Saturday 24th January

BITCOIN

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An Incorruptible Foundation for an Economy

If you’ve read the financial news headlines recently, you’d swear that each central bank governor could make it rain from the heavens on command, that each of these shamans in suits had the privileged ear of God.

There’s no Governor of Bitcoin, no CEO, and no High Chancellor of the monetary supply. There’s simply the math. Ding-ding-ding mine the blocks. Every 10 minutes on average. That’s it, that’s all.

No one’s inflating Bitcoin unpredictably, no one’s trying to “surprise markets” by changing its interest rates, and no one can scratch Bitcoin’s back during its election campaign to buy political favours later. This is entirely the point: Bitcoin’s an incorruptible foundation for an economy – Pete Dushenski

 

NYSE President: We are Tapping into a New Asset Class

Today we are pleased to announce that Coinbase has raised $75 million in Series C financing, the largest funding round to date for a Bitcoin company. This brings our total capital raised to $106 million.

Three of the world’s most respected financial institutions – The New York Stock Exchange, USAA, and BBVA – also invested in the round alongside personal investments from former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer. This marks the first time that financial institutions have made a major investment in a Bitcoin companyCoinbase

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Tom Farley, the 38-year-old president of the New York Stock Exchange, isn’t wasting any time ruffling feathers at the largest securities platform in the world. Today, he announced the stock exchange participated in a $75 million investment in bitcoin startup Coinbase, the largest investment ever made in a bitcoin company.

“With this investment, we are tapping into a new asset class by teaming up with a leading platform that is bringing transparency, security and confidence to an important growth market,” said Farley in a statement – Michael del Castillo

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* Coinbase valuation now $490M – PitchBook Data

* Top 20 BTC co’s market cap > entire BTC market cap – Chamath Palihapitya

* Coinbase now has $75 million more to fund their war on Bitcoin privacy and to convince more people to not be their own bank – Justus Ranvier

 

 

ALTCOINS

Euro

Wow. The next stage of currency wars. ECB to create up to 1.1 trillion new euros.

The speculation that the SNB knew about this in advance now seems to be accurate: Crude, Gold Jump After Goldman Say SNB Action Hints At “Massive ECB QE”

Ryan X. Charles

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Hard fork in the Euro currency protocol announced!

* difficulty decreased

* block rewards to be increased

* reward output rate: €19, 025 units / seconds

* consensus imposed by centralized proof-of-stake (i.e. large holders of euro units, governments and financial institutions).

Francis Pouliot

 

Hong Kong Dollar

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority pegs the Hong Kong dollar to the US dollar. This deliberate undervaluing of the currency has created unnecessary inflation and stirred social unrest.

If and when it’s eventually allowed to float, Hong Kong dollar holders should see a similar spike up that the Swiss Franc just enjoyed against the Euro.

Lee Banfield

 

 

COMPANIES & PROJECTS

Truthcoin

Planned to be a sidechain of Bitcoin. This means you can switch between Bitcoin and Truthcoin’s CashCoin as much as you wish, whenever you wish

The goal of this project is to get external data into the blockchain reliably, and use that data efficiently and conservatively.

Truthcoin attempts to create a trustless oracle, which reliably absorbs accurate data into a blockchain for use in Prediction Markets. These markets have many applications (which include superior alternatives to Lighthouse, Counterparty/Medici, BitsharesX, and Ethereum, for a start).

If you’ve got only a few seconds to spare: Truthcoin in Six Slides.

truthcoin.info

 

The Hyperloop is coming to Texas.

Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas – Elon Musk

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“When the California ‘high speed’ rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?  – Elon Musk

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In August 2013, the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO gave the world a 57-page alpha white paper, explaining his vision of how the transit system, which would shoot pods full of people around the country in above-ground tubes at 800 mph.

The track isn’t the part of this endeavor that’s hard to engineer. “It’s a couple of tubes and a vacuum pump,” says Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of JumpStartFund, an El Segunda, California-based startup that is taking Musk up on his challenge to develop and build the Hyperloop. But, like most chunks of infrastructure, even in prototype sizes, it’s expensive.

JumpStartFund brought together a group of about 100 engineers all over the country who spend their free time spitballing ideas in exchange for stock options, and have day jobs at companies like Boeing, NASA, Yahoo!, and Airbus. They and a group of 25 students at UCLA’s graduate architecture program are working on a wide array of issues, including route planning, capsule design, and cost analysis.

The big concerns are creating a capsule system that feels comfortable and safe for passengers, and how to design a station to accommodate a continuous stream of pods coming and going—the Hyperloop will work more like a ski lift than a railroad – Alex Davies

 

SpaceX

SpaceX Raises $1 Billion In New Funding

SpaceX, the space exploration startup helmed by ex-PayPal founder Elon Musk, has confirmed that it has raised $1 billion in new funding, in a round including Google and Fidelity, who join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn.

Google and Fidelity get an ownership stake just shy of 10 percent in exchange for their investment – Darrell Etherington 

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SpaceX To Build 4,000 Broadband Satellites

Musk said SpaceX is entering the satellite production business with a new plant based in Seattle in part because there is more money associated with satellite manufacturing than with space-launch services.

“This is intended to be a significant amount of revenue and to help fund a city on Mars,” Musk said. “Looking at the long term, what’s needed to create a city on Mars? Well, one thing’s for sure – a lot of money. So we need things that will generate a lot of money.” – Peter B. de Selding

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No SpaceX IPO Before Mars

Musk said his experience as chairman of electric-powered automobile manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. of Palo Alto, California, whose stock trades on the U.S. Nasdaq market, has taught him a lesson about the fickleness of investors.

“With Tesla in any given week, it’s like dealing with a manic-depressive,” Musk said of the auto company’s roller-coaster stock price.

“I think we won’t take SpaceX public for quite a long time,” Musk said. “When we’re doing regular flights to Mars, that might be a good time to go public. But before then, because the long-term goals of SpaceX are really long term – it takes a long time to build a city on Mars – that doesn’t match with the short-term time frame of public shareholders and equity managers.

“We’ll go public maybe 20 years from now or something like that.”

– Peter B. de Selding

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

Greatest Recent Innovations for Human Freedom

TCP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, Mozilla, Linux, BitTorrent, TOR, Bitcoin, GPG, EFF

Naval Ravikant

 

New Snowden Documents Detail NSA Malware

Embedded image permalink

Querty is a keylogger that was part of the Snowden archive. This keylogger might be part of the large arsenal of modules that that belong to the Warriorpride program, a kind of universal Esperanto software used by all the Five Eyes partner agencies that at times was even able to break into iPhones, among other capabilities.

The implant tool “Hammerchant” allows the recording of Internet-based phone calls (VoIP).

Foxacid allows agents to continually add functions to small malware programs even after they have been installed in target computers. The project’s logo is a fox that screams as it is dissolved in acid.

Der Spiegel

 

GPG

Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden have suggested that there are types of hardened cryptography – including the open-source GPG, based on Phil Zimmermann’s Pretty Good Privacy – which when used properly are immune to attack – Gareth Halfacree

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In case you wanted to know why so many are opposed to you using GPG, it’s because it actually works. Get it now: Please To PGP (Guide for Linux, OS X, Windows). All the belly-aching about GPG for the past decade was either motivated by laziness or government/corporate psyop.

Internet serfing starts with not using GPG.

Modal internet serfer: votes for Obama and doesn’t use GPG, then complains about mass surveillance by governments and corporations.

“I will defend to the death your right to free speech, but using GPG is much too complicated for me sorry.” – Internet serfer

“I’m a bitcoin expert, but I have no idea how to use GPG, that’s way too complicated.” – Internet serfer

Pierre Rochard

 

Dark Wallet

In the latest version, Dark Wallet now hosts an independent Bitcoin exchange. Users can buy and sell bitcoin within the system, with the Dark Wallet team serving as arbiters. And since Dark Wallet can be used without providing any personal information, the developers claim users will be able to buy, sell, save, and send their money anonymously.

Taaki assured me they are very close to the final iteration of the software. They will release a beta version in a few weeks once they get more users and plan to have a complete, final version within a month or two – Kaleigh Rogers

 

 

PLACES

Most Economic Freedom

Hong Kong is ranked 1st in the world.

1) Hong Kong

2) Singapore

Throughout the 20-year history of the Index, Hong Kong has been rated the world’s freest economy.

2014 Index of Economic Freedom

 

Global Internet Speeds

* South Korea is the world winner with the highest average internet connection speed at 25.3 Mbps

* As for global rates of broadband adoption South Korea again dominates, with 96% broadband adoption, followed by Bulgaria at 95% and Switzerland at 93%.

* South Korea continued to have the highest average mobile connection speed in the world, growing from 15.2 Mbps to 18.2 Mbps in the third quarter. Iran had the lowest average mobile connection speed at 0.9 Mbps, and was the only qualifying country with an average speed below 1 Mbps – Akamai State of the Internet Report 

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Super high speed internet is on its way. LG Uplus and Nokia developing 5G technology in South Korea.

Whilst 5G is still very much just a concept, mobile telecommunications companies around the world are starting to test and develop technologies relating to 5G.

In October 2014, Samsung set its own record with speeds of 7.5Gbps mobile speeds in its 5G trial – LG Uplus

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

“I’m fascinated by the idea that genetics is digital. A gene is a long sequence of coded letters, like computer information. Modern biology is becoming very much a branch of information technology.” — Richard Dawkins

 

Reprogramming Biology

Parts of human body version 2.0 are biological enhancements, for example turning off (or turning down) the fat insulin receptor gene (that says “hold onto every calorie in our fat cells because the next hunting season may not work out so well”) so that we can eat a lot and remain slim and get the health benefits of being slim. That’s just one small example of reprogramming the information processes underlying biology – Ray Kurzweil

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Dr. Kurzweil’s current predictions include:

1. self driving cars by 2017
2. personal assistant search engines by 2019
3. switching off our fat cells by 2020
4. full immersive virtual realities by 2023
5. 100 percent energy from solar by 2033

Dr. Kurzweil predicts that growth in the 3 areas — genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR) — will be the basis of the singularity. In his book The Singularity Is Near he says, “It will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post singularity, between human and machine or between physical and virtual reality.” – Lucy Flores

 

Revealed At Last: Magic Leap’s Vision for Augmented Reality

Magic Leap: The secretive, Florida-based “Cinematic Reality” startup that recently received $542 million dollars of venture capital from Google, Legendary Entertainment, and Andresseen Horowitz.

* A lightweight head-mounted device will house a tiny projector comprised of bespoke prisms and lenses that will beam images onto the user’s retinas creating a “dynamic digitized light field signal.

* Apps, powered by mobile devices or body worn computers, will generate a steady stream of fantastic creatures and surreal tableaus delivered with stereo speakers and at 60 frames per second.

* Magic Leap believes the future of user interface will come in the form of ordinary objects imbued with virtual, interactive powers. Described as “Totems,” these are tangible objects that combine physical craftsmanship and computational projection. Virtual worlds and physical objects are melded in the wearer’s retina. Put another way, with Magic Leap UI buttons are in the eye of the beholder.

* In addition to these forward-looking totems there will also be traditional gesture-based controls, like those popularized by the Leap Motion sensor and Microsoft Kinect – Joseph Flaherty

 

Businesses Are Serious About Developing Androids

At the CES, the crowd was mesmerized by Chihira Aico, Toshiba’s talking android in a pink party dress.

Chihira is a concept model and her creators are exploring applications while working on ways to make her seem more human. They are refining her movements and language skills. She can do a great presentation, but developers are not satisfied, they want her to interact with people.

She’s a complicated machine. Over 40 motors in her joints coordinate her moves, driven by  software developed by Toshiba under the direction of Hitoshi Tokuda. The 15 tiny air pumps in her face control the blinking of her eyes and move her jaws and mouth as she speaks. Osaka University managed the muscle research for Chihira, building on previous work on prosthetic limbs.

Businesses are serious about developing androids to cut costs. Hospitals are running trials with the robot, and she’s being retrofitted for assisted living.

Robots have started interfacing directly with humans, though interaction is limited. For Ebola patients, robots use infrared lights to monitor the skin temperature and blood oxygen. They can ask a few questions and serve food and drinks. With more natural language processing, robots may converse with patients. Eventually, they could be suited for jobs in EMS, but they need more development – Susan Kalla

 

3D Printed Apartment Building

Winsun, a Shanghai-based 3D Printing Company has made significant progress in large-scale 3D printing technology.

Back in April of last year, Shanghai, China-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. revealed 10 homes which were almost entirely 3D printed with a recycled concrete material.

Today, WinSun has managed to 3D print an entire apartment building, consisting of 6 stories, as well as a home. The 3D Printing company currently uses a machine which measures a staggering 20 feet tall, 33 feet wide and 132 feet long.

* Can be printed in a time span which equates to just 30 percent of that of traditional construction.

* In total, 80 percent less labor is needed, meaning more affordable construction, and less risk of injury to contractors.

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Where Could Humans Survive in our Solar System?

If humans were forced to vacate Earth, where is the next best place in our solar system for us to live? A study by the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo has provided a quantitative evaluation of habitability to identify the potential habitats in our solar system. Professor Abel Mendez, who produced the study also looked at how the habitability of Earth has changed in the past, finding that some periods were even better than today.

Enceladus has the smallest volume but the highest habitat-planet size ratio followed by Europa. Surprisingly, Enceladus also has the highest mean habitability in the Solar System, even though it is farther from the sun, and Earth, making it harder to get to.

“Various planetary models were used to calculate and compare the habitability of Mars, Venus, Europa, Titan, and Enceladus,” Mendez said. “Interestingly, Enceladus resulted as the object with the highest subsurface habitability in the solar system, but too deep for direct exploration. Mars and Europa resulted as the best compromise between habitability and accessibility.

“This work is important because it provides a quantitative measure for comparing habitability,” said NASA planetary scientists Chris McKay.

“I was pleased to see Enceladus come out the winner,” McKay said. “I’ve thought for some time that it was the most interesting world for astrobiology in the solar system.” – Nancy Atkinson

 

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