May 2015

BITCOIN

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1 Bitcoin = $234

 

It will be the most globally liquid and trusted asset in history – Pierre Rochard

 

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

 

MoIP (Money over Internet Protocol)

Like how VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) disrupted cross-border telephony, Bitcoin will bring huge savings and improved service in cross-border payments.

Bitcoin will do to payments what VoIP did to telephony. Technically, we could call Bitcoin “MoIP”, or “Money over Internet Protocol”. Bitcoin has revolutionized how consumers move money to each other and is just beginning to have an impact on business-to-business payments. Just as VoIP became popular with SMBs through cost savings and simplicity, Bitcoin will do the same through cost savings, speed, and transparency.

TCP/IP created the internet backbone. SMTP, electronic mail. Https brought us the World Wide Web. Bitcoin is the protocol for money.

The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A.” — Milton Friedman, 1999

Pantera Capital

 

 

ALTCOINS

Namecoin

So here’s my opinion, which is really going to get me hated, but I think Namecoin as a decentralized DNS-type system is dead.

It’s had nearly four years to catch on, and it has pretty much zero adoption. There are 100,000s of squatted domains, but only about 30 developed Dot-Bit sites. All of those are mirrors of Dot-Com or Dot-Net or Dot-Org sites (as they probably should be, to provide redundancy and protection against censorship), and about half of those 30 sites are mine.

There are probably less than 5,000 people in the world set up to actually view Dot-Bit sites, based on downloads of MeowBit and FreeSpeechMe. There was a lot of mining and trading of Namecoin, and a lot of squatting domains, but almost no building of domains or use of resolvers.

The problem is three-fold:

1) Namecoin wasn’t easy enough to use. The wallet still sucks

2) Some of the team tried to partner Namecoin with Google and even ICANN. That makes no sense. That’s making a technology to circumvent governments and then handing it over to governments.

3) Most people don’t care. Despite censorship of the Web around the world, and the threat of more impending Web censorship in the US, most people would rather spend hours forwarding and discussing horror stories of censorship and impending doom than actually spending an hour making their own domain censorship-proof by setting up a Dot-Bit mirror URL and then promoting it.

Michael Dean

 

 

MARKETS

Bitcoin Blockchain Gets Nasdaq Test

Photo published for A Bitcoin Technology Gets Nasdaq Test

The world’s second largest exchange will be running a surprisingly forward-thinking pilot program. Nasdaq’s platform will trade shares by trading bitcoins. This is not blockchain-technology standing alone, this is Bitcoin being used by Wall Street – Peter Van Valkenburgh

NASDAQ knows that the security of the Blockchain make it a perfect way to distribute and control shares. Starting from scratch is stuipd.”Bitcoin based Colored Coins” That is what NASDAQ is using. Why do these words choke in the throats of “Blockchain not Bitcoin” pundits? – Beautyon

Utilizing the blockchain is a natural digital evolution for managing physical securities, Bob Greifeld, Nadaq CEO

I wonder where they got this idea? #medici – Patrick Byrne

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Nasdaq announced it would begin to leverage the colored coin protocol Open Assets to “expand and enhance the equity management capabilities offered by its Nasdaq Private Market platform.

According to Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld, the distributed ledger function of the blockchain will “modernize, streamline and secure typically cumbersome administrative functions, and will simplify the overwhelming challenges private companies face with manual ledger record-keeping.”

Nasdaq joins the blockchain-integrated securities exchange market field just a few weeks after Overstock’s Medici Project filed S-3 forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission, outlining its intention to issue new stocks or securities, including the potential to issue digital securities – Christie Harkin

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

Dark Net Markets Continue to Grow at Strong Rates

Dark Net markets have grown over 37 percent in product listings in the last year despite sweeping police actions and the constant threat of multimillion-dollar thefts looming large.

The most enduring institution on the Dark Net is Agora. Founded in December 2014, amid the rubbled of of Silk Road’s fall, Agora now accounts for 37 percent of all Dark Net product listings.

This is the fourth straight year of strong growth among major black markets even as the biggest and most famous markets—like Silk Road,Evolution, Silk Road 2.0—are left for the history books.

At this time last year, the Dark Net markets, which are only accessible through the Tor network, had just crossed the 50,000 product threshold. That’s up from around 18,000 products in October 2013, when federal agents seized Silk Road and arrested its founder, Ross Ulbricht.

Over 68,738 products are listed across 10 major black markets; two thirds of the inventories are drugs – Patrick Howell O’Neill

 

Purse.io

I think www.purse.io is providing the most compelling reason for normal people in the USA to start using Bitcoin. 5% to 25% off anything from Amazon should get anyone’s attention.

5% discount on whatever you want from Amazon INSTANTLY
25% discount on whatever you want from Amazon if you are willing to wait an extra day or two.

This should be enough to drive millions of new users to Bitcoin if only we can get the word out.

Amazon Mechanical Turk pays its workers with Amazon gift cards. If these people are not living in a country with Amazon, the gift cards are not very useful to them, so they are willing to sell them at a discount. Currently Purse.io seems to be one of the best places for them to do this.

The total value of outstanding Amazon gift cards is more than the total value of all the bitcoins in the world, so I think there is still a long long way for purse.io to continue to expand – Roger Ver 

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Amazon gift cards have been the dominant payment method for “micro-contractors” for decades. Before Bitcoin, it was the best way to transfer $5 anywhere in the world. Similar to Bitcoin, gift card codes can be stored as codes or in account balances. Best of all, it’s available to anyone with an email address. Amazon gift cards were preferred over all other gift cards because:

1) Amazon’s market share in ecommerce driven by large inventory, strong service, and competitive prices.

2) Amazon has a gift card issuance API that is used by Mechanical Turk, Amazon Associates, Swagbucks, eBates ($1B acq by Rakuten), Junowallet, TurboTax, and 15+ other tech companies.

 

Today, Amazon issues over $150M+ annually internationally through these services – orders of magnitude larger than current Bitcoin remittance volume.

Purse.io enables these workers to convert gift card balances to a more liquid form of value.

Purse.io makes this possible through a marketplace using Bitcoin because it is globally available, escrowable, and irreversible.

More intuitively, we know that $100 in Amazon gift card balance stuck on an account is not as valuable as $100 in cash or bitcoin. Purse.io creates the market for these “trades” through a reverse auction (Name Your Discount) – Andrew Lee, Co-founder & CEO of Purse

 

 

The Tesla Powerwall (Home Use) & The Tesla Powerpack (Business)

$3,000 / $3,500

* Shipping starts in 3 or 4 months

* Take Homes and Businesses Off the Grid

* Solar Powered Day and Night

* Avoid Paying Peak Rates

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Tesla is already building a 5-million-square-foot battery factory. It’s not big enough.

That was the message from Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk this week while discussing, for the first time, the early response to his new product line of storage batteries designed for use in homes and businesses.

The numbers are impressive. In the first few days of reservations since the battery announcement on April 30, Tesla took orders worth roughly $800 million in potential revenue, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg Business.

“It’s like crazy off-the-hook,” Musk said during an earnings presentation on Wednesday. “The sheer volume of demand here is just staggering.”

There’s no way for Tesla to keep up with the level of demand reflected by the early reservations. The company is sold out of storage batteries until mid-2016. Musk claimed the production of storage batteries alone could “easily” take up the entire capacity of Tesla’s $5 billion factory in Nevada, which is scheduled to open next year. The massive facility was originally slated to devote about two-thirds of its output to electric-vehicle batteries.  “We should try to make the factory bigger,” Musk said – Tom Randall

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

Chainalysis

The fact that this company has a NPV >0 is proof that Bitcoin is failing in terms of privacy. Fix it. –Justus Ranvier

Chainalysis Roadmap, April 2015

 

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)

 

 

PLACES

Jetpacks are Here and They Were Beautifully Shot in Dubai

Dubai already seems pretty futuristic on the ground, but what’s it like in the air? As you’ll soon see, it’s almost like another planet.

Yves Rossy (aka Jetman) and “protégé” Vince Reffet recently flew over the extravagant city in jetpacks, and their view was every bit as strange as you’d expect. The Burj Khalifa tower (above) resembles a sci-fi super weapon, while the artificial Palm Jumeirah archipelago sticks out from the coastline like a sore thumb – Jon Fingas

 

Crypto Valley, Switzerland

Xapo has officially relocated its corporate headquarters to Zurich, Switzerland, citing the country’s long history of neutrality and stability.

The bitcoin services and security firm said the transition was put in motion three months ago at the request of customers, and that now, Xapo’s operations in Palo Alto are in the process of being reduced.

Casares told CoinDesk: “This is not to facilitate crime, this is to protect privacy. There are some customers that will bring more balances if we do this and there are some customers who have said we will work with you if you do this.”

Casares said that previous attempts by the company to associate with Switzerland were perhaps not enough to encourage these customers. Xapo moved its deep cold storage vault servers to an unspecified location in the European nation in January, but continued to face pressure from customers for more privacy guarantees, Casares said.

“We decided to do what they had been asking us to do for a while, move our main company to Switzerland and benefit from the safeguards,” Casares explained – Pete Rizzo

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

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

 

Aritificial Intelligence: Viv

* Seed money came from the richest man in China and Gary Morgenthaler, the first investor in Siri. “I looked at the work they were doing,” Morgenthaler remembers, “and said, This is as good or better than anything I’ve seen in twenty years.”

* The solution was something they call the “planning objective function”. They created a program that could write its own code and find its own solutions. They named their invention Viv, after the Latin for “life.”

* They think they’re about six months from a beta test and a year from a public launch

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It’s a completely new concept for talking to machines and making them do our bidding—not just asking them for simple information but also making them think and react.

Right now, a founder named Adam Cheyer is controlling Viv from his computer. “I’m gonna start with a few simple queries,” Cheyer says, “then ramp it up a little bit.” He speaks a question out loud: “What’s the status of JetBlue 133?” A second later, Viv returns with an answer: “Late again, what else is new?”

To achieve this simple result, Viv went to an airline database called FlightStats.com and got the estimated arrival time and records that show JetBlue 133 is on time just 62 percent of the time.

Onscreen, for the demo, Viv’s reasoning is displayed in a series of boxes—and this is where things get really extraordinary, because you can see Viv begin to reason and solve problems on its own. For each problem it’s presented, Viv writes the program to find the solution. Presented with a question about flight status, Viv decided to dig out the historical record on its own.

Now let’s make it more interesting. “What’s the best available seat on Virgin 351 next Wednesday?”

Viv searches an airline-services distributor called Travelport, the back end for Expedia and Orbitz, and finds twenty-eight available seats. Then it goes to SeatGuru.com for information on individual seats per plane, and this is when Viv really starts to show off. Every time you use Viv, you teach it your personal preferences. These go into a private database linked with your profile, currently called “My Stuff,” which will be (they promise) under your complete control. So Cheyer is talking to his personal version of Viv, and it knows that he likes aisle seats and extra legroom. The solution is seat 9D, an economy-class exit-row seat with extra legroom – John H. Richardson

 

‘Supercharged’ Genomics: 100 Years of Breakthroughs Possible in 10 Years

A “supercharged” approach to human genome research could see as many health breakthroughs made in the next decade as in the previous century, says Brad Perkins, chief medical offer at Human Longevity Inc.

“I don’t have a pill” to boost human lifespan, Perkins admitted on stage at WIRED Health 2015. But he has perhaps the next best thing — data, and the means to make sense of it. Based in San Diego, Human Longevity is fixed on using genome data and analytics to develop new ways to fight age-related diseases.

Perkins says the opportunity for humanity — and Human Longevity — is the result of the convergence of four trends:

1) The reduction in the cost of genome sequencing (from $100m per genome in 2000, to just over $1,000 in 2014)

2) The vast improvement in computational power

3) The development of large-scale machine learning techniques

4) The wider movement of health care systems towards ‘value-based’ models.

 

Together these trends are making it easier than ever to analyse human genomes at scale.

“Our focus is not being a fee for service sequencing operation,” Perkins says. It is to “fully understand and fully interpret all the meaning in the human genome”. To do that Human Longevity Inc is building machine learning systems which can act as a ‘Google Translate’ for genomics, taking in genetic code and spitting out insights.

The results, he believes, will be revolutionary — and make genuine differences in people’s lives — including his own. “My daughter is graduating from university next month, my father if he were alive would be 78 years of age… I’m encouraged that we’re on the verge of having lots more grandfathers and grandmothers at the special events of all of our lives,” Perkins says. “As genomics begins the process of revolutionising human health and the practice of medicine, and opens the door to the next steps… of regenerative medicine. It’s going to be an extraordinarily exciting ride.” – Michael Rundle

 

50% of Your Body Can Now be Replaced with Bionics

We not only have bionic limbs for replacement parts for paraplegics and quadriplegics, but we’re starting to get exoskeletons, strap on braces. There are now ankle braces and knee braces for the elderly that put energy back in the system.

Our brain evolved in such a way that getting old was something that happened, there was nothing we could do about it, and the number one complaint about getting old is a loss of mobility. So we now have technology that is taking that away. It’s here today, and it’s only getting better because they’re all on exponential growth curves.

So what’s interesting to me about the transformation from science fiction to science fact is less about the whizz bang technologies, and more about the fact that we’re starting to fuck with really deep evolutionary adapted systems. We’re starting to really poke into what it means to be human at a really really really deep level, and it’s going to start getting interesting – Steven Kotler

 

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Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

Bitcoin: 1Jwh6nZiASJf4d3hNytjxqiimWBmEJvJ4S

Bitmessage: BM-2cXjeAykLT7gbjzNHZFnCxdawvyryyb4Nf

 

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