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Smartphone Barometric Pressure Sensors: How Google Maps Could Someday Include Weather

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barometric sensor dataA recent ACM article delves into the future promise of barometric pressure sensors. In the future, we will see weather forecasts improved by technology the same way that traffic forecasts have. Google Maps uses most smartphones’ self-provided GPS location and timestamp to estimate travel speed. While individual data points may be unreliable, the aggregated data provides us with what we need to develop a thorough understanding of traffic behavior. In the same way, the barometric pressure data from your phone could someday help detect tornadoes or other dangerous weather patterns. Smartphones that already have a barometric pressure sensor include the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 6.

Also read: Low-Cost Firefox Phones Could Bring Bitcoin to Developing World

Google Maps Could Someday Include Weather

Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass from the University of Washington believes that Google Maps’ collection of barometric pressure sensor information could be the tipping point for a useful application for all of this data. Just another way that the increasingly connected internet is changing our lives for the better.

We need a really big app to collect the pressures, like Google Maps. I’ve contacted Google, and they haven’t been exactly enthusiastic. The engineers there are, but the management is not highly motivated at this point. If Google Maps collected the pressures while they were getting the speeds for cars, the problem would be almost solved.

Maybe They’ll Buy an Existing Startup

Despite Google’s reluctance to get involved thus far. Several startups have already started harnessing the power of the millions of existing smartphones with barometric pressure sensors. PressureNet and WeatherSignal are two barometric pressure sensor-using apps that are currently available in your smartphone’s app store. The CEO of PressureNet’s developing company Cumulonimbus, Jacob Sheehy, explained why he has chosen to seek strategic partnerships with other up and coming weather apps:

We realized it was very unlikely that 10 million people would download our app. And 10 million in this context is small, 100 million is really our goal here, and we’re not going to get there by people downloading PressureNet.

With double digit percentage growth each month, PressureNet currently has around 400,000 sensors in use. They use Amazon Web Services t store their data and have a total of 750 million atmospheric pressure measurements stored.

What Barometric Pressure Data is Useful?

However, much of the stored data is unusable without context or more data points. The exact pressure measurements are not necessarily indicative of barometric pressure at a specific GPS location due to variables such as altitude and sensor bias. It turns out that all else constant, higher altitude results in lower barometric pressure. The data is good for changes in barometric pressure, which is in turn particularly useful for detecting tornadoes as quickly as we can now see car accidents clog the highway. Think Crichton’s Twister… but better.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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Altcoins

Why Investors Should Pay Attention to Kyber Network

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The current cryptocurrency ecosystem isn’t nearly as well-connected as it should be. Some coins are very difficult to exchange, and others are very hard to find on any of the common centralized exchanges. This often leads to users going to services like Binance, but in an industry as innovative as the blockchain industry, some new methods have popped up that show promise.

Decentralized exchanges have been popping up everywhere, but Kyber Network has formulated a unique approach to the liquidity and volume problems that currently plague most of these exchanges.

Kyber Network’s Mission

The basic need for Kyber Network comes from the idea that the current evolution of the blockchain ecosystem is incomplete and there is much more that could (and should) be done. The regulations currently in place have made it difficult for centralized exchanges to effectively list new coins, and many crypto-enthusiasts end up stuck with a high variety of digital assets.

Centralization is generally something that the cryptocurrency industry would like to avoid. As we’ve seen in the last few years, many of the current trading exchanges have a ton of inefficiency, as well as security issues and some bureaucracy. This is where much of the need for decentralized exchanges has originated.

Kyber Network’s top innovation is the elimination of order books in favour of using large reserves. There are numerous reserves in place for each currency, which creates redundancy and reduces centralization. This also allows for instant exchanges, which is helpful since many of the top criticisms of decentralized exchanges was the latency issues that often manifest. Although to be clear, Kyber doesn’t refer to itself as a decentralized exchange, but does generally compete in the same space with them.

The Mechanics of Kyber Network

Kyber Network basically operates as an exchange that allows for the fluid transfer of tokens between individuals, allowing them to give and receive in different tokens. This is great when the person sending has Ethereum, and the person receiving wishes only to hold Stellar Lumens.

The way it works is there are reserve entities that hold large amounts of tokens and are compensated a small fee (or a spread) in exchange for providing liquidity to users.

KNC is the Kyber Network token, and it is generally charged to the reserve entities as a cost of doing business on the network. Each time an exchange occurs, a small transaction fee is charged to the reserve. Reserves make their money on the spreads, and then tokens are charged from the reserve managers.

Recent Performance

2018 has seen Kyber place a significant focus on partnerships and continuing to develop their trading breadth. They partnerships include exchanges and wallets that include OasisDEX, Peepeth, ETHIS, Etheremon, Secrypto, Midas Protocol Wallet and Weswap. Additionally, they are now on the final phase of the development of their platform, which includes supporting the trading of options and forwards contracts.

The KNC token has recently been added to Poloniex, but is trading around $0.38, which represents an approximate drop of 95% from it’s all-time high. It is around 20% above its all-time low, and this makes it a strong buying opportunity right now. KNC can be bought on Binance and a few other altcoin trading exchanges, and serves to be a strong bet if you believe in the mechanics of its trading exchange.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Altcoins

A Few Lessons From Last Week

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There is an adage on Wall Street.  It is quite old. It was passed down to me from my grandfather last Wednesday.  It goes something like this. When the cops raid the brothel, they take everybody including the piano player.  

No matter when the notion originated, it applies directly, and painfully, to last week’s experience with stocks, bonds and crypto assets. Between early Wednesday and Thursdays New York closing, most major US indices dropped a fast five percent.  Friday showed a tepid rebound with the tech heavy NASDAQ posting a 2.3% one day recovery followed by the S&P 500 with a meager 1.2% upward move. Otherwise there wasn’t much good happening.

The story in crypto land wasn’t any better.  In truth it was worse. Taking just the two big guys during the same Wednesday/Thursday time period, things were dismal.  Bitcoin lost 6% in price before staging a weak 1.1% recovery on Friday. Ether dropped 15.6% on Wednesday, then managed a 3.2% Friday bounce.

Nobody escaped untouched unless you were a short seller in which case, congrats! Having lots of company is hardly any consolation for having to deal with investment losses, even if there are only accounting losses.  Nevertheless, everyone who had the ability to read understood the stock market was on a record breaking binge and thus vulnerable.

The only binge connected to crypto prices was a 10 month long hangover from the record levels of late last year.  So should the Wall Street adage be applied here making crypto take on the role of piano player? Or to present the question in a different way, is the piano player merely an innocent victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

The Stock Market Correction Is Not Over

Stock market corrections are never pleasant but many veteran strategist consider them to be a necessary and even healthy part of the investment process.  Last week’s 5% drop was not even pronounced enough to qualify as a bona fide correction. That requires something even more than the 8%+ drop that took place back in February.  

In the very short term, there is little in economic news that is likely to upset the market this coming week but that doesn’t change the fact that interest rates are putting pressure in bond prices and $80 oil prices aren’t helping the inflation picture either.  Finally, there is the uncertainty created by the midterm elections. Making short run market predictions is a fools game, but this one is an exception.

What Does This Say About Crypto Values?

After events of the last week where already depressed crypto values get beaten down even further than stocks and bonds, that is not a good sign.  One of the reasons for this had to be last weeks report from Diar Ltd. showing how Coinbase’s active customers have dropped 80% from record levels of $24 billion in the fourth quarter of last year to $3 billion in the third quarter of 2018.  News of this study was reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday. So this could well have been the fundamental culprit. If so, the timing could not have been better for the short sellers.

No Longer Trending?

The folks at Diar Ltd. are spot on in their analysis but does this mean the end for crypto? Don’t count on it.  In fact there is a positive side to their findings. The most important point is the crypto prices (except for Wednesday) have become increasingly stable.  This stability will serve long term investors well as it will calm the nerves of regulators and merchants inclined to use crypto as a medium of exchange.

The drop off in activity at Coinbase is not surprising.  Speculators have lost interest. Recently we wrote an article about the competition for investor attention between crypto and cannabis.  There is loads of anecdotal evidence suggesting that this is contributing to crypto interest declining.

Here is just two points to remember.  This week on October 17, cannabis becomes legal for the first time throughout Canada. Investors are acutely aware of this bonanza.  During one of the worst weeks in the stock market, US listed cannabis stocks like Medmen Enterprises (MMNFF: $5.84) gained 35% while APHRIA (APHQF: $14.65) added over 13%.  Both stocks experienced greatly accelerated volume. This is an example of just two of many cannabis opportunities that are challenging crypto for investment capital. So the piano player may not be so innocent: he could just be smoking a little ganja.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 113 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Business

Argo Mining as a Means of Diversification

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Buying Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) is something we talk about a lot, but earning crypto is just as interesting. There are many ways to earn crypto that allow for arbitrage-like opportunities, but the focus of this piece is on mining companies.

More specifically, Argo Mining, which is the first cryptocurrency mining company to IPO. That might not sound like a big deal, but it gives Argo a critical competitive advantage over other companies.

The Mining Industry

One thing is clear right now, the mining industry is still very opaque. Users are constantly worried about being scammed, which is very similar to how it was when trading exchanges were popping up left and right. There are numerous options out there for companies that will help you mine cryptocurrency, but it isn’t always clear what the best choice is.

You can go one of two routes: have a mining application operate on your computer, or pay for a rented service. Honeyminer is an example of a native application that works well and pays out cryptocurrency, and Argo is an example of a “shared service”. Argo operates much like Amazon Web Services does. You pay to rent computational capabilities, but your goals end up being slightly different. The business models are sound, but very different.

Where Argo’s Advantage Comes From

Argo is the first mining company to IPO, which adds a level of trust that no other company can currently command. There are so many potential risks for users that they tend to shy away from these companies. They are worried about their payment information being ripped off, withdrawal of the coins, and the costs being greater than the revenues.

By raising $32 million in their June 11th IPO, Argo has alleviated many of these worries, and added a degree of trust to their brand. They started off mostly mining altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Zcash, but have recently announced Bitcoin mining packages as well.

The overall goal of Argo, as stated by their CEO, Jonathan Bixbay, is to democratize mining so everyone can participate. Right now, most of the mining is done by a select few of the elites, and Argo is enabling the wealth to be spread here.

Can Argo Actually Make You Money?

The big question to answer about Argo is whether you can actually make money doing this. The costs per month could potentially be higher than the value of the crypto you mine. Sure, you don’t have to pay trading fees on them, but it is important to calculate exactly how much you are coming out ahead.

It depends on the package, but you could potentially end up paying more for the fees than you earn. The trick is to remember that the crypto market isn’t like other markets – it isn’t perfectly efficient – and there are always arbitrage opportunities if you look hard enough.

An Alternate Route to Being Long Crypto

With much of crypto mining currently being done by elites because of the massive investment involved, it is clear that Argo has tapped a massive market. The company had a waitlist of 50,000 in September, and with the funds from the IPO, they can finally finance the expansion of their operations in a way that will speed up the number of people they can bring online.

If you believe Bitcoin (or cryptocurrencies in general) is coming out of a rut soon, then this is a good way to diversify into the market. Do your own tests and make sure that you are coming out ahead after the fees, but it should be a simple way to make some extra money in what is currently an inefficient market.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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