- Turning the world of supercomputing upside down…
- This two-legged robot just ran a 5K…
- The search for extraterrestrial life…
Sadly, things didn’t go as planned for the infrastructure bill that came to pass today in the U.S. Senate.
The amendment that had been proposed to correct the current language in the bill with regards to the definition of a cryptocurrency broker will not be accepted. The language has passed “as is,” thus making cryptocurrency miners, validators, software developers, and many other ecosystem players liable for the collection and reporting of customer information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Now that it has passed, these requirements are far more onerous for the blockchain industry than they are for the securities industry. It’s the equivalent of requiring a technology provider that enables a securities exchange or marketplace to be subject to securities laws and reporting requirements to the IRS. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Why should we care about it?
If we want to have an economic environment in the U.S. that supports innovation in new technologies, job creation, and wealth creation, we cannot have legislation that pushes investment and growth offshore.
And if we are investors that want to grow our wealth through new asset classes like cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, legislation like this will limit those opportunities in the U.S. to these kinds of investments.
Does this mean that the cryptocurrency and digital asset markets will collapse now that the bill has passed? Definitely not. Blockchain technology and its development, by definition, is decentralized. It is a global phenomenon, and it can’t be stopped.
It will thrive irrespective of the infrastructure bill, and we’ll still be able to invest in this incredible asset class.
The fight isn’t over. There is still a chance of introducing a new amendment to the legislation once it reaches the U.S. House of Representatives. And even if that isn’t successful, there will be time before its implementation to make changes. I’m not saying it will be easy, but that’s what the industry will be working towards.
Is there anything we can do about it?
Definitely. For those of us in the U.S., we can call the offices of our congressmen and women and let them know that we don’t agree with the legislation. The simplest thing to ask for is to limit the definition of a broker in the digital assets industry to a centralized exchange. It doesn’t need to be any more complex than that.
I’m more bullish than I’ve ever been before on the blockchain industry and digital assets. We’re still early and there is so much value to create. It’s the next generation of the internet and the next generation of payment systems around the world. We’ll be developing the technology and services for the next decade, and we shouldn’t be too worried about some bumps and bruises along the way.
In the end, it will all be worth it.
Also, I’ve got something in the pipeline that I’ll be revealing very soon… A way for us to take advantage of this massive trend in blockchain technology. So please keep a close eye out over the next few days for my upcoming announcement.
The most promising quantum computing development to date…
A major early stage funding round just caught my eye. Palo Alto-based PsiQuantum just raised $450 million in its Series D venture capital (VC) round. This values the company at an impressive $3.15 billion, making it one of the most valuable quantum computing startups in the industry.
To put this raise in perspective, venture capitalists invested a total of about $780 million into quantum computing companies last year. That means PsiQuantum’s Series D round equates to nearly 58% of all the early stage funding in the space in 2020.
And get this – VC firms were squeezed out of this round. The major investors were two separate divisions of financial services giant BlackRock, the corporate investment arm of Microsoft, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore (Temasek), and an asset management firm based in the U.K.
As regular readers know, this is late-stage money. It likely signals that PsiQuantum is going to go public within the next 12–18 months.
And here’s what makes this company so promising…
PsiQuantum is building its quantum computer on a traditional semiconductor manufacturing process. Assuming the company is successful, this means that it would be easy to scale its quantum computers.
In fact, PsiQuantum already has a contract in place with semiconductor foundry GlobalFoundries. Here’s a look at the wafer on which the technology is built:
What makes PsiQuantum’s approach to quantum computing unique is its use of photons instead of the trapped ions or trapped atoms that we have discussed previously. Photons are particles of light that will be used to store information – they are quantum bits (qubits).
If PsiQuantum can pull it off, this photon-based approach will enable the quantum computer to perform calculations with far fewer errors. There will be very little “noise” in the system. In industry lingo, the computer’s “fidelity” will be extremely high.
And the company isn’t shy about its ambitions…
PsiQuantum’s goal is to develop a high-fidelity quantum computer with one million qubits. If it can pull this off, the computer would be able to perform calculations millions of times faster than the most powerful supercomputers on Earth today.
And at that point, our world completely changes in ways we can’t possibly envision today. That’s how promising this is.
Needless to say, we need to be watching PsiQuantum closely. If it can prove its technological approach works, it will be a massive breakthrough in the industry. And with the $450 million investment, there are clearly some insiders that think PsiQuantum can do it.
I’m also curious to see if the company will look to go public via a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) in the near future. We’ve already seen this in the quantum computing space with the recent SPAC transaction with IonQ.
If that happens, this company could make a fantastic investment target at the right valuation.
Fully functional delivery robots are almost here…
Agility Robotics just made a significant breakthrough. The company demonstrated that its bipedal delivery robot can “run” five kilometers on a single battery charge. This was the last major obstacle to producing a commercially viable product…
As a reminder, Agility Robotics is the company that launched its first commercial bipedal delivery robot back in April. It’s called Digit.
Digit is incredibly nimble. It can walk on uneven surfaces and climb stairs. It can also sit down, which is necessary for riding in the back of delivery vans. And Digit can lift and carry packages up to 40 pounds.
What’s more, the robot is weather-proof. The robot can handle light rain, wind, and dust. That means the robot is perfectly capable of dealing with less-than-ideal delivery conditions. However, Agility Robotics had been quiet on Digit’s endurance. How often does it need to be charged? That’s critical if the robot is going to be out delivering packages all day.
Well, Agility Robotics just answered this question with a demonstration. The company had its “Cassie” prototype – which is simply the lower half of Digit – run a 5K marathon. Have a look:
Cassie Running a Marathon
Cassie ran the 5K in about 53 minutes. That’s not going to win any races. But the important thing here is that this was on a single charge. The robot could cover that much ground without needing to be charged again.
And what made this possible is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) called deep reinforcement learning. This is the technology used to train the robot to walk, run, and climb stairs without having any lidar sensors or cameras.
In other words, deep reinforcement learning enables the robot to learn in a way similar to how we humans learn – through trial and error.
The key here is that once a robot has been trained this way, it doesn’t need to rely on expensive sensors or cameras. That drives the cost of production down, and it reduces the robot’s power consumption at the same time. Both are critical for widespread commercialization.
So this tells us that Agility Robotics is almost ready to roll out these delivery robots at scale. I expect we will start to see the commercial employment of these robots next year.
And who knows, depending on where we live, we might just see one show up at our front door.
I can envision a self-driving truck pulling into a neighborhood and three or four of these robots getting out, packages in hand. They will each take the package to the right house and then hop back into the truck for the next delivery.
And if we added in autonomous driving technology for delivery trucks, the entire delivery process would be autonomous, no humans required except for those to manage and maintain the fleet of vehicles and robots.
Some will argue that’s a decade away. I’m going to tell you that it’s in the near future.
You won’t believe what Harvard professor Avi Loeb plans to do next…
Regular readers may remember Harvard professor Avi Loeb. He wrote a book titled Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. The book was based on his research into a strange object in our solar system.
As a reminder, scientists named that object ‘Oumuamua. That’s the Hawaiian word for scout or messenger. Here’s a visual:
In his book, Loeb raised the possibility that this object was of artificial origin. We couldn’t identify what it was made of, and its movements couldn’t be compared to those of comets or asteroids.
Loeb even suggested that this object could be from another intelligent species. Perhaps it was conducting surveillance on our solar system from afar.
Naturally, there was plenty of criticism regarding this theory. But there was some strong support also. And that prompted Loeb to launch the Galileo Project. The goal is to develop an AI-powered network of telescopes that will constantly search for evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth, in our atmosphere, or in space.
As “out there” as this may sound, Loeb managed to raise $1.8 million for the project. The funding came from four wealthy donors who support Loeb’s thesis.
This money will be used to fund the researchers and equipment needed to get the AI-powered telescope network up and running. Once in place, these telescopes will constantly watch for strange activity in space. And they will even take pictures of objects classified as “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP).
I like that Loeb is taking the scientific approach here. The Galileo Project will be entirely evidence-based, and it is entirely privately funded by people that care about this kind of research. Fantastic.
It’s a very interesting project, and I hope that Loeb and his team are successful in both discovering and disproving some false theories.
That said, I think chances are slim that he will find anything interesting. But with private funding in place, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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