1 – WaveNet: DeepMind’s Generative Model for Raw Audio
On Thursday, researchers at DeepMind introduced WaveNet, a “deep generative model of raw audio waveforms” that moves forward how sound is generated in text-to-speech (i.e. speech synthesis). The deep learning-based model is able to generate both increased human-like sounding speech (DeepMind claims it has reduced the gap with human performance by over 50 percent), as well as music and other audio signals. WaveNet is different from the latest parametric TTS models because it directly models raw waveforms, as opposed to generating sound by passing outputs through vocoders (signal processing algorithms). On their blog, DeepMind provides both a link to their paper, as well as WaveNet sound clips of speech (in English and Mandarin) and generated piano music.
DeepMind’s WaveNet synthesis
(Read the full article and research paper on DeepMind’s Blog)
2 – CMU Algorithm Detects Online Fraudsters
A team of CMU researchers have developed an algorithm that targets fake social media accounts, as well as fraudulent Amazon and Yelp reviewers. FRAUDAR is not the first algorithm of its kind, but it works well enough that the CMU team won Best Paper at the 2016 Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in San Francisco in August 2016. This new method can sort through the “camouflage” used by fraudulent account users, such as linking an account to a popular celebrity or using hijacked accounts. While these are not criminal activities, fraudulent behavior does undermine the value of public platforms. As Christos Faloutsos, a member of the FRAUDAR research team, stated:
“The algorithm is very fast and doesn’t require us to target anybody. We hope that by making this code available as open source, social media platforms can put it to good use.”
(Read the full article on Carnegie Mellon University News)
3 – Google to Pay $625M to Buy San Jose-based API Management Business
Google will purchase San Jose-based Apigee for a reported $625 million by the end of 2016. The multi-million purchase price translates to $17.40 a share, up $0.40 from the $17 per share price that Apigee has been trading steady at since going public in April 2015. Apigee develops API (application programming interfaces), which allows two software programs to communicate with the other. According to Diane Greene, Google’s cloud business chief,
“Companies are moving beyond the traditional ways of communicating like phone calls and visits and instead are communicating programmatically through APIs.”
Companies currently using Apogee’s APIs include Walgreens, AT&T, and Live Nation, among others. The business API management market is predicted by Forrester to reach $3 billion by 2020.
(Read the full article in Silicon Valley Business Journal)
4 – Michigan Moves to Not Require Human in Driverless Test Cars
Michigan’s mission to make itself an emerging leader in tech research and development was bolstered on Wednesday, when its Senate passed a bill that eliminates the requirement for a human to be inside autonomous vehicles during test drives. The bill, which is also supported by Governor Rick Snyder, will be sent for legislative approval by the end of 2016. Senator Mike Kowall, the lead sponsor, told his fellow senators:
“We’re moving into the next century. With your assistance, we’re going to secure Michigan’s place … as the center of the universe for autonomous vehicle studies, research, development and manufacturing.”
Michigan is one of only eight states that has passed laws concerning the handling of autonomous cars. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to develop recommendations for states on how to handle autonomous vehicles; these guidelines are expected to be released in late September 2016.
(Read the full article in U.S. News & World Report)
5 – IBM Linux Servers Designed to Accelerate Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning and Advanced Analytics
On Thursday, IBM announced its development of new servers that will help support and boost processing power for cognitive workloads involved in deep learning and advanced data analytics. The new Linux-based servers not only help move AI progress forward, but cut data centers costs for companies and cloud-based service providers. In a test run at Chinese-based Tencent, an Internet service provider, a cluster of IBM’s OpenPOWER servers processed data three times faster than its x86 server predecessor. Through its OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM has also developed a new processor called POWER8, which uses NVIDIA’s Tesla P100 Pascal GPU through NVIDA NVLink (a high-bandwidth interconnect). The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), along with an unnamed multinational retail corporation, will be two of the first entities to receive IBM’s new Power Systems.
(Read the full release on IBM News)
Image credit: Wired
OCEAN and EWT trading starts March 3 – Deposit Now
Ocean Protocol (OCEAN) and Energy Web Token (EWT) trading starts on March 3 at approximately 15:30 UTC.
Deposits for both assets are currently open so you can deposit now and get ready for the launch of trading tomorrow!
Note: EWT trading is not available to citizens or residents of the US and Canada.
Ocean Protocol (OCEAN) – Built on Ethereum, Ocean is a platform that allows businesses and individuals to exchange and monetize data and data-based services. In this way, it seeks to make datasets, called datatokens, available to startups and researchers without the data having to leave the hands of those who store it. OCEAN is an ERC-20 token and allows users to buy and sell datatokens, participate in Ocean’s governance, or stake in Ocean’s marketplace.
Energy Web Token (EWT) – EWT is the native cryptocurrency of the Energy Web Chain, a blockchain platform designed to support the development of energy sector applications. EWT plays a key role in the Energy Web Chain, as it is used to pay those who validate transactions on its blockchain and allows those who hold it to pay for services in certain dapps. Note that EWT trading is not available to citizens or residents of the US and Canada.
What time will funding and trading start?
- Funding: Already available – deposit OCEAN or EWT now!
- Trading: Trading will start March 3 at approximately 15:30 UTC (order entry and execution will be enabled at this time).
- Updates will be posted on the status page near launch time.
Trading Pairs for OCEAN and EWT
Each asset will have four trading pairs for trading in USD, EUR, GBP and Bitcoin (BTC):
- USD (e.g. OCEAN/USD)
- EUR (e.g. EWT/EUR)
- GBP (e.g. OCEAN/GBP)
- BTC (e.g. EWT/BTC)
How to deposit
- Navigate to “Funding” > Select the asset. You can find the asset either by ticking “Show all assets” or by searching (e.g for “OCEAN” or “EWT”). Note that we are not supporting EWTB, which is the ERC-20 token for EWT on Ethereum.
- Click “Deposit” next to the asset and follow the on-screen instructions.
Confirmations required before deposits credit
- OCEAN: 20 (about 4 minutes)
- EWT: 21 (about 1.5 minutes)
- 10 OCEAN
- 1 EWT
Fees and Funding Minimums
Which services will be available for OCEAN and EWT?
Not (yet) available
Will Kraken list more assets?
Yes! But our policy is to never reveal any details until shortly before launch – not even about which assets we are considering. Our client engagement specialists cannot answer any questions about which assets we may be listing in the future.
Trade with caution
Limit orders are recommended when trading starts since the markets may be illiquid initially. Be extremely careful with market orders and orders that trigger market orders (e.g. stop loss).
Invest with caution
Listing an asset or token for trade is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or participate in the associated network. Do your own research and invest at your own risk.
Meet The Kraken Bank Executive Team: CEO David Kinitsky
First revealed last September, Kraken is quietly hard at work gearing up to launch Kraken Bank. This exciting new venture is helping to shape the landscape for both Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency services – and the banking industry – well into the future.
While we can’t reveal all the details yet, we sat down with Kraken Bank CEO David Kinitsky to get a glimpse into how he’s leading the charge to ensure the next generation of financial firms are built with the next generation of assets in mind.
David brings more than 15 years of experience in cryptocurrency and financial services. He helped launch a streak of innovations with Grayscale, Fidelity, Circle, SecondMarket, and the private investment funds he’s managed.
He’s full of industry knowledge and always adds a colorful perspective to the conversation. Enjoy!
Hi David! You worked at some of the biggest names in the industry. How did you get into crypto, what were those experiences like?
I first came across Bitcoin when I was working at a company called SecondMarket, which would become Digital Currency Group, one of the largest players in this industry. SecondMarket built marketplaces for illiquid, esoteric, and emerging assets. Eventually we got into Bitcoin and sold the legacy business to NASDAQ.
I took the lead in setting up Grayscale, structuring it’s first and flagship product – the Bitcoin Investment Trust – and served as GM of the business, which I ran for the next couple years. Today, Grayscale is the largest digital asset manager in the world with some $25-30 billion assets under management. (Big shout out to the team over there that took the baton, executed with remarkable consistency, and grew it into the juggernaut it is today.)
I left Grayscale to join Fidelity as their first digital asset hire, helping them to develop their strategy in the crypto space. I also ran a proprietary crypto fund there as a co-portfolio manager alongside the team that now runs Castle Island Ventures, an early stage VC firm focused on crypto.
My next stop was at Circle where I helped to restructure their business, refocus it around their USDC stablecoin, and relaunch with their payments/treasury platform.
Finally, when I saw Kraken pursuing the SPDI bank, I jumped at the opportunity and went all in, moving along with my family to Wyoming where the bank is based. It’s important infrastructure for Bitcoin and crypto, and is also reshaping traditional banking and financial services.
There is a lot of discussion about regulating cryptocurrencies. What do you find fascinating about bitcoin in this respect and how do you look at regulation of the space?
There’s not just a lot of discussion about regulating, there’s real regulating going on already. I sometimes hear this misunderstanding that crypto is not regulated. It’s regulated in the same way we regulate most financial services and other industries – by regulating the services providers and the actions taken by users. Just look at crypto companies and the licensure/registrations they maintain.
We should want to be especially smart about how we regulate these crypto companies as compared to their more traditional counterparts. There’s a key distinction to consider. In traditional financial services – say banking or brokerage or whatever – end users have no other alternative to access these services. They can’t opt out. If you want to send money across space and time, you need a bank or other financial service provider. Crypto is different. Users can receive, hold, and send their own assets themselves. It may be clunky for some, but they can do it. So there is some level of burden above which users will just not use the key nexus through which regulation is enforced. And the first ones to leave are the “bad guys” you want to be able to oversee.
I’ll also say that crypto provides new tools and abilities. For example, financial institutions can incorporate verifiable proof of reserves or to build other auditable assurances into their operations to ensure they’re solvent and doing what they say they are.
I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to thread the needle on the right regulation in the long term, and just hope we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot nearer term.
What about political and public opinion? How is Bitcoin and crypto currently being viewed and how might that affect its status and regulation?
It’s a good question. Absolutely foundational. After all, law and regulation arise out of policy objectives that take into account certain cost-benefit tradeoffs. Historically, we haven’t been able to have these serious conversations about Bitcoin or crypto here in the US because of some absolutist or ill-informed opinions.
The most common is that there’s no use case other than speculation or illicit activity, and no reason to make any accommodations within the existing system. I do think that more recently – especially in this macro environment – there’s an increasing appreciation for the benefits that Bitcoin provides as a store of value and in terms of censorship resistance, as well as an openness to the other opportunities crypto could create in the future. There’s also starting to be some recognition that Bitcoin and crypto will continue to operate regardless, and will simply do so outside of the existing financial system if we don’t pave a path for them within it.
Another is that they’re necessarily adversarial to America somehow, or simply incompatible with our laws, regulation, and institutions. But, Bitcoin is as American as apple pie. Its values are exactly the same as American values – free speech, free association, free enterprise, individual liberty, property rights, and so on – all the principles this country was founded on and the engines for growth throughout our history. And either way, the fact is that Bitcoin exists and other countries are getting involved. It’ll be critical that the U.S. maintain a position in this emerging industry to ensure its global competitiveness and national economic security.
What is it about Kraken Bank that makes this a venture worth building?
I do actually think that this initiative has some symbiotic elements to it, but – and maybe it’s gauche to say these days – we’re building Kraken Bank because it achieves some very clear organizational objectives of ours.
It provides the business with better legal/regulatory positioning, improved infrastructure and resultant customer experience, and more product/market opportunities. More broadly, it supports Kraken’s mission of promoting crypto adoption to enable more financial freedom, by seamlessly connecting crypto all the way down to the bottom of the financial services stack, which is entirely buttressed by banking. It puts us in a position to help shape the future of banking and it incorporates crypto.
Finally, I’m excited to help develop the ecosystem right here in Wyoming. Banks have always played important roles and re-invested within their communities. Kraken will be no different. We’re not carpetbaggers. We want to be connected to communities where, and with which, we conduct business – and to build something special together.
Want to help? Kraken and Kraken Bank are actively hiring, with new jobs posted periodically on the company’s careers page. If you don’t see a role at the bank that’s right for you today, stay tuned for more listings soon!
Thank you David.
-The Kraken Team
Institutional Clients: Get Free Real-Time USD Transfers Through Signature Bank
Institutional clients at Kraken now have a new way to transfer USD that is free, near-instant and available 24/7. The new funding option is available through our integration with the Signet™ payment platform offered by Signature Bank.
- Deposits: $0
- Withdrawals: $0
- Kraken Pro business account
- Account with Signature Bank
- Both accounts must be under the same name
How to get started
Note that you must have an account with Signature Bank, so the process is different depending on whether you already have an account or not. Follow the link below for complete instructions and requirements.
Learn more about Signature’s relationship with Kraken and the Signet platform in the Q&A below with Signature CEO Joseph DePaolo.
Can you talk about your relationship with Kraken?
We are thrilled to have been working with Kraken for almost three years. Kraken continues to showcase thought leadership and technological innovation in the digital space, which are the critical qualities we look for in a partner. Kraken not only has top security protocols in place for their clients, but also the platform has seen extreme growth recently. I am excited to see what the future holds as the exchange connects to our Bank’s Signet platform and API.
Can you give a quick overview of the Signet Platform and how it leverages blockchain tech?
Signet is the first proprietary, blockchain-based, digital payments platform that can be integrated directly into client’s businesses and technology systems. Signature Bank launched Signet on January 1, 2019, to enable its commercial clients to make instant and free payments in U.S. dollars.
Through Signet’s design and features, Signature Bank clients have used Signet’s API to merge their proprietary systems with the Signet platform for full transactional capabilities. These API enhancements allow clients to continue to leverage Signet’s real-time, 24/7/365 benefits and transactions safety and securely.
Signet’s blockchain technology is largely influenced by Ethereum’s code and allows for the minting of signets, which are tokenized representations of USDs, to instantly send and settle payments between clients. However, rather than operating a public ledger where anyone has access to the transaction history, Signet is a private, closed loop blockchain for use by Signature Bank clients only.
Why did you start a niche for small businesses? What is missing among the “big banks”?
Signature Bank was founded 20 years ago with a mission to provide excellent client service and care to small- and mid-sized businesses, values that we share closely with Kraken. Our private client banking teams serve as a single point of contact to meet all clients’ banking needs – unique when compared to mega-banks where clients are typically parsed out to different departments. This single-point-of-contact approach has become the hallmark of the Signature Bank franchise.
As the Bank grew and diversified, it appointed a Digital Assets private client banking team in January 2018 to serve the rapidly evolving digital asset community.
Kraken is proud to offer our institutional clients this fast and convenient new funding option. For more information and instructions on how you can enable Signet for your account, visit our support page here.
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