Another day, another Bitcoin milestone passed. The world’s first and largest cryptocurrency surpassed the $4,000 mark for a moment yesterday. The new all-time high for Bitcoin is now $4,162.57. The price has dropped slightly since that high was reached, and at the time of writing now sits at $4,072.30.
This latest milestone marks the currency’s seemingly unstoppable surge since the beginning of the year. In January, Bitcoin was trading at less than $1,000 per coin. Now, the burgeoning cryptocoins are worth more than four times that amount. Early adopters must be rejoicing that their faith in the cryptocurrency is (thus far) being rewarded.
Experts remain optimistic about Bitcoin’s potential, yet some are beginning to fear that it has entered a bubble. Still, the trend seems to be in favor of its continued success. No one knows for sure what the future of Bitcoin — or cryptocurrencies in general — will look like. The debate of whether the reward is worth the risk will continue to rage on.
The bigger picture here though, is blockchain. While it is most closely associated with cryptocurrency at the moment, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what is possible with this tech. So while cryptocurrency may still be considered a gamble, get ahead of the game and read up on blockchain, because it is, almost certainly, the future.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.
Amid news of the continued meteoric rise of the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, another initial coin offering (ICO) is shattering records in its earliest stages of investment. The blockchain data storage network Filecoin began its first public offering today. Despite technical issues, it has garnered an estimated $200 million from investors. In fact, sales came to a halt just about an hour after beginning.
The sale sets a new record for investor interest in an ICO. To put this massive achievement in perspective, the beginning of July saw the launch of Block.one’s EOS tokens, which set a record at $185 million raised in 5 days. A few weeks later, Tezos Blockchain Project raised $232 million in less than two weeks. Filecoin was able to nearly match this record in less time than it might take to watch an episode of Game of Thrones.
CoinDesk’sICO Tracker shows that with a small push, Filecoin could nudge the amount of money invested in ICOs past the $2 billion mark, which is indicative of how decentralized currency has become a major industry. The entities behind these ICOs have a lot to prove in the near future if they are going to keep their offerings competitive with the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is Bitcoin.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.
Motherboard has called Ray Kurzweil “a prophet of both techno-doom and techno-salvation.” With a little wiggle room given to the timelines the author, inventor, computer scientist, futurist, and director of engineering at Google provides, a full 86 percent of his predictions — including the fall of the Soviet Union, the growth of the internet, and the ability of computers to beat humans at chess — have come to fruition.
Kurzweil continues to share his visions for the future, and his latest prediction was made at the most recent SXSW Conference, where he claimed that the Singularity — the moment when technology becomes smarter than humans — will happen by 2045. Sixteen years prior to that, it will be just as smart as us. As he told Futurism, “2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence.”
Kurzweil’s vision of the future doesn’t stop at the Singularity. He has also predicted how technologies, such as nanobots and brain-to-computer interfaces like Elon Musk’s Neuralink or Bryan Johnson’s Kernel, will affect our bodies, leading to a possible future in which both our brains and our entire beings are mechanized.
This process could start with science fiction-level leaps in virtual reality (VR) technology. He predicts VR will advance so much that physical workplaces will become a thing of the past. Within a few decades, our commutes could just become a matter of strapping on a headset.
As Inverse points out, this paradigm shift could have some interesting consequences. Without the need for people to live close to work, we could see unprecedented levels of deurbanization. People will no longer need to flock to large cities for work or be tethered to a specific location. Inverse suggests that this decentralization may decrease the opportunity for terrorist attacks. Blockchain technology will continue to bolster decentralization as well.
According to Kurzweil, technology will not only enable us to rethink the modern workplace, it will also give us the ability to replace our biology with more substantial hardware. He predicts that by the early 2030s, we will be able to copy human consciousness onto an electronic medium.
As Inverse puts it, “That means no more flesh, blood, or bones — just a scan of your brain on a machine — and [it] will enable humans to take any form, from a box to a bird.” The even bigger implication of this ability is that humans will no longer die. As our brains will no longer be reliant on fragile biology, we could (theoretically) live forever.
Not all of Kurzweil’s predictions are so drastic, and some seem even more likely to come to fruition. For example, his prediction of truly ubiquitous WiFi is well on its way to becoming reality, especially with Elon Musk’s announcement that he hopes to beam the internet across the globe from space, and his belief that many of the diseases currently plaguing humanity will be eradicated by the 2020s also seems remarkably possible given ever more frequent medical breakthroughs.
Kurzweil envisions a future that is exciting, daunting, and a little bit terrifying all at once. Time will tell if his impressive batting average will improve or if the future has other plans for humanity.