ROLI now make a $299, ultra-compact expressive keyboard

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ROLI are filling out their mobile line of controllers, Blocks, with a two-octave keyboard – and that could change a lot. In addition to the wireless Bluetooth, battery-powered light-up X/Y pad and touch shortcuts, now you get something that looks like an instrument. The Seaboard Block is an ultra-mobile, expressive keyboard for your iOS gadget or computer, and it’s available for $299, including in Apple Stores.

If you wanted a new-fangled “expressive” keyboard – a controller on which you can move your fingers into and around the keys for extra expression – ROLI already had one strong candidate. The Seaboard RISE is a beautiful, futuristic, slim device with a familiar key layout and a price of US$799. It’ll feel a bit weird playing a piano sound on it if you’re a keyboardist, since the soft, spongy keys will be new to you. But you’ll know where the notes are, and it’ll be responsive. Then, switch to any more unusual sound – synths, physical modeled instruments, and the like – and it becomes simply magical. Finally, you have a new physical interface for your new, unheard sounds.

For me, the RISE was already a sweet spot. But I’ll be honest, I can still imagine holding back because of the price. And it doesn’t fit in my backpack, or my easyJet-friendly rollaway.

Size and price matter. So the Seaboard Block, if it feels good, could really be the winner. And even if you passed up that X/Y pad and touch controller, you might take a second look at this one. (Plus, it makes those Blocks make way more sense.)

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We’ll get one in to test when they ship later this month. But ROLI also promise a touch and feel similar to the RISE (if not quite as deep, since the Block is slimmer). I found the previous Blocks to be responsive, but not as expressive as the RISE – so that’s good news.

What you get is a two-octave keyboard in a small-but-playable minikey form factor, USB-C for charging and MIDI out, and connectors for snap-and-play use with other Blocks.

For those of you not familiar, the Seaboard line also include what ROLI somewhat confusingly call “5D Touch.” (“Help! I’m trapped in a tesseract and wound up in a wormhole to an evil dimension and now there’s a version of me with an agonizer telling me to pledge allegiance to the Terran Empire!”)

What this means in practical terms is, you can push your fingers into the keys and make something happen, or slide them up and down the surface of the keys and make something happen, or wiggle and bend between notes, or run your finger along a continuous touch strip below the keys and get glissandi. And that turns out to be really, really useful. Also, I can’t overstate this enough – if you have even basic keyboard skills, having a piano-style layout is enormously intuitive. (By the same token, the Linnstrument seems to make sense to people used to frets.)

Add an iPhone or iPad running iOS 9 or later, and you instantly can turn this into an instrument – no wires required. The free Noise app gives you tons of sounds to start with. That means this is probably the smallest, most satisfying jam-on-the-go instrument I can imagine – something you could fit into a purse, let alone a backpack, and use in a hotel room or on a bus without so much as a wire or power connection. (With ten hours battery life, I’m fairly certain the Seaboard Block will run out of battery later than my iPhone does).

Regular CDM readers probably will want it to do more than that for three hundred bucks. So, you do get compatibility with various other tools. Ableton Live, FXpansion Strobe2, Native Instruments Kontakt and Massive, Bitwig Studio, Apple Logic Pro (including the amazing Sculpture), Garageband, SampleModeling SWAM, and the crazy-rich Spectrasonics Omnisphere all work out of the box.

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You can also develop your own tools with a rich open SDK and API. That includes some beautiful tools for Max/MSP. Not a Max owner? There’s even a free 3-month license included. (Dedicated tools for integrating the Seaboard Block are coming soon.)

The SDK actually to me makes this worth the investment – and worth the wait to see what people come up with. I’ll have a full story on the SDK soon, as I think this summer is the perfect time for it.

The Touch block, which previously seemed a bit superfluous, also now looks useful, as it gives you additional hands-on control of how the keyboard responds. That X/Y pad makes a nice combo, too. But my guess is, for most of us, you may drop those and just use the keyboard – and of course modularity allows you to do that.

ROLI aren’t without competition (somewhat amazingly, given these devices were once limited to experimental one-offs). The forthcoming JOUE, from the creator of the JazzMutant Lemur, is an inbound Kickstarter-backed product. And I have to say, it’s truly extraordinary – the touch sensitivity and precision is unmatched on the market. But there isn’t an obvious controller template or app combo to begin with, so it’s more a specialist device. The ROLI instrument works out of the box with an app, and will be in physical Apple Stores. And the ROLI has a specific, fixed playing style the JOUE doesn’t quite match. My guess is the two will be complementary, and there’s even reason for JOUE lovers to root for ROLI – because ROLI are developing the SDK, tools, instrument integration, and user base that could help other devices to succeed. (Think JOUE, Linnstrument, Madrona Labs Soundplane, not to mention the additions to the MIDI spec.)

Anyway, this is all big news – and coming on the heels of news of Ableton’s acquisition of Max/MSP, this week may prove a historical one. What was once the fringe experimentation of the academic community is making a real concerted entry into the musical mainstream. Now the only remaining question, and it’s a major one, is whether the weirdo stuff catches on. Well, you have a hand in that, too – weirdos, assemble!

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Cook Breakfast Burritos In Minutes With This $14 Gadget

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Hamilton Beach’s breakfast burrito maker is a unitasker, no doubt, but it’s an awesome unitasker. You put a tortilla on the bottom to warm up, your egg and other ingredients in the top section, and remove a trap door once it’s all cooked to drop your fillings into the tortilla in one fell swoop. I would use this thing every day and gain a lot of weight.

$14

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How 3D printing could save the lives of astronauts in space

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When you sign on to be an astronaut, you put a lot on the line. Coupled with chance of disaster before even leaving the planet, you run a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease from weightlessness and space radiation — just one of the many factors you probably didn’t think about when you were a kid, daydreaming about stepping onto the moon.    

With a trip to Mars alone lasting a little over three years, astronauts must take medical emergencies in their own hands to solve problems when their ship is millions of miles from earth. Experts are suggesting that 3D printing may provide a way for crew members to create the tools they need to save the lives of fellow astronauts.    

The idea of medical equipment in space was put forth into the conversation by a panel of experts from the upcoming Euroanaesthesia congress in Geneva by several doctors in the field who worry about the safety of astronauts who suddenly become ill.   

In a recent Telegraph article, Professor Jochen Hinkelbein — President of the German Society for Aerospace Medicine — specifically mentioned Mars when talking about the type of long-term missions requiring the added layer of safety of a 3D printer.    

“Since astronauts are selected carefully, are usually young, and are intensively observed before and during their training, relevant medical problems are, fortunately, rare in space,” Hinkelbein told the Telegraph. “However, in the context of future long-term missions, for example to Mars, with durations of several years, the risk for severe medical problems is significantly higher. Therefore, there is also a substantial risk for a cardiac arrest in space requiring CPR.”  

In terms of strides made by NASA, the first wave of tests has already happened. Niki Werkheiser, the space station 3D printer program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, recently spearheaded a project in which a 3D ratchet was printed on The International Space Station.    

“In less than a week, the ratchet was designed, approved by safety and other NASA reviewers, and the file was sent to space where the printer made the wrench in four hours,” Werkheiser said in a story on the NASA website.   

The ratchet was nothing particularly groundbreaking, as it was only one of 1,600 3D printing experiments conducted on the ISS — but that doesn’t make it any less exciting.    

“If you can transmit a file to the station as quickly as you can send an email, it opens up endless possibilities for all the types of things that you can make,” said Werkheiser. “We even may be able to make objects that previously couldn’t even be launched to space.”   

With the optimism of 3D printing and the possibilities of having any type of medical accessory on hand with the push of a button, a major weight may soon be lifted off of astronaut’s backs — especially those interested in heading to Mars.   

Watch next: This is the proper way of eating pudding in space

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Amazon opens Alexa voice control to all video streaming services

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Alexa is about to be even more useful when it comes to your entertainment needs. Simple voice commands already let you navigate apps like Netflix, but tools to incorporate those types of commands are now available to any TV company, streaming service and other content providers.

Amazon just introduced its Video Skill API, which will allow developers to expand how Alexa lets users find content in their apps. With this tool, entertainment apps could let their customers find specific shows or movies, search genres or even change the channel with voice commands. As long as you have an Amazon Echo or other Alexa device, video apps taking advantage of the new function will be navigable by voice.

Some companies have already begun using this feature. Dish Network began rolling out the expanded voice control last month while UK-based YouView announced today that it would be using Video Skill API to incorporate the new functions.

Amazon told TechCrunch that it’s now working with a number of other video providers to develop the new service. But it will likely take some time for streaming services to update their apps. So, for now, you’re just going to have to keep navigating Hulu with your hands like a chump.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Amazon

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The best travel accessory doesn’t exist…yet

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Here’s a traveling woe I faced while I was outside the country. Not knowing what the foreign country’s climate was like, I decided to take a stroll around the city, finally getting stuck in a downpour. Not knowing the language, I ended up having to walk back to my hotel. My clothes were suitably drenched (new shoes too) and my hotel room just left me with a hair-dryer. I spent the next three hours of my day watching reruns of Seinfeld while I blow-dried my clothes.

The thing is that you can wash clothes without a washing-machine. However, to effectively dry them, you need either the sun (not very reliable) and a clothes line (not very portable), or a drier/drier-service. An iron also helps, but irons aren’t great replacements for driers. The YOLO concept drier proposes something rather radical, but I can only hope that it materializes into a real product. Heck, I’d crowdfund it! The Yolo is a super-thin drier that collapses to be packed easily. However, when needed, one can open it out and use it to dry out, freshen up, and de-crease garments.

With barely the space footprint of a laptop, the dryer can be easily carried with luggage, effectively eliminating the need to carry ‘extra’ clothes for when the other ones are in the wash. Clothes can be easily hand-washed, and then dried out in the YOLO. And let’s just say I’m loving the name. Don’t spend three hours of your life blow-drying your clothes in a foreign country when you can have them dried in a portable drier. You only live once, don’t you?

Designers: SungIl Kim & Lee Eunbi.

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How Ethereum became the platform of choice for ICO’d digital assets

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For most of the history of blockchain-based currencies and assets, the story has been all about Bitcoin. At a market capitalization of around $40 billion, it remains the most valuable cryptocurrency.

But with the rise of a new ‘chain on the — ahem — block, namely Ethereum, and new ways to fund the development of new crypto-platforms with ICOs, the narrative is shifting somewhat to the entire cryptographic asset class.

Today, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the historical trends in the digital currency space, paying close attention to Ethereum and its role as the platform of choice for new cryptographic assets.

The number of new digital assets is on the rise

In roughly the past 12 months, the number of cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap.com, a main reference site for digital asset developers and speculators alike, has increased significantly.

Below is a chart compiled from the count of cryptocurrencies listed on historic snapshots of the site’s main table starting with the first snapshot on April 28, 2013 (featuring a whopping seven cryptocurrencies) and the most recent snapshot from June 4, 2017.

As of the June 4 snapshot, there were 809 cryptocurrencies and other digital assets listed on the main CoinMarketCap page. As of Monday, June 5, 2017, at around 6:00 PM Central time, there were 857 cryptocurrencies and assets listed on the site.

Between January 3, 2016 — the first snapshot of 2016 — and June 5, 2017, the number of cryptographic assets listed on CoinMarketCap grew from 551 to 857, an increase of about 56 percent in almost exactly 18 months.

As the chart shows, the pace of growth in the number of crypto-backed assets is itself growing. Based only on the listings on CoinMarketCap, 80 percent of the growth in the number of cryptographic assets over the past 18 months took place since January 1, 2017.

The open-source nature of most cryptocurrency systems means that it’s trivially easy to make copies of the software (or “fork” its code, in developer parlance), make some modifications to the protocol and release it as a new, wholly separate system.

As Bitcoin’s price began to increase rapidly in the latter half of 2013, the aspiring Satoshi Nakamotos of the world began forking various cryptocurrency protocols to establish their own coins. By 2013, most of the forks were off of Litecoin, which is based on Scrypt.

With Bitcoin’s price spike at the end of 2013, it had become inefficient to mine Bitcoin on commodity hardware (like graphics cards) because the arms race in the Bitcoin ecosystem produced a new breed of specialized hardware.

Scrypt, at the time, was still economical to hash on graphics cards, and as Litecoin and a few other Scrypt-based currencies began to appreciate in value, wholly separate cryptocurrencies were forked off of the original protocols to rise anew. Remember the goofy, meme-based Dogecoin? That was a fork of Litecoin. And in case you’re interested in looking at the “family tree” of cryptocurrencies, MapOfCoins.com produced some really interesting data visualizations.

The goal was to create cryptocurrencies as valuable, or at least as lucrative, in the short-run, as Bitcoin. This somewhat haphazard approach of throwing cryptocurrencies against the proverbial wall and hoping that something sticks was certainly effective at expanding the scope of blockchain-based currency systems; however, that alone doesn’t explain the appreciating value of the asset class as a whole.

ICOs: The newest new thing

If the forkable, derivative-by-design nature of cryptocurrencies explains the breadth of the ecosystem, what explains the growth in value?

Part of it is surely market speculation, and another part of it is that cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based assets do have real-world applications today.

But another part comes from cryptocurrency entrepreneurs wising up to the fact that their little upstart protocols, in order to be valuable, needed to have an ecosystem built around them. That, of course, takes time and money.

There are two ways of approaching this. Previously, it’s been common practice for cryptocurrency developers to pre-allocate a certain amount of their new cryptocurrency to self-fund development. Once their new cryptocurrency hit an exchange, and thus had a price, this private stash of coins would then have value, enough to sell for Bitcoin or fiat, which could then sustain a project until the ecosystem of wallets and services around their cryptocurrency became self-sustaining and community-driven.

Today, though, the fundraising mechanism of choice appears to be the initial coin offering. As Alex Wilhelm explained in an article for TechCrunch:

“An ICO is a fundraising tool that trades future cryptocoins in exchange for cryptocurrencies of immediate, liquid value. You give the ICO bitcoin or ethereum, and you get some of Billy’s New Super Great Coin.”

This is how Ethereum’s development was funded, by way of a pre-sale of Ether for Bitcoin in July 2014. That pre-sale — an ICO by another name — raised some 31,591 BTC, valued at more than $18.4 million at the time.

Although the mechanics of ICOs have been in practice for several years, the name and label for initial coin offering events has only gained some currency recently. And the ICO market has really hit a hockey-stick growth trajectory.

Based on data obtained on June 2 from the ICO Calendar on TokenMarket.net, the total number of ICOs listed on the site increased sixfold between March and May of this year.

But what’s fueling this massive growth in ICOs? Chances are, it’s similar to what drove the massive growth in the number of cryptocurrencies in the market back in 2013.

Back then, early speculators in Bitcoin, flush with newfound crypto-fortune, plunged their money back into emerging cryptocurrencies. This was done partially for fun (see Dogecoin and other novelties) but also to chase the same kind of returns they enjoyed from Bitcoin investments.

A recent article from CryptoHustle suggests there might be a similar mechanism at play today, but it’s not Bitcoin millionaires fueling this ICO boom/bubble. Instead, CryptoHustle explains that “[t]he ICO mania is likely due to early Ethereum adopters making serious returns after the last bull run.”

It’s blockchains all the way down

For now, that bull run has continued unabated. Last week was the first time that Ethereum’s market capitalization reached half that of Bitcoin’s, a massive milestone for the relatively new blockchain.

What explains the price increase? Speculation and other factors are no doubt at play here too, but it’s likely the architecture behind Ethereum’s blockchain system that makes it uniquely valuable, or at least uniquely flexible and extensible.

Bitcoin is a relatively bare-bones blockchain system that requires layers of protocols to be built on top of it to make it a usable platform for utilities like smart contracts. Platforms like Counterparty and Omni are both built on the Bitcoin blockchain and have sprouted their own collection of digital assets and services that ride on top of them.

Ethereum, on the other hand, was launched with its own scripting language baked in, making it possible to build complex smart contracts, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), decentralized autonomous apps (DApps) and even other cryptocurrencies with relative ease.

This ease of development, combined with the rising price of Ether and a desire by early stakeholders to re-invest in the Ethereum ecosystem, has made Ethereum the platform of choice for crypto-asset entrepreneurs — at least for now.

Based on the same data extracted from TokenMarket we looked at earlier, we charted the proportional share of Ethereum-based assets versus all other assets that have either ICO’d already or soon will.

From zero percent of the monthly asset offerings less than a year ago, to more than half of all the closed or announced ICO events tracked on that page, the growth of Ethereum is impressive.

Ethereum’s flexible, extensible blockchain system makes it relatively easy for developers to build and launch their own DApps, DAOs and crypto-assets. But ease-of-use is not sufficient to explain Ethereum’s growing traction in the new digital assets space. It’s where a disproportionate amount of the money is, too.

For these final charts, we extracted the rows from CoinMarketCap’s listing of digital assets. The table lists names, blockchain platforms, market capitalizations and prices of some 119 assets.

Although roughly a third of the assets listed were built on Ethereum, just over three-quarters of the market value of all of these assets is tied up in assets built on top of the Ethereum platform.

At the time of writing, there’s approximately $3.4 billion in market value represented by the 119 crypto-assets listed on CoinMarketCap’s digital assets page. Of that, around $2.6 billion is tied up in assets based on Ethereum.

Just the top four Ethereum-based assets — Golem, Augur, Basic Attention Tokens and Gnosis — represent $1.27 billion in market value. This is roughly half of all the value attached to Ethereum-based assets and more than a third of all the market value of crypto-backed assets and tokens in general.

The value of crypto-assets listed on CoinMarketCap is divided between those built on Omni and those built on Counterparty. Ethereum is the platform of choice because it offers a blockchain platform with a built-in abstraction layer, which serves to unify the ecosystem.

Ethereum offers the tantalizing promise of one chain to rule them all, or at least one chain to act as the foundation. Ether traders, entrepreneurs and developers alike are keen to let a thousand tokens, DApps and DAOs bloom because, although each of these assets is distinct, their roots run deep and ultimately back to Ethereum.

Featured Image: Li-Anne Dias

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7 things Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most iconic American architects, got wrong about design

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“It takes a brave soul to buy one of Wright’s houses,” says Chicago-based architect John Eifler.

He should know: He’s renovated 23 of them.

Frank Lloyd Wright is widely considered the greatest modern American architect. And for good reason — Wright imbued his structures with natural light and pioneered innovative, open floor plans that forever changed the way people thought about housing and architecture. Plus, Wright, who would’ve turned 150 years old on June 8, was a prolific designer. He worked on more than 400 buildings, and no two are exactly alike.

But nobody’s perfect. Innovation almost always comes at a cost.

Here are seven things Wright got wrong about design.

SEE ALSO: 7 billion-dollar megaprojects that will transform San Francisco by 2035

His roofs weren’t properly supported.

Wright’s most famous architectural oversight is the lack of structural support for Fallingwater, his most iconic work. Built over a waterfall, the 1939 house blends beautifully into the surrounding landscape, its cantilevered floors jutting out like the rocks in the stream below.

But in 2001, Fallingwater made news because it was literally at risk of falling into the water. Though the engineer working with Wright when it the house was built suggested there was not enough steel support to hold up the concrete, Wright overruled him. But Wright was wrong, and the home’s beams eventually began to crack and give way. A massive renovation was needed to keep the structure intact and safe for visitors.

According to Eifler, this oversight is common among Wright’s buildings. “He was very interested in getting things built, and sometimes he would under-structure roofs,” he explains. "So we have put a great deal of steel in his roofs to make them not droop.”

Many buildings leaked.

Jeffrey Herr, the curator of Hollyhock House in LA, says the striking building had several flaws from the get-go.

“The roof design itself had some interesting design issues that almost guaranteed water penetration,” he explains.

Hollyhock House has undergone many renovations throughout its 90 years, the most recent of which cost $4.5 million. Herr estimates the total cost of upkeep since it was built likely totals around $20 million. But he’s emphatic that the cost has been worth it.

“There is no other architect that has ever done anything like Hollyhock House. There isn’t any other structure like it either in his oeuvre or in anybody else’s,” Herr says.

Concrete foundations were often too weak.

John Eifler says that when beginning a Wright restoration project, he always looks for settlement. That’s because Wright often tried to figure out ways to avoid the cost of pouring concrete into the ground to build a strong foundation.

“That drove him nuts, I think,” Eifler explains. "He was always trying to find another way to hold up the building without having to spend so much money on basements and concrete.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Interview: Vitalik Buterin on Scaling Ethereum, Its Popularity in Asia and ICOs

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Interview: Vitalik Buterin on Ethereum Scaling Issues, Popularity in Asia and ICOs

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin discussed some of the scaling issues Ethereum is currently dealing with, the rising interest in Ethereum in Asia and his thoughts on the ICO ecosystem in general.

In late May, developers from the Ethereum-based job market platform Ethlance introduced an issue its freelancers were struggling to deal with. Twelve months ago, when the price of Ethereum’s token Ether was around $14, a smart contract to set up a freelancer profile on Ethlance cost less than $1.

As the price of Ether started to surge beyond $250, Ethlance freelancers were required to pay around $8 to set up their profiles. Issues of Ethereum-based decentralized applications (DApps) and the rising fees on Ethereum led the community and supporters of Ethereum to express their concerns over the platform’s scalability.

Discussions on Etheruem’s scaling issues intensified as Buterin’s interview with Epicenter, conducted in December of 2014, resurfaced, during which he characterized Bitcoin’s $0.05 fee as “absurd.” Currently, Ethereum’s average fee is over $1 and its median fee is around $0.05, close to the level Buterin described as absurd.

Bitcoin Magazine spoke to Buterin to address some of these scaling issues Ethereum applications are currently dealing with, the rising transaction fees on Ethereum and the ICO ecosystem.

Scaling Issues of Decentralized Applications and How They Can Be Resolved

In regards to the issues that Ethlance and other DApp developers are facing, Buterin explained, “There are a lot of applications and contracts even now that are being built inefficiently. One major example is that there are a lot of applications that make one separate contract for each user which means that for every single user, it adds several kilobytes of data that cost a few million gas.”

Instead, Buterin explained that the same logic or contract is not required to be copied onto each other and replicated tens of thousands of times. There are more efficient ways to process smart contracts that can significantly reduce gas costs for users. He noted that by implementing efficient smart contracts, users can save anywhere from 50 to 90 percent in gas costs.

According to Buterin, the Ethereum Foundation and its development team recently asked writers to reduce their gas prices and some of them have agreed to do so to ensure that users are not required to spend upwards of $8 per smart contract. However, these solutions can only last for the short and midterm. Buterin explained that, in the long run, the only way to maintain low gas or transaction fees is to scale the entire Ethereum network and blockchain proportionally as it grows in size.

Another long-term solution or development plan the Ethereum Foundation is looking into is the possibility of switching the consensus protocol of Ethereum from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS).

As it did after the execution of the DAO hard fork, which resulted in the creation of Ethereum Classic, another major hard fork could lead to another network split. Ethereum Classic is currently the fifth largest cryptocurrency in the world.

Buterin recognized that there are some members of the community that are concerned over the possibility of a split chain.

“I feel like recently, most of the people that are really against PoS have moved over to Ethereum Classic, so I’m not really sure if that substantial of a community will want to make another fork or split of Ethereum once the Casper switch happens. That’s just my instinct,” said Buterin.

In terms of development of the overall Ethereum ecosystem, progress has been slow but steady. “A lot of the things that we’ve wanted to do around Metropolis, privacy, proof of stake, Serenity, scaling, sharding, all of those things have been taking more time that we had expected,” Buterin admitted, “but I also think that the results that we’ve been moving towards are much better than we thought that we would get.”

He mentioned, as an example, that over the past two or three years, there have been improvements in protocol security that they hadn’t foreseen and that are of great benefit. “I think the end result of a lot of our work and a lot of our research is much stronger than it would have been two years ago.”

Ethereum Demand on the Rise in Asia

South Korea has become the largest Ethereum exchange market in the world with a 19 percent market share, surpassing the U.S. and China in terms of daily trading volume. China, within a few days of its exchanges adding support for Ethereum, became a contender for top spot in market share.

Ethereum is being actively developed by educational institutions such as universities and government agencies including the Chinese Royal Mint. Recently, the People’s Bank of China stated that Ethereum is heading in the right direction, validating the network and project. As Bitcoin Magazine’s China-based journalist Bradley Fink previously reported, some of the largest companies in China, including Alipay and Peking University, are actively investing in the potential of the Ethereum protocol.

Furthermore, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), connecting Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics and technology vendors with Ethereum, recently announced its expansion into China with a new office in Hangzhou. It will focus on providing Ethereum-based infrastructure to ensure Chinese enterprise can meet domestic market needs.

“There definitely is a fairly large Chinese Ethereum community and there are several companies based in Shanghai and Hangzhou that have been working on Ethereum applications for a couple of years. There has been increasing amount of interest in the technology and the platform. In general, it is continuing to grow,” said Buterin.

He noted that while the Chinese community used to concentrate its interest solely on Bitcoin, that has changed. “But more recently, it does seem like more people are starting to look at both Bitcoin and Ethereum. The one thing that’s made me feel optimistic over the last year is that there is a lot of interest, not just on the cryptocurrency side and buying ether and holding it, but actually using it to build applications.”

Buterin also explained that developers of Ethereum are trying to match the rising demands and expectations from its investors. In the past week, Ethereum has surged exponentially in market cap, accounting for around 50 percent of Bitcoin’s market cap. He noted that the Ethereum Foundation and its developers are working to live up to the expectations of investors and rising demand in regions such as Asia.

“I think the success that Ethereum has seen is definitely putting a lot of pressure on the core developers of the actual protocol of the platform to step up and deliver on the admittedly high expectations that the community has of us,” he said. “That’s an expectation that we’re eager to see if we can match.”

Ethereum-based companies are also coming to the forefront at a time when the ICO market is growing at a rapid rate, creating new opportunities for startups and investors alike.

“I’m definitely very interested in all these applications, particularly the semi-financial ones with some components of finance and monetary value but also some components outside of it” said Buterin. “The general idea that we can create this economy where we micro-tokenize and let people have their own micro-ownership, I think that is definitely a very interesting and promising idea.” 

The post Interview: Vitalik Buterin on Scaling Ethereum, Its Popularity in Asia and ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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And now, 12 of the best quotes from the Comey hearing

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Lordy, seagull, priest — what a day it’s been.

On Thursday former FBI Director James Comey took the hot seat to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his interactions with President Trump. And somehow, someway, the hearing resulted in a bunch of stellar new catchphrases the world can now use to respond to most every situation imaginable.

Here are some of the finest Comey quotes— words so terrific they will not only help get you through this day, but help you keep your cool as we watch this political madness unfold.

“Confused and concerned” 

Whether it’s his desire to speak one-on-one or his obsession with the word “loyalty,” America learned that Donald Trump has confused and concerned Comey on more than one occasion.

Comey recalled when he learned he’d been fired, saying “the shifting explanations” “confused” and increasingly concerned” him. Then, later in his testimony, the former FBI director explained the attorney general directed him not to call the Russia investigation “an investigation, but instead to call it a matter…” Comey said this “confused me and concerned me.”

“One of the bricks in the load…”

Comey described the attorney general’s directions to call the investigation a “matter” as “one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude: I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.”

We’re definitely gonna use that one in the future, Comey. 

“I was honestly concerned he might lie.”

After Comey’s initial meeting with Trump, he began keeping a written record. When asked why he took these extra, non-conventional actions, Comey explained it was a combination of things, including “the nature of the person.” 

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

“Those were lies, plain and simple.” 

Comey got a bit emotional when calling out President Trump’s comments to defame the FBI as lies. “I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them and I’m so sorry that the American people were told them,” he said.

Next time someone’s clearly not keeping it 💯 , we all know the best way to fire back.

“Lordy I hope there are tapes.”

When recalling a time when Trump allegedly advised him to “let go” of his agency’s investigation of former United States National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, Comey referenced an infamous Trump tweet that suggested Comey better hope there are no “tapes” of their conversations.

To this, the former FBI Director said “Look, I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” 

And in this moment, Comey spoke for all of America.

“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever.”

It’s crystal clear, okay?? “The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle,” Comey said. Ain’t no fuzz on it. No fuzz at all.

“I worried it was like feeding seagulls at the beach.”

Yeah, that happened — Comey compared the media to hungry seagulls at a beach.

Comey told Congress he shared a memo detailing a meeting with Trump with a friend in hopes the friend would then give the memo to the press. But Comey didn’t do it himself, because the media is essentially the equivalent of vicious seagulls at the beach fighting for the next scoop.

Wonder if Trump will use this analogy in the future?

“In retrospect I love my wife I would rather have been at dinner with her.”

At the hearing, Comey also revealed he had to regretfully cancel date night with his wife to attend that infamous Trump “loyalty” dinner. *GASP* 

This epic catchphrase will follow Comey for the rest of his life, serving as an important reminder that we too must choose dinner with our loved ones and not people who will fire us.

“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

Talk about a serious moment, dude.

When Comey was questioned about how he interpreted what President Trump said about letting Flynn go during a one-on-one dinner in February, Comey replied, “…It kind of rings in my ears as, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'” 

“I was just going to quote that,” Sen. Angus King responded, referring to the famous words that Henry II, king of England, said in 1170.

“My feelings aren’t hurt.”

Heads up, Trump. You can’t knock Comey. His feelings won’t be hurt even if tapes were recorded without his knowledge. “The president surely knows whether he taped me and if he did my feelings aren’t hurt,” Comey assured the world.

“We are a functioning adult democracy.”

Okay, but are we really, Comey? Still, this is a good catchphrase to whip out the next time an unexpectedly wonky political moment occurs.

“I’m between opportunities right now.”

Heads up, everyone. Comey is up for hire. The former FBI director kept things light towards the end of his hearing, joking with people that he’s not tied down to any job at the moment … you know, because the president fired him.

Ha ha ha, thanks for keeping a smile on our faces, Comey.

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