SNS FiRe Conference Names Immunomic Therapeutics Inc. a 2014 FiReStarter Company

Strategic News Service (SNS) is proud to announce that Immunomic Therapeutics Inc. (ITI) has been selected as a 2014 FiReStarter company, to be featured at the 12th annual Future in Review (FiRe) conference. Described by The Economist as “the best technology conference in the world,” FiRe features global thought leaders in technology and the global economy, including Elon Musk, Mark Hurd, Vint Cerf, Leroy Hood, Patti Grace Smith, Craig Venter, Paul Jacobs, Michael Dell, and many others. FiReStarters are selected based on the strength of their innovations and their potential to bring positive change to the world, and are showcased at an exclusive investor reception at the FiRe conference, in panels throughout the event, and with ongoing relationships introduced and supported by SNS.

Immunomic TherapeuticsImmunomic Therapeutics Inc. (ITI) is a privately held clinical-stage biotechnology company headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with lab facilities in Rockville, Maryland. ITI is developing next-generation vaccines based on the patented Lysosomal Associated Membrane Protein, or LAMP, technology. Its LAMP-Vax™ vaccine platform significantly increases the effectiveness of the immune response to nucleic acid vaccines while simplifying overall vaccine design and delivery, yielding safer, more cost-effective human and animal therapies.

LAMP emerged from $20 million of NIH-funded research conducted by distinguished scientist Dr. Tom August at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. ITI has the exclusive worldwide license to the LAMP technology patent estate and is commercializing groundbreaking next-generation LAMP DNA vaccines, beginning with allergy, cancer, and infectious disease.

“Vaccines are arguably one of the most important advances in the history of medicine. Now, with LAMP technology, we have the opportunity to change human health once again. We are honored to be invited as a FiReStarter to share our story alongside other groundbreaking companies at this incredible event,” said Bill Hearl, CEO of Immunomic Therapeutics.

“We are delighted to have Immunomic Therapeutics join us as a FiReStarter company for Fire 2014. For years, we have been discussing the future potential of technologies in this field to combat cancer and other diseases, and today, thanks to companies such as theirs, it is happening. Those interested in understanding this revolution in medical treatment, and in meeting the leaders involved, will want to join us at FiRe 2014 and meet the team behind this work,” said Mark Anderson, FiRe Chair and CEO of the Strategic News Service.

FiRe 2014Future in Review is a gathering of world-class thought leaders, convened each year with the goal of providing the most accurate look forward in technology. FiRe is a world leader in exploring how technology drives the world economy, and in using technology to solve major social challenges. These goals have been consistently achieved through FiRe’s collaboration across technology-driven industries and through active support from the global FiRe community. Now in its 12th year, FiRe 2014 will take place May 20-23 at the Montage in Laguna Beach, California.

To register for FiRe 2014, and to see bios of speakers and other participants, go to www.futureinreview.com.

Share This Post:

 

Peter Lee, Head of Microsoft Research, to Speak at 12th Annual Future in Review Conference

FiRe 2014Global Thought Leaders Converge to Work on Solving Some of the World’s Greatest Challenges in Real-Time

Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President and Head of Microsoft Research, will be a featured speaker at the 12th annual SNS Future in Review (FiRe) technology conference, May 21-23, 2014, discussing “The Next-Generation Internet Assistant” with host Ed Butler, Senior Presenter for the BBC. Lee’s team has been involved in engineering the just-announced Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, the next major update for its mobile operating system.

In his role at Microsoft Research, Lee oversees operations comprising more than 1,100 scientists and engineers across 13 labs worldwide. Under his leadership, the organization conducts both basic and applied research across disciplines including algorithms and theory, human-computer interaction, machine learning, multimedia and graphics, search, security, social computing, and systems, architecture, mobility, and networking. Microsoft Research collaborates with the world’s foremost researchers in academia, industry, and government on initiatives to advance the state of the art across the breadth of computing.

Lee’s prior position was at DARPA, where he founded and directed a major technology office that supported research in computing and related areas in the social and physical sciences. One highlight of his work was the DARPA Network Challenge, which mobilized millions of people worldwide in a hunt for red weather balloons — a unique experiment in social media that fundamentally altered the thinking throughout the Department of Defense on the power of social networks.

We are delighted to have Peter Lee with us as a keynote interview at FiRe. As we watch the New Microsoft emerge rather quickly under CEO Satya Nadella, it will be people like Peter who provide the ideas and technology to make it happen. This is an exciting time for those watching Microsoft closely, and learning their future research plans should be a priority for everyone interested in technology,” said Mark Anderson, FiRe Chair and CEO of the Strategic News Service.

Future in Review is a gathering of world-class thought leaders, convened each year with the goal of providing the most accurate look forward in technology. FiRe is a world leader in exploring how technology drives the world economy, and in using technology to solve major social challenges. These goals have been consistently achieved through FiRe’s collaboration across technology-driven industries and through active support from the global FiRe community. Now in its 12th year, FiRe 2014 will take place May 20-23 at the Montage in Laguna Beach, California.

To register for FiRe 2014, and to see bios of speakers and other participants, go to www.futureinreview.com.

Share This Post:

 

Planetary Resources President to Speak at Future in Review Conference

FiRe 2014Global Thought Leaders Converge to Work on Solving Some of the World’s Greatest Challenges in Real-Time

Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer of Planetary Resources, will be featured as the Opening Night Speaker at the 12th annual SNS Future in Review (FiRe) technology conference, May 20-23, 2014. This will be Lewicki’s first appearance at the annual technology and economic conference, described by the Economist as “the best technology conference in the world.

Lewicki has been intimately involved with the lifecycle of NASA’s Mars exploration rovers and the Phoenix Mars lander, having performed system-engineering development and participated in assembly, test, and launch operations for both Mars missions. He was Flight Director for the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and Surface Mission Manager for the Phoenix. The recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, Lewicki has an asteroid named in his honor: 13609 Lewicki.

Planetary-Resources-Logo copyPlanetary Resources‘ long-term mission is to “expand humanity’s economy into the Solar System” by developing and deploying the technologies to extend Earth’s natural resource base through asteroid mining. The company is developing and deploying commercial robotic spacecraft technology, first for Earth orbit; after demonstration of core technology, telescopic observation capability, deep space laser communications, and propulsion, the company will deploy the Arkyd series to near-Earth asteroid targets of commercial interest.

Planetary Resources is utilizing its small expert team to do what once took governments to do. Asteroid mining will ultimately lead to an environmentally and economically sustainable development of space commerce for generations to come,” said Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer of Planetary Resources.

Having hosted Elon Musk as he launched SpaceX, we are now delighted to host Chris Lewicki as he begins the long-term process of commercializing space. While many may think this process is far in the future, we think it has already begun, and there is no one better than Chris to help us understand the arc of these new business opportunities,” said Mark Anderson, FiRe Chair and CEO of the Strategic News Service.

Future in Review is a gathering of world-class thought leaders, convened each year with the goal of providing the most accurate look forward in technology. FiRe is a world leader in exploring how technology drives the world economy, and in using technology to solve major social challenges. These goals have been consistently achieved through FiRe’s collaboration across technology-driven industries and through active support from the global FiRe community. Now in its 12th year, FiRe 2014 will take place May 20-23 at the Montage in Laguna Beach, California.

To register for FiRe 2014, and to see bios of speakers and other participants, go to www.futureinreview.com.

Share This Post:

 

Workshop to Highlight Growing Role of Innovation and Intellectual Property as Drivers of the Global Economy

Innovation is now the driving force of the global economy and intellectual property (IP), which results drive wealth creation in companies, economic sectors, and countries. So what can universities and other public institutions do to turn innovations into IP and to protect that IP so that it generates future jobs for the US economy?

That’s one of the fundamental questions to be addressed on Thursday, March 13, at the University of California, San Diego, in a workshop on “The Growing Value of Innovation & Intellectual Property As Drivers of the Global Economy.” The meeting – which is open to the public, but registration is required at www.calit2.net/iip/ – is organized by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and the Inventing Nations vs. Nation-sponsored Theft of IP (INVNT/IP) Global Consortium.

“Calit2 has a long-term interest in pulling together the academic and private sectors to create environments which encourage innovation,” said Calit2 Director Larry Smarr. “A major part of that environment must be an effort to define and safeguard intellectual property which emerges from innovation. This is a kickoff meeting of a multi-year Calit2 program with our campus and private sector partners to pursue best practices in the creation and protection of IP coming out of UC San Diego labs.”

The workshop is the first held by INVNT/IP on a university campus, after extensive prior interactions with large corporations and international policymakers. INVNT/IP was established in 2011 by the Strategic News Service (SNS), after a lengthy study of nation-state business models that rely heavily on the theft of IP.

“It’s about the Big Shift in the global economy, as we move from an era when inventions paid off to an era when copying and theft makes more money,” wrote INVNT/IP founder Mark Anderson in an SNS article republished by Forbes magazine in August 2013. “Is it possible that we are not running out of great inventors, but rather, the business models to enable them?”

Anderson, a longtime member of Calit2′s Advisory Board, recently invited Calit2′s Smarr to join the INVNT/IP Advisory Board, and the two will co-chair the March 13 workshop in the Qualcomm Institute, the UC San Diego division of Calit2 (the other division is at UC Irvine).

Prior to the afternoon workshop, Calit2 is holding meetings with UC San Diego faculty from the three campus units co-sponsoring the event: the Rady School of Management, the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), and the Jacobs School of Engineering. The morning meetings will focus on ways for the three schools to enhance academic research into the broad issues related to the growing role of innovation leading to the creation and transfer of IP in the global economy.

Smarr, who is also a professor of Computer Science and Engineering in the Jacobs School, said “the university plays a critical role in the creation of IP, but there are many people in the private sector who don’t necessarily know how an innovation goes from being an idea in a professor’s lab to being a formal piece of intellectual property – and how the university decides which innovations to back. We hope this meeting will shed some light on this process and how valuable IP can be protected.”

Smarr will open the workshop, followed by INVNT/IP’s Mark Anderson, who will provide a short talk on the challenges that INVNT/IP was created to overcome. In his framing talk, Anderson will explore global business models, a new theory of Flow Economics, and how the flow of IP around the world will determine tomorrow’s winners and losers. “If you think of innovation as a supply chain from the research lab to the global marketplace, if that chain is short-circuited because of IP theft, you may lose a future company of great value,” said Anderson. “So we have to understand the scale of the threat facing the $84 trillion of the global economy that is driven by IP.”

Jane Moores, assistant vice chancellor in the UC San Diego Technology Transfer Office, will moderate the first of three afternoon sessions. “The Role of Research Universities in Defining, Protecting, and Innovating with IP Protection in the University” will feature talks by Bill Decker of the university’s Technology Transfer Office, Qualcomm Institute Director Ramesh Rao, and Alan Kraemer of ComHear, a company that recently signed a wide-ranging agreement to fund and commercialize advanced audio research with the Qualcomm Institute’s Sonic Arts R&D laboratory led by professor Peter Otto.

Smarr will moderate a following session on “Supporting Intellectual Property Creation in San Diego.” Speakers will include Jacobs School of Engineering Dean Al Pisano, who is in a unique position to talk about creating an environment that both generates and protects IP, after having created nearly a dozen companies out of his lab at UC Berkeley before joining the Jacobs School in 2013. Others on the panel will be: Rory Moore, who leads EvoNexus, one of the most successful incubators in San Diego; and Ruprecht von Buttlar, VP of Business Creation and Development at CONNECT, who leads its Springboard business-creation program.

The final panel will delve into “How Wealth Is Created by the Invention and Protection of Intellectual Property.” Moderated by Bruce Bigelow, San Diego editor of Xconomy (the workshop’s media sponsor), the session will explore the legal and regulatory environment facing technology companies. Attendees will hear from David Titus, president of the San Diego Venture Group (which represents the growing venture-capital community in the region), and representatives from local IP-based companies.

INVNT/IP’s members comprise some of the top technology companies in the world, and its Global Network includes Cabinet-level policymakers in the US, Australia, the UK, and much of the European Union.

Related Links

Workshop website www.calit2.net/iip/
INVNT/IP http://www.invntip.com
Strategic News Service www.stratnews.com
Calit2 www.calit2.net

Share This Post:

 

Larry Smarr: Virtual Reality, Self-Diagnostics & Healthcare

Larry Smarr

PCI/SNS “Future in Review” Speaker Series

 
We are pleased to welcome Larry Smarr, as our next speaker.

Friday, March 7, 2014
7:30 P.M.
The Black Box Theater at The Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, UT
Limited seating, 120 attendees only
Tickets $25

 

To purchase tickets online, click here.
Share This Post:

 

What New CEO Satya Nadella’s Microsoft Might Look Like

From NPR and KPLU Radio:

When Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson made his predictions for 2014, he included a “new Microsoft that no one expected.”

With the promotion of Satya Nadella to CEO and Bill Gates as technology advisor, Mark says his prediction is about halfway to fruition.

Here’s what Mark finds encouraging…

Listen now
Share This Post:

 

‘Alive Inside’ Documentary to Be Featured at Annual Future in Review Conference

FiRe 2014Strategic News Service (SNS) is proud to announce that ‘Alive Inside‘ has been selected as the FiRe Featured Film for the 2014 Future in Review (FiRe) Conference. The documentary, which won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best U.S. Documentary, will be screened for FiRe’s audience of 200 global leaders in technology, finance, communications, and world press including the BBC. Filmmaker and Director Michael Rossato-Bennett will also speak at FiRe, which The Economist has called “the best technology conference in the world.”

Each year, the FiReFilms team selects one world-changing documentary film to screen at FiRe and bring to the attention of the SNS and FiRe network to help filmmakers achieve their goals “from completion to distribution to solution,” as a powerful tool for world and social improvement.

‘Alive Inside’ (www.aliveinside.us) shows the trans-formative effects of personalized music on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The film focuses on one man’s journey to awaken memory among our elderly, while raising deep questions about what it means to still be “alive inside.” It questions when we stop “being human,” and what it takes to re-start a life that has faded away; how we see our elderly, and how we are going to treat an epidemic of these degenerative diseases.

“I wanted this documentary challenge us to ask: how ‘alive inside’ are we as we age in our culture? From the first day of shooting, it was obvious to me that just making this film would change life for more than 1 million elders with dementia. We had stumbled upon the only ‘good news’ story ever told about Alzheimer’s disease,” said Michael Rossato-Bennett, Director and Producer of ‘Alive Inside.’ “I want this film to ignite a passion in individuals to reach out to this population of innocent and forgotten elders starting with the simple question, ‘What was your favorite music when you were young?’ It is amazing that something as simple as deep-memory music can make an epic difference in the life of someone with dementia — a cheap and enormous good deed is just sitting there, waiting for us to wake up and be part of it.”

“When I experienced this film at Sundance, I knew right away that it should be the FiRe 2014 Featured Film,” said Sharon Anderson Morris, Managing Director of FiReFilms and Director of Programs for Strategic News Service and FiRe events. “Not only does ‘Alive Inside’ touch everyone personally — we all know or know of someone who has a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease — but the film also shows that technology + music = a solution in the healthcare space. We are thrilled to be showing this at FiRe and know that our audience of leaders in technology, finance, communications, and world press will find great value in this documentary. I am sure we’ll have many action items from our audience as a result of showing this at FiRe 2014.”

Future in Review is a gathering of world-class thought leaders, convened each year with the goal of providing the most accurate look forward in technology. FiRe is a world leader in exploring how technology drives the world economy, and in using technology to solve major social challenges. These goals have been consistently achieved through FiRe’s collaboration across technology-driven industries and through active support from the global FiRe community. Now in its 12th year, FiRe 2014 will take place May 20-23 at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California.

To register for FiRe 2014, and to see bios of the speakers and participants at FiRe 2014, go to www.futureinreview.com.

Share This Post:

 

Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell to Speak at FiRe 2014

FiRe 2014Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., will be featured in a Centerpiece Conversation at the 12th annual SNS Future in Review (FiRe) technology conference, May 21-23, 2014. This will be Dell’s third appearance at the annual technology and economic conference, described by the Economist as “the best technology conference in the world.

Michael Dell founded Dell Inc. with $1,000 in 1984, at the age of 19. Notably quoted as saying that “technology is about enabling human potential,” Dell’s vision of how technology should be designed, manufactured, and sold forever changed the IT industry. In 1992, Dell became the youngest CEO ever to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500. He recently succeeded in taking the company private, in pursuit of longer-term goals.

Today, Dell Inc. comprises more than 100,000 team members who serve the IT needs of global corporations, small and medium businesses, governments, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and home computing users. From PCs to the infrastructure, software, and services that power the world’s most complex data centers and cloud computing environments, Dell Inc.’s broad range of IT services and solutions has helped millions of customers around the world achieve the outcomes that are most important to them.

I consider Michael Dell to be one of the greatest entrepreneurs of this century. I am delighted that he will be joining us for FiRe 2014, and I look forward to learning more about his plans for the company and the industry,” said Mark Anderson, FiRe Chair and CEO of the Strategic News Service.

Future in Review is a gathering of world-class thought leaders, convened each year with the goal of providing the most accurate look forward in technology. FiRe is a world leader in exploring how technology drives the world economy, and in using technology to solve major social challenges. These goals have been consistently achieved through FiRe’s collaboration across technology-driven industries and through active support from the global FiRe community. Now in its 12th year, FiRe 2014 will take place May 20-23 at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California.

To register for FiRe 2014, and to see bios of the speakers and participants at FiRe 2013, go to www.futureinreview.com.

Share This Post:

 

An Exciting New Year For Technology

From NPR and KPLU Radio:

A new and improved Microsoft.

Lower prices for smartphones and tablets.

A big emphasis on data encryption.

These are just a few of the developments Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson sees happening in 2014.

Listen now
Share This Post:

 

The Future of Bitcoin

  by Mark Anderson

The following is an excerpt from SNS Volume 16, Issue 44. Published the Week of December 16, 2013 ]

If you’ve never heard of Satoshi Nakamoto, that’s no excuse, even if the likelihood of his existence is close to zero. There is an exponentially growing crowd of investors in the Bitcoin system who hope – and perhaps believe – that this digital currency will prove more substantial than the pseudonymous name of its inventor.

Hardly a day passes when I am not asked what I think about Bitcoin – as a technology, as an investment, as a currency for transactions, perhaps even as the coolest thing to talk about over this year’s turn at holiday cocktail parties.

But, as news comedian Jon Stewart once pointed out to over-the-top TV stock-picker Jim Cramer after listing his failures and statistical losses: “It’s not a game.” At least, not to the newbies now piling into Bitcoins without a much better chance of understanding what they own, or what to expect, than if they were purchasing shares of neutrinos.

As for Satoshi (now the name for 1/100,000th of a Bitcoin), it seems as though the chances that he is a real Japanese male person are, let’s say it, less than the value of a Satoshi. More likely, his name represents a small collaborative group of programmers, with at least one or two British members. As an entity, he appears to have bowed out in 2010, after writing the first paper on Bitcoin system design in 2008 and launching the first coins in 2009.

You might say Satoshi has just evaporated.

Just before he did, though, he passed along the magic (alert) key to the kingdom to Gavin Andresen, now chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. He subsequently told Forbes: “Bitcoin is designed to bring us back to a decentralized currency of the people… this is like better gold than gold.” His dream: creating “cash for the Internet.”

But should you buy into that dream?

Benefits of a Digital Currency

Digital currencies are likely more common than we realize, and there is nothing to keep you and your mom from inventing the next one tonight. When one thinks about the fiat currencies around the world today, since virtually none are backed by gold or other physical assets, even dollars and pounds may be considered digital, since their only existence is as bits and bytes in a computer somewhere. (Now that is faith.)

So why bother with the increased risk of a non-country currency like Bitcoin? Well, we could start with politics: people from the libertarian persuasion love the idea of an anonymous digital currency, which they can get and spend without government approval or intervention.

So, of course, do drug dealers and cartels, thieves of all kinds, terrorists, and a long list of people who prefer their financial lives to be outside the law.

The recent FBI takedown of the criminal website Silk Road included the seizure of $28M in Bitcoins from its founder. In fact, Silk Road seems to have been the largest Bitcoin transaction site on the planet, until its demise.

In other words, if you are looking to avoid government scrutiny, you can consider using this cryptographic messaging system, but you should also be aware that you, too, just like the nice fellow running Silk Road, may be shocked to find out that “they” have found your name and address.

And this brings out the most important aspect of Bitcoins, which we’ll come back to later: as brilliant as this crypto system seems to be, it is run by computers. It’s just cool IT.

Are there other benefits? Sure:

  1. First and foremost, there are a growing number of uses, places, and vendors where Bitcoins can be used. Every Sunday paper seems to have stories about some poor reporter who was asked to go buy dog food, deep-dish pizza, or a birthday card with Bitcoins.

    Sir Richard Branson, never one to shy away from publicity, even accepts Bitcoins for passage on Virgin Airlines. And the first Bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver, BC, not too long ago.

  2. They are cool. All you have to do to be the center of attention this holiday season is to quietly announce that you just bought another Bitcoin this morning.

  3. If nothing goes wrong (see below for examples of the things that could go wrong), you may get rich, or richer. After all, the Winkelvoss twins  (the guys who really did invent Facebook) are in it. Of course, when most sane people see words like “If nothing goes wrong,” they properly head for the nearest exit —

    Or, you could throw caution to the winds and remind yourself that the non-existent Satoshi is rumored to hold about a million Bitcoins, worth up to a billion dollars today – oh wait, that was yesterday. We’ll cover volatility in a moment.

  4. Bitcoin seems to be on its way to becoming a serious platform, with a fast-growing community of support technologies surrounding it, adding to its crypto strength, its geographic availability, and its availability for use by any and all. Well, at least by any.

Are there any dangers? I’m so glad you asked.

Dangers of a Digital Currency

 
Last week, while we were in Park City, Utah, launching the new Park City Institute / SNS “Future in Review” Speaker Series, I had the chance to visit a high-school class in finance and economics before our evening presentation.

Most of the students asked smart, pragmatic questions about Amazon, Microsoft, and future investment choices and techniques. And then it came:

“What do you think about Bitcoin? And, specifically, what do you think about its volatility?”

  1. Volatility. Bitcoin has the volatility of hot C4 plastique sitting over an open flame. Its value moves faster than you can, and the size of these price moves makes heroin street pricing look like cotton on the commodities exchange.

  2. Security. While the whole idea is that this is a secure technology for store and forward use, history already has shown this to be a fallible assumption.  Those interested in this issue (and who would not be?) might want to take an Internet stroll over to www.Bitcointalk.org, where you will find a partial list of past frauds, including, but not limited to:

    This site also offers a look at the greatest Bitcoin frauds of all time, such as:

     

    Rank Name Time Severity
    1 Bitcoin Savings and Trust 2011–2012 est. 263024 BTC
    2 Silk Road Seizure October 2013 171955.09292687 BTC
    3 MyBitcoin Theft July 2011 78739.58205388 BTC
    4 Linode Hacks March 2012 l.b. 46653.46630495 BTC
    5 July 2012 Bitcoinica Theft July 2012 40000.00000000 BTC
    6* May 2012 Bitcoinica Hack May 2012
    Unresolved as of December 2012
    18547.66867623 BTC
    39000 BTC total impact
    7 Allinvain Theft June 2011 25000.01000000 BTC
    8 Tony Silk Road Scam April 2012 est. 30000 BTC
    9 Bitfloor Theft September 2012 u.b. 24086.17219307 BTC
    10 Bitomat.pl Loss August 2011 est. 17000 BTC
    11 Bitcoin7 Hack October 2011 est. 11000 BTC u.b. 15000 BTC

     

    I’ll just note that the value, for instance, of the Bitcoin Savings and Trust fraud was 263,024 Bitcoins; and that if each were worth $1,000 (they are currently worth less but have reached this value in the past), this fraud would amount to $263MM.

  3. It’s a Machine World I. The largest problem, to my mind, is that any digital currency represents a radar detector / radar trap kind of world, with each side in a race to improve security or hacking tools in order to defeat the other. This is, after all, why we have the fraud tables above. What users of Bitcoins are assuming, which is provably untrue, is that their currency value does not depend on flawless IT – a perfection level of software that literally does not exist. There will always be some kind of hack that can allow the theft of Bitcoins.

  4. It’s a Machine World II. Bitcoins are created by “mining,” or solving increasingly complex problems. Ingeniously, the solving of these problems also helps to secure the system and track all transactions. However, this opens the system to an entirely new kind of fraud, which, at least theoretically, has already been perpetrated: someone with a large data center can solve Bitcoin mining problems but cannot report the solutions, thereby letting others waste their time on old, already solved problems while the fraudsters move on to new problems.In this way, the perpetrators can reserve a larger fraction of the coins for themselves, since once-solved problems are no longer available to others.

  5. The “Oops” Factor. Recently, some poor fellow realized that he had long ago purchased Bitcoins (when they were really cheap) and stored them on his hard drive. Years later, he threw the hard drive away, and last month he remembered that the coins, now worth real money, were sitting in a digital funk at the bottom of a municipal garbage pit. The accidental loss or deletion of bits and bytes can literally cost users huge amounts of money, as this is all that Bitcoins are.

  6. Networks Are Not Nations I. The greatest fear Bitcoin owners should have is the politics of digital currencies. A nation, or group of nations, may decide to make Bitcoins illegal, or to restrict their trade, and suddenly: poof. This happened this week, as China took a second step against Bitcoins, announcing it would prohibit the trade of yuan into the digital currency. Bitcoins lost something like 60% of their value for a short time, and 30% for a longer time. How’s your stomach?

  7. Networks Are Not Nations II. The really important thing about currencies, particularly in this era of faith-based fiat money, is that the “full faith and credit” of a country stands behind its money. This means, to users, that the government will not let its currency fail if it has any control over the issue. What if Bitcoin fails? Well, it just fails – as have many prior digital currencies. When it goes out of business, so do its holders.

 
The Country View: What Is a Currency For?

All of this discussion begs the larger question of exactly what constituents want from a currency. Certainly there are myriad responses, including those of countries.

Given China’s antipathy to Bitcoin, we might extrapolate and suggest that governments that insist on top-down control of their economies (dictatorships, communist countries, etc.) will hate Bitcoin.

We might take an even deeper look, in this case, at the two great opposing national business models of this century: Inventing Nations and InfoMercantilists. The US recently gave Bitcoins a tacit blessing, which provided lift to the system before China made its move. Since the InfoMercantilist model presumes currency intervention and manipulation, how will these countries (Japan and South Korea being the largest) view Bitcoins? Will they follow China’s lead, fearful that they will lose the ability to provide illegal lift to their export companies?

I would assume so, in one way or another. (Indeed, further inspection reveals that this may be a real pattern: South Korea has already made Bitcoins illegal.)

This, too, does not bode well for Bitcoins: if the Asian lead economies all come out against it, this could be a major problem.

 
The Valley Goes Bitcoin

If there were ever a place on earth where Bitcoin would be adopted with crowd-driven passion and no sense of risk, it would be today’s venture players on Sand Hill Road; indeed, they have opened the spigot recently and let ‘‘er rip.

From this perspective, Bitcoin is a dream come true, libertarian, technical and free by nature, and an investor’s King Solomon’s mine.

Given the above caveats, however, I suspect that there is a more moderate approach that investors and users alike might take, also driven by earlier experience with gold mining: Levi Strauss & Co., which made its money serving the miners instead of the gold.

Companies such as Coinbase are being formed at a furious pace in order to provide services in the Bitcoin market, attacking issues such as transaction latency, transparency, fraud prevention, merchant support, consumer ease of use, and security. These firms may well do better, and be less volatile in their pricing, than the digital currency they service.

Following my Park City Institute talk, there was a Q & A period. Again, one of the first questions was: “What do you think of Bitcoin?”

I warned the audience about the effects a single country’s service shutdown could have on the price. That was Friday night. On the following Wednesday, BTC China – the nation’s largest Bitcoin exchange – was forced to top accepting deposits in Chinese currency.

Your comments are always welcome.


Copyright © 2013, Strategic News Service LLC

Share This Post: