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Big Revolution - A hole full of blockchain promises

July 26 · Issue #481 · View online
Big Revolution
Big things you need to know today
  • Apple is acquiring the majority of Intel’s modem business for $1bn. As we noted when whispers of the deal emerged a few days ago, this means Apple is far more in control of its own destiny when it comes to 5G iPhones, after its falling out with Qualcomm.
  • Softbank is raising another mega VC fund. The original $100bn Vision Fund transformed the late-stage tech investment market, and its sequel is set to be even bigger — the Japanese company is targeting $108bn.
The big thought
Credit: Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash
Credit: Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash
A hole full of blockchain promises
Today in ‘who could possibly have seen this coming?,’ we hear that a high-profile and much-mocked 'pivot to blockchain’ could have been fraud.
Quartz reports that the FBI is investigating Long Island Iced Tea’s 2017 rebranding as 'Long Blockchain,’ and whether it was rooted in an attempt for people connected with the company to get rich off insider trading.
The investigations aren’t complete, but the allegations will be no surprise to anyone who watched the clearly cynical attempt to boost a company’s stock price by jumping on a hot trend. And yes, the stock price did shoot up.
As a technology, blockchain’s longterm value is yet to be proven, but the level of interest around it shows:
  • how fast the world is changing and how difficult it is for most people to evaluate what’s really important in a sea of trends and innovations
  • how many of us really want to stay on top of the latest trends
  • how businesses fear missing out on important shifts in their competitive landscape
  • the complexity of explaining of blockchain compared to many other technologies has attracted confusion, charlatans, and fear of missing out.
Even today in 2019, a 'Blockchain for Dummies’ event aimed at the right audience can pack out a room. There’s still a widespread belief that distributed ledgers can transform practically any industry. It doesn’t help that high-profile blockchain-based projects often launch in a flurry of press releases and news stories but are quietly shelved at a later date with no publicity at all.
This gives blockchain an air of still being an early-stage technology where it’s not too late to get in on as an early adopter. And that’s true — for all Bitcoin’s successes at creating interest in cryptocurrencies, its underlying blockchain technology is still at an early stage of maturation. And that means for most people, you’re best holding off and not getting involved. Wait and see if it can live up to any of its lofty promises. Just because it hasn’t done so yet, doesn’t mean it never will.
But ask yourself why you’re so interested in blockchain rather than 100 other emerging technologies. If the answer is 'because everyone else is and I don’t want to miss out,’ you’ve probably fallen into hole it’s worth climbing out of sooner rather than later.
One big read
A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels
“An analysis of every video posted by high-subscriber channels in the first week of 2019 finds that children’s content – as well as content featuring children – received more views than other videos.”
One big tweet
There’s a lot of interesting discussion about discovery problems on Netflix in the replies to this tweet…
Jarett Wieselman
when a Netflix show gets canceled, "you didn't promote the show" is something we (yes I work @ Netflix) hear a lot. But what does that mean to you?

commercials/billboards? too few social posts? you're not shown the title when you log on to netflix? something else? combo of all?
4:44 PM - 25 Jul 2019
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with your weekend big reads edition.
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