A Bitcoin transaction wastes as much electricity as it takes to power an American home for a week, and legendary coder Bram Cohen wants to fix that. And considering he invented the ubiquitous peer-to-peer file transfer protocol BitTorrent, you should take him seriously.
Cohen has just started a new company called Chia Network that will launch a cryptocurrency based on proofs of time and storage rather than Bitcoin's electricity-burning proofs of work. Essentially, Chia will harness cheap and abundant unused storage space on hard drives to verify its blockchain.
"The idea is to make a better Bitcoin, to fix the centralization problems" Cohen tells me. The two main issues he sees in Bitcoin are in environmental impact and the instability that arises from the few Bitcoin miners with the cheapest access to electricity exerting outsized influence.
Chia aims to solve both.
Bitcoin uses proofs of work to verify the blockchain. That's because it's prohibitively expensive to make a fake blockchain since it wouldn't have as much work demonstrated as the real one. But over time that's given a massive advantage in collecting the incentives for mining Bitcoin to those who operate close to low-cost electricity and naturally chill air to cool the mining rigs.
Chia instead relies on of proofs of space in file storage, which people often already have and can use for no additional cost. It combines this with proofs of time that disarm a wide array of attacks to which proofs of space are susceptible.
"I'm not the first person to come up with this idea" says Cohen, but actually implementing requires the kind of advanced computer science he specializes in.
After inventing torrenting in the early 2000s and briefly working on Steam for Valve, Cohen had been at BitTorrent building a new protocol for peer-to-peer live video transfer. But mismanagement on the business side caused the company to implode. Now it's limping along, and Cohen says "it doesn't need me day-to-day". So while he's still on the board, he left in early August to start Chia Network.
Cohen has teamed up with early Bitcoin exchange Tradehill's COO Ryan Singer and they've raised a seed round for Chia to ramp up hiring. Cohen wouldn't say how much it had raised, laughing that "I'm not sure how much we want to announce right now, but it was a very hot round." The goal is do some early sales of Chia in Q2 2018, with a full launch of its cryptocurrency by the end of 2018, though Cohen says that's a stretch goal.
Cohen is a brilliant technologist, but it will take more than that to convince people to switch over from Bitcoin to Chia. He tells me the plan for Chia is "do some smarter things about its legal status and do a bunch of technical fixes that you can do when starting from scratch."
It's too early to guess how this will all play out, but at least someone is trying to address the ecological impact of cryptocurrency instead of just complaining about it. Cohen seems excited though. "It's technically ambitious and there's a big meaty chunk of work to do. I've done enough raising money and recruiting. Now for the real work."
by William P with cryptoanalyst.co
Collegiate for some and bitter for others, the sibling-esque rivalry between Bitcoin and Ethereum is surely only just beginning.
Now that Ethereum’s reaching all-time transaction highs of 540,000 transactions per day, though, the current #2 crypto enterprise has notched an impressive win over its older cousin Bitcoin, almost doubling BTC’s volume of 323,000 daily transactions.
And while the die will continue to be cast, and this transaction dynamic may in time be reversed again, it’s certainly beyond mere promising news that the platform is now being used more on a daily basis than Bitcoin, as BTC’s enjoyed ultimate first-mover status hitherto.
Indeed, Ethereum’s now performing nearly 2 transactions for every 1 bitcoin transaction. In the years ahead, will it be 2 orders of magnitude more? 200? Beyond? Maybe not, but for those milestones to be reached, Ethereum must come out ahead first, which it’s now done.
As the Chinese proverb goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Indeed, seeing such a milestone reached is a bit of a schizophrenic experience for Ethereum enthusiasts: it’s hindsight and foresight all at once.
Hindsight, as you recognize that the Byzantium update’s been a great success and that Eth’s developers have been excellent stewards. And, of course, Devcon3 is right around the corner.
Foresight, because you know that future amazing milestones will be notched on the backs of the milestones of today—milestones like almost doubling BTC’s daily transactions.
With the ongoing, incredibly contentious SegWit2x debate in the Bitcoin community, BTC’s future is cloudier than ever—there’s just no telling what will happen.
Ethereum’s future, conversely, is brighter than ever. And that’s a dynamic that doesn’t look like it’ll change any time soon.
by Mark Decambre & Anora M. Gaudiano, Marketwatch
U.S. stock benchmarks on Thursday trimmed earlier losses but were still in negative territory a day after posting a trio of all-time highs and closing above the psychologically important level of 23,000 for the Dow.
Political tensions in Europe, lackluster economic reports out of China, and the anniversary of the markets’ worst percentage drop in history were cited as some of the reasons for the downdraft.
What are stock indexes doing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.02% which was down more than 100 points in early trade, was off by 24 points, or 0.1%, to 23,132. The S&P 500 indexSPX, +0.03% fell 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,559, with five of its 11 main sectors trading lower. Consumer staples and technology stocks were hardest hit, down about 0.6%, but were balanced by big gains in telecoms and utilities sectors, which were up 0.9%.
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.29% slumped 31 points, or 0.5%, to 6,593.
What’s driving markets?
Thursday also marks the anniversary of the 1987 stock-market crash, and some investors have voiced concerns about how sharp stocks have run up since the November 2016 election, shaking off U.S. political and geopolitical and valuation concerns, among others.
Meanwhile, Catalonia’s president, Carles Puigdemont, failed to meet a demand to give up the region’s push for independence. The Madrid government responded by suggesting it will trigger the process for imposing central control when it holds a special cabinet meeting on Saturday. A suspension of autonomy in Catalonia could potentially spur fresh protests and instability for one of the eurozone’s biggest members.
Global stock markets came under pressure following reports that growth in China slowed in the third quarter. Stocks in Hong Kong HSI, -1.92% dropped 1.9%, led by losses for property, banking and tech shares.
Many believe stocks will continue to rise on hopes that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will get a tax deal done. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned in a recent interview with Politico that stocks could take a big hit if tax cuts aren’t implemented soon.
Which stocks are in focus?
Philip Morris International Inc. PM, -3.88% shares dropped 4.2% after adjusted earnings and sales fell short of expectations.
Verizon Communications Inc.’s VZ, +1.15% shares rose 1.7% after reporting third-quarter results that mostly beat analysts’ estimates and affirmed its 2017 outlook.
eBay Inc. EBAY, -1.79% shares fell 1.7% after the online marketplace cut its annual profit outlook for the second straight quarter.
Apple Inc.’s AAPL, -0.01% stock dropped 2.7%, putting it on track to suffer the biggest decline in a month. Also weighing on Apple was a report in The Wall Street Journal that the new Apple Watch’s independent cellular connection feature was abruptly cut off in China, without explanation.
Shares of database-software company MongoDB Inc. MDB, +0.81% soared 25% in their debut trading, after pricing its initial public offering at $24 a share late Wednesday.
Alcoa Inc. AA, +0.13% shares slid 1.3% after an earnings miss.
United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL, +0.22% sank 11% even as the airline reported an earnings beat despite weather-related cancellations.
American Express Co. AXP, -0.20% shares were trading 0.6% lower. The company topped Wall Street expectations on earnings and raised its guidance, and said Stephen Squeri, the current vice chairman, will become chief executive and chairman on Feb. 1.
After the close, PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL, +3.88% is scheduled to report.
What are strategists saying?
“It is difficult to say whether today’s modest pullback is in deference to the 1987 crash or something else,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.
“While there is no question that markets are overvalued and we could see some corrections, the path of least resistance for stocks is still to go higher. I will start reducing risk when credit spreads begin to widen and when we see sustained signs of rising inflation,” Ablin said.
“To me, it appears that the Catalan impasse has triggered a global selloff across the equity markets, because the Asian session was rather quiet. The selloff really picked up as European traders stepped in,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LCG, in emailed comments.
What economic reports are due?:
First-time jobless claims fell to 222,000 in the week ended Oct. 14, marking the lowest level for claims from those seeking employment benefits since March 1973, highlighting continued strength in the labor market. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast claims to come in at 244,000.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, or the Philly Fed index, surged four points to 27.9, representing a 5-month high. Any reading over zero signals improving conditions. Economists had forecast a reading of 20.2.
The index of leading U.S. economic indicators fell 0.2% in September, marking the first drop in 12 months, partly due to the effect of recent devastating storms.
What are other assets doing?
European stocks SXXP, -0.63% ended firmly lower, with Spain’s IBEX 35 indexIBEX, -0.74% losing 0.7% as the Spain-Catalonia standoff continued.
In Asia ADOW, -0.16% the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.34% lost 0.3%.
Oil prices fell sharply. West Texas Intermediate crude CLX7, -1.23% dropped 71 cents, or 1.4%, to $51.53 a barrel.
Gold futures GCZ7, +0.65% rose 0.5%, to $1,289.80 a troy ounce, while the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.30% edged lower. The euro EURUSD, +0.5515% was trading higher against the dollar at $1.1851.
—Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this article.
Opinion piece by Jeff Reeves, Marketwatch
Alphabet, IBM, and robotics ETF poised to profit from technological change
“Artificial intelligence” is a misunderstood term, thanks in part to dystopian views of the technology across pop culture — from the iconic Terminator to Cylons in Battlestar Galactica to HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In reality, most scientists working on artificial intelligence aren’t trying to simulate true human intelligence at all. They are simply trying to create practical machines capable of analyzing data and making decisions to achieve a goal.
Case in point — Salesforce.com CRM, -0.15% has a valuable artificial intelligence application called Einstein that it provides to clients. This AI engine helps marketing and sales teams by suggesting which customers are the most valuable, and which products they are most likely to buy.
Not only is that a far-less sinister example of AI, it’s also exemplary of how businesses can use this technology to create serious profits. Salesforce stock, for example, is up 40% year-to-date compared with less than 15% for the broader S&P 500 SPX, -0.43% .
In fact, the most practical applications of artificial intelligence are side-by-side with Big Data and cloud-computing applications that many investors are already familiar with. Think of artificial intelligence as just the natural next step now that we’ve created all this data — something has to make sense of it.
For example, retailers have been trying for years to harness the predictive power of your shopping habits in order to put offers in front of you. Case-in-point: A now-infamous story about TGT, -0.02% investing in how to predict when a customer was (or soon would become) pregnant.
While fears of the robot apocalypse may never completely disappear from pop culture, the business case for AI is clear in this age of information. The only question is who will provide the artificial intelligence engines of the future, and which companies and investors will profit.
If you’re interested in playing this emerging-tech trend, here are three AI plays to consider:
Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, -1.41% GOOG, -1.30% made a splash a few years ago as it seemed to be diving into deep machine learning with the acquisition of DNNresearch, DeepMind Technologies, and JetPac among others.
The flurry of acquisitions in 2013 and 2014 made waves at the time, and in the near term were seen as incrementally improving areas of Google’s internet business, such as improving search or providing better bidding on ad rates. But the tech giant hasn’t taken its eye off the ball in the intervening years, and overlooking its long-term commitment to AI would be a mistake.
Just like it has cemented its role in the smartphone ecosystem with its Android operating system, Google is pushing hard to share its open-source TensorFlowmachine learning software with developers and companies of all sizes
While many companies like Amazon.com AMZN, -1.40% are using AI internally to improve customer experience or to create products like voice assistant Alexa, Google has opened up the gates and is welcoming the world into its AI ecosystem.
We’ve seen this blueprint before, where Google was happy to allow a community of smart, driven experts to help it build Android to be a world leader in mobile software. You could do worse than bet they would do the same thing with their artificial intelligence platform.
Sure, there’s no material profits yet. But if AI becomes the next big Google platform, running the systems in homes and cars the way Android runs tablets and phones, Alphabet will surely find a way to capitalize on that in the years ahead.
The opposite of Google’s approach is the proprietary Watson system created by International Business Machines Corp. IBM, +0.19% Many Americans are most familiar with Watson for its trivia skills displayed on television show “Jeopardy.” But aside from quirky PR stunts, the supercomputer has found a role performing much more practical tasks in recent years.
Since 2013, for example, Watson has been in use at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to help oncologists make the best decisions based on mountains of medical records and real-life diagnoses. And last January a Japanese insurance firm became so reliant on Watson’s actuarial skills that it laid off a few dozen human employees.
IBM has married a powerful machine learning interface with its existing enterprise tech operation, selling Watson’s AI under the “software-as-a-service model” that has been so profitable for cloud computing firms in recent years. It’s a natural iteration for IBM’s business — and a necessary one, too, as the struggling technology giant sees persistent revenue headwinds and increasingly is looking to both the cloud and artificial intelligence results to boost performance. The company just reported its 22nd consecutive quarter of revenue declines, though it did beat on profits thanks in part to 20% growth in its cloud division.
When you marry the strategic imperatives of cloud and AI with the existing scale and reach of IBM, it’s hard to imagine that the company will not be a serious play in AI for years to come. Furthermore, a 10-year partnership with MIT launched this year will all but ensure a generation of eager engineers come into the American workforce with ready skills to deploy Watson at their workplaces.
This is not as sexy or as grandiose as Google’s plan to democratize AI and spread it around the world. But for investors, the appeal is IBM’s bright line between this emerging technology and near-term profit potential.
Robotics and AI ETF
If you’re unwilling to pick a winner in the race for artificial intelligence applications, I don’t blame you. Emerging technologies are not just hard to fully understand, but they are tumultuous businesses where upstarts can come out of nowhere and leaders can fall from grace.
That’s where the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF BOTZ, -1.23% comes in. This unique and diversified ETF invests in companies “that potentially stand to benefit from increased adoption and utilization of robotics and artificial intelligence.”
Because this spans all applications, it makes for an intriguing portfolio. Top holdings now include Nvidia Corp. NVDA, -1.66% for its leading Drive PX platform that can power self-driving cars, Japanese “smart factory” supplier Omron Corp.OMRNY, +1.78% and medical robotics company Cyberdyne CYBQY, -0.45% to name a few.
The most interesting thing about these holdings is that they aren’t nebulous plays on some general AI theme and the hope of machine learning on a grand scale. Most are profiting now with targeted business models that marry automation and AI to produce real-world results.
For this strategy the ETF charges a rather modest 0.68% expense ratio, or $68 annually on $10,000 invested. That seems a small price to pay for a diversified and thoughtful basket of potential AI winners.
by Liz Moyer, CNBC
Kenneth Chenault will step down as Chairman CEO of American Express in February, to be succeeded by Stephen Squeri, the company said on Wednesday.
It will be the end of a 17-year run at the helm of Amex, and a 37-year career with the company. Named CEO in 2001, Chenault, 66, is among the first African Americans to run a Fortune 500 company, and he recently completed a two-year turnaround.
In a statement he said, "We're starting a new chapter from a position of strength and this is the right time to make the leadership transition to someone who's played a central role in all that we've accomplished."
American Express shares have struggled since the company ended its partnership with Costco Wholesale in February 2015. That co-branding partnership accounted for one in 10 Amex cards in circulation.
Since the day before American Express lost the Costco partnership, the stock has returned just 12 percent, far below the 30 percent return for the S&P 500 and the 41 percent gain in the Financial Select SPDR, according to FactSet.
Chenault's track record is a bit better over the longer term but still not spectacular. The stock has returned 5.4 percent annually since December 2000, right before his tenure began, according to FactSet. That's nearly double the 2.6 percent annual return of the financial sector since that time.
Squeri, 58, has been a vice chairman since 2015 and was group president of Amex's global corporate services group before that.
Tasked with guiding Amex into its next phase, Squeri is credited with building the company's commercial payments business and transforming its technology infrastructure in addition to leading the latest restructuring effort.
Amex's brand has been bolstered by association with its largest shareholder, Berkshire Hathaway, which holds a nearly 17 percent stake. "American Express is a very special company, one in which I first invested 53 years ago," Berkshire's Warren Buffett said in a statement. "Ken built on its storied history — not by abandoning traditional strengths, but by building on them and adding new ones."
After the bell, Amex also raised its guidance for full-year profit to $5.80 to $5.90 a share, up from the average forecast of analysts calling for EPS of $5.74. In the third quarter, Amex beat revenue expectations, reporting $8.44 billion versus the Street's expectation of $8.28 billion. Profit of $1.50 a share also beat the $1.48 expected.
It's been a ride on a rocket ship the past few days as Bitcoin has experienced a rise of around 13 percent over the past 24 hours and is up over 30 percent for the week.
The price of Bitcoin reached a new all-time high of $5,856.10 this morning after experiencing a new high of $5,363 yesterday. Bitcoin began the session today at $5,439 before vaulting to the new high in less than 3 hours of trading.
Click the following link to view the chart provided by coindesk.com:
Speaking to an audience comprised of other government agencies, members of the private sector and non-profits, John Sullivan, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State made the suggestion that blockchain could play a strong role in helping to restructure the department as proposed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Deputy Sullivan encouraged the State Department and its private sector partners to embrace the technology as a way to "advance diplomacy and development objectives" at the Blockchain@State forum held Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Sullivan told attendees:
"This forum has implications for our ongoing redesign efforts. We're interested to learn whether blockchain technology can have direct applications to many of the key features of our proposed redesign."
"Blockchain technology is on the move around the world, so it is, therefore, essential that we better understand this cutting-edge technology as it becomes more ubiquitous in our economy," Sullivan said, highlighting ongoing distributed ledger projects in Estonia, Georgia, Dubai and Singapore.
Deputy Sullivan's comments are being well-received by the blockchain community.
This article was researched from www.coindesk.com.
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The price of Bitcoin soared to an all-time high early this morning. The XBT/USD value of the cryptocurrency went galactic at over $,5210 on Bitfinex.
According to www.cryptocoinsnews.com the price shot up from $4,924 to $5,142 in less than 15 minutes. Over the next 20 minutes, trading pushed the value to a new all-time high of $5,219.1.
Bitcoin prices are now up nearly 25% in a 7 day period and the cryptocurrency has gained 10% in the space of a day.
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