Annual Global Research: 2014 Report

BITCOIN

bitcoin_logo_small-150x150

Bigger Than the Internet

Whenever I use Bitcoin, the reality strikes me. There is no way that national monies can survive the competition. The future is so clear.

Pulling money away from the State, or at least diminishing the monopoly that governments around the world have on money is going to unleash productivity and innovation like we’ve never seen before. This is bigger than railroads. I think it’s bigger than the internet itself. – Jeffrey A Tucker, February 2014

 

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 (users).

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, December 2014

 

Volatility

There was no bitcoin 5 years ago and now you complain about volatility? It’s quite silly. – Jeffrey A Tucker, April 2014

 

Transactions / Price

* Average daily bitcoin transaction volume at all time high – Barry Silbert, December 2014

* 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, November 2014

* 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, October 2014

 

Merchant Adoption

44,000 merchants using Bitpay (up from 10,000 at the beginning of the year) – Lee Banfield, December 2014

600%+ annual growth in merchants and retailers accepting bitcoin. 10,000 to 80,000, not bad.

On pace with website growth from 1994-1995 – Jeremy Allaire, November 2014

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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, December 2014

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Dell

If you’re a retailer, there’s really no reason not to accept Bitcoin at this point – Dell, July 2014

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Time

TIME inc. subscriptions confirmed. Fortune magazine has bitcoin option prominently displayed –artfully_doges, December 2014

TIME inc. is now accepting Bitcoin as payment from their 130 million consumers across multiple platforms – Roger Ver, December 2014

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PokerStars

*The largest online poker room in the world, is preparing to accept Bitcoin – Dan Cypra, December 2014

* My prediction is that within five years, half of the top 10 gaming operators will be Bitcoin only – Jon Matonis, December 2014

 

Venture Capital

$311 million of VC money into startups that offer Bitcoin based products and services (up from $92 million in 2013) – Lee Banfield, December 2014

Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen is doubling down on bitcoin amid turbulence in the virtual-currency world, in a bet that widespread adoption of the currency will fuel the growth of new businesses and technologies.

Mr Andreessen says bitcoin reminds him of the early days of the internet. “I’m having deja vu,” Mr Andreessen says.

“I’m completely unfazed and I plan to invest more”

Andreessen’s firm Andreessen Horowitz, has already invested $50 million in bitcoin and plans to invest hundreds of millions more over the next several years. – Gregory Zuckerman, March 2014

 

Hoarding

Bitcoin is poised for exponential growth, so the opportunity costs of not being involved to the highest personal degree possible are incalculable.

Yet merchants, investment peddlers, and other hoarders have been able to convince countless bitcoiners to part with their future riches, despite the obvious downsides given you have a long enough time horizon to see the coming post-fiat world. They’ll tell you spending is vital, that Bitcoin 2.0 will be even better if only you give them some of your Bitcoin 0.9, or that your bitcoins are worth only $475 a piece. They’ll tell you this with a straight face, the wringing of their hands unseen across the Internet.

Bitcoin is exciting. Looking at a static wallet file and balance is not. Instead of holding and forgetting, many bitcoiners choose to “put that money to use,” and endless crypto-peddlers are ready to snatch your bitcoins up. They’ll offer you mining contracts, present their plans for a hedge fund, or entice you into investing in a Bitcoin company. Today, the most popular investment vehicle for bitcoiners are Bitcoin 2.0 schemes, ranging from Mastercoin to Ethereum.

Long term investors should use Bitcoin as their unit of account and every single investment should be compared to the expected returns of Bitcoin.

If hyperbitcoinization occurs, Bitcoin holders will see their purchasing power increase by orders of magnitude. Bitcoiners should think twice before throwing away even a couple millibits towards a project “just to see where it goes.” A running joke in the community is how expensive the two pizzas Laszlo bought were. We joke about a million dollar pizza, and hyperbitcoinization has not even occurred yet. I praise Laszlo for his entrepreneurial use of a new technology, but I do not wish for myself or others to be a Laszlo.

My friends and I joke about starving due to the intense deflation, but I can’t say I don’t look back and wish I had skipped a couple lunches in the crappy dorm cafeteria to buy $10 bitcoins when I had the chance. Hyperbitcoinization will not be a force to trifle with. Even a marginal bitcoin holding right now will constitute a very significant majority of a bitcoiner’s portfolio. Once it happens, there is no going back. One day, your Bitcoin balance will likely never see the decimal point move to the right again. – Michael Goldstein, September 2014

 

 

MINING

The Formidable Bitcoin Network

At 5 petahashes (in November 2013) the bitcoin network was already the world’s most powerful computer network (256 times faster than the top 500 supercomputers combined)

It hit 100 petahashes of processing power on 5th June 2014.

As of 28th August 2014, the bitcoin network has reached 220 petahashes

The network is over 400 times more powerful than 1 year ago

Bitcoin has existed for 5 years and 9 months. The network has grown more in the last 3 months than it did in its first 5 years and 6 months of existence  – Lee Banfield, August 28th 2014

*As of December 31st 2014 the bitcoin network stands at a staggering 313 petahashes

 

 

ALTCOINS

Counterparty (XCP)

Counterparty is by far the most interesting project to emerge this year and is the only “altcoin” I hold. At around $4 per unit, the Counterparty currency (XCP) is a very attractive investment considering its vast upside potential – Lee Banfield, December 2014

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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.

At press time, the value of XCP, Counterparty’s native currency has increased more than 150% on the news. Pete Rizzo, October 2014

What a coup! CounterpartyXCP

* Grabs the good stuff – Ethereum tech

* Ditches the bad stuff – Wonky economics, new chain. This is precisely what I’ve been telling people to do since Ethereum appeared. Ethereum has good tech, broken economics, and useless chain.

Core ethereumproject mistake: They let the fund raising dictate the tech. Ass backwards. Did not put product first. “Coin IPO” now locks ethereumproject into separate chain.

Jeff Garzik, November 2014

 

Altcoin Speculation

I couldn’t give a shit about all this altcoin speculation stuff. I think it’s all rubbish, including the really unfortunate idea to release ZeroCash as an altcoin – Greg Maxwell, Bitcoin Core Developer, May 2014

 

Nothing Comes Close to Bitcoin

It’s difficult just to find 10 altcoins that aren’t blatant premine /instamine/ fastmine pump and dump scams, never mind 10 coins that genuinely improve on bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a remarkable experiment. Despite having 5 years to create a better model, most competitors have failed to balance the tough problem of allocating a coin in a sustainable way.

Even after 5 years, nothing comes close to bitcoin in integrity and utility – Lee Banfield, May 2014

 

 

EQUITIES

Valuations

It’s very hard for us to have any meaningful conversation about appropriate equity valuations in a world of long-term zero interest rates – Sam Altman, September 2014

 

“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, October 2014

 

Overstock

I’m exploring listing Overstock on a block chain kind of stock exchange – Patrick Byrne, Overstock CEO, May 2014

 

Bitcoin’s Decentralized Financial Exchanges vs. Wall Street’s Pandora’s Box

The stock market is estimated as $55 trillion, and the bond market size is estimated at nearly $100 trillion. Not only we, but several individuals we know (who are involved very deeply with the financial industry in large firms at executive levels) feel that in the near future, most, if not all financial instruments like stocks and bonds will be traded on a blockchain of some sort. Just let that sink in… That is the potential here! – Counterparty

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The financial markets as we know them have failed.  Transparent, robust markets are more important than instant confirmations.

Bitcoin and decentralized stock exchanges such as Counterparty / Medici are building a counter-financial system.  Medici will use Counterparty’s native currency XCP  – Lee Banfield, December 2014

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The current system is failing so badly. Medici will be there. They cant even track who owns what anymore. I think in 7-10 years, this will all be over – Patrick Byrne, October 2014

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS

The Decentralized Movement

BitcoinUberLyftAirbnb, etc… We will look back at this time in history as the effective beginning of the decentralized movement – Luke Stokes, April 2014

 

Open Source Distributed Systems

The smartest 1% are creating open-source, distributed systems of resistance to render the state irrelevant through technology and encryption – Roger Ver, September 2014

 

The Mega-Master Blockchain List

84 things that can be put in the blockchain – Antonis Polemitis, Ledra Capital, March 2014

 

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.

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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.

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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, July 2014

 

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. CC_EF_JTF, June 2014

* OpenBazaar is operative right now. People buying honey, books and pens. Not as scandalous as WIRED would like – Washington Sanchez, September 2014

* Congrats to openbazaar team and to mankind alike as its fully decentralized global marketplace goes public! – Vortex, September 2014

* Decentralized market & currency exchange. Probably only one of the most significant projects on Earth – AnonyOdinn, October 2014

* Decentralized marketplaces for the masses, using bitcoin, are more important than sidecoins, tokens & crowdfunding – Washington Sanchez, October 2014

 

OpenBazaar vs. Alibaba

* Alibaba has made more money in the last 20 days than Amazon has made in the last 20 years – Bill Gross, October 2014

* Alibaba’s market cap of $250bill is higher than Wal-Mart – Lee Banfield, October 2014

OpenBazaar is an open source, peer-to-peer marketplace. Instead of buyers and sellers going through a centralized platform, like Alibaba, OpenBazaar allows for direct, person-to-person commerce. Trust, security, and dispute resolution are all handled by the users of the system. Since there are no middlemen, there are no fees. Since there are no gatekeepers, there is no censorship.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. revealed its plans for what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering. The Chinese e-commerce behemoth’s potential $24 billion sale would value the company at around $155 billion. Although Alibaba has diversified into payment processing, a shopping search engine, and cloud computing services, the vast majority of its revenue comes from charging fees to the users of its marketplace platform.

If Alibaba is, at its core, a trusted third-party that facilitates commerce between two distributed participants, then what use is it when the participants can provide all the added benefits of having a trusted third-party between themselves?

This is the promise of OpenBazaar.

If I were running a company that did a quarter-trillion dollars worth of transactions and my whole business revolved around being the middleman to every one of those, I would definitely be concerned about the development of OpenBazaar – Valerian Bennett, September 2014

After Silk Road 2.0 Bust, Eyes Turn To ‘Untouchable’ Decentralized Market

* The end of centralized marketplaces is nigh – OpenBazaar, November 2014

* Estimated a complete version of the software will ship around spring 2015 – Patrick Howell O’Neill, November 2014

* If you’re thinking about OpenBazaar as Silk Road 3.0, you’re thinking about it much too narrowly. I actually think it’s much more powerful as eCommerce 2.0. – Sam Patterson, OpenBazaar Operations Lead, November 2014

* Much of the hard work Open Bazaar would have had to do has been done. They are building on very robust platforms and wont have big problems. Open Bazaar is “Silk Road Infinity”  It cannot be stopped, or shut down, just like BitTorrent cant be shut down –Beautyon, November 2014

 

 

INTERNET / PRIVACY / SECURITY

Tor Attacked

Tor (Logo)

81% of Tor users can be de-anonymised by analysing router information – Martin Anderson, November 2014

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, July 2014

 

No Place to Hide

All of the documents newly reported in “No Place to Hide” are now online, with some others.

http://glenngreenwald.net/pdf/NoPlaceToHide-Documents-Compressed.pdf

Glenn Greenwald, May 2014

 

My Top 10 from the NSA’s Internal Documents

1) “Collect it All – Process it All – Sniff it All – Exploit it All” (Page 5)

2) Alliances with over 80 major global corporations. Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches, and/or routers throughout the world. (Page 12)

3) Microsoft, working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal with the new SSL. These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012 (Page 30)

4) Shipments of computer networks (servers, routers, etc) are intercepted – redirected to a secret location – Tailored Access Operations employees install beacon implants directly into electronic devices – devices are repackaged and placed back into transit to original destination (Page 61)

5) BLARNEY began delivery of substantially improved and more complete Facebook content. This is a major leap forward in NSA’s abilities to exploit Facebook using FISA and FAA authorities (Page 81)

6) “Oh Yeah…Put money, national interest, and ego together, and now you’re talking about reshaping the world writ large. What country doesn’t want to make the world a better place… for itself? (Page 95)

7) Manhunt Operation. The US on 10 August urged other nations to consider filing criminal charges against Julian Assange. The appeal exemplifies the start of an international effort to focus the legal element of national power upon non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports Wikileaks. (Page 99)

8) Discredit a target. Set up a honey trap – Change their photos on social networking sites – Write a blog purporting to be one of their victims – Email/text their colleagues, neighbours, friends, etc (Page 102)

9) Photo change; you have been warned, “JTRIG is about!!” Can take paranoia to a whole new level. (Page 103)

10) Stop someone’s computer from working. Send them a virus – AMBASSADORS RECEPTION – encrypt itself, delete all emails, encrypt all files, make screen shake, no more log on – Conduct a denial of service attack on their computer. (Page 105)

– Lee Banfield, May 2014

 

The Dawn of Trustworthy Computing

“Block chain computer” (not just “block chain”) & “fiduciary code” very helpful concepts for building mental model – Richard Gendal Brown, December 2014

The most elegant explanation of on-chain computing, well, ever. By Nick Szabo – Stephan Tual, December 2014

This Nick Szabo post on the ‘rise of trustworthy computing’ is one of the top 10 things I have read on blockchains – Antonis Polemitis, December 2014

The most important breakthrough in computing since the Internet. “The Dawn of Trustworthy Computing” by Nick Szabo – Bill Barhydt, December 2014

This new Nick Szabo article “The dawn of trustworthy computing” is a roadmap to about a dozen new companies – BTCplainEnglish, December 2014

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, December 2014

 

 

PLACES

What Defines your Nationality?

Language? Currency? Where you live+work?

Now Bitcoin, Google translate, telecommuting changes everything – Peter Diamandis, Co-founder of Singularity University, June 2014

 

New Hampshire: The Free State Project

A Libertarian testing ground for Bitcoin, 3d Printers, and Drones.

Everyone I met in the Project owned Bitcoin and was willing to accept it for goods and services.

Erik Voorhees, a Bitcoin entrepreneur moved to New Hampshire in May 2011 to join the Free State Project. It was there that he first heard about Bitcoin after someone posted about it in the Free State Facebook group. “Very few Free Staters knew about about it at that point. They don’t like using government money, but they were more into gold and silver than virtual currency,” he says. “I went down the rabbit hole and couldn’t stop talking about it, and then warmed other Free Staters up to it.”

Voorhees notes that Roger Ver, a Bitcoin entrepreneur who lives in Tokyo, was also an early signer of the Free State petition, and bought Bitcoin ads on Free Talk Live, a libertarian radio station associated with the project.

Most people in the Free State Project are technology-oriented, and many come from a programming or computer background. The libertarian way of thinking is pretty common among technologists,” says Lamassu’s Zach Harvey, 35. “They want to teach themselves as much as they can in order to be free, and you have to use technology these days to be free. Bitcoin is the perfect fit for this group, a government-free currency with freedom programmed in.

Cody Wilson compares the Free State Project in New Hampshire with Silicon Valley; both places have libertarian-leaning techies trying to make disruptive technologies popular. “Silicon Valley is more capitalized and less about practical liberty than the Free State community, which has a better stake in the freedom at the heart of these technologies,” he says. “It’s the hotbed of libertarian activism in the country – Kashmir Hill, June 2014

 

Crypto Valley: Zug, Switzerland 

stadt zug mit zugerse

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, August 2014

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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, 2014

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

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

Skype Real-Time Voice Translation Available by End of 2014

Skype video phone call at codecon with real time voice translation German to English. Awesome. Future. Well done.

Skype voice language translation product will be launched this year – Mark Suster, Upfront Ventures, May 2014

I can’t help but be reminded of Google no longer understanding how its systems are learning to identify objects in photos so accurately – the technology is hugely impressive and, in developing a mind of its own, kind of disturbing – David Meyer, May 2014

Skype Translator: Breaking Down Language Barriers

The Skype Translator, derived from decades of research in speech recognition, automatic translation, and machine learning technologies. We are on the verge of having a tool, available to all, that allows us to speak universally with anyone on the planet.

Imagine being able to speak in German, and have your message conveyed grammatically and semantically correct in English. That future is here. – Peter Lee, Microsoft Research VP, May 2014

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Amazingly Skype have a working version of live speaking translation from English to Spanish available right now – December 2014

 

Voice Recognition

Tim Tuttle, CEO and founder of Expect Labs, said in the last 18 months, voice recognition accuracy improved 30%—a bigger gain than the entire decade previous. A third of searches are now being done using voice commands.

Voice recognition uses machine learning algorithms that depend on people actually using them to get better. Tuttle believes we’re at the beginning of a virtuous cycle wherein wider adoption is yielding more data; more data translates into better performance; better performance results in wider adoption, more data, and so on – Jason Dorrier, June 2014

 

3D Printing

This year 3D printers were used to build houses, remove previously inoperable tumors, and reduce the cost of prosthetic hands from $30,000 to $5 – Lee Banfield, December 2014

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It’s on the horizon: 3D printing a human heart from a donor’s own cellular starter http://www.medgadget.com/2014/04/scientists-on-track-to-assemble-3d-printed-bioficial-heart.html – John Hagel, April 2014

Just a couple years ago people looked at me like I had three heads when I suggested this kind of thing –George Rocklein, April 2014

 

Made in Space

A private Dragon cargo ship built by SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station today (Sept. 23) to deliver more than 2 tons of astronaut supplies and experiments for NASA, including the first 3D printer in space.

The 3D printer built by Made in Space will churn out a few initial test parts and send them back with Dragon. Researchers with the California-based Made in Space and its partners at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, want to learn as soon as possible how the quality of items printed in microgravity compares with the quality of parts made on Earth – Megan Gannon, September 2014

19th December 2014 – First Ever Hardware ‘Emailed’ to Space

* Made in Space Email Wrench to the International Space Station.

* So far, 21 objects have been created via the ISS’ 3D printer.

It looks like the first file made on Earth and sent to space was a resounding success! This opens the door to a bright future for space travel and manned trips. If, for example, humanity does ever colonize Mars or go back to the moon, any broken or needed tools can be produced on an as-needed basis –Sarah Anderson, December 2014

 

Mars

Elon Musk wants to die on Mars. Not because it is fun to die, but because that is fucking important. –Max Levchin, March 2014

 

Double Amputee Becomes First to Control Robotic Arms with his Mind

 

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, November 2014

 

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”

 

How Soon?

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

 

My Writing Profile Picture

Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

Bitcoin: 1Jwh6nZiASJf4d3hNytjxqiimWBmEJvJ4S

Bitmessage: BM-2cXjeAykLT7gbjzNHZFnCxdawvyryyb4Nf

 

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