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AI and Robot brains

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Peering into the Future:

AI and Robot brains

David Brin

By David Brin
Contrary Brin

Posted: Sep 22, 2014

In Singularity or Transhumanism: What Word Should We Use to Discuss the Future? on Slate, Zoltan Istvan writes: “The singularity people (many at Singularity University) don’t like the term transhumanism. Transhumanists don’t like posthumanism. Posthumanists don’t like cyborgism. And cyborgism advocates don’t like the life extension tag. If you arrange the groups in any order, the same enmity occurs.”

See what the proponents of these words mean by them and why the old talmudic rabbis and jesuits are probably laughing their socks off.

Progress toward AI?

Baby X, a 3D-simulated human child is getting smarter day by day. Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute Laboratory for Animate Technologies in New Zealand interact with the simulated toddler, reading, teaching, smiling, playing games, even singing into the computer’s microphone and webcam. The blonde youngster mimics facial expressions, laughs, reads words, even cries when he is left alone.

“An experiment in machine learning, Baby X is a program that imitates the biological processes of learning, including association, conditioning and reinforcement learning. By algorithmically simulating the chemical reactions of the human brain— think dopamine release or increased oxytocin levels— and connecting them with sensory digital input, when Baby X learns to imitate a facial expression, for instance, software developers write protocols for the variable time intervals between action and response. Effectively “teaching” the child through code, while engineering such a program is no cakewalk, the result is an adorably giggling digital baby with an uncanny ability to learn through interaction,” writes Becket Mufson, in the Creators Project.

This is precisely the sixth approach to developing AI that is least discussed by “experts” in the field… and that I have long believed to be essential, in several ways. Above all, by raising them as our children – even fostering them to homes in small robot bodies – we will gain many crucial advantages – that I lay out (somewhat) in Existence.

Meanwhile, Cornell’s Robo Brain is currently learning from the internet — downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals, all being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format, accessible to ‘helper’ robots who will function in our factories, homes, and offices. “If a robot encounters a situation it hasn’t seen before it can query Robo Brain in the cloud,” said one researcher. Follow its progress on the Robobrain website.

It’s coming. “You can call it a Virtual Personal Assistant, an Intelligent Agent, an Intelligent Interface or whatever you wish. We call it inevitable,” writes Dag Kitlaus in A Cambrian Explosion in AI is Coming in TechCrunch. An interesting assessment of the era of the digital assistant and the likely tsunami of new variations, building upon variations.

Meet Jibo, advertised as “the world’s first family robot.” Kinda creepy but attractive too…
Ever hear of “neuromorphic architecture?” Silicon chip design that uses transistors — (5 billion of them in the latest IBM chip) – to create analogues of the nonlinear response patterns of biological neurons. The latest version, from IBM, is called “True North” and it is simply spectacular. Its prodigious pattern recognition capabilities are only matched by its stunning (by four orders of magnitude(!)) power efficiency. This is where Moore’s Law, augmented by new neuronal and parallelism software, may truly start delivering.
Now… How to keep what we produce sane? And where on the chip – pray tell – do the Three Laws reside?
Ah, well… I have explored the implications (yin and yang) of the Asimovian laws in my sequel which tied up all the loose ends in Isaac’s universe – Foundation’s Triumph. Meanwhile, serious minds are grappling with the problem of “how to keep them loyal.” For example…
Creating Superintelligence
“Risks that are especially difficult to control have three characteristics: autonomy, self-replication and self-modification. Infectious diseases have these characteristics, and have killed more people than any other class of events, including war. Some computer malware has these characteristics, and can do a lot of damage…
“But microbes and malware cannot intelligently self-modify, so countermeasures can catch up. A superintelligent system [as outlined by Bostrom would be much harder to control if it were able to intelligently self-modify.” writes Bostrom.

Nick Bostrom makes a persuasive case that the future impact of AI is perhaps the most important issue the human race has ever faced. Instead of passively drifting, we need to steer a course. Still, his litany of “be careful what you wish for” parables is taken straight from the pages of a century of science fictional “what-if” scenarios. Geeky sci fi archivists need to be present, during the programming, to point out: “you may want to rephrase that… cause way back in 1947 Leigh Brackett showed that it could be misconstrued as…

When did homo sapiens become a more sophisticated species? Not until our skulls underwent “feminization.” Interesting article! In fact the mystery of the First Great Renaissance… the burst of human creativity around 45,000 years ago… is discussed in EXISTENCE!
But — if I may mention it — the real correlation with this notion… that sexual selection resulted in gentler, more “feminized” males, was presaged by this paper of mine… Neoteny and Two-Way Sexual Selection in Human Evolution.
Developing Brain
Researcher Talma Hendler has found evidence for two types of empathy, each tied to a different network of brain regions. One type she calls mental empathy, which requires you to mentally step outside yourself and think about what another person is thinking or experiencing. Parts of the frontal, temporal, and parietal cortex that make up this network. The other type she calls embodied empathy; this is the more visceral in-the-moment empathy you might feel when you see someone get punched in the guts. Very cogent and thought provoking.
This interesting article in Wired explores how movies exploit both of these networks to make you identify with the characters. Only the manipulation is now going scientific!
And veering a bit… When did modern humans arrive in Europe, and by how much did they overlap with our fading cousins, the Neandertals? New studies suggest it all happened earlier than most had assumed, perhaps around …45,000 years ago.
Now throw in…. Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development.
Scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory to form a replacement thymus, a vital organ of the immune system.
By deciphering the detailed gene expressions by which a lizard regrows its tail, scientists hope to re-ignite regrowth processes in mammals like us, that have been dormant for 200 million years.
Both of these stories are straight from my story “Chrysalis” in this month’s ANALOG! Have a look and see where all this may lead!
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Bitcoin has many important functions.

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Bitcoin has many important functions



1. It’s decentralized

The network isn’t controlled by one central authority. Every device that mines bitcoins as well as processes transactions makes up a component of the network, and the machines interact. That suggests that, in theory, one central authority can not play with financial policy and also induce a meltdown– or merely make a decision to take folks’s bitcoins far from them, as the Central European Bank made a decision to do in Cyprus in early 2013. And also if some component of the network goes offline somehow, the money keeps on flowing.

2. It’s simple to set up

Traditional banks make you leap with hoops merely to open a savings account. Setting up merchant accounts for settlement is one more Kafkaesque activity, beleaguered by administration. You could set up a bitcoin address in secs, no doubt asked, and also no costs.

3. It’s anonymous

Well, sort of. Users could hold multiple bitcoin addresses, and also they aren’t linked to names, addresses, or other directly determining details. Nonetheless …

4. It’s completely transparent

… bitcoin establishments information of every single transaction that ever before occurred in the network in a huge version of a basic journal, called the block chain. The block chain talks. If you have a publicly used bitcoin address, any person could mention to how many bitcoins are stored at that address. They just do not know that it’s yours. There are procedures that people could take to make their tasks much more opaque on the bitcoin network, such as not making use of the very same bitcoin addresses constantly, and not moving lots of bitcoins to a solitary address.
5. Deal fees are tiny

Your banking may charge you a � 10 charge for international transfers. Bitcoin does not.

6. It’s fast

You could send money anywhere, as well as it will certainly arrive minutes later, after the bitcoin network processes the payment.

7. It’s non-repudiable

When your bitcoins are sent, there’s no getting them back unless the recipient sends them to you. They’re invested.

So, bitcoin has a great deal going all out, in theory. However how does it work, in method? Read more to learn just how bitcoins are mined, exactly what takes place when a bitcoin deal takes place, and how the network monitors every little thing.

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best-selling author is giving away his eBook for free…

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Did you know that anyone can now learn how to
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In fact, Amazon popularized this method when they
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Most Likely to Use Bitcoin

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Man with phone



A new study suggests that ‘millennials’ and more affluent consumers see the most promise in digital currencies like bitcoin. The research further suggests that these groups could be the driving force behind mainstream adoption of the digital currency in the future.

Data from technology research firm Accenturecollected insights into the digital payment preferences of more than 4,000 US citizens, and found that while only 8% of participants currently use digital currency, 18% foresee using the technology by the year 2020.

Individuals in the millennial generation – corresponding roughly to individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 – reported more enthusiasm for digital currency than the overall survey group. Thirteen percent of respondents in that category reported that they already use digital currencies on a daily basis, and 26% said that they would likely use them in the future.

Of consumers most likely to use digital currencies, both today and in the future, wealthy respondents showed the most enthusiasm: 19% of affluent participants use digital currencies today and 32% said that they expect to use them by 2020.

The Accenture report highlights that consumers see the cost, security and privacy benefits of digital currency, but stops short of guaranteeing the success of the technology, noting:

“Despite projected growth in use of digital currencies in the coming years, there is work to do to influence consumer awareness and adoption, particularly among people age 35 and over. Current users cite the protection of personal identity via anonymous transactions as the leading benefit of digital currencies.”

The results also suggest that a general apprehension shared among consumers regarding digital currency stems largely from a lack of information.

Benefits seen by consumers

According to Accenture, consumers are growing more aware of the advantages of using digital currency over both bank and non-bank payment options. The report indicates that digital currencies were cited by survey participants as the most promising payment technology on the market today, even though questions remain about the risks involved.

The report notes:

“This debate will likely continue as digital currencies mature, but it is not stopping consumers from using them. Among all payment instruments included in the Accenture survey, respondents expect the biggest boost in usage from today to 2020 to be in digital currencies.”

Thirty-six percent of respondents said that the pseudonymity and transaction protections offered by digital currencies were the most attractive characteristics of the technology. Twenty-one percent cited low-cost transactions as a major benefit, and 20% said that the lack of a central government or regulatory body made them interested in digital currencies.

Consumers also highlighted the ability to send transfers across borders cheaply and the fact that digital currency transactions are irreversible, with 15% and 7% of the group citing those advantages, respectively.

Concerns driven by information gap

Past studies have shown the general unease among consumer regarding digital currencies is driven in part by a lack of information. Accenture’s results echo those sentiments, with 38% of survey participants indicating that they have a poor understanding the technology and need more information.

Other participants focused on the functionality and legality of digital currencies as reasons for their reluctance to use them. A quarter of the survey group said that the inconvenience of conducting digital transactions is an issue, while 14% suggested that the ability to use the technology for fraudulent uses is problematic.

Accenture adds that, in order for digital currencies to see more widespread use over the next few years, the benefits need to be explained clearly and demonstrated to the broader public.

“For any digital currency to go mainstream, consumers need to be educated and become confident in it as a trusted and easy-to-use payment instrument,” the report concludes


Millennials and the Wealthy

Most Likely to Use Bitcoin

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So, How Does Mining Happen?

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In traditional fiat money systems, governments simply print more money when they need to. But in bitcoin, money isn’t printed at all – it is discovered. Computers around the world “mine” for coins by competing with each other.

So, How Does Mining Happen?

People are sending bitcoins to each other over the bitcoin network all the time, but unless someone keeps a record of all these transactions, no-one would be able to keep track of who had paid what. The bitcoin network deals with this by collecting all of the transactions made during a set period into a list, called a block. It’s the miners’ job to confirm those transactions, and write them into a general ledger.

Making a Hash of it

This general ledger is a long list of blocks, known as the block chain. It can be used to explore any transaction made between any bitcoin addresses, at any point on the network. Whenever a new block of transactions is created, it is added to the block chain, creating an increasingly lengthy list of all the transactions that ever took place on the bitcoin network. A constantly updated copy of the block is given to everyone who participates, so that they know what is going on.

But a general ledger has to be trusted, and all of this is held digitally. How can we be sure that the block chain stays intact, and is never tampered with? This is where the miners come in.

When a block of transactions is created, miners put it through a process. They take the information in the block, and apply a mathematical formula to it, turning it into something else. That something else is a far shorter, seemingly random sequence of letters and numbers known as a hash. This hash is stored along with the block, at the end of the block chain.

Hashes have some interesting properties. It’s easy to produce a hash from a collection of data like a bitcoin block, but it’s practically impossible to work out what the data was just by looking at the hash. And while it is very easy to produce a hash from a large amount of data, each hash is unique. If you change just one character in a bitcoin block, its hash will change completely.

Miners don’t just use the transactions in a block to generate a hash. Some other pieces of data are used too. One of these pieces of data is the hash of the last block stored in the block chain.

Because each block’s hash is produced using the hash of the block before it, it becomes a digital version of a wax seal. It confirms that this block – and every block after it – is legitimate, because if you tampered with it, everyone would know.

If you tried to fake a transaction by changing a block that had already been stored in the block chain, this would change that block’s hash. If someone checked the block’s authenticity by running the hashing function on it, they’d find that the hash was different from the one already stored along with that block in the block chain. The block would be fake!

Because each block’s hash is used to help produce the hash of the next block in the chain, tampering with a block would also change the next block’s hash. So tampering with a block would make the subsequent block’s hash wrong, too. That would continue all the way down the chain, throwing everything out of whack.

Competing for Coins

So, that’s how miners ‘seal off’ a block. They all compete with each other to do this, using software written specifically to mine blocks. Every time someone successfully creates a hash, they get a reward of 25 bitcoins, the block chain is updated, and everyone on the network hears about it. That’s the incentive to keep mining, and keep the transactions working.

The problem is that it’s very easy to produce a hash from a collection of data. Computers are really good at this. The bitcoin network has to make it more difficult, otherwise everyone would be hashing hundreds of transaction blocks each second, and all of the bitcoins would be mined in minutes. The Bitcoin protocol deliberately makes it more difficult, by introducing something called a ‘proof of work’.

The Bitcoin protocol won’t just accept any old hash. It demands that a block’s hash has to look a certain way; it must have a certain number of zeroes at the start. There’s no way of telling what a hash is going to look like before you produce it, and as soon as you include a new piece of data in the mix, the hash will be totally different.

Miners aren’t supposed to meddle with the transaction data in a block, but they must change the data they’re using to create a different hash. They do this using another, random piece of data called a nonce. This is used with the transaction data to create a hash. If the hash doesn’t fit the required format, the nonce is changed, and the whole thing is hashed again. It can take many attempts to find a nonce that works, and all the miners in the network are trying to do it at the same time. That’s how miners earn their bitcoins.
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Tesla Motors Inc

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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Faces A Growing List Of Rivals


The electric vehicle segment was tiny for decades, but now some of the biggest names in the auto industry are planning to expand into EVs to challenge Tesla

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will see several global heavyweight automobile companies competing directly with the company in the coming years. Juggernauts such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rover have already made clear their interest in entering the all-electric vehicle segment.

Tesla Motors TSLA Netflix

Rivals preparing all-electric vehicles

Currently, these brands are offering plug-in hybrid models while only BMW offers a battery-powered electric vehicle. Mercedes, also, sells a B-Class Electric Drive, but the availability is limited as of now.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has already updated its Model S brand, which will receive competition from luxury automakers that are planning to offer all-electric sedans before the end of the decade. Recently, Germany’s Manager Magazine citing industry sources revealed that the upcoming Porsche sedan will include an all-electric version.

The Tesla Model X will receivecompetition from the Audi’s Q8 e-tron, which will be an all-electric version of the car, essentially four-door coupe utility vehicle. BMW, on the other hand, is working on a larger vehicle based on the concept of the i3 architecture. Mercedes-Benz is also analyzing the feasibility of an electric version of its S-class large luxury sedan. Every automaker except BMW plans to use steel construction, making the car heavier than Tesla Model S. According to the article in Manager, the all-electric Pajun will be lighter than Model S.

Increasing competition for Tesla

The new Pajun from Porsche could be a serious competitor to Tesla Model S as long as its performance to matches or exceeds that of the Tesla Model S.

Another car maker that may challenge Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) soon is Ford. Ford CEO Mark Fields, in a recent interview with USA Today, said that the company has the capability to build an all-electric car to compete with Tesla. Fields told that its engineers got a Model S and has experimented with it.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been working on the electric models for several years, and has developed a very successful business model. The Model S is a gorgeous, all aluminum vehicle from a car maker who was unknown 10 years ago, and  it offers a fast, comfortable, technologically advanced driving experience.

Tesla Motors Inc 


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QEYesterday, following the eagerly anticipated Fed Policy Statement in which it acknowledged the termination of Quantitative easing (QE), the Bitcoin price took a downward path along with Gold. We consider the outlook for the global economy in the weeks ahead as well as the implications for the Bitcoin price.

Start of the Post-Fed QE Era
Global Economy
Bitcoin Price Correlation with Gold

Start of the Post-Fed QE Era

The Fed being the world’s most powerful central bank – a veritable “center” of all central banks – their decisions and policy lead cascades to all other economies across the globe.

The immediate effect of yesterday’s announcement of the termination of quantitative easing (QE) is that the US equities and bond markets will begin a necessary decline. The inevitability of this outcome is guaranteed by the stated aim of the Fed to spent the money it prints ($85 billion a month at the peak of QE) on two distinct targets: US Treasury bonds and equities (stocks), via agreements with banks to prefer loans destined for equity and mutual fund investment.

Another effect of stopping QE (liberal dollar printing) is that now the Dollar will reflate as can be witnessed across forex charts today. Consider that the Fed does not want a strong Dollar precisely because it will undermine their efforts at increasing the rate of US inflation. So, although the Fed has pledged to increase interest rates, they’re caught in a trap: as soon as they start increasing rates, the Dollar will immediately strengthen as investors move their wealth into USD – perceived as strong and yielding higher interest than other currencies in country economies with lower interest rates.

The core problem is that the Fed applied QE, combined with near-zero interest rates, in an effort to artificially kickstart a new Keynesian business cycle. However,the behemoth QE experiment failed miserably. Had it succeeded, we’d see:

  • increasing employment in the US,
  • rising inflation,
  • greater productivity,
  • greater manufacturing output and
  • increases in quarterly GDP.

Yet, all of these measures are declining instead of increasing. So, a cursory tally of this spectacular central bank foible shows the following results:

  1. massive debt ($1.66 trillion over five years of QE),
  2. a weakened US Dollar,
  3. household saving was made impossible (by imposing a blanket near-zero percent interest),
  4. burdening of future generations of taxpayers (who must pay off the debt)
  5. stifled consumer spending power (as a result of the weakened US Dollar)
  6. damaged retail sector (as a result of low consumption in point 5 above – low spending power and no savings, right?)
  7. equities and bond market bubbles which threaten collapse in the absence of QE-smack.

Most central banks hold USD and US Treasury bonds as foreign reserves and securities. A strengthening Dollar is to their benefit, but a weakening bond market is not, so they will seek to sell those bonds and thereby contribute to a vulnerable bond market on the edge of a confidence cliff. This is neither arcane knowledge nor is it an extrapolation of how the bond market operates. Historic economic patterns and trade-winds as well as reliable market ebb-and-flow is gone. The outcome is one that is well-understood by the Fed and, therefore, a willing risk (or sacrifice) they engaged at the behest of the wealthiest 10%.

Here is a chart showing the percentage of US income that falls to the wealthiest 10% of citizens in various countries since WW2. The US is graphed in maroon.

income distribution oct 2014

The outlook is bad for ordinary working people in the US and the global economy in general. On the “positive” side, wealthy people in the US are even more wealthy after the conclusion of the QE program!

From the Economist:

…the top 10% of households own about 91.4% of outstanding stocks and mutual funds, up from 84.5% in 2001. The richest 1% own almost half of all stock and mutual funds. No surprise then that the recent jump in consumer sentiment recorded by the University of Michigan was led by the better-off; upper income households (the top third) had a 15 point increase in sentiment, the bottom two-thirds rose just five points. No surprise, either, that since the start of the crisis, inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) has risen, not fallen.

Given that this wealth effect is obvious and well understood by the Fed, we can call out a hypocrite when they reveal themselves:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The extent and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me.
– Janet Yellen, Chairperson of the Federal Reserve

As the house of cards that the Fed built on a sandy patch (in the rising tide) slowly folds in on itself, Bitcoin can be expected to become the receptacle of much of the money fleeing equities and mutual funds and seeking out high-yielding risky investment vehicles. The regulation sought by so many institutional players has prepared the ground for what could be the greatest Bitcoin rally to date. However, the caveat is that the cryptocurrency risks becoming a prostitute to Wall Street, like so many derivatives (including paper Gold) before it. Bitcoin the commodity and Bitcoin the Blockchain have very different functions and let’s hope that the drive toward pervasive adoption and regulation does not weaken Bitcoin’s far greater political utility.

Also read: Bitcoin Price and QE Closure
Also read: IMF Urges Banks to Manage “Perception”

What do readers think? Please comment below.

Global Economy

S&P500 vs Gold vs Bitcoin

S&P500 (black), Gold (purple) and Bitcoin (Yellow).

S&P500 vs Gold vs Bitcoin 30 oct 2014

US Dollar

The US Dollar is rallying across the board. Here is a chart showing the market’s reaction to the Fed Statement as expressed in the Dollar/Yen (USDJPY) forex pair.

USDJPY 15-minute Chart

USDJPY 15m chart 30Oct2014

Selected Economic Data

  • US Unemployment Claims
    • expected: 283K (previous: 284K)
    • actual: 287K
  • US Advance GDP Price Index q/q
    • expected: 2.0% (previous: 2.1%)
    • actual: 1.3%

Bitcoin Price Correlation With Gold

Time of analysis: 06h00 UTC

Asian Session

The Bitcoin price is skirting just above $330.

The following Bitstamp chart has additional overlays of BTC-China (yellow) and Gold (purple). Note the positive correlation between the Gold and Bitcoin price charts.

Bitstamp Hourly Chart

Bitstamp vs BTC-China vs Gold 30oct2014



Targets for reversal remain $330 and $290.

Dropping below the 5 Oct low of $275 opens up $259 and $205.

See yesterday’s analysis summary for trading strategies pertaining to the reversal targets mentioned above.


The Bitcoin price chart and trade metrics are available.

Readers can follow Bitcoin price analysis updates each weekday on CCN. In-depth analysis articles are published every Sunday.


The writer is fully invested in Bitcoin via BTC-e and Bitfinex. Trade and Investment is risky but not as risky as some other things out there. Take care only to take action in the market when you are 100% sure of the outcome. CCN accepts no liability whatsoever for losses incurred as a result of anything written in this Bitcoin price analysis report.

Bitcoin price charts from TradingView.
Income Distribution chart from 
Images from Shutterstock.



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A Big Bitcoin Economy

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Launceston Tasmania

A plan to build the “world’s largest” local bitcoin-based economy is underway in the city of Launceston, Australia, with support from local businesses and even government.

Project organizers say the compact Tasmanian city with a population of 106,000 will make a good high-density testing ground for bitcoin. The plan is aimed to cover various levels of the business supply chain, allowing users to both receive and spend their bitcoins, rather than simply converting them to Australian dollars.

A notable part of the ‘Launceston Launch’ plan would be to have the local government, the Launceston City Council, accept bitcoin for taxes and rates. At least two members of the 12-member council have shown support for the idea.

Plan director Adam Poulton has talked of bitcoin’s potential to put the spotlight on a city not often seen in international headlines, saying:

“Bitcoin is a currency in use in all developed countries in the world and has turned over $20bn in the last 12 months. It’s time Launceston got its share.”

This, along with several tourism and real-estate projects, plus a social media campaign, would hopefully attract more affluent tourists to the area, who would in turn be encouraged to spend bitcoin there.

Launceston Launch is designed to be a mainly closed-loop system, beginning with traders accepting digital currency and then targeting other merchants up the supply chain, keeping most of it within the city as its cost-saving benefits are realized.

Receipt of bitcoin payments and conversion to dollars, if requested, will be handled by Sydney-based payment processor BitPOS.

Gold sponsors signed

At least two supporting businesses have signed up for the project’s Gold Sponsorship, including Dr Roger Bernard, a medical clinic operator who has studied bitcoin since early 2013.

Bernard said:

“I am an eager participant in the Launceston Launch project, and this is why I immediately joined as a Gold Sponsor.”

Bitcoin could also open his practice to international clients and help sell his skincare products overseas, he added.

Raising awareness

A public education campaign is also underway to raise awareness of the project, coordinated by Melbourne-based bitcoin activist and documentary maker Dale Dickins. There are also plans to install four bitcoin ATMs around the city centre, with more to follow if the project proves a success.

Marketing efforts would initially target female consumers aged 25–45, as the demographic with the highest percentage of smartphone usage and who visit the widest variety of shops.

Initial responses from local businesses had been positive, Poulton said. Despite overall awareness being low, most begin to see bitcoin’s potential for savings and convenience after an informative 15-minute chat, he added.

Issues discussed include that fact that bitcoin is not too complex technologically, the Australian Tax Office has confirmed legality with a ruling, it integrates well into an e-commerce site and merchants would have the ability to cap the number of bitcoins they receive if needed.

Some concerns have stemmed from businesses not knowing what to do with a sudden influx of bitcoin-using customers. The ‘Bartercard‘ local currency initiative of previous years caused headaches for some small businesses who collected the system’s trade points, but complained they were unable to spend them on practical expenses like taxes and supplies.

This is not an issue with bitcoin, Poulton said, since payment processors like BitPOS are ready to exchange bitcoins for dollars if needed and a sudden jump in bitcoin trade is unlikely.

Other small but relatively high-density locations around the world have similar plans to promote bitcoin acceptance and businesses in their area, including islands the HagueBaliJersey, and theIsle of Man.


a Big Bitcoin Economy


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Tesla closes on free Nevada land

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Tesla closes on free Nevada land for gigafactory

Construction on Tesla’s lithium-ion battery

factory has already started east of Reno.

Tesla Motors today closed its deal to acquire the 980-acre site in an industrial park outside Reno where it has already begun pouring concrete for a giant lithium-ion battery factory.

Lance Gilman, a principal and partner with the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, told Fortune today that papers have been filed in the Storey County courthouse transferring the “gigafactory” site to the automaker. Tesla  TSLA -1.55%  is getting the land for free, along with a $1.3-billion package of economic-development incentives it negotiated with Nevada.

Scheduled for completion in 2020, the gigafactory is intended to produce 500,000 battery packs a year, mostly to be shipped to the company’s auto-assembly plant in Fremont, California, for use its promised mass-market electric car.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said his company will start producing the car, priced at about $35,000, in 2017. He says the gigafactory—intended to double worldwide lithium-cell production—will cut battery costs by more than 30%, helping make the new car affordable. Tesla’s current Model S starts at about $70,000.

Battery production at the gigafactory is supposed to begin in 2017 and peak battery production should be reached when the gigafactory is fully complete in 2020. When finished, he says, the building will likely total between five and six million square feet—nearly as big as the Pentagon. The gigafactory is expected to cost $5 billion and employ about 6,500 workers.

Legally, the giant industrial park, which Gilman manages, is giving the 980-acre gigafactory parcel to Tesla. But as part of the deal, the state of Nevada is paying the park’s owners $43 million for right-of-way to extend a four-lane road through the complex to US Highway 50, a major interstate. Gilman has sought the extension, which will cut travel times to and from the industrial park and open up thousands of acres for development, for more than 15 years. “That’s our reward,” Gilman told Fortune. “It’s going to happen. It’s because of Tesla that we’re willing to work this particular transaction.”

The state will also pay for construction of the road, called USA Parkway, at an estimated cost of $70 million. The extension is scheduled for completion by December 2017.

In addition, Tesla  TSLA -1.55%  has options to purchase another 9,000 adjacent acres, including 7,000 acres for a wind-farm with the potential to produce about 140 megawatts of electricity, according to Gilman.

Musk has said Tesla plans to generate all the power for the project from renewable sources, including geothermal energy, and he hopes to make the battery plant a “net zero-energy factory.” A company rendering of the project show the wind-farm operational and the concrete roof of the giant building—more than a mile long and a quarter-mile wide—covered with solar panels. Conveniently for Musk, his cousin Lyndon Rive is the CEO and co-founder of solar energy pioneer SolarCity, and Musk himself serves as the company’s chairman.


Tesla closes on free Nevada land 

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Fiat money systems

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Fiat money systems


In typical fiat money systems, federal governments just print even more cash when they have to.

In bitcoin, money isn’t published whatsoever– it is discovered. Computers around the globe “mine” for coins by competing with each other.

So, How Does Mining Happen?

People are sending out bitcoins to each various other over the bitcoin network at all times, however unless a person keeps a document of all these purchases, no-one would be able to track who had paid what. The bitcoin network handle this by gathering each one of the purchases made during a set duration right into a list, called a block. It’s the miners’ job to validate those transactions, as well as write them into a basic ledger.

Making a Hash of it

This basic journal is a lengthy listing of blocks, known as the block chain. It can be used to discover any deal made between any kind of bitcoin addresses, at any kind of point on the network. Whenever a new block of transactions is developed, it is included in the block chain, producing an increasingly extensive list of all the transactions that ever happened on the bitcoin network. A constantly upgraded copy of the block is offered to everybody that participates, so that they know exactly what is taking place.

But a basic ledger has to be trusted, and also all of this is held digitally. Just how can we make sure that the block chain stays intact, and also is never ever damaged? This is where the miners are available in.

When a block of purchases is developed, miners put it via a procedure. They take the info in the block, and also use an algebraic formula to it, turning it into something else. That another thing is a far shorter, relatively arbitrary series of letters and numbers known as a hash. This hash is saved together with the block, at the end of the block chain.

Hashes have some appealing residential properties. It’s simple to create a hash from a collection of data like a bitcoin block, however it’s almost difficult to work out what the information was just by checking out the hash. And also while it is very easy to produce a hash from a huge amount of data, each hash is unique. If you change simply one personality in a bitcoin block, its hash will alter completely.

 Fiat money systems


Miners do not merely use the deals in a block to produce a hash. A few other items of information are made use of as well. Among these items of information is the hash of the last block saved in the block chain.

Due to the fact that each block’s hash is produced making use of the hash of the block before it, it becomes an electronic version of a wax seal. It validates that this block– as well as every block after it– is genuine, because if you damaged it, every person would certainly understand.

If you tried to artificial a transaction by transforming a block that had currently been stored in the block chain, this would certainly alter that block’s hash. If someone inspected the block’s genuineness by running the hashing feature on it, they would certainly locate that the hash was various from the one already saved together with that block in the block chain. The block would be artificial!

Since each block’s hash is utilized that can help create the hash of the following block in the chain, damaging a block would likewise alter the following block’s hash. So damaging a block would make the subsequent block’s hash wrong, too. That would certainly proceed right down the chain, throwing every little thing out of order.

Competing for Coins

So, that’s just how miners ‘seal off’ a block. They all take on each various other to do this, using software program composed particularly to mine blocks. Whenever an individual efficiently produces a hash, they get a benefit of 25 bitcoins, the block chain is upgraded, as well as every person on the network hears about it. That’s the reward to keep mining, and also keep the deals functioning.

The problem is that it’s really easy to make a hash from a collection of data. Computers are actually efficient at this. The bitcoin network has to make it harder, or else everyone would certainly be hashing hundreds of transaction shuts out each second, and also all of the bitcoins would certainly be extracted in minutes. The Bitcoin protocol deliberately makes it harder, by presenting something called a ‘evidence of job’.

The Bitcoin process will not simply accept any aged hash. It requests that a block’s hash has to look a specific way; it should have a specific number of absolutely nos at the start. There’s no way of informing just what a hash is going to seem that before you generate it, and also once you include a brand-new piece of information in the mix, the hash will certainly be totally various.
Miners aren’t expected to horn in the transaction information in a block.

Yet they have to alter the data they’re utilizing to develop a different hash. They do this using an additional, random piece of information called a nonce. This is used with the deal data to create a hash. If the hash doesn’t suit the needed format, the nonce is altered, and also the entire point is hashed once more. It could take numerous attempts to discover a nonce that functions, and all the miners in the network are trying to do it at the very same time. That’s exactly how miners earn their bitcoins.


 Fiat money systems

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