November 2015

BITCOIN

bitcoin_logo_flat_coin_star_bl_by_carbonism-d3h7bxh

1 Bitcoin = $378

I think there is a higher than 50% chance that 1 bitcoin will be worth more than $1 million. – Wences Casares

 

All-Time High Transactions Per Day

Usage rate hits all-time high after roughly doubling over the past twelve months.

Number of Transactions per Day (Blockchain.info)

Bitcoin usage has risen pretty much steadily since the brief dip it took in the wake of the Mt. Gox implosion.

In fact, last week, as the price of bitcoin topped $500, the usage rate reached an all-time high, after roughly doubling over the past twelve months.

“The real usage is catching up to the hype. I still believe, 100 percent, that bitcoin is the future,” Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, says.

Coinbase says that more than 41,000 businesses and 2.8 million people are using its various services. It’s signing up about 3,500 new users a day, and this rate jumped about 70 percent in the wake of the recent price rally.

“Bitcoin has been in the news a lot as of late, and it has been good news. People will see that and say, basically: ‘I want a cash option on the future of the technology,’” Van Valkenburgh, director of research at the Coin Center says. “It’s like if you were able to buy a small piece of the Internet in 1994. Would you?”

Cade Metz

 

JP Morgan President: Bitcoin will be Stopped

Bitcoin’s just not going to happen. You’re wasting your time. When the DoJ calls someone and says “that’s an illegal currency, that’s against the laws of The United States of the Land, if you do it again we’ll put you in jail” … it’s over.

There’s no issue. This is my personal opinion, there will be no real non-controlled currency in the world.

There’s no government that’s going to put up with it for long. It’s kind of cute now… a lot of the senators in congress say “I support Silicon Valley innovation”… there will be no currency that gets around government controls.

The technology will be used. It may even be used to transport currency. But it will be US Dollars. –Jamie Dimon, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase

 

EU Planning Bitcoin “Crackdown”

Reports are emerging that the European Union is planning some sort of “crackdown” on Bitcoin in the wake of the Paris mass shooting amid allegations that ISIS has some Bitcoins. This is in spite of the declared intention of ISIS and their actual movement to establish a precious metals based monetary system in their caliphate.

Bitcoin is beyond the point where it can be substantially hindered by the failing fiat states of Europe. The socialist states of the world have longed to insert themselves into every transaction between men so that they may more readily collect their share which they demand by force. Bitcoin provides an armor which allows actual persons to resist the bloodsucking proboscis of the parasite state. This, not “ISIS possesses Bitcoin equivalent to the value of one of the armored vehicles it inherited from the United States” would be the actual motivation for a “crackdown” on Bitcoin.

An attempted crackdown on Bitcoin by the EU and its member states would likely:

  1. Pose serious problems for any venture purporting to act as an interface between fiat currencies and Bitcoin in those jurisdictions.
  2. Begin a phase of intensified social engineering attempts in various forums concerning or purporting to concern Bitcoin.
  3. Involve the arrests of a few people in tax evasion and drug cases on flimsy evidence with most of the prosecution’s cases having been constructed in parallel to the actual investigation.
  4. Reveal exactly how inept the socialist states of Europe are and how woefully incapable they are of coping with the present, much less the future

A European crackdown offers little in the way of actual threats to Bitcoin. The parties who would crack down have far more to fear in their own failure than any amount of fear they can try to project into persons involved with Bitcoin. – Bingo Boingo

 

Then They Fight You…

The pretext of terrorism is a repugnant use of a crisis to mould policy. We know that they use these terrible events, many of which their security services are responsible for launching, to accelerate a political or business agenda:

They have done the math. Bitcoin is an existential threat not only to the banks, but to the means of collecting taxes, and if they can’t stop it entirely, they will do everything they can to slow its adoption. – Beautyon

 

Then You Win

The recipient of Bitcoin cannot be controlled. This money, once received can now flow anywhere in the world instantly, all at once or a dollar at a time, and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it.

It cannot be stopped, un-done, persuaded or diverted. Money is beyond the reach of the State.

Anyone familiar with BitTorrent and movie piracy knows what is going to happen next, and that there is nothing that can be done to stop it. Bitcoin is a tool that cannot be stopped, changed or replaced by force. It is too useful, too powerful, too attractive. It saves people time and money. It makes people’s lives better, just like the internet and mobile phones make people’s lives better. It is neutral, and has no inherent moral properties. – Beautyon

 

 

MINING

Biggest Difficulty Increase in a Year

The Bitcoin network difficulty has now climbed to 72,722,780,643 which is an increase of 10.44%.

The previous difficulty was 65,848,255,179.7 which arrived via a 5.77% increase, the highest in six months.

New all time high difficulty figures come with astounding regularity, but the magnitude of these last two increases is notable. – Bingo Boingo

 

 

ALTCOINS

Federal Reserve Notes

Why don’t steady productivity increases lead to lower prices?

They should, but are constantly outrun by money supply increases. – FreeDumb Fighter!

 

Gold and Silver

bonestabone: Physical gold and silver can be easily subject to capital controls. This relates because a lot of gold and silver bugs are also Bitcoin haters. Doesn’t matter if you bury it in the backyard, ask the Cubans fleeing the communist revolution if it helped them to hide their gold coins before leaving, they never saw it again. With Bitcoin it can be transferred anywhere in the world in seconds, it is not possible to institute capital controls with something like this, so in a true SHTF scenario, Bitcoin would be the winner, not physical gold and silver.

Luke Parker: It often surprises me how few people believe this. Especially the goldbugs; they seem to think that gold is the most portable item imaginable, but when you tell them here’s something that WASN’T confiscated and made illegal for half of the last century in the USA, and you can fit it inside your head, making it infinitely portable while still undetectable, they simply think we’re lying or something. I guess they’ll learn the hard way. :\

 

 

MARKETS / FINANCE

Chinese Government Busts Biggest “Underground Bank” as Capital Outflow Hits $500bn

Beijing has announced a crackdown on the country’s biggest “underground bank” which handled $64 billion (410 billion yuan) of illegal foreign-exchange transactions. China is currently boosting efforts to curb capital outflows and fight corruption.

The bank transferred money overseas using non-resident accounts, exploiting regulatory loopholes and bypassing oversight, according to the government.

More than 370 people have been arrested, some face lawsuits or criminal charges, the People’s Daily reports citing police officials.

A man looks at the Pudong financial district of Shanghai © Carlos Barria

Chinese authorities started raiding underground banks in April. Since then they have revealed over 170 cases of money laundering and illegal fund transfers totaling more than 800 billion yuan ($125.34 billion). Police have shut down 37 banks. Around 100 suspects from eight suspected gangs have been detained.

“Many customers wanted to avoid China’s strict supervision on foreign exchange trade. The gang could earn over 50,000 yuan ($7,834) a day thanks to this,” a gang leader told Xinhua News Agency.

Capital outflow accelerated in China this year. Chinese nationals have been moving their money offshore over fears of a weakening economy and with confidence that investments were safer outside the country.

The government has already taken restrictive measures to prevent the capital flight. In September, China cut the annual limit of cash which Chinese bank card holders could withdraw abroad next year to 100,000 yuan (about $15,730). Previously, the daily cash withdrawal limit was 10,000 yuan ($1,573). – RT.com

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

Self-Driving Cars

Tesla Autopilot Prevents a 45mph Head-On Collision – Seth Weintraub

“Was travelling a little under 45 mph. There was some rain, but roads were pretty dry. I was watching stopped traffic to my right.

I did not touch the brake. Car did all the work. Sadly no audio, because I had an Uber passenger and Washington has strict privacy laws about recording conversations.”

 

 

Death on the Roads

Road traffic accidents kill an estimated 1.25m people a year, according to a new report by the World Health Organisation.

Road accidents kill more men than women, and are the biggest killer of 15- to 29-year olds globally.

As well as the human toll, it is an economic burden, costing the global economy an estimated 3% of GDP, and up to 5% in the poor and middle-income countries where 90% of deaths occur but only half the world’s vehicles are driven.

In Thailand, which has the second-worst death rate, around three-quarters of people who die are motorcyclists. – The Economist Data Team

 

Tesla Self Drives Coast to Coast

From: California, USA To: New York, NY, USA

Two new EV world records! – Carl Reese

Congrats on driving a Tesla from LA to NY in just over two days! – Elon Musk

The Model S crossed the country in record time for an electric vehicle—and drove itself nearly the entire way (from the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach California to East 31st Street in Manhattan).

Carl Reese, Deena Mastracci, and Alex Roy made the coast-to-coast drive in 57 hours and 48 minutes, a time that is still to be verified by an independent third party.

They had autopilot mode engaged 96 percent of the time, Reese says, using it at speeds around 90 mph. It eased the burden on the team, a big deal when you’re in a car for 57 hours straight.

It highlights how quickly and enthusiastically autonomous technology is likely to be adopted. – Alex Davies

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

BIP47: Reusable Payment Codes

I think BIP47 (reusable payment codes) is one of the most important developments in bitcoin this year. – Andreas Antonopoulos

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Besides running circles around blockchain analysis outfits, BIP47 reusable payment codes are very Blockchain Alliance unfriendly. – SamouraiWalletDev

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Samourai Wallet and Chris Odom’s Stash are currently working together to get reusable payment codes implemented into usable software. – Kyle Torpey

Something . . . that we’re heavily involved in is BIP 47 . . . [also known as] payment codes. Remember that? I prefer to use the phrase payment address because I think they’re comparable in many ways to an email address and a Bitcoin address is not

A payment address is more like an email address. For example, you can use the same address every time. So, you have a single address. People can always send to that same address, and that means they don’t have to ask you first for an address to send to . . . Furthermore, whenever you receive a payment through a payment address (or payment code, BIP 47), there is a return address. Both parties can see a complete history of all the transactions that were sent between them; the critical point is no one else can.

You know what this means? This means that all those companies who are sprouting up to provide blockchain analytics on the source of funds — these companies are not going to last. They’re going to cease to exist. They are a temporary aberration. They’re building on the past instead of the future. – Chris Odom, Stash

 

 

PLACES

Thailand

No bank or government needs to know where you sip your Piña Colada. Pattaya Beer Garden in Thailand accepts bitcoin. – Kevin Aleman

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The Philippines

BITCOIN-PHILIPPINES

Now over 1,000,000PHP sent in remittances using Rebit.ph. Time & money saved has been invaluable. – Alex B.

Some say bitcoin doesn’t make remittances cheaper, yet our users swear by it and have actual numbers to prove so. – Miguel Cuneta, Rebit.ph

 

From Nation States to Stateless Nations

We’re living in an age of disruption. How deep does the rabbit hole go?

What we’re witnessing is a shift from territorial monopolies on the use of force as a way of ordering civilization, toward a world of borderless civic networks.

Or, in the words of Tom W. Bell, a move from nation states to stateless nations, which extend the dynamics of social networks into areas traditionally monopolized by government.

Digital currencies like bitcoin are already challenging the state’s monopoly on the provision of currency, and it is inevitable that peer-to-peer technology and smart contracts will begin to challenge its monopoly on law and dispute resolution.

This shift reflects the extent to which the internet has already expanded our range of thought and activity. We can easily make friends with people on the other side of the globe who share our interests, we’re now able to buy and sell to anyone anywhere.

We can offer our services on freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork. All of this is amazing, and unprecedented, and there is more to come. Our social habits and economic opportunities have been transformed, and we’re better because of it.

Those who believe that an institution designed in the 17th century is going to be able to adapt to the new world through minor changes in policy rather than fundamental institutional disruption are not processing reality effectively.

It sounds radical. But the truth is that the old-fashioned nation state can’t last forever. It belongs to a particular chapter in human history, and was built for a certain kind of society and economy that no longer exists. Ancient civilizations like Rome and Egypt also aspired to permanence and inevitability, but were swept away by underlying social and economic changes.

To paraphrase Martin Luther King, the arc of history is long, but it bends towards liberty. Is the liberal democratic state really “the end of history” as Francis Fukuyama once put it? Is this all there is? Or can we create in the 21st century another leap, on the scale of Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence, into something greater still? – Philip Saunders

 

Voluntary Jurisdictions and Open Exits

What defines a state above all else is its monopoly on violence, and forced participation in a given geographical area.

The internet points us to a different way: to a non-territorial, networked, polycentric world of voluntary jurisdictions and open exits. Unlike the present model of geopolitical “tax farms” (as some have quipped), a polycentric legal system would not be based on geography, no more than Facebook or Twitter or Google is; but rather voluntary assent, where participants can enter or exit at any time, or remain neutral, regardless of physical location.

A polycentric legal order in which stateless nations compete for adherents would be superior to our current system from a democratic, egalitarian and libertarian standpoint.

Instead of different factions and special interests competing for power in a centralized state, via political parties or corporate cronyism, people with different perspectives can exit arrangements with which they disagree and form consensual communities of their own design. When people are allowed to participate directly and build their world, we will soon see which ideas work better in practice and which ideas don’t work.

I believe when this shift happens, there will be resistance, in much the same way that taxi monopolies in Paris and London and New York are fighting the rise of companies like Uber.

But in a world where exit rights are cherished, people may still choose to remain legally associated with traditional nations, for emotional or cultural or practical reasons. The key point is that there ought to be no impediment to people exiting their citizenship of existing nation states and forming new and better communities and parallel jurisdictions.

As with Uber, there are many special interests which rely on the maintenance of these legal monopolies, who will do their utmost to fight such trends. They need to understand that we are not asking for their permission, and they will be defeated.  – Philip Saunders

 

 

LEARNING / EDUCATION

Computer Science

Nick Szabo: Computer science gives you far more leverage to change the world than any other study in our age.

Patrick Molgaard: I’d argue the winning combo is (strong domain knowledge) + (programming ability), which might preclude actually studying compsci

Nick Szabo: No: the best combo is domain knowledge + comp sci. Mere programmers have far less ability to reason about what is possible.

 

Great News: Intro to Computer Science Overtakes Economics as Harvard’s Most Popular Class

The most popular fall-semester course at Harvard is Introduction to Computer Science I.

The tech course enrolled almost 820 students for the current fall semester. That total is the highest in the three decades the course has been offered and it’s the biggest class offered at Harvard in at least a decade, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Most interesting, though, is that the course has supplanted “Introduction to Economics” as the Ivy League school’s most popular course. – Tom Huddleston, Jr.

 

Learning in Virtual Reality

Humanity is standing on a precipice. We have never been closer to achieving a world where everyone has the ability to live and thrive. Biotech, nanotech and AI promise to reshape the world and have the potential to imbue humanity with near-godlike powers.

Virtual reality (VR) is often called the “final medium” due to its unparalleled power to share experiences and ideas. VR films and stories are shockingly effective at generating empathy and creating the impetus for action. VR education will allow us to learn faster and more interactively than ever before. And VR collaboration spaces will allow us to work from anywhere to solve the world’s grand challenges.

The potential use cases for VR in classrooms are endless:

A history teacher could lead his or her class on a tour of ancient Rome, providing a visceral connection to the past which was never before possible.

Science teachers can take their students to another galaxy or shrink them down and show them chemical reactions from the molecular scale.

Imagine a physics class where students take a trip to Mars, learn the physics of launching a rocket to orbit and then work with a group to plan out a rocket launch.  – Jason Ganz

 

Collaborative Virtual Reality Communities

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Social virtual reality is going to be an absolute game changer for collaboration. Because social VR will do what no other has been able to do—actually make you feel like you are in the same room with another person. Very soon, we’ll start to see virtual reality seminars, meetup groups and hackerspaces.

It’s tough to explain just how impactful social VR can be.

The first time I was in a social VR space, I was floored at how real it felt. I spoke to a group of VR enthusiasts around the world, swapping stories of our VR projects, and it honestly felt nearly as natural as being there. If you haven’t tried social VR, it’s hard to get across just how impressive of an experience it can be. Even compared with the best video telepresence tools we have available, there still is nothing like the feeling of actually working together in the same room. That is the feeling that virtual reality provides.

We’ll see VR hackathons where groups meet up in social VR to compete to create the greatest project. We’ll see open source groups holding weekly town halls and meetups where contributors get together to improve the project. – Jason Ganz

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

Magic Leap

GamesBeat: You said you saw Magic Leap under NDA and they were doing things you didn’t think were possible. Can you narrow that down a little bit?

Tim Sweeney: Who’s heard about the Xerox PARC laboratory from the ‘60s and ‘70s? It was before my time. But I feel like what I saw there, it was like an extension. I hadn’t thought some of that stuff was possible, but they were doing it right there. They had the devices in their lap. They were making it work. It felt like if you teleported back to 1972 and saw the first mouse, the first graphical user interface, the future of computing right there.

This is probably happening in a lot of other places besides Magic Leap that I haven’t seen. But that’s part of the revolution that’s happening right now.

 

The Metaverse

The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space,  including the sum of all virtual worlds,augmented reality, and the internet.

The word metaverse is a portmanteau of the prefix “meta” (meaning “beyond”) and “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. – Wikipedia

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With at least 250 companies working on VR now, a large number of them are working on realizing the Metaverse, this science-fiction idea of virtual reality and all that it leads to. – Tim Sweeney

Perhaps, it’s reasonable to assume that over time, our virtual worlds will become indistinguishable from our current reality.

Soon, we won’t visit the Internet from the glass window of our computer screens, but rather walk around inside it as a physical place.

Philip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life, recently announced plans for a bold new virtual universewith a potential physical game map as large as the landmass of Earth.

Essentially, he’ll create a virtual world with its own laws of physics, and once he’s pressed play, a newly formed universe will have its own “let there be light” creation moment.

Where we go from there will be stunning to watch. – Aaron Frank

 

The Metaverse: Immersive 3D Equivalent of the Internet

We’re building an open-source virtual reality platform that gives everyone the power to create, explore and share virtual worlds. – High Fidelity

What is the metaverse? It’s Philip Rosedale’s second crack at playing god—at least in the virtual sense. Rosedale created his first virtual world, Second Life, in 2002. Now, he and his new company, High Fidelity, are building another world—and this time, they’re thinking on planetary scales.

Speaking at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality conference, Philip Rosedale said that by harnessing the shared power of home PCs, “We could collectively create a space whose literal scale is comparable to the landmass of the planet Earth.”

Rosedale and High Fidelity aim to build a scaffold, set the ground rules, and hit play. That is, they’ll provide laws of physics and a Big Bang. The High Fidelity world itself, however, will be built by residents. There’s no predicting what will emerge, and that’s the beauty of it.

While you can access the world on your laptop or desktop PC, you can also visit using a headmounted display, like the Oculus Rift.

In his talk, Rosedale also hit on some other perhaps more intriguing visions for High Fidelity beyond simply social VR. As virtual reality comes online: The big question is what will we use it for most?

Looking back to the early days of computing in two dimensions, games and word processing were fun and useful. But they were dwarfed and ultimately embedded in something bigger. Something we call the Internet. Done right, Rosedale thinks virtual worlds can build on the Internet, even encompass it, and grow just as fast (only in three dimensions). How? By making sure they are free, open, and interconnected.

Back in the mid-90s, AOL and CompuServe were our first online portals, but they were eclipsed by a wilder, more chaotic model. Why? The hyperlink. An isolated web page isn’t as useful as one linking to other pages for more information. Their usefulness as a whole rapidly climbs with interconnectivity.

“If we can build a metaverse in which the spaces we create are linked together—or whoever successfully does that,”Rosedale says, “Those combined spaces with those hyperlinks will rapidly dominate everything, in terms of our total usage.”

How will we create the 3D equivalent of webpages? How will we connect them to each other? And how will we organically search them to find whatever we like?

These are questions High Fidelity and its community of cocreators will explore. If it’s early days for virtual reality—it’s even earlier for Internet-like VR. – Jason Dorrier

 

Moving Into The Metaverse In The Same Way We Moved Onto The Internet

Philip Rosedale wants to build the Metaverse, the virtual reality experience depicted in the Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash so many years ago. His first-generation attempt to do so was Second Life, the virtual world created by his former company Linden Lab.

Rosedale believes that the Metaverse will be the destination for all things, with applications expanding far beyond entertainment and gaming. It will enable a global village for communication with a billion other people in the world, he said.

Rosedale believes the Metaverse will happen because the technology to do it is getting cheaper and more accessible.

You can manipulate virtual environments in a natural way and communicate,” Rosedale said. “These virtual experiences are not science fiction. We are in alpha. It is starting to work. All of the components are there.”

He noted that his board of directors had a meeting inside virtual reality the other day.

But it’s still a ways off before everybody will be able to step into the Metaverse. First, the experience has to be low-latency, or with instantaneous interactions. As you move, your avatar, or virtual representation of yourself in the animated world, should also move. It should also sort out matters of identity.

Right now, about 15 people can participate in the same room at the same time. Rosedale wants features such as identity, hyperlinks, shared content, infinite spaces, and large audiences.

“The revolution and exponential growth in 3D content will be mind-boggling,” he said. “If we have a Metaverse where people build things, it will be ten times more fun with this gear. We’ll be buying and selling virtual goods.”

The Metaverse will rapidly become a huge virtual space, and exploring it will become a pastime, much like it has in Second Life, he said.

He added, “It would be totally editable. You could go into a space in virtual Siberia  and write on the wall and come back years later and find it.”

In conclusion, Rosedale said, “Much of our human creativity may move into these spaces. I think that it will. We will move into the Metaverse for much of our work, design, education, and play in the same way we moved onto the Internet. There is very little that stands in the way of that happening.” – Dean Takahashi

 

Jeff Bezos’s Space Company Makes History with Reusable Rocket

Jeff Bezos: The rarest of beasts – a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right, can look easy. Check out video.

Elon Musk: Not quite “rarest”. SpaceX Grasshopper rocket did 6 suborbital flights 3 years ago & is still around.

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Will SpaceX Accomplish It’s Goal of Getting to Mars in the Next 15 Years?

Yes, absolutely. The colony might take 20 years to get started, but if they just wanted to send something to Mars and not get it back they could do that a lot sooner. They could do that in a year or two. – Steve Jurvetson

 

 

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Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1

Bitcoin: 1Jwh6nZiASJf4d3hNytjxqiimWBmEJvJ4S

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