Monday 25th May



1 Bitcoin = $240


The Establishment

Academics are salty over Bitcoin because it is a more significant achievement than their works, accomplished without grants or publication – Kristov Atlas


Bitcoin Detractors

In reality what the Bitcoin detractors have as their sole remaining tool is a campaign of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) to try and convince other computer illiterates that Bitcoin is somehow not what it appears to be. They will fail of course, just as the MPAA/RIAA failed to stop file sharing with its propaganda equating BitTorrent with terrorism.

What is interesting about the objections to Bitcoin raised by these men is just how little they know about the subject they are addressing, and how desperate and threadbare their objections are.

The world has changed, the landscape is shifting with a quake that is way above 9 on the Richter scale. The edifices of the law and banks are being toppled by this quake, and in their place will be something better, faster, more widespread, secure and equitable, with a side effect of peace, the end of inflation and prosperity – Beautyon


Full Nodes

Diversity and mutual independence of full nodes help make Bitcoin more reliable and secure – Nick Szabo




21 Unveils Plans: A Bitcoin Miner in Every Device and in Every Hand

Bram Cohen: It’s difficult for me to convey just how profoundly idiotic the BitShare mining chip is.

Emin Gun Sirer: For embedded mining to make sense, the rate of device replacement must match the rate of miner hw innovation. This is typically a mismatch. I’m hoping that 21 will pivot towards something interesting, e.g. a unified IoT OS. Current trajectory does not compute.

21 is now officially open for business — and business development. After much hard work, we’ve created an embeddable mining chip which we call the BitShare that comes in a variety of form factors.

The 21 BitShare can be embedded into an internet-connected device as a standalone chip or integrated into an existing chipset as a block of IP to generate a continuous stream of digital currency for use in a wide variety of applications – Balaji S. Srinivasan




Fiat Fail

Venezuela’s currency dropped 25% in the past week. Litecoin up 25% today – Erik Voorhees


The Swiss Franc

We are living in exceptional times even by Swiss standards – Petri Kajander




The Shenzhen Stock Exchange

In Shenzhen, home of China’s hottest stock market, rallies of more than 500 percent aren’t unusual. The 103 stocks in the Shenzhen 500 percent club trade at an average 375 times reported earnings, while their average market capitalization has risen to $3.5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Many of them recently sold shares for the first time.

The Shenzhen benchmark jumped 12 percent this week, the most since 2008, as turnover topped trading in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The Shenzhen Composite has jumped 166 percent in the past year, dwarfing rallies in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and trades at 67.2 times earnings. That’s at least three times valuations on Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai Composite Index.

Technology, consumer and health-care companies comprise almost half of the city’s stock index, while state-backed banks and industrial conglomerates dominate Shanghai’s bourse – Kyoungwha Kim


HSBC to Charge for Holding Deposits

HSBC has become one of the biggest global banks to say it will begin charging clients on deposits. It is the first UK bank to announce such charges following similar announcements from Swiss, German and Nordic institutions.

“HSBC charges banks for deposits they hold with us in currencies where negative interest rates apply,” the UK-based lender said in a statement on Tuesday. “Banks affected have been notified and we continue to monitor the situation.”

HSBC wrote to the banks that will be affected this week and will introduce the negative interest rates on August 1. It will not affect the deposits of individual or corporate customers.

Only Erhvervsbank, a small Danish bank, and Skatbank, a regional German lender, have bitten the bullet and announced plans to make retail customers pay to hold money in deposit accounts –  Martin Arnold and Richard Milne




Virtual Notary

What Factom does with much fanfare and hype, Virtual Notary does for free. Record on the Bitcoin Blockchain.

Virtual Notary does more than just proof of existence: proofs of funds, tweets, real estate prices, random numbers, etc – Emin Gun Sirer


Stream live video and get paid. Set how much you want to charge your viewers, start broadcasting and earn bitcoins on a per-minute basis. – Just tested, and gotta say that this might be the most innovative bitcoin service I have ever seen. Well done

Ryan X. CharlesStreamium represents everything that is fundamentally better about bitcoin: open-source, decentralized, uncensorable, free market.

Martin Meijering: Just tried,  it’s amazing. Watch/broadcast paid P2P video streams with Bitcoin within minutes! Absolutely revolutionary.



There’s no question if you are looking to conduct a business on top of OpenBazaar right now, you’ll be disappointed.

We’re serious about this project, and we’re serious when we say that we will deliver decentralized trade to the world. It’s only a matter of time, so everyone just needs to be patient.

I’m as impatient as anyone else, I want to use OpenBazaar badly. But please believe me when I say that the core team is completely committed to delivering on the promise of decentralized trade. It’s only a matter of time, and if you can’t wait, I suggest you stop following and testing the product for 6 months, then come back. We hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised – CC_EF_JTF


It seemed pretty clear to me from the beginning that this would take a long time to develop into a useable product, even if it had a full time team working on it.

It’s a hard product to build. I keep it in the back of my mind. One day, when OpenBazaar or perhaps some other group implements a successful distributed marketplace, we’ll take advantage of it. Until then, we wait, and perhaps beta test or contribute. Real life product development takes a long time. It’s just the way things are – medley_of_minds


Self-Driving Trucks

On May 6, 2015, the first self driving truck hit the American road in the state of Nevada. Self-driving trucks are no longer the future. They are the present. They’re here.

Basically, the only real barrier to the immediate adoption of self-driven trucks is purely legal in nature, not technical or economic.

With self-driving vehicles currently only road legal in a few states, many more states need to follow suit unless autonomous vehicles are made legal at the national level. And Sergey Brin of Google has estimated this could happen as soon as 2017 Scott Santens


Self-Driving Cars

Apple and Uber are developing their own self-driving cars.

Tesla intends to release a software update next month that will turn on “autopilot” mode, immediately allowing all Tesla Model S drivers to be driven betweenSan Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything, in Elon Musk’s own words.

Tesla-driven humans won’t be able to legally let their cars do all the driving, but who are we kidding? There will be Teslas driving themselves, saving lives in the process, and governments will need to catch up to make that driving legal.

This process is already here in 2015. So when will the process end? When will self-driving cars conquer our roads?

According to Morgan Stanley, complete autonomous capability will be here by 2022, followed by massive market penetration by 2026 and the cars we know and love today then entirely extinct in another 20 years thereafter – Scott Santens




Spring 2015 Wallet Privacy Rating Report

After several months of discussion and work, we created a rating criteria for Bitcoin wallets to measure their effectiveness at protecting user privacy.

Our criteria considers user protections on the blockchain, protections when receiving balance information and broadcasting signed transactions, and compatibility with complementary technologies such as Tor.

How well are these wallets protecting user privacy? Not all that well, as it turns out.

As you might expect, the privacy-centric Darkwallet came out on top, but with a mere score of 54 out of 100. The lowest ranking wallet was Coinbase’s, with an 11 out of 100. Please read our report for the complete results, as well as details on our methodology – Open Bitcoin Privacy Project

Overall Wallet Privacy Rankings:

1) Darkwallet (54/100)

2) Armory (54/100)

3) Mycelium (50/100)

4) Bitcoin Wallet (46/100)

5) Electrum (46/100)

6) Airbitz (45/100)

7) Blockchain (Web) (22/100)

8) Multibit Classic (19/100)

9) Blockchain (Android) (14/100)

10) Coinbase (11/100)




Steven Kotler: Right now in the South of France, researchers are completing the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). It’s far and away the most complex machine ever built. When they turn it on, the reactor will ionize hydrogen to 10 times hotter than the sun. In other words, when we switch that thing on, we’re turning on a star.

Steven Cowley: When this machine works I will be here. The end of my career is going to be watching this machine do a fusion burn. There are probably, over history, a handful of historic moments where in a flash the future changed. In a flash the future will change with this machine… What this is going to show is that man can make a star.

Steve Connor: The plasma will be heated to temperatures as high as 300 million C to force the atomic nuclei close enough together to cause them to fuse into helium, a harmless and inert waste product that could be recycled as an important industrial raw material. Giant electromagnets powerful enough to trap an aircraft carrier will contain the plasma within a spinning vortex held by the magnetic bottle of the tokamak reactor.

Carlos Alejaldre: It is the largest scientific collaboration in the world. In fact, the project is so complex we even had to invent our own currency – known as the Iter Unit of Account – to decide how each country pays its share


An Actual Superpower. Bionic Surgical Lens Implant for 60/20 Vision

Good news for everyone with blurry vision or a strong desire to become Superman. The Ocumetics Bionic Lens may give you 60/20 eyesight — three times better than 20/20. It’s a major leap in eye prosthetics, and apparently, it’s pretty painless too.

Garth Webb, a British Columbia optometrist, founder of Ocumetics and the creator of the Bionic Lens, told CBC his product would allow someone who can’t make out an object at 10 feet to see it clearly from 30 feet.

According to Webb, it’s an eight-minute surgery that leaves the patient with unprecedented eyesight — and could once and for all do away with contact lenses and glasses.

Ophthalmologist Vincent DeLuise, who teaches at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, says this might be the real deal. “There’s a lot of excitement about the Bionic Lens from very experienced surgeons who perhaps had some cynicism about this because they’ve seen things not work in the past,” DeLuise told CBC.

Clinical trials on humans still need to be undergone. But the Bionic Lens isn’t a pipe dream with a far-off release date. If trials go smoothly, Webb says, the lens could start selling in Canada in two years, and elsewhere once individual governments sort out how to regulate it – Max Plenke


The Reality of Virtual Reality in Sports

The reality of Virtual Reality is here. Fans will soon be able to experience live sporting events from the best seat in the house, regardless of where they are physically. Athletes will be able to enhance their training because they can reenact real situations in practice.

The founders and experts agree that because of the compelling content, VR will be the next new wave of media. You go from being directed – someone is saying go to Camera 3 or Camera 4 – to being more of a full participant in the action. You’re able to watch the game, look around,” noted Brad Allen, Executive Chairman of NextVR.

I was able to demo Allen’s NextVR experience where I viewed a NASCAR race from pit row and a Premier League match from pitch level – and I actually felt like I was there. It was truly one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. VR not only captures the action, but it also captures the atmosphere.

I’m officially jumping on this VR bandwagon and I look forward to the day when the content is delivered on those slick glasses so I can sit midfield at a World Cup match or watch my hometown football team with my family on the east coast while I’m on the west coast. It’s crazy to think that day will be here before we know it, but that’s our new reality – Lindsey Ann von Thron


Moore’s Law Keeps Going, Defying Expectations

Moore never thought his prediction would last 50 years. “The original prediction was to look at 10 years, which I thought was a stretch,” he told Friedman last week, “This was going from about 60 elements on an integrated circuit to 60,000—a 1,000-fold extrapolation over 10 years. I thought that was pretty wild. The fact that something similar is going on for 50 years is truly amazing.”

Many technologists have forecast the demise of Moore’s doubling over the years, and Moore himself states that this exponential growth can’t last forever. Still, his law persists today, and hence the computational growth it predicts will continue to profoundly change our world.

As he put it: “We’ve just seen the beginning of what computers are going to do for us.” – Annie Sneed


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