Blockchain is the tech. Bitcoin is merely the first mainstream manifestation of its potential.”–Marc Kenigsberg, founder, Bitcoin Chaser
The price of a single Bitcoin, as of this writing, sits at just north of US$18,300. At that level, I don’t think that guy to the left is going to be finding too many of them in his virtual hat. But as this week’s lead story suggests, some workers in Japan will soon need Bitcoin wallets.***
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Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency/Digital Payments–A Japanese company will start paying part of it’s employees salaries in Bitcoin. Participation is voluntary; that’s probably a good thing. When the bubble caves in, those employees might wind up looking like the bum in the cartoon.
—Wired Magazine reports that a serious unintended side effect of Bitcoin is environmental damage. The mining of Bitcoin, according to a source they cite, is burning more energy than the entire nation of Serbia.
–Despite strong growth of digital payments and cryptocurrencies, it appears cash won’t be going away any time soon. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, digital payments will account for about 30-35% of all non-credit transactions by 2025.
The Future of China–Next Big Future reports that China has embarked on a three year plan for a massive roll-out of artificial intelligence systems centered mainly in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, and energy efficiency management.
—The Chinese won’t make it easy for foreign firms entering the self-driving car market, though. They won’t be allowed to map roads in China, and will have to partner with Chinese firms to do so if they want to sell, build or operate autonomous vehicles there.
—According to a new report Global Cities report by Oxford Economics, Asian cities (mostly Chinese) will outstrip European and North American cities in total economic activity by 2035, and will account for nearly half of global GDP.
Advanced Transport–Virgin Hyperloop One set a new speed record for the vacuum tube transport system. The system reached 240 mph (387 kph) on December 18, surpassing the record of 220 mph (355 kph) set this past summer by Elon Musk’s hyperloop.
Coming Attractions–2017, Future Stories, year in review, coming next week.
***By the time I hit the “publish” button on this post, the Price of Bitcoin had fallen, in just a few hours, to under $17,000. That represented a drop of 15% from its high over $19,000 earlier in the day.