• The beauty of crypto economics…
  • The next generation of networking technology…
  • Self-driving semis are hitting highways early next year…

Dear Reader,

One of the most important characteristics of blockchain technology is that each and every transaction is immutable and recorded on a public ledger. And while an individual may not know the person behind the transaction, it is there for all to see.

This feature has already unlocked the ability to record ownership and determine provenance for goods. Imagine not having to perform a title search to confirm who owns, or doesn’t own, a property that you are looking to buy.

Or imagine understanding the chain of ownership for a piece of art, a bottle of wine, a vintage car, or the dream home that you want to buy for your family.

With blockchain technology, anyone can determine these matters in mere seconds. As the use of blockchain technology for this purpose proliferates, unnecessary friction – in terms of both time and cost – will be removed from the system. Transparency will also increase, and fraud will become more difficult.

With that said, one of the more interesting recent developments in the industry – and more specifically, with regards to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – is around the concept of ephemerality.

Ephemerality is a contradiction to the stark nature of an immutable transaction… but the idea is surprisingly relevant and refreshing. While it is not the case with something like a parcel of real estate, it makes perfect sense in the world of art and NFTs.

Imagine an NFT that changes depending on the time of day. Like a piece of art, as the light changes throughout the day, so does the image that we see. If you’d like to check one out, DirtyRobot NFTs are a good example.

Or we can imagine owning CryptoKitties that actually grow old over time, just as a pet would in real life (IRL).

We can envision time-based NFTs, season-based NFTs, usage-based NFTs that change if we don’t actually use or view them, dynamic NFTs that evolve, and yes, even ephemeral NFTs that only last a certain period of time. After all, rarity is one of the things that make art and collectibles so valuable.

Some things in life are best enjoyed for a window in time, and these new forms of NFTs are a reflection of that principle.

NFTs are designed to have attributes and characteristics. They can have smart contracts built in. This is what makes them so much more than just pixels on a screen.

This trend has legs, and we’re going to start to see the use of our most valuable asset in NFTs – time. If you’d like to have some fun and learn more about what’s happening in the NFT space, then please check out this special presentation I’ve put together.

This blockchain project demonstrates why I’m so excited about the industry…

Blockchain project Hedera Hashgraph just made a big move. Hedera’s governing council announced that it is creating a $5 billion economic incentive around the project. This is designed to drive adoption and encourage developers to build on top of Hedera’s blockchain.

What I love about this is how it demonstrates the creativity and flexibility inherent in the industry. I’ll explain with a little context…

We last talked about Hedera Hashgraph back in March of last year. To bring new readers up to speed, Hedera Hashgraph is an advanced blockchain technology that went live in September 2019. The digital currency ticker is HBAR.

What makes Hedera exciting is that it can process transactions much faster than most other blockchains. That’s because it doesn’t need to lump transactions into blocks and then confirm those blocks in a linear fashion.

Instead, Hedera uses a technology called directed acyclic graphs (DAGs). DAGs allow Hedera to confirm transactions individually in a matter of seconds. And each transaction can be verified in parallel with all the other transactions taking place.

This allows Hedera Hashgraph to process more than 10,000 transactions per second. That’s fast enough to handle all credit card transactions globally every day.

And I distinctly remember the team saying that Hedera could get up to one million transactions per second. That comment was made at the project’s launch event, which I attended back in March of 2018.

This incredible level of throughput makes Hedera Hashgraph stand out in the industry. For comparison, the Bitcoin blockchain can handle less than 10 transactions per second. That’s a world of difference.

And Hedera is also unique in that it focuses on enterprise rather than consumer applications. In fact, 39 enterprise organizations make up its governing council.

So Hedera Hashgraph is a promising project, and the new economic incentive is designed to unleash its potential. Here’s how it will work…

The $5 billion incentive consists of 5.4 billion HBAR tokens that will be allocated in two ways.

The first $2.5 billion will be used to endow the HBAR Foundation. This is an independent organization tasked with driving Hedera’s network adoption.

The foundation plans to do this by creating HBAR-focused partnerships and initiatives in several areas. These include decentralized finance (DeFi), NFTs, and gaming applications.

The remaining $2.5 billion will fund development. These funds will be used to pay developers to build on top of Hedera Hashgraph’s blockchain to improve the ecosystem.

This is where we get into the beauty of crypto economics…

As I write, HBAR tokens trade for about $0.41 per token. And HBAR’s value will increase as user adoption grows. That will come as a direct result of additional development.

For this reason, paying developers in HBAR tokens creates a virtuous cycle of sorts. The HBAR tokens will increase in value with development. That then results in the developers making more money… which should motivate them to keep working for the project.

What’s more, these developers have a certain degree of autonomy that just doesn’t exist for startup employees working in other industries. Nobody is telling them what to work on. They get to choose.

That’s only possible because there are no salary costs involved here. Hedera Hashgraph is paying developers in HBAR tokens that the project has already created. It’s “house money,” so to speak.

This dynamic is what makes the blockchain industry so exciting.

And this technology is going to impact nearly every aspect of modern life… from business incentives like this to new financial services and even a whole new version of the internet. That’s why it’s so important for us to learn how to invest wisely in this space.

And it’s why I recently released my newest research service, Unchained Profits, to help readers explore the best projects out there.

If you haven’t yet taken a look at my top blockchain recommendations, then please don’t waste another moment. Simply go right here to learn more about how to get started.

Google’s Loon Project spawned an interesting laser technology…

Regular readers may remember Google’s wacky Loon project. It involved launching wireless base stations equipped with solar panels into the stratosphere on special balloons filled with helium.

Powered by the Sun, these base stations floated through normal wind patterns, providing internet connectivity to devices on the ground below.

Not surprisingly, the project didn’t work, and Google shut it down earlier this year. But something interesting did come out of it. Have a look at this:

Taara’s Optical Alignment System

Source: Taara

This is Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) technology in action. This technology enabled Project Loon balloons to communicate with each other at about 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) using optics. These are basically laser beams that can transmit data.

So Google took this technology and handed it over to another internal project called Taara. And Project Taara set out to see if FSOC tech could be used to send data and information over long distances wirelessly.

To do this, Taara deployed FSOC technology on two sides of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And sure enough, it worked. FSOC tech was able to transmit about 700 terabytes of data wirelessly over a 20-day period.

Here’s why this is so important…

To transmit this data using legacy technology would require a fiber-optic cable to run nearly 250 miles in the Congo, and it would need to run underneath the river. That’s an incredibly difficult and expensive proposition.

Yet this FSOC tech solved the problem simply… and at one-fifth of the cost.

This is very promising technology that is a higher-speed alternative to microwave communications. It speeds up the internet and is particularly relevant for areas where running fiber-optic cables is not feasible. This will come in handy as we continue to build out 5G networks around the world.

This legacy trucking company is going autonomous…

Legacy supply chain and fleet management company Ryder isn’t one we would expect to discuss in The Bleeding Edge. But it turns out Ryder has quietly been very busy in the autonomous tech space.

In fact, Ryder just inked a partnership with early stage startup Embark. This is a company developing self-driving software for semi-trucks.

Ryder and Embark are partnering to build out a logistics network of 100 “transfer points.” They will be located from coast to coast across the southern half of the United States. This geographical area was chosen because of the reduced risk of snow and ice in the winter.

And this is all about building out a self-driving trucking network. Here’s the idea…

For long-haul shipping, cargo will be transported by self-driving trucks on the highway from an origin transfer point to a destination transfer point close to the final point of delivery. Then the cargo will be transferred to a human-driven truck for last-mile delivery.

This way, the self-driving trucks never have to navigate city traffic or narrow streets. They stay on the highways where driving conditions are well known, easy to navigate, and safer for autonomous technology.

This is a smart approach, especially considering that Level 5 self-driving technology (full autonomy) hasn’t arrived yet. The transfer-point architecture is designed to work with the self-driving tech that is available today. By doing so, we can take advantage of lower logistics costs and avoid problems caused by labor shortages.

Ryder is moving forward with the first batch of transfer points opening early next year. And looking forward, Ryder and Embark expect all 100 transfer points to be operational by 2024. That’s less than three years away.

What’s more, Ryder plans to provide fleet maintenance services at these transfer points. This will involve changing tires, charging or swapping out batteries, and any other work that needs to be done to keep the self-driving trucks operating safely.

Simply put, this is a very smart move. Ryder will create an entirely new business from these transfer points. It is evolving its business and planning ahead for this inevitable shift.

And we’ll see a lot of job creation there. That may be counterintuitive, since we are replacing human drivers with self-driving tech, but it’s true. Humans will be needed to monitor the fleets and keep the trucks in good shape.

So this is absolutely something to watch as we head into 2022. And it’s a great example of how self-driving vehicles are not 10 years away, as many analysts have claimed.

They’re here now and arriving at a speed far faster than a semi-trailer.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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