Atlas Weekly Digest April 9th



How fast is fair?

Cryptocurrency hardware producer Bitmain released their highly anticipated Antminer E3 Ethereum miner. The unit boasts a speed of 180 mH/s and will retail for $799 USD, with power consumption measuring in at 800W. In comparison, the fastest GPU’s from Nvidia and AMD average about 35 mH/s and cost upwards of $499 a piece. Some have voiced concerns that this disruption may push Ethereum to patch the network so these units cannot be used, or move the network to a proof-of-stake model before the first units ship. Gamers, however, are rejoicing, as GPU prices begin to fall back into MSRP territory, making PC gaming affordable again.

A Sparkling Ferrari

To promote the launch of “Vcoin Mall,” the team at Sparklecoin recently announced a drawing for a Ferrari 360 Modena. Sparklecoin is a retail-focused cryptocurrency whose ICO was the first to reach double digits. With celebrities like Snoop Dog making guest appearances at their launch party, the company has experience catching headlines. Anyone that registers for the platform before July 24th will be eligible, with the drawing scheduled to coincide with the site’s launch on July 31st.



Trump Targets Tech

Amazon shares tumbled after the president took shots at the company for exploiting taxpayer subsidized services like the United States Postal Service, while using loopholes to avoid sales taxes in all but a handful of States. Amazon has easily undercut competition with the ability to compete without the 4-9% margin typically allocated to sales tax. Across the pond, legislators in the EU have proposed a 3% “turnover tax” that targets large tech companies taking advantage of similar regulatory loopholes.

Zuckerberg Heads to Capitol Hill

This week, Zuckerberg seemed to change his tone as backlash continued and his date to testify before congress was set for April 11th. Many have noted that Facebook could face lawsuits from users in excess of $500/piece. On the high-end, such claims could actually bankrupt the company. With a tarnished reputation, some shareholders are pushing the founder to resign.

Amazon is all Ears

This week Amazon filed a patent for an algorithmic voice sniffer, that would make “Keyword Determinationation from Conversational Data.” In other words, Alexa and other Amazon devices will (or already are), listen to conversations 24/7, waiting for keywords that can strengthen a personality profile around each of its users. Some keywords it will be listening for are “prefer” and “bought,” or other words such as “hate” or “disliked,” at which point the device can “capture adjacent audio that can be analyzed.” The collected data will then be sold to advertisers. As the 2016 election has shown us, “advertisers” can be political campaigns or even foreign governments, looking to sell political discord to a public that determines domestic, (and more importantly) international policy.



Swapping Highs

A recently released study by JAMA Internal Medicine used Medicare data to determine the effect of medical marijuana on opioid abuse. The study found that in states with Medical Marijuana, the number of opiates prescribed fell by 14%, even as opiod usage was rising nationwide. They estimate that “these dispensary programs reduced the number of opioid prescriptions by 3.7 million daily doses. States that allowed homegrown marijuana for medical use saw an estimated 1.8 million fewer pills dispensed per day.” The discrepancy between pills and addicts insinuates that heavy users of opiates are switching over, greatly reducing the total pills in circulation.

Alien Conspiracy

Unfortunately this week we aren’t talking about ET’s. Thursday, a story ran on the frontpage of Yahoo! News, with the bi-line “The president resurrects his own conspiracy theory about voter fraud” ironically it quotes President Trump asserting “it’s not a conspiracy folks.” With 12 States issuing driver’s licenses to non-resident aliens, some States have used the term “voter suppression” to legislate away checks of any kind. In 2016, 11 counties in California received more votes than registered voters, a number as high as 138% in San Diego County. Since the number of registered voters who voted nationally is just 60%, over half the votes in these counties may have been cast illegally.



The Debt Strikes Back

This week Bank of America warned investors that it won’t be long before the market begins to react to unsustainable spending. The company stressed that the interest on the debt will outpace inflation if current levels are sustained, adding that ‘the world has never been in more debt.”



Leak of the Week +++

This week Q took aim at organized religion, noting that the Vatican Bank has a balance on $221B, suggesting the Pope was going to come under fire in May. He also noted some of the kickbacks Congressmen were receiving from the Omnibus spending bill; Gateway Bridge Project, $1.8mm Cory Booker - Singapore, $3.5mm Chuck Schumer - Israel, $400k Chris Christie - Mary Pat US.

He also highlighted  $29M in “renovations” being done to Epstein island, owned by  billionaire Jeffrey Epstein who is standing trial for child sex trafficking charges, and hinted that a recording of Clinton, Lynch, and Obama (on a conference call) during their  infamous tarmac meeting would be released soon. Read all the posts here: