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Bloomberg 25 July, 2021 - 01:31pm 57 views

Does Elon Musk own Bitcoin?

This article is in your queue. Tesla Inc. TSLA -0.91% Chief Executive Elon Musk said Wednesday that he and his rocket company, SpaceX, hold bitcoin, a cryptocurrency he generally supports despite having concerns about its environmental impacts. The Wall Street JournalTesla CEO Elon Musk Says He Personally Owns Bitcoin—and So Does SpaceX

Biles, the transcendent star, and Sunisa Lee will represent the United States in the all-around final and the Americans easily qualified for the team final. But they performed far short of their own expectations.

The most emotional moment in this arena today is all for Oksana Chusovitina, 46 of Uzbekistan, after her vault in her eighth Games. In a counterintuitive, yet still quite poignant way, the lack of fans emphasizes the earnest respect and admiration she clearly has from her fellow athletes and those with deep enough ties to the gymnastics world to be here right now. They're, standing, cheering and angling for photos to wish her a fond farewell.

Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland, the bronze medalist on vault in 2016, is in sixth place in the vault qualifications, accounting for the two-per-country rule. There are still some vault final contenders to come in the last subdivision, but she has a very good chance of making the final.

Chusovitina is 46 — that’s not a typo — and has been at or near the top of her sport for three decades. Her son, Alisher, is 22, in college and older than many gymnasts in Tokyo.

This is her eighth Olympics, an astonishing streak in a sport geared for younger bodies. But she has shown that longevity and excellence is possible. At 33, she won a silver medal in the vault, her current specialty, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At 43, she finished fourth at the 2018 world championships in the vault. She said these days she trains about three hours a day and takes Sundays off all together.

Though Chusovitina has hinted at retirement for years, she said these Olympics would, in fact, be her last. She wants to spend time with her family, including her husband, who competed at the Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling.

“I think it’s time now, really,” she said. “I want to be a mom and a wife.”

The most emotional moment in the arena was all for Chusovitina after she finished her competition on vault. In a counterintuitive, yet still quite poignant way, the lack of fans emphasized the earnest respect and admiration she clearly had from her fellow athletes and those with deep enough ties to the gymnastics world to be present for the competition. They were standing, cheering and angling for photos to wish her a fond farewell. She averaged 14.166 on her two vault attempts, a score not high enough to move on to next week’s final.

Chusovitina has represented several countries and entities at the Olympics, including the Soviet Union, the Unified Team and Germany. Her first Games were in 1992 with the Soviets, where she won a gold medal in the team event. Since then, she has won 11 medals at 17 world championships, and has had five moves named after her because she was the first to perform them at a world championship or Olympics.

On Saturday, Aly Raisman, a three-time Olympic gold medalist for the United States, posted a video on Twitter of Chusovitina performing a vault at the 1992 Olympics, two years before Raisman was born. She called Chusovitina “forever an icon.”

With a 14.400 on the uneven bars, Roxana Popa of Spain has moved into contention for the apparatus final. Taking into account the two-per-country rule, she would be the seventh qualifier, and eight will get in.

The biggest surprise is that the United States is in second place in the team competition, 1.067 points behind Russia.

Jordan Chiles had an highly uncharacteristically weak performance for the United States, after not making a major mistake in a single competitive routine all year.

Simone Biles also had some errors. She flew out of bounds during the floor exercise and, in something only Biles could do, had far too much power on one of the most difficult beam dismounts in the world, causing her to stumble backward.

There was also — most importantly — an exceptional performance from the Russian gymnasts.

The U.S. will still easily qualify to the team final and will start with a clean slate there, because qualifications scores don’t carry over. If Biles and Chiles do what they’re capable of in the final, the United States is still the favorite to win. But today showed clearly that the U.S. no longer has the sort of “we can make mistakes and still win” buffer that it once did. The Americans are beatable.

With five countries left to compete — Belgium, Canada, France, Germany and Spain — the team rankings are as follows: Russia, the United States, China, Britain, Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands. The top eight teams will qualify to the final.

As for the individual finals, the rule that only two gymnasts per country can qualify has claimed quite a few victims already. Viktoria Listunova of Russia, the reigning European all-around champion, will not compete in the all-around final despite currently being in fifth place among all gymnasts. Likewise for Jade Carey, MyKayla Skinner and Grace McCallum of the United States, all of whom finished in the top 10.

The U.S.’s all-around qualifiers will be Biles and Lee, Russia’s will be Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova, and China’s will be Tang Xijing and Lu Yufei. Despite the worse-than-usual performance of the U.S. team, Biles and Lee are ranked first and second in the all-around, ahead of the Russian gymnasts.

Listunova is also guaranteed to miss the bars finals because of the two-per-country rule, as is Urazova. Meanwhile, Skinner is guaranteed to miss the vault final, even though she is ranked third among all gymnasts there so far.

The subdivision is still young, but one notable performance so far came from Shallon Olsen of Canada, who is sitting in fourth place in the vault standings. (The top eight gymnasts, taking into account the two-per-country rule, will qualify to the vault final.)

Another Canadian, Ellie Black, is just within the qualification zone for vault at the moment, but there are several vault contenders still to come, so that may not hold.

Russia has outscored the U.S. in qualifications by more than a point. These scores don’t carry over to the team final — both teams will start with a blank slate — but this is a big deal.

That being said, the U.S.’s two all-around qualifiers, Biles and Lee, both outscored the best Russian gymnast.

The fourth subdivision, which is happening now, features Canada, France, Spain and five individual gymnasts from countries that didn’t qualify full teams to the Olympics.

One of the individual gymnasts is Oksana Chusovitina, a 46-year-old from Uzbekistan who is competing in her eighth Olympics. She began her career competing for the Soviet Union, her son is older than many of her competitors here, and she has a legitimate shot to qualify for the vault final.

This was a really heartbreaking day for MyKayla Skinner, who didn’t qualify to the vault or floor finals. But she landed one of the most difficult beam dismounts in the world, smiled and waved to the crowd after finishing what is probably the last routine of her elite career.

If Skinner had been on the U.S. team, her scores would have counted on every apparatus.

Jade Carey was in position to possibly upset Lee after three rotations, but she couldn’t quite get there on beam. She will most likely finish third among the Americans.

Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee will be the U.S.’s two qualifiers to the all-around.

She lost her balance and had to jump off the beam at the Olympic trials last month, and later said she was upset that she hadn’t lived up to the expectations of her fans.

At the last Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, she also didn’t dominate on the balance beam like she does on the floor and vault. In event finals, she ended up third and it still irks her. People always focus on her four gold medals from Rio, she said, but never mention that bronze medal, as if it never even happened.

Going into these Olympics, she had a not-so-secret weapon: her crazy-hard dismount. It was a double twisting double back somersault, and after she landed it in 2019, it was named after her.

She didn’t use that dismount on Sunday. Instead, she performed a full twisting double back somersault and over-rotated it, stumbling out of the landing to receive an underwhelming 14.066 points. A relatively bad day for the U.S. team, which was expected to dominate.

I can’t help but wonder if the lack of a crowd is affecting the gymnasts today. Of course, we’ll never know, but there was a record-breaking, roaring crowd at the Olympic trials a month ago in St. Louis.

The U.S. women look so loose and relaxed as they transition to their last event, the balance beam. If Martha Karolyi saw this, she might just pass out. She never liked the gymnasts to have any fun.

Simone Biles over-rotated her full-twisting double back dismount, taking several steps back. It’s wild to have enough power to do that, but that’s not going to soften the deductions at all.

It wasn’t her afternoon. Chiles, 20, scored only a 12.866 on the bars and then ended the day with two falls on beam, one on an acrobatic series and another on her dismount. That left her behind the top two Americans on every event.

Still, she’ll almost certainly head home with a medal in the team final, where the United States will be aiming to deliver a much stronger showing.

A month ago, Chiles was the third-ranked all-arounder at the Olympic Trials, behind Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee. She is generally a well-rounded and consistent gymnast, and she was the only U.S. team member who made no major mistakes in any of the four major domestic competitions this year. That means she did 24 routines and hit all of them.

Chiles, though, had a rocky route to the Olympics, frequently missing out on major international competitions and almost quitting in 2018 because, she said, “I didn’t think the sport wanted me anymore.”

Then Biles offered a suggestion: Why didn’t Chiles relocate to Texas to train with Biles at her gym, World Champions Centre? Chiles heeded that advice.

Perhaps no gymnast benefited as much from the postponement of the Games as Chiles did: She went from being left off the 2019 world championships team to doing so well in 2021 that she was pretty much a lock for Tokyo before the trials even started.

A 14.200 for Suni Lee on beam puts her in third place on that apparatus, all but guaranteeing her a spot in the beam final.

On the sidelines, Biles seems to be trying to comfort Chiles, who is looking devastated after a rough beam routine.

She looks effortless as she flies up and over the bars, and from bar to bar, and part of the beauty of her routine is how she easily she connects her difficult skills to make them flow together.

And for her skill on this event, Lee is a favorite to win the gold medal. It’s the one medal at these Tokyo Games that Simone Biles is not expected to win.

On Sunday, she warned her competition that it would be hard to beat her. She scored 15.2 points for her routine, the highest score so far on the event at these Olympics.

Lee is inching closer to winning a gold medal for her father, John Lee, who is her biggest fan. In 2019, he sustained a spinal cord injury in a fall from a ladder just a day before Sunisa Lee left for the national championships. With her incredible ability to focus, she won the national title in the uneven bars at that event. Now she wants to succeed on the biggest stage.

Suni Lee is capable of competing a bars routine with a difficulty score of 6.8, the highest in the world. She also has a tried-and-true backup routine worth 6.6 if she misses a particular connection that she’s sometimes inconsistent on. Today she did the 6.6 routine — but she’s still the best so far on bars today by more than two-tenths.

The vocals you hear in Eythora Thorsdottir’s floor exercise are her own. Limited vocals are allowed in floor music.

The Dutch have a distinct and beautiful style on floor — very balletic. They tend to build up their difficulty with complex pirouettes and combinations rather than the most difficult tumbling, but don’t be fooled — those pirouettes are extremely hard.

Sanne Wevers, the Olympic champion on the balance beam at the 2016 Rio Games, is in 10th and on the bubble of making the final in her signature event. Sanne, 29, and her twin sister, Lieke, have had a rough go of it here in Tokyo. A week before leaving for Japan, they learned that their coach and father, Vincent Wevers, would not travel to the Olympics with them. He is at the center of an ongoing inquiry by his former gymnasts that he mistreated them.

Instead, Biles did two vaults that are somewhat common for top gymnasts. The first was a Cheng, which is a half-twist onto the vault, into a front layout with one and a half twists. She took a huge step on the landing, right off the mat and rolled her eyes afterward.

Her second vault was an Amanar, which is a back handspring onto the vault into a back layout with two and a half twists.

She is now in first place in the vault with a score of 15.183 points, with Jade Carey of the United States right behind her, in second.

Biles wants to perform the double pike during these Games so it can be yet another skill named after her. But there’s a risk in trying it, considering the margin of error is whisker-thin. She does a round-off back handspring onto the vaulting table and pushes off it with her hands, launching her 4-feet-8 body high enough into the air to complete two full back flips in a folded position before landing on her feet.

Other gymnasts are amazed that she has both the guts and the physical ability to land the move, and even she is amazed at herself. Before the pandemic, Biles never thought she would ever try the Yurchenko double pike in competition. But the extra training time she was given after the Olympics postponement was what she needed to hone the vault and feel comfortable with it.

Even now, though, there is a chance of disaster. If she fails to flip fast enough and land squarely on her feet, she risks breaking her already sore ankles or sustaining a neck or head injury. The other scary part of the vault, which only a handful of men can do successfully, is that once she is flipping in the air, she can’t bail out of it. She wouldn’t be able to stop her momentum.

She showed off the vault in public for the first time during the practice session for the U.S. Classic in May, and then landed it in that competition. The judges, though, lowballed her difficulty score, meaning she wasn’t given credit for the risk she had taken. Later, she said she wasn’t going to argue it because she didn’t want to seem like a brat, but that she’d continue pushing the sport forward whether her scores reflected her greatness or not.

MyKayla Skinner had hoped to make an event final, but her vaults — a Cheng and an Amanar, just like Simone Biles — weren’t her best efforts. Jade Carey nearly stuck her Amanar, finishing barely behind Simone Biles. That means Biles and Carey are the top two Americans on vault, and Skinner’s Olympic competition will end today.

Skinner’s two-vault average puts her in second place so far today, behind Biles.

It might be hard to see just how high Simone Biles flies into the air when she vaults. But check out how far she travels, compared to where other gymnasts land. Sometimes it’s double the distance.

Skinner, like Jade Carey, wasn’t part of the team competition. A superstar for the University of Utah, she earned her Olympic berth when U.S.A. Gymnastics chose her for the individual spot the United States earned at the 2019 world championships, so her scores did not count toward the team total.

That essentially meant she had two chances to move on to medal events, vault and floor exercise. On vault, she is among the best in the world.

But only two gymnasts per country advance to a final, and Skinner, 24, fell short. She performed two complicated vaults — a Cheng and an Amanar, just like Simone Biles and Carey. Her Cheng had some form issues, and the landing of her Amanar lacked the control she showed just weeks ago at the trials, one of the best meets of her life.

Skinner averaged a total score of 14.866. (Any gymnast seeking a vault medal must perform two different skills, whose scores are totaled.) Carey simply had a better night, basically nailing her Amanar and qualifying with a 15.166 average — just behind Biles’s 15.183.

Skinner’s other strong event, floor, went relatively well. But while she has difficult tumbling, she sees deductions for execution. On Sunday, Skinner tied Chiles on the event with a 13.566, and, like on vault, Biles and Carey finished ahead of her.

Still, Skinner’s good day here will have some fans continuing to question U.S.A. Gymnastics’ decision to give her the individual spot rather than name her to the team. She outscored members of the four-person team on every event, and thus could have boosted the Americans’ disappointing total — the team ended the qualification trailing the Russians by more than a point.

If American is too hurt to compete in a final, Skinner could take her place.

It’s also worth noting that Skinner improved her execution on all four events since being named an Olympic alternate in 2016 — one of many results she made clear she disagreed with. After those Games, she enrolled at Utah, where she amassed a litany of gymnastics achievements, including the N.C.A.A. record for consecutive routines without a fall (161). She returned to elite competition in 2019.

Skinner recently announced that she would retire after Tokyo and complete her college degree. The past year has been trying: She has also been nursing a bone spur in her ankle. “My body definitely needs a rest,” she wrote on Instagram.

The U.S. women are, for now, No. 2 and No. 3 in the floor exercise standings. Jade Carey and Simone Biles will likely make the event final next week.

MyKayla Skinner and Jordan Chiles are guaranteed to miss the floor final because of the two-per-country rule, as well as their scores.

MyKayla Skinner starts her floor routine with an incredibly difficult double-twisting double layout, which is called a Moors after the Canadian gymnast Victoria Moors.

It looks like Russia will outscore the United States on floor.

At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, Biles’s signature move on the floor was a double layout with a half-twist and a blind landing, now officially known as “The Biles.” It was the first skill named after her because she was the first one to do it at the world championships or Olympics.

Since then, she has added “The Biles II” to her floor repertoire, and that’s a triple-twisting double-tucked backward somersault that you need to see in slow motion to count the flips and twists. It looks like she is being tossed around inside the eye of a hurricane. But in the end, like a cat, she somehow lands on her feet. In gymnastics, that quality is called air awareness and it’s one of Biles’s many athletic gifts.

She also has been working on her choreography since the last Olympics. In an effort to “spice it up,” she enlisted professional dancer Sasha Farber to help. He was her partner on “Dancing with the Stars,” and together they finished fourth in that TV competition. Here, though, Biles wants a gold medal, not a glittery mirrorball trophy.

She just performed both of her Biles moves, and landed both of them. But her third tumbling pass, a full twisting double back somersault, gave her trouble. While she landed it with both feet, her momentum caused her to fly out of bounds and even off the beige raised competition floor. It was one of her worst floor performances of the year, and even with her wildly difficult moves she received a score of 14.133.

The score placed her in second place so far, just behind Vanessa Ferrari of Italy, who has 14.166 points. The top eight finishers at the end of the day qualify for the event final next week.

Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands fell on the uneven bars. She has the ability to do a layout Hindorff, during which she stretches out her body over the high bar, then does a half-turn to hang in a mixed L-grip. The very complicated skill would have been named for her had she tried it here. Still, her strongest event, beam, is to come.

Larisa Iordache hit most of her beam routine, with just a wobble on a very difficult back handspring to back flip with a full twist, but then stumbled on the dismount and is clearly in pain. We knew she had an ankle injury coming into this, but this is awful to see.

No one on the U.S. team, not even Simone Biles, has been as solid and consistent as Jordan Chiles has this year. She’s the gymnast the U.S. can count on.

Great floor routine by Sunisa Lee, who could win silver to Simone Biles in the all-around. She’s the most graceful dancer on this year’s team and makes every move look so easy.

Grace McCallum’s coach, Sarah Jantzi, is here and while you may not recognize her, she has played a huge role in the sport in the last six years. She was the coach who was the whistleblower in the Lawrence G. Nassar sexual abuse case.

Grace McCallum goes WAY out of bounds on her first tumbling pass, but not a surprise for a first-time Olympian. Lots of adrenaline and nerves!

Needless to say, the main attraction in this subdivision — the third of five — is the United States. But also here are the Dutch team (led by Sanne Wevers, the reigning Olympic champion on the balance beam) and 11 individual gymnasts from countries that didn’t qualify full teams for the Games. They include Filipa Martins of Portugal, who’s strong on bars, and Larisa Iordache of Romania, who is hoping to qualify for the beam final.

Some context for folks who perhaps woke up to watch the United States, or will watch only the Americans in the qualification. As we head into the third subdivision, the Russians are leading the competition with a total score of 171.629 and the top all-around score (57.132) currently belongs to Russia’s Angelina Melnikova. For perspective, in the most recent world championships, the Americans qualified to the team event with a score of 174.205.

Simone Biles does gymnastics that are so difficult, she can fall and still win a competition. Look for her at some point in the competition to launch a powerful Yurchenko double pike vault — which will be named for her if she completes it during the Games — and throw a double tuck with three twists on floor. She is the only woman to have landed these skills in competition.

A squad without Biles would almost certainly score lower yet still win gold. Spencer Barnes, a host of the gymnastics podcast Gymcastic, has estimated that the Americans could count up to four falls and still beat a “hit” meet from all of the other teams.

The Americans have won the team event in every Olympics and world championship since 2011.

The boundary-pushing skill would see Carey launch herself into a roundoff and a series of back handsprings before two back flips and three twists. It is similar to Biles’s incredible triple-double on floor exercise, but whereas Biles tucks her knees into her chest, Carey increases the difficulty by keeping her body straight. While practicing at the recent U.S. championships, Carey landed the pass as her father and coach, Brian Carey, spotted her. The NBC commentator Tim Daggett noted that Biles “walked by and said congrats and that’s crazy.”

And here it is!!!@jadeacarey TRIPLE DLO. @Simone_Biles WALKED BY AND SAID CONGRATS AND THATS CRAZY! pic.twitter.com/9pEXwz1aXc

At podium training on Thursday, Carey played it safe, instead performing a still-tough Moors (a double-twisting double layout). She followed that with a powerful front layout through to a tucked double-double.

If she lands the triple-double layout in either the qualification or the floor exercise final — if she moves on to that event — the skill will be named for her.

Carey, 21, is also capable of winning a medal on vault; she placed second on the event at the 2017 and 2019 world championships. Like MyKayla Skinner, her fellow Arizonan, she is not part of the team competition. She secured her spot at the Olympics through the multiyear World Cup series.

At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, a penalty like that actually cost the United States the bronze medal in the team competition. The U.S. received a 0.5-point deduction because an alternate, Rhonda Faehn, was standing on the platform while Kelly Garrison competed on the uneven bars. (Faehn had moved a springboard away, which she was allowed to do, but then she didn’t step off the platform as required.) East Germany ended up winning the bronze by 0.3 points.

Read full article at Bloomberg

Tesla likely to take bitcoin again soon - Musk

The Straits Times 25 July, 2021 - 08:00pm

Tesla will import vehicles to India to determine if a Gigafactory is needed

Teslarati 25 July, 2021 - 08:00pm

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the automaker will first import vehicles to India to determine the success of the company’s imminent entrance into the country. The success Tesla has with importing vehicles will directly determine whether the company decides to build a Gigafactory in India, Musk said.

“If Tesla is able to succeed with imported vehicles, then a factory in India is quite likely,” Musk said on Twitter yesterday. However, Tesla has several barriers to work through until the import of electric cars becomes a realistic possibility.

If Tesla is able to succeed with imported vehicles, then a factory in India is quite likely.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 23, 2021

Yesterday, Teslarati reported that Tesla was writing letters to various Ministries in India requesting a reduction on import duties on electric vehicles. Because of Tesla’s current predicament, importing vehicles into the market is not cost-effective, nor is it realistic, as many vehicles would be subject to a 100% tax. Vehicles under the $40,000 threshold have a 60% tax applied, while any vehicle over that limit has a full 100% tax applied to the cost of the vehicle. This effectively doubles the cost of the car, making many of the vehicles that are not produced by local companies entirely too expensive for the average person.

Tesla is likely attempting to have electric vehicles be subjected to a smaller import duty as the sustainable powertrains the automaker builds would contribute to India’s ongoing pollution crisis. However, some politicians will be tough to convince of the reduced import taxes, as they help with local manufacturing efforts.

This is where things get sticky for Tesla. Despite obviously wanting to enter another highly-concentrated automotive market with tons of potential, there comes an extreme risk with building a factory in a country where demand cannot realistically be tested. Because of the current import duties, Tesla cannot attain any meaningful information or data on whether a massive investment into a Gigafactory in India would be worth it. An investment that will likely cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, Gigafactory India would likely do well. However, there is a big difference between the number of people who say they will buy a car and the number of those who actually will.

Because of this situation, Tesla really cannot make any moves in India until the import duties are reduced for electric cars. This does not bode well for the many people who have been requesting Tesla’s presence in the country for years, but it is unlikely this situation gets figured out in a matter of weeks or months. It could end up dragging out the process, delaying Tesla’s Indian entrance for even more time.

Despite this, Tesla has the correct licenses to operate as an automotive manufacturer. Earlier this year, Tesla received two approvals to operate as a manufacturer of vehicles, along with a license to sell its vehicles. Musk hopes for at least temporary tariff relief, he says, and it would likely give the company sufficient evidence to either build or relocate its next Gigafactory.

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When Elon Musk Met Jack Dorsey Over Bitcoin: The Key Takeaways From B Word

CryptoPotato 25 July, 2021 - 09:17am

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The ten-hour conference featured many prevalent and informed speakers including Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk. Some of their arguments – in defense of Bitcoin and what makes it so special – are summarized below.

Hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation and sponsored by Square and ARK Invest, “The B Word” was a day-long Bitcoin centric online event that aired on Wednesday, aiming “to correct mainstream narratives around Bitcoin, explain how institutions can embrace it, and raise awareness around areas of the network that need support.”

While there were many profound speakers and stimulating discussions throughout the conference, the first two tracks featured some of the most important contributions to current public discourse surrounding Bitcoin. They do well to address and ease popular concerns that have plagued the network’s image over the past few months while re-focusing viewer’s attention on what makes Bitcoin such an important technology.

The most important contents of these two tracks are summarized below- including key details from the long-awaited discussion between Elon Musk, Cathie Wood, and Jack Dorsey.

To begin the first track titled “Demystifying Bitcoin,” co-founder of Coin Metrics Nic Carter addressed and debunked the popular criticism that Bitcoin wastes energy or is harmful to the environment.

He starts by framing “waste” in terms of costs and benefits. Something can only be considered wasteful if the resources it consumes outweigh the utility it provides– and Bitcoin certainly has utility:

“As a neutral, global monetary network, Bitcoin has a valid claim on some of society’s resources.”

Bitcoin is also remarkably, and increasingly, powered by sustainable energy- and miners are in fact incentivized to do so. Carter’s figures range from 34-46% sustainable energy use while only being responsible for 0.1% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, as miners are now being ejected from China, hash power is now likely to concentrate in more politically stable and less carbon-intensive areas such as the United States, Canada, and Northern Europe. This will undoubtedly reduce carbon intensity across the network in the long term.

Another section of track 1 was hosted by Arjun Balaji of Paradigm, where he debunked the idea that Bitcoin cannot scale to settle transactions for billions of people.

He rejected the idea that Bitcoin must increase its blocksize to support larger transaction volume- as this will sacrifice Bitcoin’s decentralization by making it difficult for an average person to run a full node.

Instead, he proposes that Bitcoin can scale through layers. Technologies like the Lightning Network scale settlement assurance through deferred settlement, which is ultimately secured by the base layer.

“Bitcoin is a settlement network which scales like an onion, in ‘layers’.”

Alongside other technologies such as sidechains and Bitcoin banks, users have versatility in terms of the methods they use to settle transactions, which all feature differing tradeoffs of decentralization, security, and scalability.

Track 1 featured another crucial section from Nate Madrey, a research analyst at Coin Metrics, who debunks the notion that Bitcoin is overly concentrated in the hands of whales.

This notion is often put forth by misleading headlines based on publicly available blockchain data showing relatively few addresses with massive amounts of Bitcoin inside.

However, a Bitcoin address does not necessarily represent an individual. It could represent an exchange, institution, or multisig wallet using one address to represent hundreds or even thousands of individuals. Also, many of the aforementioned “whale” addresses are dead wallets, likely held by people who accumulated much bitcoin long ago but have lost their keys since.

Furthermore, when compared against other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Dogecoin, Bitcoin has the evenest distribution of all across various percentiles. This is largely due to Bitcoin’s proof of work consensus mechanism, which forces the initial recipients of Bitcoin- miners- to quickly sell much of their Bitcoin in order to cover the costs of running their operations, which helps spread Bitcoin on the open market.

While spectators eagerly awaited this event, expecting a fierce debate between the two tech moguls, the reality was a mild-mannered discussion among three people in united support of Bitcoin’s development and adoption- including Musk.

The three began by explaining what sparked their initial interest in Bitcoin. For Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest, it was a combination of disruptive innovation, economics, and the massive misunderstanding surrounding it.

Musk, Technoking of Tesla, said he was interested in supporting something which improves the quality of information that supports the economy.

Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, says he saw “a chance to replace the whole foundation” of the financial system, which he says “cause[s] so much distraction and so much cost” when he encountered Bitcoin in 2009,

Dorsey further elaborated on why Bitcoin “changes everything” in reference to earlier comments. Because any person can verify transactions, and the network is not controlled by any particular state. He sees it as the future currency of the internet.

“Any person can own it. They can verify it themselves. You don’t have to have trust going in, and any particular person can help drive the future of it, and at the same time it’s not controlled by any state, bank, or corporation… it’s a beautiful thing.”– Jack Dorsey

Wood sees the benefit of Bitcoin from an economist’s point of view. When asked by moderator Steve Lee about Bitcoin’s 21 million supply cap, Wood explained that this allows Bitcoin to play a store of value role– one of the three roles of money– by preventing inflation. She also believes that the medium-of-exchange role will be carried out by Bitcoin as apps are built on top of its protocol.

“First global rules based monetary system ever… this is a very big idea”– Cathie Wood

Musk, surprisingly, had a positive view of Bitcoin during this talk, compared to some of his recent Twitter rhetoric on the topic. While critiquing its small block size, he acknowledged that a properly implemented second layer solution would allow bitcoin to “scale to do a vast number of transactions.”

Most notably, he’s also acknowledged that Bitcoin is rapidly trending back towards renewable energy sources for mining and that he may therefore open Tesla to accepting purchases in BTC again.

Currently, the three speakers agree that the usability of the Bitcoin network is a bit of an issue. However, solutions are already being worked out by developers, including Dorsey’s own Square, which is currently building a Bitcoin hardware wallet.

In closing, all three stated what they hope to see from Bitcoin in the future. Wood hopes for a “convergence between blockchain and AI to change the world in ways we cannot even imagine.” Musk would like to see cryptocurrency generally “improve the efficiency of the information system we call money,” leading to a “better standard of living.” Jack Dorsey’s hopes are the greatest of all:

“My hope is that [Bitcoin] helps create world peace. We have all these monopolies of violence, and the distractions within our monetary systems are real.”

The discussion fulfilled the primary objective of the conference: to “explain how institutions can embrace Bitcoin and how we all can support the network.” Seeing such major players affirm their support of the network, devote resources to it, and clear the air about common misconceptions surrounding it, may even spur confidence back into the Bitcoin market.

Recordings of every track from “The B Word” conference can be found here.

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When Elon Musk Met Jack Dorsey Over Bitcoin: The Key Takeaways From B Word

HotCars 25 July, 2021 - 09:17am

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The ten-hour conference featured many prevalent and informed speakers including Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk. Some of their arguments – in defense of Bitcoin and what makes it so special – are summarized below.

Hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation and sponsored by Square and ARK Invest, “The B Word” was a day-long Bitcoin centric online event that aired on Wednesday, aiming “to correct mainstream narratives around Bitcoin, explain how institutions can embrace it, and raise awareness around areas of the network that need support.”

While there were many profound speakers and stimulating discussions throughout the conference, the first two tracks featured some of the most important contributions to current public discourse surrounding Bitcoin. They do well to address and ease popular concerns that have plagued the network’s image over the past few months while re-focusing viewer’s attention on what makes Bitcoin such an important technology.

The most important contents of these two tracks are summarized below- including key details from the long-awaited discussion between Elon Musk, Cathie Wood, and Jack Dorsey.

To begin the first track titled “Demystifying Bitcoin,” co-founder of Coin Metrics Nic Carter addressed and debunked the popular criticism that Bitcoin wastes energy or is harmful to the environment.

He starts by framing “waste” in terms of costs and benefits. Something can only be considered wasteful if the resources it consumes outweigh the utility it provides– and Bitcoin certainly has utility:

“As a neutral, global monetary network, Bitcoin has a valid claim on some of society’s resources.”

Bitcoin is also remarkably, and increasingly, powered by sustainable energy- and miners are in fact incentivized to do so. Carter’s figures range from 34-46% sustainable energy use while only being responsible for 0.1% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, as miners are now being ejected from China, hash power is now likely to concentrate in more politically stable and less carbon-intensive areas such as the United States, Canada, and Northern Europe. This will undoubtedly reduce carbon intensity across the network in the long term.

Another section of track 1 was hosted by Arjun Balaji of Paradigm, where he debunked the idea that Bitcoin cannot scale to settle transactions for billions of people.

He rejected the idea that Bitcoin must increase its blocksize to support larger transaction volume- as this will sacrifice Bitcoin’s decentralization by making it difficult for an average person to run a full node.

Instead, he proposes that Bitcoin can scale through layers. Technologies like the Lightning Network scale settlement assurance through deferred settlement, which is ultimately secured by the base layer.

“Bitcoin is a settlement network which scales like an onion, in ‘layers’.”

Alongside other technologies such as sidechains and Bitcoin banks, users have versatility in terms of the methods they use to settle transactions, which all feature differing tradeoffs of decentralization, security, and scalability.

Track 1 featured another crucial section from Nate Madrey, a research analyst at Coin Metrics, who debunks the notion that Bitcoin is overly concentrated in the hands of whales.

This notion is often put forth by misleading headlines based on publicly available blockchain data showing relatively few addresses with massive amounts of Bitcoin inside.

However, a Bitcoin address does not necessarily represent an individual. It could represent an exchange, institution, or multisig wallet using one address to represent hundreds or even thousands of individuals. Also, many of the aforementioned “whale” addresses are dead wallets, likely held by people who accumulated much bitcoin long ago but have lost their keys since.

Furthermore, when compared against other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Dogecoin, Bitcoin has the evenest distribution of all across various percentiles. This is largely due to Bitcoin’s proof of work consensus mechanism, which forces the initial recipients of Bitcoin- miners- to quickly sell much of their Bitcoin in order to cover the costs of running their operations, which helps spread Bitcoin on the open market.

While spectators eagerly awaited this event, expecting a fierce debate between the two tech moguls, the reality was a mild-mannered discussion among three people in united support of Bitcoin’s development and adoption- including Musk.

The three began by explaining what sparked their initial interest in Bitcoin. For Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest, it was a combination of disruptive innovation, economics, and the massive misunderstanding surrounding it.

Musk, Technoking of Tesla, said he was interested in supporting something which improves the quality of information that supports the economy.

Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, says he saw “a chance to replace the whole foundation” of the financial system, which he says “cause[s] so much distraction and so much cost” when he encountered Bitcoin in 2009,

Dorsey further elaborated on why Bitcoin “changes everything” in reference to earlier comments. Because any person can verify transactions, and the network is not controlled by any particular state. He sees it as the future currency of the internet.

“Any person can own it. They can verify it themselves. You don’t have to have trust going in, and any particular person can help drive the future of it, and at the same time it’s not controlled by any state, bank, or corporation… it’s a beautiful thing.”– Jack Dorsey

Wood sees the benefit of Bitcoin from an economist’s point of view. When asked by moderator Steve Lee about Bitcoin’s 21 million supply cap, Wood explained that this allows Bitcoin to play a store of value role– one of the three roles of money– by preventing inflation. She also believes that the medium-of-exchange role will be carried out by Bitcoin as apps are built on top of its protocol.

“First global rules based monetary system ever… this is a very big idea”– Cathie Wood

Musk, surprisingly, had a positive view of Bitcoin during this talk, compared to some of his recent Twitter rhetoric on the topic. While critiquing its small block size, he acknowledged that a properly implemented second layer solution would allow bitcoin to “scale to do a vast number of transactions.”

Most notably, he’s also acknowledged that Bitcoin is rapidly trending back towards renewable energy sources for mining and that he may therefore open Tesla to accepting purchases in BTC again.

Currently, the three speakers agree that the usability of the Bitcoin network is a bit of an issue. However, solutions are already being worked out by developers, including Dorsey’s own Square, which is currently building a Bitcoin hardware wallet.

In closing, all three stated what they hope to see from Bitcoin in the future. Wood hopes for a “convergence between blockchain and AI to change the world in ways we cannot even imagine.” Musk would like to see cryptocurrency generally “improve the efficiency of the information system we call money,” leading to a “better standard of living.” Jack Dorsey’s hopes are the greatest of all:

“My hope is that [Bitcoin] helps create world peace. We have all these monopolies of violence, and the distractions within our monetary systems are real.”

The discussion fulfilled the primary objective of the conference: to “explain how institutions can embrace Bitcoin and how we all can support the network.” Seeing such major players affirm their support of the network, devote resources to it, and clear the air about common misconceptions surrounding it, may even spur confidence back into the Bitcoin market.

Recordings of every track from “The B Word” conference can be found here.

Sign-up FREE to receive our extended weekly market update and coin analysis report

Tesla Model S vs Tesla Model 3: which Tesla sedan should you buy?

TechRadar 24 July, 2021 - 10:00am

Two electric cars with lots of similarities, but a few key differences

Aside from the original Tesla Roadster, it was the arrival of the Tesla Model S in 2012 that gave a clear indication of what Musk had in mind for the future.

Tesla's Model 3, on the other hand, is a newer car and offers more of a traditional sedan style experience compared to the executive hatchback feel of the Tesla Model S. 

It's a little smaller and more compact, but still comes packing all of the power, performance and tech wizardry that makes all models in the Tesla range appealing. So, which one should you buy given the choice?

The Model S and Model 3 are both instantly recognizable as Tesla's. The former has been around for much longer, but still looks surprisingly fresh in its latest incarnation. 

Tesla has effectively reinvented it with an even higher-powered Plaid version of the car too. The Model 3 sedan is newer and the stubby 'budget' design that makes it family-friendly has turned it into a best-seller.

Both the Tesla Model S and Model 3 offer a 5-seat configuration, but they do it slightly differently with the latter offering up a slightly less roomy feel. 

That's hardly surprising as it's the smaller of the two cars, which is why the Model S tends to win people over with its impressive cargo carrying capacity: 28 cubic feet as opposed to the Model 3, which has just 15 cubic feet to play with.

This highlights the main difference between the cars and why one might be more useful to you than the other if you have lots of 'stuff', and people, to get from A to B. The Model S hatchback makes access from the rear a breeze too, especially when compared to the Model 3's regular trunk lid.

The Tesla Model S design has recently undergone a tweak or two with new wheels improving the look, some subtle creases added here and there along with beefed up headlights and taillights. Blacked out trim on the newest model is a seemingly minor thing, but the overall effect is quite dramatic.

The Tesla Model 3 is the automaker's best selling car and it's certainly a more affordable alternative to the Tesla Model S. 

The design is therefore a bit of a compromise too, as it's shorter and, perhaps, slightly less lean looking than its older relative. Latest tweaks to the Tesla Model 3 also see some of the chromework being switched out for black trim.

However, the design of both cars benefits from a panoramic glass roof, which really helps to lift the interior experience as well as making the exterior look much more refined.

As of now, there are two Tesla Model S variants with the Plaid edition being the car to go for if you're looking for unbridled performance with its 1,020hp peak power figure grabbing the headlines. 

Tesla claims a 0 to 60mph time of just 1.99 seconds and a top speed of 200mph. Even if this isn't entirely accurate you can be sure performance will be incredibly lively.

This is largely down to the Tri Motor powertrain setup with the car running on 19 or 21-inch wheels. 

The Tesla Model S Long Range edition sounds positively sedate by comparison, but it still packs a considerable punch thanks to 670hp from the Dual Motor powertrain. Again, acceleration is certainly fast with a 0 to 60mph time of 3.1 seconds taking you up to a top speed of 155mph.

Being the cheaper car of the two, the Tesla Model 3 is less potent for obvious reasons, but it's hardly a slouch no matter which model you buy. 

According to Tesla the Performance edition promises to get you from 0 to 60mph in 3.1 seconds thanks to the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive setup and 20-inch wheels, right up to a top speed of 162mph.

The Long Range AWD model will achieve 0 to 60mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of around 145mph using the same Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive arrangement and 18 or 19-inch wheels. 

The Standard Range Plus car drops the 0 to 60 mph figure down to 5.3 seconds as it's rear-wheel drive and carries the Standard Range battery pack, but still manages a 140mph top speed.

One of the most appealing aspects of Tesla ownership is the ability to enjoy plenty of range and, in the case of some models, copious amounts of it. That's not to say that even base-level Tesla's are miserly with their battery range. 

Things are set to get better over time too, with Tesla introducing its V3 Superchargers that will deliver more powerful charging that looks set to reduce charge times by a quarter according to the company.

The Tesla Model S is undeniably impressive in its Long Range Plus guise, which gives you an EPA-estimated 405 miles of range to play with. When it's time to top up, the car can accept up 250 kW via the Tesla Supercharger network.

Plump for the super potent Tesla Model S Plaid edition though and you'll lose a little off the range, which drops to 390 miles, but you'll gain in performance and the overall fun factor. Again, rejuicing the car can be done using the 250 kW Supercharger network.

You don't get quite the same range if you're buying the Tesla Model 3, but the three models still offer solid figures. In the Performance edition, which features the Long Range battery you can expect an EPA-estimated figure of 315 miles. Charging can be carried out using Tesla Superchargers up to 250 kW on a pay per use basis.

The Long Range AWD car offers 353 miles range using the same battery and charging options. Opt for the Standard Plus edition though and range estimates drop down to 263 miles, with 170 kW maximum Supercharging on a pay per use basis.

If you're a fan of in-car tech then any Tesla model makes a good bet. All cars come with a host of innovative features with a few fun ones thrown in for good measure. 

The range also benefits from a steady stream of over-the-air updates, which means that cars can be updated remotely to add improvements and enhancements in the future.

Indeed, Tesla's latest plan is to make its Full Self-Driving system (FSD) available for both the Model S and Model 3 as a subscription option, with prices in the US set at $199 per month using the basic autopilot or $99 if the car has the enhanced autopilot feature built in.

Considering its age, the Tesla Model S still sparkles especially since the Plaid edition has had something of an interior makeover. Central to the action is the 17-inch Cinematic display, which boasts 2200 x 1300 resolution producing color and clarity that really pops. It's landscape oriented now too, as opposed to earlier screens that were portrait.

The other attention-grabbing feature is Tesla's yoke steering wheel, which would look more at home in a luxury private jet. Tesla has replaced the steering column levers with buttons too, all which might be a little bit too innovative for some buyers.

Elsewhere, the improved rear seating area features a supplementary 8-inch rear screen between the front seats. Tesla wants to give occupants everything they get at home too, with lots of processing power on tap that lets passengers enjoy their favorite Tesla Arcade game thanks to wireless controller compatibility.

In fact, Bluetooth connectivity, wireless and USB-C charging let you do pretty much whatever you want and with the gadget of choice. The Tesla Model S also offers impressive audio in the shape of a 22-speaker system that packs 960watts of power, which benefits from noise cancelling technology to improve the experience.

By comparison, the best-selling Tesla Model 3 is much more conventional though hardly humdrum. Up front there's a slightly more conservative 15-inch landscape oriented touchscreen display. 

The great thing about this is the way that it makes the interior even more minimalist as the bulk of the car's controls are located within the screen area.

Accessing the car is similarly fuss-free by using your smartphone, which you can subsequently charge alongside another handset in the centre console. 

The cheaper price tag of the Tesla Model 3 does highlight compromises though, with a 15 speaker sound system proving slightly less impressive than its more expensive relative. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto either.

Both Tesla's benefit from other cool touches, most notably in the case of the ventless air-conditioning and heated seats.

The automaker's suite of Autopilot driving aids are also popular with drivers, which provides forward collision warning, automatic emergency pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. 

The ability to have the car steer and accelerate within its lane is cool too, but the option to have Full Self Driving capability is also tempting.

This lets you navigate on Autopilot, carry out automatic lane changes, park your car automatically and even summon it if you're standing close by and can't be bothered to go and get in under your own steam. 

However, you'll need to pay a $10,000 premium to get full self-driving capability for either car.

As is the case with all manufacturers, production costs and demand can affect how much cars cost and Tesla is no exception. 

In fact, Tesla pricing and the range itself verges on unpredictability, with model variants coming and going and price alterations often appearing out of nowhere.

However, current cash pricing (as of July 2021) for the Tesla Model S starts from $84,990 / £87,980 (around AU$115,000) for the Dual Motor, All-Wheel Drive, Long Range model. 

The Tri Motor, All-Wheel Drive, Plaid Tesla Model S costs $129,990 / £118,980 (around AU$176,000). For American purchasers, Tesla also points out that additional savings, such as the $1,500 California Clean Fuel Reward and other incentives can help to shave some money off the overall purchase price.

Meanwhile, latest cash purchase prices for the Tesla Model 3 are $39,990 / £40,990 (around $54,000) for the rear-wheel drive Standard Range Plus car. 

The Dual Motor, All-Wheel Drive Tesla Model 3 will set you back $48,990 / £48,490 (around $66,000), while the Performance variant currently costs $56,990 / £59,990 (around AU$77,000).

The same sort of savings outlined above can also help to cut a little off the asking price of these cars too. Pricing is also very much a start line figure as orders can be customized to suite individual tastes and requirements.

Tesla continues expand its range, with a new more affordable model that could be up to $10,000 cheaper than the cheapest Tesla Model 3 in the pipeline according to Elon Musk. 

That might pull some buyers away from the existing Model 3, which is still the most affordable current model.

Nevertheless, the Tesla Model 3 is perhaps the way to go if you're looking for the full Tesla experience, but you don't need the bulk of a bigger car. 

There are some cool updates on the way for the car too, with Elon Musk announcing that it, along with the Model Y will get auto shifting on cars that have full self-driving capability.

However, if you're in the market for a large executive-style sedan the Tesla Model S still makes an awful lot of sense. The build quality of this car has definitely improved compared to early examples when Tesla was still finding its production feat. And, with the arrival of the Plaid edition it's also been brought bang up to date.

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