- This deal could only happen in a Web 3.0 world…
- This AI can code your new software program…
- 2022 will be the year of self-driving technology…
If you’re using a current-model smartphone, and have Verizon as a wireless service provider, you might have noticed something different when you use your phone…
The last four weeks have been incredible. Verizon has turned on much of its new C-band 5G wireless network, and it’s pretty awesome.
For some of us, 5G almost seemed like a disappointment.
But that was the fault of wireless carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile. They marketed low-band, UHF deployments of 5G in a rush to claim “nationwide 5G coverage.” But the reality is that launching 5G in the UHF bands is typically on par with 4G technology.
Verizon, however, invested heavily in the mmWave bands to deploy 5G as it was meant to be used – lightning-fast, 1 Gbps+ speeds at extremely low latency. I tested the technology in 21 states throughout the pandemic and it was incredible.
But it isn’t practical for nationwide coverage. Building a network at those high frequencies requires dense networks that are only practical for cities.
That’s why the C-band deployments are so critical to 5G. They offer dramatic performance increases over 4G. And the network architecture can support larger geographic footprints.
Here is a recent C-band 5G test from last month demonstrating more than 400 megabits per second (Mbps):
If you take a close look in the upper right corner, you’ll see the “5G” with the “U” over the “W” just to the right. That stands for Ultra-Wideband and indicates that you’re either on Verizon’s C-band network or its mmWave network.
Anyone can easily run these speed tests. There is a “Speedtest” smartphone application that you can download to test your wireless network speeds anywhere. If the range is between 400 Mbps and 800 Mbps, you’ll almost certainly be on a C-band network. If you’re experiencing speeds above that, it’s on mmWave.
And basically anyone with an iPhone 13, iPhone 12, Google Pixel 6, or Samsung Galaxy S21 will be able to experience these speeds. That said, older phones won’t work in the C-band. They simply don’t have the semiconductors and filters to operate at these new frequencies.
Once the wireless operators spent more than $80 billion acquiring C-band spectrum in early 2021, they immediately rushed out to build their networks. We can see this in their capital expenditures.
With the exception of AT&T (T), T-Mobile and Verizon quickly ramped up spending last year after the auctions to build out their networks. And we can see above that Verizon is the only one of the three that is aggressively increasing spend this year.
In one simple picture, it’s easy to see that Verizon will have the most advanced 5G network in the U.S., and thus the best service on a national level.
This can, of course, be different from place to place. There will always be some towns or areas where one provider is stronger than the other and the population density doesn’t justify further investment. But at a national level, Verizon is going to end up on top in terms of network performance and quality of service.
With each month that passes, the C-band spectrum will be “turned on.” And we’ll all start to enjoy the benefits of 5G. And with that, the new software applications leveraging this speed and ultra-low latency will follow. It’s going to be a fun year.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve experienced 5G in the C-band or mmWave. Send us your screenshots using Speedtest and tell us where you tested. I’d be grateful for the boots-on-the-ground research, as I can’t be everywhere at once. You can send your submissions to me right here.
And most importantly, enjoy the speed!
GameStop makes its move into NFTs…
GameStop just announced plans to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace in partnership with Immutable X. We discussed that project last October. This is an interesting deal that will attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 technology.
I’m sure regular readers remember the GameStop (GME) saga last year.
Hedge funds looked at GameStop and saw an outdated business that was destined for bankruptcy. As such, they aggressively shorted the stock.
This involves borrowing shares and selling them into the market. The idea is to buy the shares back at a lower price, thus profiting from the stock going down.
The hedge funds even engaged in naked short selling. This is when hedge funds sell shares that they do not have in their possession. It’s a practice that is not supposed to be possible.
At one stage, there were more shares sold short than in existence… That should obviously be impossible. Sadly, this is an egregious form of market manipulation that happens regularly at the expense of retail investors.
And that’s why what followed was so incredible…
A rowdy group of retail traders in a Reddit forum called Wall Street Bets banded together to go head to head with the hedge funds. They bought shares of GME, hoping to push the stock price up and squeeze the hedge funds out of their short positions.
This required the funds to buy back their shares, thus pushing GME’s price even higher.
When the dust finally settled, GameStop said that it was going to launch an NFT marketplace. That was the company’s plan to modernize its business.
At the time, it seemed like GameStop was just grasping at straws after what it had been through. But now we know the company was serious.
And I must say, some of the details around the Immutable X partnership are very interesting.
Immutable X is a Layer 2 blockchain that enables low-cost transactions. As a reminder, Ethereum is known as a Layer 1 protocol. Layer 2 blockchains are solutions that improve the network’s ability to handle more transactions and dramatically reduce fees, like Immutable X.
This is important because transaction fees on the Ethereum blockchain have been consistently running at $30 per transaction and well into the $100’s at times.
This makes Immutable X a great solution to focus on low-cost NFTs.
These are the kinds of NFTs that sell for a few dollars and will quickly become pervasive in the gaming community. That’s in contrast with NFTs that are selling for much higher amounts in the six or seven figures – like the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs that we’ve discussed recently.
And here’s where it gets really interesting…
GameStop and Immutable X are creating a $100 million crypto fund to incentivize developers to create NFTs for their marketplace. The fund will allocate grants to developers who successfully build on the platform.
This is very much Web 3.0 economics. It stands in stark contrast to the Web 2.0 approach, where companies would often charge developers a partnership fee to build on their platform.
Immutable X has taken it one step further. It’s allocating $150 million worth of its native token, IMX, to milestone payments for GameStop. In other words, Immutable X is incentivizing GameStop to hit milestones for the launch of its NFT marketplace. This is quite unusual.
Here we have the upstart company incentivizing the large, well-established corporation to perform. That’s only possible in a Web 3.0 world where the company can mint and allocate its own digital asset as it sees fit.
So this is the perfect example of a partnership that’s trying to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. I’m excited to see how it plays out.
And I suspect we’ll see a lot more partnerships like this as the year goes on.
This is a perfect example of the exciting impact Web 3.0 and blockchain technology will have on many different industries… It will ultimately change the way we do business.
That’s why I continue to bring this trend to investors’ attention… and it’s why I recently hosted an event called The NFT Moment to dive deep into some of the exciting possibilities in this space.
If you haven’t yet watched the replay of that event, tonight is your final chance. The recording goes offline at midnight tonight.
So please, don’t miss out. Simply go right here to watch.
DeepMind is on a roll…
We just talked about DeepMind’s breakthrough around density functional theory (DFT) last month. It was a bit of a heavy topic, but groundbreaking nonetheless.
For the sake of newer readers, DeepMind is a special UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) division within Google.
And in its second big announcement of the year, DeepMind just revealed its new AI called AlphaCode. The AI can write software code on command… and it does it as well as an average human programmer.
Here’s AlphaCode in action:
AlphaCode at Work
On the left side, we can see the “Problem Description,” which is what needs to be coded. This is where a human described what the software program should do.
And on the right side, we can see AlphaCode working furiously to bring the desired code to life. Please note that the speed is in real time. It’s amazing to see the AI iterating and improving the code on the fly like this.
For context, this is just AlphaCode version one. DeepMind entered it into 10 programming contests, and it ranked within the top 54% of each of them. That implies that AlphaCode is roughly as good as the average professional human programmer.
That’s impressive. And it’s just the beginning.
Imagine where AlphaCode2 will rank. Will it be within the top 20% of human programmers? The top 5%?
Whatever the specifics, I have no doubt that AlphaCode2 will be among the best programmers in the world within 12 months’ time. On a practical level, this will open up computer programming to a much wider audience.
Anyone who needs to create a software program simply needs to write a description of what they want it to do. Then they can feed that description to the AI and let it go to work.
This dynamic has the potential to make many different organizations far more nimble and more efficient. It will even be a great tool for programmers who might have straightforward, but otherwise timing-consuming, coding tasks that could effectively be “delegated” to AlphaCode.
What a fantastic breakthrough.
Cruise’s autonomous ride-hailing service is now live…
We’ll wrap up today with another exciting development from the world of autonomous driving.
Cruise, the self-driving start-up that was partially acquired by General Motors (GM) in 2016, just unveiled a new autonomous ride-hailing program in San Francisco. This announcement was paired with a $1.35 billion investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund.
And here’s the most exciting part – Cruise’s service is completely driverless.
Anyone in the San Francisco area can go to the company’s website, sign up, and get on the waitlist for access to the service.
Interestingly, the service is free right now. Cruise does not have regulatory approval to commercialize it yet. And it’s only running between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.
Still, the waitlist is open to anyone who would like access. Here’s a look at Cruise’s self-driving car in action:
Cruise in Action
Here we can see Cruise’s self-driving technology at work, much to the amazement of the two passengers. This is yet another example that self-driving cars aren’t decades into the future. They are here right now.
Cruise is working on gaining regulatory approval to commercialize the service in San Francisco… I expect that to happen in the coming months. This will allow the company to expand its hours and start charging for rides.
And the big investment from SoftBank will fund Cruise’s expansion into other cities around the country. We’ll see that happen later this year.
So it’s all happening right before our eyes. We have tracked the rise of self-driving technology for years in these pages, and 2022 is the year it finally comes together.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. I would like to invite all readers of The Bleeding Edge to join me for an exclusive private briefing next Wednesday, February 16, at 8 p.m. ET.
It’s been an incredibly volatile start to the new year, and I know many investors are worried. We have had to stomach some paper losses in our portfolio over the last few months, and subscribers may be asking – is the bull market over? Is it time to sell?
I am going to give subscribers my unfiltered view on this volatility at this briefing next week. We’ll talk about what I see coming and what we should do about it. Simply put, we’ll talk about what to buy, what to hold, and what to sell.
I’m also going to reveal my 100X plan plan to capitalize on the next technology megatrend. This is a trend that’s coming fast, and we need to be ready to profit from it.
So please set aside some time to join me next Wednesday, February 16. We’ll get started at 8 p.m. ET sharp. Readers can go right here to reserve a spot.
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