Pongo Points 2/1/24

Elon Musk brain chips | Uranium in short supply | Bitcoin load balancing in Texas | How to make crypto more usable | Ripple takes a tumble

1. Neuralink Successfully Implants First Brain Chip In a Human

Why it’s interesting: Elon Musk’s Neuralink implanted a wireless brain chip in a human test subject and has already detected brain waves, but a “true success” will require more time for evaluation.

What stands out: While similar initiatives like the “paralysis curing” implant from the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne are further along, Elon Musk’s ability to generate publicity will draw greater attention to the technology and may help boost future investment.

What’s next: On Twitter, Elon Musk suggested that the first product for the Neuralink chip will be a controller for phones and computers to better enable disabled people interact with their devices.

2. Uranium Will Be In Short Supply Soon

Why it’s interesting: Uranium prices hit a 16-year high as more nuclear reactors come online due to the global transition to clean energy, with expectations for prices to keep rising as production slows.

What stands out: Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom is the world’s largest producer of uranium fuel, accounting for nearly 43% of global supply, and anticipates shortages due to difficulties sourcing chemical inputs required to make the final product.

What’s next: As countries like India, China, and the US seek to increase their nuclear energy output, nuclear fuel might become an increasingly important commodity like fossil fuels have been over the past century.

3. Bitcoin Mining Proves Itself As An Energy Load Balancer

Why it’s interesting: Bitcoin miners in Texas successfully curtailed their energy usage during a cold-snap and anticipated electricity shortage, proving themselves to be reliable partners for local energy grids.

What stands out: Bitcoin is often derided for its high electricity usage, but it’s often overlooked as a load balancer for local energy grids that suffer from intermittency issues due to renewable energy sources.

What’s next: As the world presses forward towards a clean energy future, energy grids might struggle with intermittent power sources (like wind and solar farms), so Bitcoin miners might prove to become essential load balancers in the future.

4. How to Make Crypto More Usable

Read it on The Variable here: Batch Transactions for EOAs

Why it’s interesting: One of the shortcomings of crypto is the current user experience, as threats like hackers and malicious code can fool even knowledgable players, but Ethereum ecosystem developer 0xfoobar recommends transaction batching to help improve UX.

What stands out: Transaction batching is quite literal: Batching together transactions, such as signatures, approvals, and transfers, so that users do not need to submit multiple transactions in order to accomplish a single task - as is the case today (for the most part).

What’s next: There are three improvements to Ethereum being proposed that have unique solutions to transaction batching, but all of them are still in the “draft” or “review” phases, meaning it could be some time before they are implemented.

5. Major Crypto Founder Gets Hacked

Why it’s interesting: One of the co-founders of Ripple, a major cryptocurrency with a $27 billion market cap, was hacked for over $112 million dollars.

What stands out: Law enforcement was able to freeze some of the illicitly transferred funds, highlighting the fact that crypto is still subject to “traditional” protective actions via off-ramps like centralized exchanges and stablecoin issuers.

What’s next: Despite being an experienced player in the crypto space, Chris Larson fell victim to a malicious attack - whether by conventional methods like SIM-swapping or not, it indicates that crypto needs stronger safeguards from bad actors.

Meme Digestif

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share it and spread good news.