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Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Technology

The Mugglehead technology roundup: forward progress edition

Here are five companies trying to find their own ways into our consciousness

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

One of the largest mistakes a lot of scientific minded individuals is to think that evolution means progress, but evolution is not progressive. There’s no forward motion with evolution. There’s no end-state that evolution works towards. The next iteration of man is not necessarily better or worse than the generation before it—it only has a conglomeration of genes that led towards the optimization of survival.

There’s going argument that technology and human evolution go hand-in-glove. That technology adds an extra dimension to us, expanding on what we are as a species.

Regardless of where we may sit, here are five companies trying to find their own ways into our consciousness, and trying to link success to progress.

Grayscale chases the golden Bitcoin ETF dream to court

progress

Grayscale Investments hasn’t quite exhausted all of its efforts to get the United States’ first Bitcoin spot ETF past the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Now the company has filed a petition for review with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to challenge the SEC’s ruling to deny conversion of their Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTCQX:GBTC) to an ETF.

“Grayscale supports and believes in the SEC’s mandate to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets and facilitate capital formation — and we are deeply disappointed by and vehemently disagree with the SEC’s decision to continue to deny spot Bitcoin ETFs from coming to the U.S. market. Through the ETF application review process, we believe American investors overwhelmingly voiced a desire to see GBTC convert to a spot Bitcoin ETF, which would unlock billions of dollars of investor capital while bringing the world’s largest Bitcoin fund further into the U.S. regulatory perimeter. We will continue to leverage the full resources of the firm to advocate for our investors and the equitable regulatory treatment of Bitcoin investment vehicles,” said Michael Sonnenshein, Grayscale’s CEO.

Grayscale has set up individual companies with a number of different cryptocurrency assets in mind. Investors buy shares in the company, which rise or depreciate in value as the asset does. It’s functionally an ETF without needing to be an ETF. A few of the assets under custody include Ethereum (OTCQX:ETHE), Bitcoin Cash Trust (OTCQX: BCHG), and fourteen more. It’s a way for investors to get exposure to the asset without the hassle of actually owning it.

The company has been pursuing this objective since 2013, periodically filing registration documents with the SEC and having them rejected. Grayscale isn’t the only company involved here—since 2013, there’s been a virtual lineup of companies ranging from Van-Eck to Valkyrie and everyone in between—trying to be the first to get a spot ETF past the regulator. Even as other Bitcoin derivatives, such as ProShares Bitcoin Futures ETF from last year, started making the rounds.

“As Grayscale and the team at Davis Polk & Wardwell have outlined, the SEC is failing to apply consistent treatment to similar investment vehicles, and is therefore acting arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. There is a compelling, common-sense argument here, and we look forward to resolving this matter productively and expeditiously,” said Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Grayscale senior legal strategist and former U.S. Solicitor General.

We’ll see if there’s any forward progress after this tactic.

GBTC is way down following Bitcoin’s collapse. It closed at $12.06.

LQwD Fintech and Microstrategy seek strong progress on Bitcoin

progress

LQwD Fintech (TSXV: LQWD) (OTC: LQWDF) launched 17 international routing nodes on the Lightning Network, which puts the company in a position to pick up revenues from leveraging these routing fees on the global payments network.

Two years ago, Bitcoin hitting $19K would have wonderful. This time last year, it would have been terrible. This year it is. But that’s the nature of cryptocurrency’s volatility—and especially Bitcoin, where whales may resurface without warning and unload a substantial amount of Bitcoin back onto the market.

That causes some companies and investors alike to back away. Maybe strategically—like pulling your BTC into cash and waiting for bottom to buy back in and get more for less while you wait for the next bull run—and maybe not. Other companies recognize that buying and building when low means revenue later.

Right now, the Michael Saylor’s of the world. He’s the CEO of Microstrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) who found himself in some trouble with potential margin calls due to firms big-time bet on Bitcoin. Now he’s doubled down and bought $10 million more Bitcoin. Maybe LQwD Fintech and Microstrategy know something the rest of the market doesn’t?

“Since launching our first Lightning Network node in November 2021, LQwD’s nodes have already routed over 72 BTC and over 36,000 transactions, which is extremely encouraging in these early stages. We are making excellent progress establishing LQwD as a serious network participant, and in coming months, we will launch the LQwD business-to-business platform (now in beta), which also allows retail customers to take advantage of the economics and efficiencies of the network,” said Shone Anstey, LQwD Fintech Corp. CEO.

LQwD is a Lightning Network Service Provider (LSP) focused on development the Bitcoin Lightning Network payment infrastructure with the overall goal of accelerating the progress towards widespread Bitcoin adoption. The idea is to develop institutional grade services in support of the network to drive improved functionality, transaction, capability, user adoption, utility and to resolve the pesky Bitcoin scaling problem—which is what the Lightning Network was invented for in the first place.

LQwD’s routing nodes extend through 16 countries including:

  • Japan
  • England
  • Canada
  • US-West
  • France

Lightning Network continues to make forward progress with total network capacity climbing 138 per cent since last year, according to Bitcoin Visuals. The company anticipates this trend to continue despite market trends, as larger enterprises and exchanges like Kraken, Robinhood, Twitter and the Block cash app have all integrated Lightning Network capabilities. Arcane Research predicts that the Lightning Network could support up to 700 users by 2030.

Shares are down a half a penny and closed at $0.11.

Siemens and NVIDIA to enable industrial metaverse

progress

We need to seriously rethink the way we think about the metaverse. It’s been sold to date as a digital playground where users can build their own playhouses using non fungible tokens bought from OpenSea, and where it’s entirely possible to spend $400,000 on a plot of land to be next to Snoop Dogg, or some other celebrity. It’s that kind of fluff that creates hype and makes it difficult to envision the possibilities for progress inherent in the technology.

Now Siemens and NVIDIA (NASDAQ.NVDA) have extended their partnership to enable the creation of the industrial metaverse and increase use and development of AI-driven digital twin technology that will help progress their industrial automation to a whole level.

This type of metaverse isn’t going to be the same as Decentraland or The Sandbox, which are retail playgrounds. There’s no NFTs, no Snoop Dogg, and no non-industrial access. Instead, the two companies are connecting to build the NVIDIA Omniverse, which is a platform for 3D-design and collaboration. This is a virtual space where companies can gather to build and test physics-based digital models from Siemens and real-time artificial intelligence from NVIDIA to help companies make decisions.

“Photorealistic, physics-based digital twins embedded in the industrial metaverse offer enormous potential to transform our economies and industries by providing a virtual world where people can interact and collaborate to solve real-world problems. Through this partnership, we will make the industrial metaverse a reality for companies of all sizes. For over a decade, our digital twin technology has been helping customers across all industries to boost their productivity and today offer the industry’s most comprehensive digital twin. When Siemens Xcelerator is connected to Omniverse, we will enable a real-time, immersive metaverse that connects hardware and software, from the edge to the cloud with rich data from Siemens’ software and solutions,” said Roland Busch, president and chief executive officer, Siemens AG.

NVIDIA invented the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999, which basically kicked off the progress that led to the PC gaming market, redefined the way we think about computer graphics and fired up the era of modern artificial intelligence. Siemens AG in contrast is a tech company focused on finding progress in the industry, infrastructure, platform and healthcare sectors.

The particulars of this partnership make a certain sort of sense. It combines technologies and ecosystems from each company to bring the industrial metaverse into fruition. The NVIDIA Omniverse is an AI-enabled, physical simulation and industrial-scale virtual world engine that helps produce completely live digital twins. NVIDIA’s AI, used by over 25,000 companies all over the world, is the engine behind the Omniverse.

This partnership brings together complementary technologies and ecosystems to realize the industrial metaverse. Siemens is uniquely positioned at the intersections of the real and digital world, information technology and operational technology. The Siemens Xcelerator platform connects mechanical, electrical and software domains across the product and production processes and enables the convergence of IT and OT.

NVIDIA Omniverse is an AI-enabled, physically simulated and industrial-scale virtual-world engine that enables for the first time full-fidelity live digital twins. NVIDIA AI, used by more than 25,000 companies worldwide, is the intelligence engine of Omniverse in the cloud and autonomous systems at the edge. NVIDIA Omniverse and AI are ideal computation engines to represent the comprehensive digital twin from Siemens Xcelerator.

Shares dipped $3.83 today and closed at $151.59.

Neurosense study shows progress against Alzheimers

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Neurosense Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NRSN) received results from a biomarker study it performed to evalutate the potential of their combination drug for Alzheimer’s treatment, CogniC.

The biomarker study found several biomarkers associated with Alzheimers, which could theoretically indicate CogniC’s action mechanism is effective in targeting pathways involved in the disease. These include miRNA dysregulation, lysosomal dysfunction and impaired autophagy.

“Having identified these promising biomarkers, which have the potential to be modulated by CogniC, we are now preparing to carry out a clinical proof-of-concept study in conjunction with a leading AD clinic. The study is expected to commence in 2023,” said NeuroSense CEO, Alon Ben-Noon.

Neurosense Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company working on finding treatments for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, the most common being Alzheimers, Parkinsons and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Results have revealed high levels of a type of type of protein called TDP-43 in people who suffer from Alzheimers. TDP-43 is involved in processing molecules called messenger RNA (mRNA), which serve as the genetic blueprints for making proteins. These findings provide support that TDP-54 pathology is a large part of Alzheimers, thereby reinforcing the evidence in Alzheimers research about the role of that particular protein in neurodegenerative pathologies. TDP-43 has shown up in 57 per cent of Alzheimers cases, and aggregates of the protein have been shown to be cytotoxic in vitro and in vivo.

NeuroSense’s combination therapy platform, which is the basis for CogniC, has already demonstrated TDP-43 in a Phase IIa clinical trial biomarker study in ALS.

Shares rose 23.4 per cent today and closed at $3.38.

Commvault and Oracle team up to help progress enterprise hybrid cloud adoption

progress

The question of whether or not cloud computing is the next stage of computer progress is still up for debate, but if it does turn out to be the case (and it’s looking to be in that direction with each passing month), then that’s going to make Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) the bona-fide king of this particular castle.

The latest news involves Commvault (NASDAQ: CVLT), which expanded its strategic partnership with Oracle to include Metallic digital management as a service (DmaaS) on Oracle Cloud.

“We’re excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data. Data protection and compliance requirements are necessities in today’s business environment, which is why we’re confident that OCI’s built-in, always-on security features combined with Metallic DMaaS will provide additional peace of mind for our joint customers,” said Clay Magouyrk, EVP of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Commvault is a data-management software company involved in providing a software-as-a-service based intelligent data services platform for storage, protection, optimization and use of data. The company’s software can be used for data backup and recovery, cloud and infrastructure management, as well as retention and compliance.

Metallic and OCI bring price-performance, built in security and recovery and management for enterprise customers looking to advance their OCI transition. Metallic DmaaS also helps protect client data from corruption, unauthorized access and other threats across sectors of business, including insurance, financial services, manufacturing and defense, especially as it pertains to ransomeware and cyber-attacks.

Commvault shares are down $1.08 and closed at $62.90.

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