I tend to focus on hardware etc – but social progress is still being driven by software… the hardware revolution has yet to break, the software revolution has been breaking (in successive waves) for decades now. The Information Wars aren’t about hardware yet. They will be soon… but not yet.
1) Bitcoin just went past $1000.
In other news, Litecoin (a bitcoin competitor which uses (arguably) a better system), now has a market cap of $1bn… which has happened seriously fucking fast. For some reason, that makes the whole thing feel less stable than bitcoin on it’s own, though it really it means the opposite I guess.
The potential value of these systems (for making free international money transfers) is absolutely gigantic… trillions… but they’re not actually being used for that yet. This is bubble behaviour at the moment… that said, if they do ever become the defacto method for money-transfer, then you can probably legitimately add a couple of zeros to their value. Unless there are loads and loads of clones. It’s complicated.
In other bitcoin news:
a) The Silk Road was closed and is back again in less than a month.
b) Apparently someone’s actually created the long-theorised-about assassins market. Could be a false-flag. Could be real. Can’t see it working. Assassination hardly ever a grass-routes enterprise. It’s almost always power speaking to power.
c) The latest boost has come from China, which now has the biggest exchange. The Chinese Govt has banned virtual currencies before, but seems (so far) ok with this.
I’d be quite interested to see what happens if someone does try to ban it… how they’d actually enforce it. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if an Ancestral Transaction Map of BTC exchanges happens at some point – so every transaction can be traced to a human being. Spy vs Spy all over again.
I’m not sure I entirely understand Ripple – but I get a better vibe from it than bitcoin. I think it’s a similar sort of thing – ie: it’s all about money transfers.
The thing about bitcoin though – is that so many people hate it, it has all the shit in the world thrown at it… it takes the hits and carries on. There’s something about failing in public, then surviving, that is more reassuring than a shiny interface onto a system that has never had any problems. Well… none that I’ve seen anyway.
A cloud storage service in which the punters can see the software, and the company can’t see the data. Encryption happens at client level, and the server-software is a) distributed and b) open-source.
Your data is broken up and distributed over a number of nodes – the defaults being “broken up in to 10 bits, distributed across 7 servers, only 3 of which are needed to get your data back”. Fairly resiliant in other words. It’s a commercial instantiation of Tahoe-LAFS.
Havenco.com offer the same service, which includes VPN.
4) TIME Person of the Year poll fucks up again. Usually it fucks up because everyone piles on and votes for an anti-establishment candidate, which time then vetos. This year it’s been hacked by someone who’s pushed that embarrassing pop-star who’s always sticking her tongue out to the top.
Even though the hack has been published, TIME appear not to be trying to remedy the situation – because (I suppose) that would mean Ed Snowden would be at the top – and embarrassing though the pop-star is, at least she’s not anti-establishment. She’s completely establishment… She rebels inside the box.
Although now that I check it again, an Egyptian general/politician and an Indian politician are now in 2nd/3rd place, with Turkey and Syria following close behind. The world is leaking into the internet.
5) Linux worm attacking The Internet Of Things. Basically means that in the future, your light-switches will need to be auto-downloading security patches. The internet is leaking into the world. The Age of Boundary Dissolution.
6) Here’s a police identikit picture of Mozart, circa 1777, created by the German Federal Criminal Police Office from four paintings.