- A 5G network powered by blockchain technology
- Forget Roundup… zap weeds with a laser
- The most expensive NFT in history
What a year it has been already for the aerospace industry. It’s almost hard to keep up with how fast things are moving in what has historically been a slow-moving space.
And Saturday night at 7:06 PM off the coast of Florida, after three days in orbit, the Crew Dragon16 spacecraft returned gently back to Earth.
Crew Dragon Splashdown, Cape Canaveral
This was an incredible success as it wasn’t just a trip to zero gravity, or above the Karman line, it was a mission to orbit for a few days that required quite a bit of on-the-ground training prior to the flight. The Crew Dragon capsule reached an altitude of 367 miles (590 km).
And with an all-civilian crew, the mission demonstrated that space is open and accessible to all, not just those who work for government agencies.
Equally as exciting is that the mission was tightly linked to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and has already raised an incredible $147 million for children’s cancer research.
As per the name of the mission, I find this not only a historic event but one that is deeply inspiring.
Private industry and civilians didn’t wait for some government to make it happen or ask for approval, they just went to work and got it done.
This is only the beginning. Within the next decade, we’re going to see the return of supersonic commercial flights, hypersonic flights, a brand-new private space station, and a return to the moon. And within the next two years, we’ll see a permanent outpost on the moon and the first human mission and presence on Mars.
And that is a lot to look forward to.
This blockchain network is about to compete with Verizon and AT&T…
The blockchain-powered wireless network called Helium just announced they are preparing for a massive 5G rollout.
We first spoke about Helium last month on the heels of their $111 million raise via an early stage funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The investment came out of Andreessen’s $2.2 billion crypto venture fund.
Helium’s core focus has been as a project building a decentralized wireless network that supports internet of things (IOT) devices. These are things like sensors or other low bandwidth devices that need to send information over a network.
The exciting development is Helium’s new partnership to do something that one would think is impossible, that is to build a decentralized 5G wireless network that can actually be used by smartphones. This contrasts with a centralized wireless network from providers like Verizon or AT&T.
Because the network is decentralized, it is not controlled by any one person or company. More importantly, the network is censorship-resistant. The network is called “FreedomFi,” an apt name.
FreedomFi is working with a handful of manufacturing partners to build the small cells and gateways needed to enable the 5G network.
To understand the scale here, wireless network giant Verizon hopes to operate about 30,000 small cells for its network by the end of the year. This tells us FreedomFi is looking to compete with big names in the industry.
The difference is that FreedomFi won’t be managing these cells themselves. They’ll be sold to customers to create their own decentralized networks.
Anybody will be able to set up these small Do-it-Yourself (DIY) cells. We can think of the cells as small cell towers. They’re roughly the size of a hardback book and could be set up on a desk or just outside the house. Simply plug them in and configure the software and you’re up and running.
Once set up, these cells would provide 5G coverage to any compatible devices in range. We could imagine an entire office building becoming 5G-enabled, powered solely by the FreedomFi cells sitting on their employees’ desks.
That alone makes the story worth our attention. But what really caught my eye was the incentive structure.
The owner of the small cell gets paid in Helium’s native currency, the Helium Network Token (HNT). By operating a small cell and gateway, the owner is mining cryptocurrency. This is the economic incentive for individual users to maintain the decentralized 5G network.
Over time, the mining will cover the up-front costs of purchasing the equipment, as well as the cost of electricity to run the small cell.
The devices themselves are between $1,500 and $2,000, depending on the range. The less expensive device has a range of about 3X the amount of a Wi-Fi hotspot. This is better suited for a warehouse or business building. The larger device can provide connections up to several miles away.
When I refer to blockchain technology giving rise to “Web 3.0,” this is precisely what I mean. This technology will wrest control away from the large incumbents and return it to the end-user.
With enough awareness and community involvement, a 5G wireless network can be “stood up” and entirely crowdsourced without any single corporation or government getting involved.
And there are no complexities around the radio frequency (RF) spectrum.
FreedomFi will operate over an unlicensed Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum, so this means that the network can be launched as soon as the equipment is manufactured and installed.
Initially, it will be a patchwork of deployments, but in time it has the potential to provide good coverage – especially in more populated areas where it is more likely to be adopted.
I’d be interested to hear readers’ thoughts on this topic.
Would we be willing to participate in the FreedomFi network? Would you be willing to purchase and run your own small cell, contribute the making the censorship-free network a reality, and even earn income by doing so?
Let me know your thoughts by clicking here.
A weed-killing robot…
Early stage company Carbon Robotics just raised $27 million for their Series B funding round. This company is developing one of the most innovative pieces of agricultural technology (AgTech) I’ve seen.
The company manufactures a fully autonomous, AI-powered robot armed with computer vision. The robot looks a bit like a small tractor, and it’s designed for one thing: killing weeds… with a laser.
The robot uses its computer vision to identify weeds. Then, it zaps the plants with a 150-watt thermal burst of light that fries the weed. Seeing is believing.
So let’s see for ourselves…
Carbon Robotics’ Autonomous Weeder
This technology might seem like using a hammer to put a thumbtack into a corkboard, but it solves a major issue.
By eliminating weeds without using herbicides or pesticides, the farmer can improve the soil quality. And organic food can be grown at scale. This is dramatically better for the soil and the ecosystem in general by reducing chemical-laden agricultural runoff that enters our waterways.
It also helps the agriculture industry by reducing costs. There is less need for all the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other chemicals that are used in today’s agricultural industry.
Everybody wins with this type of product. If I could invest in a product like this, I absolutely would.
Carbon Robotics is part of a growing trend of leveraging advanced technologies in agriculture and farming. With computer vision and AI, robots can harvest more delicate crops like tomatoes, cherries, saffron, vanilla, cacao, and palm oil, which are all still harvested by hand to this day.
And automated technologies have never been in higher demand. With the current labor shortage, farmers are finding it harder and harder to find workers to work the fields.
A story like this tells me the robotics trend is nearing an inflection point. One that will result in industries across the spectrum being transformed.
We will continue to track this trend to find the most compelling opportunities in the market.
The most expensive NFT in history…
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) just broke another record.
As a reminder, NFTs are digital collectibles. They allow us to cryptographically determine ownership and authenticate the digital asset on a blockchain. And since they are on a blockchain, the ownership of these collectibles can be easily transferred from one owner to another in seconds.
The NFT market in general is on a torrid pace. 2021 sales on the public blockchain Ethereum are approaching $4 billion.
The big news today is that an NFT featuring the iconic Shiba Inu that inspired Dogecoin has just become the most expensive NFT in history… And one of the most expensive pieces of art ever sold.
Feisty Doge NFT
At the time of the sale in August, this piece of art – known as “Feisty Doge” – was valued at $225 million.
For perspective, the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction was a piece named Salvator Mundi created circa 1500 by Leonardo da Vinci. It was sold for $450 million in November of 2017. The prior record came in 2016 from a Rembrandt painting that sold for $195 million.
The dog is not just making history for NFTs, but art history in general.
So what’s the backstory here?
In June, a company called PleasrDAO bought the NFT for around $4 million. It’s a group of investors that formed what is called a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, for short. It’s an entity that has no leader, but a shared interest.
Together via PleasrDAO, they own the NFT. And shortly after acquiring the NFT, the DAO fractionalized it. Fractionalization is where the asset gets broken down into smaller, more affordable pieces. It allows more investors to take part in owning a piece of the asset.
After fractionalizing the NFT, PleasrDAO held a 24-hour auction for 20% of the digital asset. After the event, the Shiba Inu NFT was valued at more than $225 million. Simply incredible.
I suspect that investors who bought in at these levels likely overpaid. But what I like about this story is the ability to fractionalize assets. It lets investors take part in an investment they would otherwise be unable to access.
The other part is a DAO was able to coordinate on the blockchain by pooling together funds, purchasing an asset, then fractionalizing it for partial resale. It is exactly what syndicates do. A group of people or businesses go out and purchase assets by pooling funds together.
The main difference here is the group built its syndicate on a blockchain and invested in a digital asset. It is a very exciting development that is part of the broader trend of tokenization. A trend that will accelerate in the coming months.
If you would like to take part in this trend, then be sure to click here.
to see what tokenization is all about and how it’s just getting started.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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