1 Bitcoin = $745
Bitcoin up 73% Year-to-Date
Bitcoin outperforming every other commodity/fiat currency in 2016. Will be best performing currency in the world 5 of the last 6 years. – Philip Francis
Bitcoin is still in its early days. It’s easy to fool yourself into feeling late if you’re immersed in it day-to-day.
Most people don’t own any bitcoin… yet. I still often hear: “Oh, bitcoin? They got hacked right? Didn’t the company go bankrupt?” – Stephen Cole
LocalBitcoin Volumes Hit All-Time High
LocalBitcoins is doing record volumes. Congratulations boys! Its the simple business models addressing basic needs that will grow huge. – Beautyon
Cross Border Payments Settled via Bitcoin Increase Almost Tenfold in 2016
The monthly volume of cross-border payments settled via Bitcoin is increasing at an exponential rate, rising from nearly US$5 million to US$40 million from January to October of 2016. – Joseph Young
Shinhan Bank Using Bitcoin for New Remittance Service
South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, with local blockchain remittance startup Streami Inc. will start an overseas digital money transfer service from next month, becoming the first Korean financial institution to launch such a service transacting bitcoin abroad.
The bank will first start the Bitcoin remittance service between Korea and China and plans to expand its service to other countries starting next year. – Chung Ji-sung
Philippine Bitcoin Startup Raises $5 Million
Online payments startup Coins.ph has landed a series A funding round worth US$5 million.
“The funding comes at a time when we have already been able to validate some base assumptions in our business model, as well as build a loyal customer base,” CEO Ron Hose told Tech in Asia.
Coins says it has partnered with banks, financial institutions, and retailers to form a network with over 22,000 locations in the Philippines, where people can collect their cash. It claims to have signed up over 500,000 users so far, but doesn’t disclose active user or transaction numbers.
The service currently operates in the Philippines and Thailand. Coins doesn’t intend to explore more markets immediately, choosing to stay focused on its current ones, Ron says. “Growth is still our number one objective,” he explains. – Michael Tegos
London Banks Plan to Hoard Bitcoins to Pay Cyber Ransoms
- Some people have to adopt Bitcoin whether they like it or not. – Kyle Torpey
Several of London’s largest banks are looking to stockpile bitcoins in order to pay off cyber criminals who threaten to bring down their critical IT systems.
The virtual currency is being acquired by blue chip companies in order to pay ransoms, according to a leading IT expert.
Moores declined to identify the banks buying up bitcoins but it is understood senior police officers have been made aware of the practice. – Jamie Doward
ECB Urges EU to Curb Virtual Money on Fear of Losing Control
The European Central Bank wants EU lawmakers to tighten proposed new rules on digital currencies such as bitcoin, fearing they might one day weaken its own control over money supply in the euro zone.
The European Commission’s draft rules, aimed at fighting terrorism, require currency exchange platforms to increase checks on the identities of people exchanging virtual currencies for real ones and report suspicious transactions.
In a legal opinion published on Tuesday, the ECB said EU institutions should not promote the use of digital currencies and should make clear they lack the legal status of currency or money.
“The reliance of economic actors on virtual currency units, if substantially increased in the future, could in principle affect the central banks’ control over the supply of money … although under current practice this risk is limited,” the ECB said in the opinion for the European Parliament and Council.
“Thus (EU legislative bodies) should not seek in this particular context to promote a wider use of virtual currencies.”
The ECB argues the Commission’s proposal does not go far enough as it does not cover the use of virtual money to buy goods and services.
“Such transactions would not be covered by any of the control measures provided for in the proposal and could provide a means of financing illegal activities.” – Francesco Canepa
IRS Casts Unusually Wide Net for Bitcoin User Data
- This Coinbase data is going to be a helluva useful tool for conducting large scale blockchain analysis. – Matthew Green
The Internal Revenue Service has filed a “John Doe” summons seeking to require U.S. Bitcoin exchange Coinbase to turn over records about every transaction of every user from 2013 to 2015.
That demand is shocking in sweep, and it includes: “complete user profile, history of changes to user profile from account inception, complete user preferences, complete user security settings and history (including confirmed devices and account activity), complete user payment methods, and any other information related to the funding sources for the account/wallet/vault, regardless of date.” And every single transaction
The demand is not limited to owners of large amounts of Bitcoin or to those who have transacted in large amounts. Everything about everyone.
Equally shocking is the weak foundation for making this demand. In a declaration submitted to the court, an IRS agent recounts having learned of tax evasion on the part of one Bitcoin user and two companies. On this basis, he and the IRS claim “a reasonable basis for believing” that all U.S. Coinbase users “may fail or may have failed to comply” with the internal revenue laws.
If that evidence is enough to create a reasonable basis to believe that all Bitcoin users evade taxes, the IRS is entitled to access the records of everyone who uses paper money. – Jim Harper
Bitcoin Network Difficulty Jumps
- Up 10.675% In Latest Adjustment
- Largest Jump Since Second Halving So Far
- Yet another all time high for the network mining difficulty
- Shows a substantial continued appetite for the extant 12.5 Bitcoin block subsidy.
Bitcoin ASICs Do More Computation Than All CPUs on Earth Combined
Bitcoin ASICs are using state of the art Intel 12nm fab process. Today, they do more computation than all CPUs on earth combined can do. Just for bitcoin mining. – Steve Jurvetson
US Government Contractors
Local miner tells me that govt contractors have been asking questions about mining infrastructure… speculate away as to why that might be. – Jameson Lopp
- Bitcoin is once in a lifetime event. You are going to have a bad time trying to replicate its success. – Steve
118 Altcoins Plotted vs. Bitcoin
Can you see why it’s really hard to beat bitcoin now? That red line is bitcoin, by the way.
It seems that alt-coins are best left for trading due to their volatility, but very risky as holds. Out of 700+ coins in my database I would say less than 5 have a shot of doing something interesting. – Willy Woo
Bitcoin vs The Top 10 Ranked Altcoins
Bitcoin outperformed the alt-coin portfolio by 3.8x.
Surprisingly during the 2013 bubble, alts performed even higher, but lost more ground in the bear market thereafter.
This pattern of alts having an edge in bull markets happened twice. I make out the bottom of the market was mid-May 2015, since that time alts recovered with a 3.8x rally (from 0.308x to 1.17x), while Bitcoin recovered with a 2.7x rally (from 1.68x to 4.56x).
Bitcoin vs The 11th-20th Ranked Altcoins
To shake things up, here’s a portfolio with ten “small cap” alts ranked 11th through to 20th making up the index. The idea behind this one is to capture the coins that have more potential for growth and exiting once they graduate to the big leagues (or fade into oblivion).
These results were one of the more promising index allocations, the portfolio dropped less during the bear market and had impressive gains during bull markets, however bitcoin still won out with a 4.6x return vs 3.6x for the index which also exhibited more volatility.
Bitcoin vs. The Top 20 Altcoins
Over 3yrs, a monthly rebalanced top 20 altcoin basket returned 20% (with very high custodial risk).
Bitcoin is really hard to beat with altcoin index funds. Not only do they underperform Bitcoin by a significant amount, but as a combined basket their day to day volatility is higher.
There will be a bunch of altcoin funds hitting the crypto investment world in this coming year. Having seen the data, I would take the index based approaches to fund investment with a decent grain of salt. – Willy Woo
PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET
- 5G will bring gigabit data, starting in 2018 and scaling in 2019-2020. – WSJD
- This will be an interconnected world, it will be a world where humans are communicating with each other but also with machines, where machines are communicating with each other, and where people are not really aware of the connectivity anymore, they just are connected. – Philipp Metzger
- There is nothing I’m looking forward more to then 5G – Mark Brienza
Qualcomm Powered 5G Devices May Arrive in First Half of 2018
Get ready for some insane download speeds.
At the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, the company announced its very first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50, which will support download speeds at up to 5 Gbps.
Furthermore, we’re told that X50-powered devices “are expected to be available during the first half of 2018.”
The timing makes sense as the finalized 5G standard should arrive in the same year, and operators like Verizon will certainly be needing test devices soon.
That said, Qualcomm does stress that this modem is designed for early 5G deployments, in the sense that it’s leaning more towards the experimental soft rollouts, so chances are it may be a while before mainstream devices integrate the X50 (or even a newer modem chip, for that matter).
It’ll be years before we go fully 5G so early deployments will likely have limited coverage, but don’t worry, as the X50 can seamlessly switch between 5G and Gigabit LTE, so long as it’s paired with a Snapdragon processor with an integrated Gigabit LTE modem — like the X16 announced earlier this year.
Such a boost in connection speeds will let us look forward to new use cases in the mobile world — real-time augmented reality plus virtual reality, super high quality multimedia content, instantaneous cloud computing applications, you name it. – Richard Lai
The Internet of Things
It is estimated that there are anywhere between 7 billion and 19 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things at the moment.
Conservative predictions suggest that this figure will balloon to between 30 billion and 50 billion within five years. – Jamie Doward
SpaceX Plans Worldwide Satellite Internet with Low Latency, Gigabit Speed
SpaceX has filed an application for satellite space station authorizations with the US Federal Communications Commission.
The company wants to launch 4,425 satellites into low-Earth orbits, with altitudes ranging from 715 miles to 823 miles.
If SpaceX achieves its goals, it could be a boon for consumers in rural areas who lack fast connectivity and customers anywhere else who want more competition.
Musk has been working on the satellite Internet project for at least two years, and SpaceX received $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity Investments in January 2015 to support satellite manufacturing and space transport.
SpaceX recently said that its satellite service’s commercial availability date has not yet been determined, but the application’s technical description mentioned 2019 as a possible time for launching satellites into orbit. – Jon Brodkin
China Launches World’s Longest Quantum Communication Line
It transmitted a secure video conference between Hefei and Shanghai in one of its first test communications.
The line, already three years in the making and yet to be finished, will ultimately connect Shanghai to China’s capital, Beijing, and run through another major city, Jinan, with a total of 32 relay points.
Quantum communication uses quantum entanglement of photons to ensure that nobody taps into the line, as doing so would inevitably corrupt the signal.
The Chinese network is valuable for both research on how the technology can be used, and practical purposes, such as delivering secure messages between the connected cities.
China has already launched a quantum communication satellite that will eventually be connected to the Shanghai-Beijing line via a station in Beijing. – Jose Miguel Gomez
The world realizing Nvidia’s potential in AI. – Stephen Cole
Moore’s Law is Now in NVIDIA’s Hands
- We’ll soon see the power of computing increase way more than any other period. There will be trillions of products with tiny neural networks inside. – Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA
Intel has long ago ceded leadership for Moore’s Law. And so, understandably, they have trumpeted the end of Moore’s Law for many years. To me, it sounds a lot like Larry Ellison’s OpEd declaring the end of innovation in enterprise software, just before cloud computing and SaaS took off. In both cases, the giants missed the organic innovation bubbling up all around them.
For the past seven years, it has not been Intel but NVIDIA that has pushed the frontier of Moore’s processor performance/price curve.
For a 2016 data point, consider the NVIDIA Titan GTX. It offers 10^13 FLOPS per $1K (11 trillion calculations per second for $1,200 list price), and is the workhorse for deep learning and scientific supercomputing today. And they are sampling much more powerful systems that should be shipping soon. The fine-grained parallel compute architecture of a GPU maps better to the needs of deep learning than a CPU.
There is a poetic beauty to the computational similarity of a processor optimized for graphics processing and the computational needs of a sensory cortex, as commonly seen in neural networks today.
I was going to update the Kurzweil Curve (the meaningful version of Moore’s Law) to include the latest data points, and found that he was doing the same thing.
Here is the preliminary version. The 7 most recent data points are all NVIDIA, with CPU architectures dominating the prior 30 years:
It’s what gives us hope for the future and I think it’s the most important thing ever graphed.
Here is the prior version
Moore’s Law is now in NVIDIA’s hands. Consider the GTX Titan X for 2016. 11 TFLOPS for $1,200. That would be on the order of 10^13 for the far right side of the graph, perfectly on the line.
Building an AI Portfolio
The following stocks offer exposure to Artificial Intelligence. – Lee Banfield
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
Stock Price: $776
Market Cap: $531 billion
Healthcare Images – Google Deepmind
Machine Learning – GoogleML
Autonomous Systems – Google Self-driving Car
Hardware – GoogleTPU
Open Source Library – TensorFlow
IBM (NYSE: IBM)
Stock Price: $162
Market Cap: $154 billion
Enterprise Intelligence – IBM Watson
Healthcare – IBM Watson Health
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)
Stock Price: $752
Market Cap: $355 billion
Personal Assistant – Amazon Alexa
Open Source Library – DSSTNE
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
Stock Price: $60
Market Cap: $473 billion
Personal Assistant – Cortana
Open Source Libraries – CNTK, AzureML, DMTK
Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA)
Stock Price: $94
Market Cap: $50 billion
Stock Price: $1,250
Market Cap: $176 billion
Personal Assistant – Viv
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM)
Stock Price: $68
Market Cap: $100 billion
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)
Stock Price: $188
Market Cap: $29 billion
Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN)
Stock Price: $133
Market Cap: $20 billion
Healthcare, Cancer Detection – Grail
Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY)
Stock Price: $37
Market Cap: $8 billion
COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS
It doesn’t matter that there are bad actors in software development; what matters is that there are good actors. Only good actors matter.
GPG, BitTorrent and Bitcoin are three examples of how good actors are all that’s needed. All examples of very powerful new principles. – Beautyon
Mexico City: Drones Carrying Uber Ads Hover Directly Over Highway Traffic
Switzerland: Bitcoin Gaining Ground
- Switzerland’s national railways firm SBB has launched a service on its 1,000-plus ticket machines to sell bitcoin. Customers can trade Swiss francs for bitcoins in a two-year experiment that will test Switzerland’s appetite for the cryptocurrency, the state-owned company announced. – Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
- Starting in 2017, it will be possible to pay invoices from EY Switzerland in Bitcoin, EY employees will receive a digital wallet, and a Bitcoin ATM will be put into operation in the main building. EY is one of the largest professional services firm in the world and is a member of the “Big Four” accounting firms. – EY Switzerland
I’ll be surprised if this event occurs before 2005 or after 2030. – Vernor Vinge, 1993
I’m reasonably confident that my kids who are in their 20s are not going to have to die. I’m 49 years old and I’m hoping I can make it, because I think we’re decades away from beating death, not centuries. – Ben Goertzel
Follow me on Twitter @leebanfield1