap takes a completely different approach, and all I can say is that as I got to know Rony [Abovitz] and we got to really know and like each other this past year, and I went to their headquarters and I spent half a day immersed in [their technology], I just couldn’t get the smile off my face.” – Darrell Etherington
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
In the Bitcoin world, if it’s not open source, it doesn’t exist. Period. – Pierre Rochard
I use Linux because I value freedom in a device I use 10 hours a day – Manuel Araoz
Stealth Addresses & CoinJoin
Stealth Addresses and CoinJoin are now available as JS libraries for http://BitcoinJS.org . All thanks to the awesome Darkwallet team. Mass surveillance isn’t passive. It damages how we think. It makes us smaller, more obedient, less daring (How the Surveillance State Changes Our Everyday Lives)
Stealth Addresses and Coin Join are about liberating our humanity from the very real damage of surveillance, and that is why I support them – Kyle Drake
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
“Worldwide adoption is necessary for Bitcoin to succeed. And I believe Singapore is the place for Bitcoin in Asia.” – Adam Draper, Boost VC CEO
Buenos Aires has one of the largest and most active bitcoin communities on the planet. It also has the third highest concentration of bitcoin meetups, behind New York and Tel Aviv – Belen Marty
On the other half of Malaysia lies an obscure offshore financial center that has quietly been attracting a small following of businesses since establishing itself 23 years ago. The autonomous region of Labuan is Asia’s well-kept secret and is home to several thousand international corporations, including Malaysia’s Air Asia – Andrew Henderson
Crypto Valley: Zug, Switzerland
Many have asked me why I relocated from Texas to Switzerland. Perhaps the best response is a question of my own: Can any software from the United States be safe?
When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was asked why she and her colleagues did not reveal the extent of government-mandated surveillance on email and internet searches, she explained the reason was because they were threatened with prison. No wonder that many crypto innovators—Monetas included—have started setting up shop in Switzerland.
Silent Circle, an innovator in secure communications, just moved their headquarters to Switzerland, a move they characterized as “extremely important.”
Why? “Switzerland’s strong privacy laws, legendary neutrality, and economic business advantages.” Additionally, “Switzerland has the world’s best privacy legislation that is actually written into the constitution.”
Clearly the United States doesn’t meet those standards. Lavabit founder Ladar Levison certainly doesn’t think so. He said, “This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”
Monetas is based in Zug, Switzerland. Our software is built to Swiss quality standards, and the privacy and security of our users is paramount. – Chris Odom, Monetas
“We asked for flying cars and all we got was the entire planet communicating instantly via pocket supercomputers” – Chris Dixon
Will I live to see it? I’m middle aged. Maybe I won’t.
But on the time scale of human history, whether this happens in 30 years or this happens in 200 years… 200 years is 1/1,000th of the time there has been human beings. It’s a drop of water in the ocean. It isn’t important. On the scale of historical events, this is about to happen – Perry Metzger
Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots – Naomi Brockwell
Colonizing the Whole Solar System
At our current rate of technological growth, humanity is on a path to be godlike in its capabilities.
If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonise the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel. We’ll go to the moons of Jupiter, at least some of the outer ones for sure, and probably Titan on Saturn, and the asteroids. Once we have that forcing function, and an Earth-to-Mars economy, we’ll cover the whole Solar System. But the key is that we have to make the Mars thing work. If we’re going to have any chance of sending stuff to other star systems, we need to be laser-focused on becoming a multi-planet civilisation. That’s the next step. – Elon Musk
If an Advanced Civilisation Existed at Any Place in this Galaxy, at Any Point in the Past 13.8 billion Years, Why Isn’t it Everywhere?
Elon Musk told me he often thinks about the mysterious absence of intelligent life in the observable Universe. The failure of these searches is mysterious, because human intelligence should not be special. Ever since the age of Copernicus, we have been told that we occupy a uniform Universe, a weblike structure stretching for tens of billions of light years, its every strand studded with starry discs, rich with planets and moons made from the same material as us. surely some of these places nurture those first fragile cells, until they evolve into intelligent creatures that band together to form civilisations, With the foresight and staying power to build starships.
So far, technological intelligence has sprouted only from one twig. It’s possible that we are merely the first in a great wave of species that will take up tool-making and language. But it’s also possible that intelligence just isn’t one of natural selection’s preferred modules. We might think of ourselves as nature’s pinnacle, the inevitable endpoint of evolution, but beings like us could be too rare to ever encounter one another. Or we could be the ultimate cosmic outliers, lone minds in a Universe that stretches to infinity.
Musk has a more sinister theory. ‘The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation,’ he told me. ‘Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilisation that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mould in a petri dish.’
Musk flipped through a few more possibilities, each packing a deeper existential chill than the last, until finally he came around to the import of it all. ‘If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way,’ he said. ‘And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.’ – Ross Anderson
Solar Reaching Price Parity in USA: Energy to be Plentiful with even Minor Innovation
After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states — in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week.
Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable, according to the report.
The reason solar-power generation will increasingly dominate: it’s a technology, not a fuel. As such, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on – Tom Randall
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
Paralysed Man Walks Again After Pioneering Surgery
A man who was completely paralysed from the waist down can walk again after a surgical breakthrough which offers hope to millions of people who are disabled by spinal cord injuries.
The 38-year-old, who is believed to be the first person in the world to recover from complete severing of the spinal nerves, can now walk with a frame and has been able to resume an independent life, even to the extent of driving a car, while sensation has returned to his lower limbs.
Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at University College London’s institute of neurology discovered the technique, said: “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”
The surgery was performed by a Polish team led by one of the world’s top spinal repair experts, Dr Pawel Tabakow, from Wroclaw Medical University, and involved transplanting olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the nose to the spinal cord.
OECs assist the repair of damaged nerves that transmit smell messages by opening up pathways for them to the olfactory bulbs in the forebrain. Relocated to the spinal cord, they appear to enable the ends of severed nerve fibres to grow and join together – something that was previously thought to be impossible.
The NSIF’s founder, David Nicholls, whose son Daniel was paralysed in 2003, said information relating to the breakthrough will be made available to other researchers around the world to help cure paralysis – Ben Quinn
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