Technology

E*Trade May Offer Trading for Bitcoin and Ethereum

Jon Fingas, writing for Engadget:

Cryptocurrency traders might soon have an important ally. A Bloomberg source claims E*Trade is in the midst of work to enable trading cryptocurrencies, starting with Bitcoin and Ethereum.

If true, this is huge news for the mainstreamification of crypto. As the barriers to trading with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum erode, more and more people will begin using them.


The World’s Biggest Dark Net Market Has Shut Down

Mike Power, writing for VICE:

Just over two weeks ago, on the 26th of March, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide logged on to the dark net market site, Dream, and found the following message:

[This market is shutting down on 04/30/2019 and is transferring its services to a partner company, onion address: [REDACTED] onion (currently offline, opening soon)]

All buying and selling on Dream (the largest, longest-running and most-used dark net market) had been halted. Most vendors and users have, however, been able to access the site and withdraw funds. But when it shuts for good at the end of the month, it will mark the closure of hundreds of thousands of listings generating millions of dollars in trade each week.

The move has left customers, observers and dealers wondering whether Dream’s closure could mark a shift in the way the dark web is used to buy and sell drugs. There is talk of a mysterious new and yet-to-open partner site, but many are wondering whether this could be a honeypot devised by the authorities.

Something seems a bit off here.


How Psychedelic Virtual Reality Can Help End Society’s Mass Bad Trip

Jenny Valentish, writing for The Guardian:

So tonight there’s the opportunity to try out virtual reality and augmented reality experiences that go beyond recreational use – there’s no diving with sharks or rollercoaster rides here. But users should strap in tightly anyway: these experiences are designed to expedite a different kind of journey.

Mimicking synesthesia, visual meditation apps leveraging biofeedback, exposure therapy, and a full-blown near-death experience—this is the kind of stuff that makes VR interesting.


FDA Explores Using Blockchain to Track Drug Supplies

Jon Fingas, writing for Engadget:

The US Food and Drug Administration wants to be sure sketchy drugs don't find their way to hospitals and pharmacies, and it's mulling a technological solution to keep medicine safe. The agency has launched a pilot program that will let the drug supply chain explore ways to track prescription medicine. While the FDA isn't specific about what tech companies would use, it noted that blockchain was one example. The same decentralized trust system that can trace the origins of your lettuce could also verify that your pills come from a legitimate source.

Blockchain has a ton of potential. But don’t expect this FDA pilot program to start anytime soon—its not supposed to get going until 2023.


A Robot Teaches Itself to Play Jenga. But This Is No Game

Matt Simon, writing for WIRED:

Researchers at MIT report today in Science Robotics that they’ve engineered a robot to teach itself the complex physics of Jenga. This, though, is no game—it’s a big step in the daunting quest to get robots to manipulate objects in the real world.

These MIT researchers are teaching a new robot some brand-new tricks. It’s easy to see how a machine that has perfected skills like accurately assessing and maneuvering Jenga blocks could move around in a physical environment, interacting with and manipulating any objects (inanimate and inanimate alike) it comes across.