Sunday 26th July



1 Bitcoin = $289


Transactions Per Day Double

The # of transactions per day on the Bitcoin network has nearly doubled in the last year, from ~60K/day in June ’14 to ~120K/day in June ’15 – Sam Rosenblum


The Lindy Effect

Michael Goldstein: Keep in mind that Black Swans don’t always occur rapidly. In fact, it is occurring every day that Bitcoin continues to live. #LindyEffect

J Schmidt: “Bitcoin is a process, not an event.”


Bitcoin is the Fastest Growing Area of Venture Capital Funding


Bitcoin Trends in the First Half of 2015

It’s already past the halfway mark in 2015 and we thought it would be a good time to provide an overview of the trends that we’re seeing in Bitcoin this year. While the price is down 9% YTD (as of July 13), it’s up over 213% over a two year time frame. 

If you look below the surface it is clear that Bitcoin had a strong first half and is making great strides as digital money for people around the world and a payment network for innovation – Coinbase


Number of Wallets

People around the world are increasingly adopting bitcoin as digital money. There are now somewhere between 5 and 10 million bitcoin wallet holders around the world, with 2.4M users and 3.1M wallets on Coinbase.



47% of Coinbase wallet holders are now from countries outside the US. Hong Kong, Tunisia, Philippines, Romania and Algeria were the countries that experienced the most user growth in the first half of 2015.


Developer Interest

The developer ecosystem in Bitcoin has also grown significantly in the first half of 2015. There are now more than 7,000 applications built by developers on Coinbase and we’ve seen a number of apps gain significant traction with Coinbase users thus far this year, including ChangeTip, Lawnmower, and Zapchain.

As of June 30, there were 6,109 Github repositories referencing Bitcoin. By comparison, there were 2,318 repositories referencing Paypal.


What to Expect for the Second Half of 2015 and Beyond

As global events that highlight the restrictions of closed banking systems and insecure data security practices (e.g. the Greece debt crisis and recent United States Office of Personnel Management data breach) continue to occur, we believe that bitcoin is likely to be adopted by more people looking for digital money that is global, secure, and inclusive.

Moreover, as talented developers build payments applications that enable behaviors that weren’t possible before a decentralized, global payments platform existed, it’s likely that Bitcoin as a payment network for innovation will continue to flourish as well.




All Time High

The Bitcoin mining difficulty continues to hit its stride with today’s change seeing the difficulty rise to an all time high of 52,278,304,846.

This represents an increase of 2.35% over July 11th’s difficulty. – cazalla


The Bitcoin Network vs. The World’s Largest Supercomputer

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Chris Dixon: The world’s largest (known) supercomputer is China’s Tianhe-2. 80,000 processors. 33,000,000,000,000,000 calcs/sec.

Alan Vazquez: Can it break Bitcoin?

Dan McAdrdle: No, Bitcoin network does ~375,000,000,000,000,000 *hashes*/sec, each of which is many thousands of individual calcs.

Chris Dixon: Yeah I think bitcoin is now >4 zettaflop

Ray Yousesef: How cute… Tianhe is only 142,024 times slower than the bitcoin network…




Monero vs. Dash

DREADz: If you were to buy $100 of one anon coin would you choose Dash or Monero or another I’m not aware of?

Peter Todd: Without a doubt I’d choose Monero over Dash – the latter is snakeoil, the former genuine crypto.




Iranian Stock Market Cheapest in the World

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A final deal that removes international sanctions against Iran may still be months away, but foreign investors aren’t waiting to pile into the market. London-based money managers including Charlemagne Capital Ltd. and First Frontier Capital Ltd. are putting together sanctions-compliant funds to allow investors to buy Iranian equities ahead of the buzz that they expect a final agreement would generate.

Charlemagne projects that Iran’s economy could grow between 6 and 8 percent without the burden of sanctions, compared with estimates of between 1 and 3 percent in 2014.

For investors who are still on the sidelines, low valuations of Iranian stocks may be tempting. The main index in Tehran trades at about 5.5 times earnings. That compares with a multiple of 11.2 for the MSCI Frontier Markets Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show – Maria Levitov


Gold Stocks

Gold has now pierced its November 2014 lows, silver has done the same and the Gold Bugs Index, the HUI, has penetrated its 2008 low of 150. Support levels are quickly evaporating as the carnage in this sector continues to savage the longs.

The Gold Bugs Index, the HUI, has fall from a high of 630 to 113, recording a drop of some 80% in the value of these stocks. – Bob Kirtley

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It is brutal out there for gold futures. But shares of gold-mining firms are getting walloped.

The more than 20% plunge this month for the indexes tracking the metals miners is roughly triple the price losses for the yellow metal.

The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs index HUI has lost nearly 23% month to date and the Philadelphia Gold and Silver index XAU has declined by over 21% for the month so far – Myra P. Saefong


Barrick Gold Plummets to 25 Year Low

Gold’s weakness led to a brutal sell-off among the world’s top gold miners.

Barrick’s market value is down 32% over the last three months and is now worth $13.8 billion in New York. That compares to a $64 billion capitalization when gold was at $1,900 in 2011.

Barrick’s gold production is expected to fall to between 6.2m – 6.5m ounces as it disposes of underperforming assets to tackle its crippling debt-load of more than $13 billion – Frik Els





OpenAlias: Interesting side project by Monero – Bitsquare




I’m interested in the right-now practical uses that Manuel Araoz demonstrated with Streamium, or Bitmesh (using payment channels). Bitmesh uses bitcoin micropayments to share Wifi in a mesh network. Amazing, have been waiting for this! – Andreas Antonopoulos


For users to connect to the BitMesh network, they will first connect their devices to a BitMesh WiFI connection nearby.

After they find a signal, they can instantly connect to BitMesh WiFi and start using it, and pay only for what they have used at the end of their usage with bitcoin. – Joseph Young


OpenBazaar Plans November Launch

Now that several of the core devs (myself included) have formed a company and received funding, we’re changing our approach to development. We won’t be doing incremental releases every few months, but instead put out a larger version 1 release later this year.

Since we have limited time and resources, we’re dedicating it all towards making the new release something incredible. – Sam Patterson, OpenBazaar Operations Lead

The plan to concentrate on one major release allows the developers to completely rework critical components to the system, including the networking, Distributed Hash Table (DHT), and User Interface (UI).

The prototype UI has received some major changes, as demonstrated during the release presentation, and can be tested on GitHub. The design is much improved from the previous Beta.

Authorities won’t be able to snoop in due to the strong encryption used for messaging (Bitmessage), signing contracts (PGP), and digital currency. Authorities can’t request data related to activities that happen on the platform, as there is none being collected on a central server.

The standalone company OB1, incorporated in Virginia, is currently the projects most complete third party provider. Pitched by Brian Hoffman as a value added service business built on top of OpenBazaar framework, OB1 will initially be focusing on 3 core aspects:

  • Hosting Solutions: A store running 24/7 would benefit from the uptime and scalability of being hosted in the cloud. OB1 is working with cloud server provider Digital Ocean, to provide an easy to use third party solution.

  • Arbitration Services: The company wants to provide standard contracts, that are legally enforceable in court, especially for higher end trades including real estate. They aim to provide a legal framework and different contract types for different needs, goods, and services.

  • Buyer Protection: OB1 is targeting opportunities in providing escrow services, as well as insurance for buyers and sellers.

Nicola Minichiello




Tesla’s Gigafactory May Become Biggest Building on Earth

Tesla Gigafactory construction April 2015

Tesla’s Gigafactory, which is currently under construction in Nevada, is truly deserving of its giga prefix. The goal is to make as much battery pack capacity in that single factory in 2020 (50 gigawatt-hour, enough for 500,000 EVs per year) as the whole world was making last year.

At a presentation about the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, Dean Haymore, from Story County Commission, said that Tesla Motors has purchased an extra 1,200 acres next to the Gigafactory, and is looking to purchase another 350 on top of that.

During Haymore’s presentation, he said that the original factory was supposed to be 4 “blocks” (modular parts), and the company is now intending to build 7, for a new factory size of 24 million square-foot.

If the Gigafactory truly ends up being 24 million square-foot, that would make it the biggest building in the world (based on footprint) according to Wikipedia. Note that the Tesla Factory in California is currently #2 on that list – Michael Graham Richard




IBM is Training Watson to be a Cancer Specialist

The idea is to use Watson’s increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence to find personalized treatments for every cancer patient, by comparing disease and treatment histories, genetic data, scans and symptoms against the vast universe of medical knowledge.

Such precision targeting is possible to a limited extent, but it can take weeks of dedicated sleuthing by a team of researchers. Watson would be able to make this type of treatment recommendation in mere minutes.

The IBM program is one of several new aggressive health-care projects that aim to sift through the huge pools of data created by people’s records and daily routines and then identify patterns and connections to predict needs.

Instead of having to find specialists in a different city, photocopy and send all the patient’s files to them, and spend countless hours researching the medical literature, a doctor could simply consult Watson, she said.

Rob Merkel, who leads IBM Watson’s health group, said the company estimates that a single person will generate 1 million gigabytes of health-related data across a lifetime. That’s as much data as in 300 million books.

“You are deep into a realm where no human being could ever make sense of this information,” Merkel said. That’s where Watson comes in to create a “collective intelligence model between machine and man.”

“We’re not advocating that Watson replace physicians,” he explained. “We are advocating that Watson does a lot of reading on behalf of physicians and provides them with timely insights.”

In 2011, IBM announced that Watson had learned as much as a second-year medical student. Since then it’s graduated and has been doing residencies at some of the nation’s top cancer centers. In late September, Watson achieved another training milestone: It began its first fellowship in a specialty — leukemia — at MD Anderson.

Koichi Takahashi, at the top of last year’s class of fellows and recently appointed an assistant professor, said he’s been impressed so far. Watson’s ability to synthesize a patient’s history is “amazing,” Takahashi said. “He beats me.” – Ariana Eunjung Cha


$100 Million Project Uses World’s Best Radio Telescopes to Find Aliens

Russian billionaire and venture capitalist Yuri Milner, alongside Stephen Hawking, has launched a $100 million project called Breakthrough Initiatives to reinvigorate the search for ET.

The project, which will initially be funded for 10 years, involves an all-star line-up including Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Frank Drake of the SETI Institute – who created the famous Drake equation that captures the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe – and NASA’s Pete Worden.

But the project will also be open source, and all data will be available to the public. Milner hopes that SETI enthusiasts of all stripes will get involved. “Maybe they will find the signal, not the experts,” he says.

The funding buys the team time on two of the world’s largest radio telescopes – the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia.


“SETI is very much a shot in the dark,” says associate director of Jodrell Bank Observatory Tim O’Brien at the University of Manchester, UK, who is not involved in the project. But he agrees that devoting telescope time to the search is worth it. “Imagine if there was a message and we simply hadn’t been listening.”

Fernando Camilo at Columbia University in New York – who often uses both the Green Bank and Parkes telescopes to study pulsars – is also happy to see the hunt for ET get a big new push. “The SETI searches of the past are like child’s play compared to what can be done with modern tools,” he says.

For now, Milner’s project is the best chance yet of finding out whether anyone else is out there. If we are alone it will be very big news, he says. “We would have to accept galactic responsibility – there is no backup. Either way we have to keep looking until we have an answer. The search should never stop.” – Douglas Heaven


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