Saturday 13th December

BITCOIN 

bitcoin_logo_flat_coin_star_bl_by_carbonism-d3h7bxh

Bitcoin Has Already Won

When people write the history of this thing, of bitcoin, they are not going to write the story of 6 million to a billion.

What is truly remarkable is the story of zero to 6 million.

It has already happened! And we’re not paying attention! That’s incredible. That’s what had one chance in a million, and it already happened – Wences Casares

 

Can Government Regulation End Bitcoin?

If legislation could end Bitcoin, I would not have reason to be excited about Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a great option for everyone, no matter their sex, race, age or bureaucratic foothold.

In order to attack Bitcoin, a government agent needs to be able to gauge its future potential. Once he has done this, he will probably be interested in earning a profit from a Bitcoin investment himself, so personal stake in the system discourages actually attacking it.

Daniel Krawisz has a very thought-provoking article on this: Bitcoin’s Shroud of Subtlety and Allure

Michael Goldstein

 

Merchant Adoption

PokerStars

*The largest online poker room in the world, is preparing to accept Bitcoin – Dan Cypra

* My prediction is that within five years, half of the top 10 gaming operators will be Bitcoin only – Jon Matonis

Microsoft

There might be life in the old beast yet: Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin as a payment option on its Windows and Xbox stores — which means you can now use Bitcoin to purchase a new copy of Windows, the latest installment of Call of Destiny: Master Chief Edition, or even to buy the latest season of your favorite TV show – Sebastian Anthony

 

All Time High Daily Bitcoin Transactions

* Important Bitcoin record today: more than 100.000 Bitcoin transactions, and growing fast… (Bitcoin Daily Transaction Quantity) – Jorge Ordovas

* How do Bitcoin skeptics argue with this? Could there be a better example of this technology’s organic growth? – Erik Voorhees

 

 

MINING

First Difficulty Drop of the ASIC Age

* Network difficulty fell 0.73 percent.

* The first difficulty decrease happened in 2011 when pool operators discovered the existence of botnet miners for the first time and banned several.

* Other difficulty decreases happened during the GPU mining era when price dips made the energy cost of mining unprofitable in the near term.

Bingo Boingo

 

 

ALTCOINS

Gold vs. Bitcoin

Dominic Williams: They are different but complementary things. Gold and currency have long histories.

Pierre Rochard: Actually they’re clearly substitutes! Yes, horses and mules had long history too.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Pierre Rochard: Bitcoin’s price will be stable when every fiat currency’s value == 0. At that point purchasing power of btc will increase w/ productivity

Steve Dekorte: and precious metals go to their non monetary values

Michael Goldstein: Thank goodness. Gold is too useful to *want* to have to use it for money: The Most Useful Metal

 

US Dollar vs. Bitcoin

Jon Matonis: If the bitcoin native monetary unit is global and inseparable from the block chain, what do VCs think Bitcoin’s end game is?

Marc Andreessen: I’m not sure I’m following the question?

Jon Matonis: Can Bitcoin still be successful without prevailing over its legal tender competition? (My answer to a VC’s Bitcoin Question)

Marc Andreessen: My personal view is that Bitcoin as currency can succeed in parallel with national currencies, for several different reasons.

Jon Matonis: Ok, but isn’t the natural tendency towards user pervasiveness as it is with Facebook and Twitter? More so with a viral currency?

Marc Andreessen: Yes, but national governments get to decide what currency they accept for tax payments.

Jonathan Vaage: With a liquid market, why would anyone hold fiat for longer than necessary? (Bitcoin Expert: Taxation is Not a source of Value). The dollar then becomes just another shitty appcoin for paying taxes.

Pierre Rochard: Plus, why would the government ask for fiat when contractors & employees want bitcoins?

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

Truthcoin

What’s the most exciting tech for you in the next level of crypto?

Truthcoin.info is one thing I just discovered three or four days ago, and I still need to do a little bit more reading about it, but it’s really caught my attention.

It’s a platform that people are setting up that will probably be on a sidechain. It will basically allow people to make bets on whatever they want, for future events. I think that’s going to be a pretty interesting tool – Roger Ver

 

Purse.io

One thing I think in the short term is going to drive a bunch of additional traffic to bitcoin, and I think needs to get even more attention, is a website called purse.io.

I just discovered it a couple of weeks ago, and it’s amazingYou can get a 20% discount on products from Amazon.com by paying with bitcoin.

A 20% discount on Amazon I think is enough to get anybody, libertarian or not, involved in bitcoin. I think we’re going to see a real big explosion in that sort of business in the next couple of weeks or months.

It’s almost as easy as using Amazon directly, it’s not hard once you’ve done it once. I think it’s enough to get tech people and housewives excited about bitcoin.

20% off of Amazon, which is already known as being one of the lowest price and best service websites for shopping on the entire planet, is huge. That’s going to draw everybody in. Who’s not going to be excited by that? – Roger Ver

 

Amazon Threatens US Government Over Drone Testing

Amazon has warned America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it will move its drone research programme outside the US if the company is stopped from testing its unmanned aircraft.

The e-commerce giant is currently trying out its dones in the UK, and recently placed job adverts for pilots, as the company steps up plans to deliver products using aerial machines. Amazon has urged the FAA on numerous occasions to let it step up its drone testing, without success.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed in December 2013 that the online retailer was planning to use drones to deliver packages.

Mr Bezos told CBS Televison’s 60 Minutes show at the time: “I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not. It’s very green, it’s better than driving trucks around. We can do half-hour delivery and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds, which covers 86pc of the items that we deliver.” – Andrew Trotman

 

Wired’s 15 Futuristic Gifts for the Super-Early Adopter

Highlights include:

* Jaunt VR Camera

* Samsung Gear VR

* Choc Creator V2 (Chocolate 3D Printer)

* The Iris+ Quadcopter

* Cirrus Vision SF50 (Flying Car)

Tim Moynihan

 

OpenBitTorrent

Founded in 2009 after The Pirate Bay shut down its tracker, OpenBitTorrent soon grew out to become a key player in the BitTorrent ecosystem.

For several years OpenBitTorrent has been the most used BitTorrent tracker. The free service coordinates the downloads of 30 million people at any given point in time, processing roughly three billion connections per day.

About a week ago, however, the tracker suddenly stopped responding. Those who now try to download a torrent with help from OpenBitTorrent will notice that the connection to the tracker times out. Former Pirate Bay operator Fredrik Neij is listed as the domain registrant for the OpenBitTorrent domain. Neij was arrested a few weeks ago and is currently imprisoned in Sweden.

Despite the largest tracker being down most BitTorrent users are still able to share files. In fact, it’s likely that the majority are completely unaware of the downtime. Instead of using a tracker, most popular torrents work fine when they rely solely on DHT and PEX.

This allows downloaders to get info on other peers from each other, instead of a central tracker – Ernesto

 

Uber is having quite the week…

* $1.2 billion in new funding, which values the company at $40 billion

* Banned in the Netherlands

* Banned in Spain

* Banned in Thailand

* Banned in Delhi, India

* Operations suspended in state of Nevada

* Sued to stop operating by city of Portland, Oregon

Bradley Leimer / Ben Popper

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

* On pace to generate $2 billion in revenue – Ben Popper

* In just one year, Uber has gone from operating in 60 to 250 cities, and from 21 to 50 countries – Travis Kalanick

* Uber is in direct competition with a very bad government service, and it is winning – Jeffrey Tucker

* Millions of people may decide that they no longer need to own a car because using Uber will be cheaper – Travis Kalanick

* If you invested $10,000 in Uber’s seed round, it would be worth roughly $80 Million today – Semil Shah

* I think Uber could be largely decentralized. Reputation bootstrap might be the trickiest part. Could leverage open trusted functionaries – Andy Alness

 

 

INTERNET / SECURITY

The Dawn of Trustworthy Computing

“Block chain computer” (not just “block chain”) & “fiduciary code” very helpful concepts for building mental model – Richard Gendal Brown

The most elegant explanation of on-chain computing, well, ever. By Nick Szabo – Stephan Tual

This Nick Szabo post on the ‘rise of trustworthy computing’ is one of the top 10 things I have read on blockchains – Antonis Polemitis

The most important breakthrough in computing since the Internet. “The Dawn of Trustworthy Computing” by Nick Szabo – Bill Barhydt

This new Nick Szabo article “The dawn of trustworthy computing” is a roadmap to about a dozen new companies – BTCplainEnglish

Today’s computers are not very trustworthy, but they are so astronomically faster than humans at so many important tasks that we use them heavily anyway. We reap the tremendous benefits of computers and public networks at large costs of identity fraud and other increasingly disastrous attacks.

Recently developed and developing technology, often called “the block chain”, is starting to change this.

A block chain computer is a virtual computer, a computer in the cloud, shared across many traditional computers and protected by cryptography and consensus technology. A Turing-complete block chain with large state gives us this shared computer.

QuixCoin is a recent and Ethereum is a current project that has implemented such a scheme. These block chain computers will allow us to put the most crucial parts of our online protocols on a far more reliable and secure footing, and make possible fiduciary interactions that we previously dared not do on a global network

Much as pocket calculators pioneered an early era of limited personal computing before the dawn of the general-purpose personal computer, Bitcoin has pioneered the field of trustworthy computing with a partial block chain computer.

Bitcoin has implemented a currency in which someone in Zimbabwe can pay somebody in Albania without any dependence on local institutions, and can do a number of other interesting trust-minimized operations, including multiple signature authority. But the limits of Bitcoin’s language and its tiny memory mean it can’t be used for most other fiduciary applications, the most obvious example being risk pools that share collateral across a pool of financial instruments.

A block-chain computer, in sharp contrast to a web server, is shared across many such traditional computers controlled by dozens to thousands of people. By its very design each computer checks each other’s work, and thus a block chain computer reliably and securely executes our instructions up to the security limits of block chain technology, which is known formally as anonymous and probabilistic Byzantine consensus (sometimes also called Nakamoto  consensus).

Trust-minimized code means you can trust the code without trusting the owners of any particular remote computer. Regardless of where any of the computers or their owners are, the block chain computer they share will execute as reliably and securely as consensus technology allows, up to the aforementioned limits. This is an extremely high level of reliability, and a very high level of security, compared to web server technology.

While there is much futurism in many block chain discussions, including many trying to solve problems that aren’t actually solved by the block chain, I will generally stick to low-hanging fruit that could be usefully implemented on Quixcoin, Ethereum, or similar technology in the near future, often interfacing to still necessary parts of traditional protocols and institutions rather than trying to reinvent and replace them in whole – Nick Szabo

 

 

PLACES

Germany

Localbitcoins.com won’t be available in Germany anymore due to regulatory reasons. We hope this is temporary. Press enquiries via email – Localbitcoins.com

Was wondering when regulators would notice – Jeff Garzik

 

The Myth of e-Estonia

What are you _DOING_?! Is Estonia a country of the future or is it a Soviet Style totalitarian hell hole?

Bitcoin Under Assault in Estonia

Estonia is criminally persecuting a Bitcoin dev and advocate. “Estonian police is claiming jurisdiction due to there having been an Estonian translation of his website.”

Don’t translate your site into Estonian, otherwise, “Estonia” will issue an international arrest warrant for you, no matter where you are.

All websites that are translated into Estonian fall under Estonian jurisdiction, according to Estonian Police <INSANE

Estonia wants people to join its grand Digital Experiment, but it seems its all a sham: Absolutely TERRIBLE.

Estonia, for all its bragging about being modern, is still backward, violent and lawless: inexplicable HORROR STORY

Donate to BTC.ee

Beautyon

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

“Reverse engineering the neural cortex: We’re going to finish this off in less than five years”— Jeff Hawkins

Citrix Startup Accelerator’s chief technologist Michael Harries said, any entrepreneurs that aren’t familiarizing themselves with AI have “rocks in their heads.”

According to Modar Alaoui, AI’s immediate future lies in ambient intelligence in smartphones and smart cars.

Jeff Hawkins believes reverse engineering the neural cortex is the fastest way to intelligent machines. Neuroscience has shown that language and touch work on the same principles, and Hawkins expects a machine’s abilities to unfold in a similar way once scientists are able to tap inherent potential.

“Progress is incremental but also exponential. We’re going to finish this off in less than five years, I believe.”

If the thought of enlightened machines in the next five years is too much, Hawkins assured attendees that artificial intelligence isn’t inherently dangerous. The ability to self-replicate is dangerous, however.” – Jessica Lipsky

 

IBM’s Watson will Give You Health Advice Based on Your DNA

Maybe you have a fitness tracker. Maybe you’ve gotten your genome sequenced before. Probably your medical records are kept in electronic, instead of paper, form. Now some companies are seeking to combine all those things and more into a talking, personalized, health-advice app. Not sure when to give yourself your next insulin shot after having a croissant for breakfast? You can ask the app. How much exercise should someone with your genetic makeup be getting? The app will give you suggestions.

At least, that’s the goal of the app-makers, who include developers from IBM and a startup called Pathway Genomics. If the app, called Pathway Panorama, works as expected, it will be one of the most detailed and personalized health-advice apps we’ve ever heard of. It will bring an unprecedented amount of information to bear on the advice it gives you.

Pathway Genomics can sequence your DNA and provide an analysis as to what what those jumbled letters mean. Meanwhile, IBM’s artificial intelligence engine, Watson, will make it possible for the app to understand what users are asking it. Watson also is able to read and understand information online, so it will be able to do things like “read” published medical literature to help answer users’ questions. After all, that’s how Watson won Jeopardy, when IBM first introduced it.

Pathway expects to have the Panorama app ready by mid-2015 – Francie Diep

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality was an abject failure right up to the moment it wasn’t.

In this way, it has followed the course charted by a few other breakout technologies. They don’t evolve in an iterative way, gradually gaining usefulness. Instead, they seem hardly to advance at all, moving forward in fits and starts, through shame spirals and bankruptcies and hype and defensive crouches — until one day, in a sudden about-face, they utterly, totally win.

Even just a year ago, if you asked most rank-and-file gamers about virtual reality, they might have said it was a nice old sci-fi idea but too expensive and far too stomach-churning to pursue seriously. It’s hard to remember, but the same skepticism once dogged the two devices that now define the sea change known as “mobile”: the smartphone and the tablet.

Similar reversals happened in the mid-2000s with e-books and video calling, two long-dreamed-of technologies that appeared perennially hopeless until Skype and Amazon made them suddenly ubiquitous. And it seems to be happening with virtual reality today – Virginia Heffernan

 

Deadly Gamma-Ray Bursts: An Explanation for the Fermi Paradox?

If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way. It could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations – Elon Musk

A gamma-ray burst, the most powerful kind of explosion known in the universe, may have triggered a mass extinction on Earth within the past billion years, researchers say.

These deadly outbursts could help explain the so-called Fermi paradox, the seeming contradiction between the high chance of alien life and the lack of evidence for it, scientists added.

Gamma-ray bursts are brief, intense explosions of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. These outbursts give off as much energy as the sun during its entire 10-billion-year lifetime in anywhere from milliseconds to minutes. If a gamma-ray burst exploded within the Milky Way, it could wreak extraordinary havoc if it were pointed directly at Earth, even from thousands of light-years away.

“This may be an explanation, or at least a partial one, to what is called the Fermi paradox or the ‘Big Silence,'” said lead study author Tsvi Piran, a physicist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. “Why we haven’t encountered advanced civilizations so far? The Milky Way galaxy is much older than the solar system and there was ample time and ample space — the number of planetary systems with conditions similar to Earth is huge — for life to develop elsewhere in the galaxy. So why we haven’t encountered advanced civilizations so far?”

The answer to Fermi’s paradox may be that gamma-ray bursts have struck many life-harboring planets – Charles Q. Choi 

 

Pluto

How amazing to be in the generation of first explorers across the frontier of the solar system. One has to just sit back and be in awe of being here in this time – Richard Binzel, MIT

The New Horizons spacecraft woke up for good last weekend, some 2.9 billion miles and counting from Earth.

Robotic explorers have flown by or landed on Mercury,Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, the moon, asteroids, and even a comet. But Pluto, downgraded to a dwarf planet in 2006, has remained more like a distant smudge on a telescope lens than a real world.

Scientists don’t know what they will find on Pluto.

“From the first time I ever saw Saturn through a telescope, I realized there were incredible mysteries just in our own backyard of our solar system,” Binzel said. “Everything we know about Pluto up to this point has been learned through telescopes. … That will change starting early next year.”

“I could probably write down in one page everything we know about the Pluto system, which is comparable to what we knew about Mars when we did the first missions in 1965 and Jupiter in the 1970s,’’ said Alan Stern, the head of the mission and associate vice president at Southwest Research Institute. “It’s really a lesson of planetary science — you have to go there, you have to get up close to get the detail.”

“All these missions have a ‘what is that’ quality to them, and that’s what we’re excited about,” Stern said. “What are they going to see and be the first to see that nobody has ever seen before” – Carolyn Y. Johnson

 

Actualizing the Human Imagination

As David Deutsch said in his book The Beginning of Infinity, if you look at the physical topography of Manhattan, the forces of economics, culture, and intent have already trumped geology. Literally the forces of mind create more physical topographical change than the forces of geology. Mind has trumped matter.

And as Ray Kurzweil wrote in his magnificent, magnificent book The Singularity is Near, it turns out that we are central after all. We are not just a pale blue dot.

Our ability to create virtual models in our heads combined with our modest looking thumbs was sufficient to usher in the secondary force of evolution called technology. It will continue until the entire universe is at our fingertips.

Having invented the gods, we can turn into them.

That is the human story.

That is turning ourselves inside out.

That is actualizing the human imagination – Jason Silva

 

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Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

Bitcoin: 1Jwh6nZiASJf4d3hNytjxqiimWBmEJvJ4S

Bitmessage: BM-2cXjeAykLT7gbjzNHZFnCxdawvyryyb4Nf

 

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