Pongo Points 11/30/23

Sodium-ion batteries arrive just in time | Canada loves nuclear power | Arthur Hayes on China and crypto | Ethereum on Bitcoin | JP Morgan profiting from AI

1. Northvolt Reveals Sodium-Powered Battery

Why it’s interesting: Most know about the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that power many devices but, with lithium shortages in the forecast, there has been a race to produce cost-effective batteries that use alternative elements.

What stands out: Li-ion batteries have reached capacities of nearly 300 Wh/kg, so a 160 Wh/kg sodium-based battery may not be as energy-efficient but might prove to be economically viable nonetheless.

What’s next: Being a first-generation design, Northvolt has announced plans to continue development on higher energy density products, motivating a number of manufacturers to build sodium-ion battery plants.

2. Saskatchewan Seeks to Pilot Nuclear Microreactor

Read it on the Saskatchewan Government website here: Government of Saskatchewan Funds Microreactor Research

Why it’s interesting: The Canadian Province had already approved a small-modular reactor project earlier this year, so additional support for new reactor designs highlights the criticality of nuclear power for Canada’s sustainable energy future.

What stands out: Westinghouse’s eVinci microreactor is designed with fully passive pipe-cooling (as opposed to more traditional water-cooled designs), making the unit far more easily installed in and removed from any location.

What’s next: Nuclear energy is shedding its negative association with weaponry, and seeing increasing adoption by governments and organizations aiming to reduce carbon footprint for a sustainable energy future.

3. Arthur Hayes on China Seeking to Loosen Credit and Effects Crypto

Read it on Crypto Trader Digest here: Panda Power

Why it’s interesting: As a longtime skeptic of Pax Americana and China’s economic stability, Hayes outlines a macro thesis that puts forth China’s desire to increase credit and how it would benefit the crypto industry.

What stands out: The argument leans on the victory of either the Kuomintang or the Taiwan People’s Party winning the upcoming Taiwanese General Election in 2024, as Hayes posits that China would be more credit friendly if a “China friendly” political party ruled.

What’s next: Regardless of China’s economy and Taiwan’s election in the near term, Hayes remains bullish on crypto as a safe-haven asset as fiat capital markets degrade and global conflicts escalate.

4. Botanix Labs Release Ethereum-Like Layer 2 on Bitcoin

Read it on the Botanix Labs website here: Botanix Labs Launches First EVM-Equivalent Layer 2 on Bitcoin

Why it’s interesting: Bitcoin is often overlooked by the crypto industry due to its limited programability, but Botanix Labs has changed that by creating a decentralized “program” layer that uses Bitcoin’s blockchain as a foundation for security and data storage.

What stands out: The first layer 2 developed by Botanix is “EVM” compatible, so it functions very similarly to Ethereum and can even “plug-in” with many Ethereum apps and services - the aim being to bolster adoption by users familiar with ETH.

What’s next: Bitcoin’s layer 2 networks continue to develop at a rapid pace, signaling a desire by developers to leverage Bitcoin’s time-tested blockchain to create new applications and services.

5. JP Morgan Is Making Money with AI

Why it’s interesting: JP Morgan’s chief data and analytics officer proudly admits that the bank has seen greater efficiency and cost avoidance thanks to new AI tools, but comes short of identifying how they have implemented AI to generate revenue.

What stands out: JP Morgan’s CEO only references cost-savings from AI in his annual report released earlier this year and makes no mention of revenue-generation due to AI.

What’s next: In less than a year since ChatGPT’s public release (by one day), the largest bank in the US is already starting to see some return on its investment in AI tools.

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