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Filecoin Fervor Gaining Momentum in China as Mainnet Nears Launch

One of the hottest projects in crypto at the moment is Filecoin, which has been gaining momentum mostly in China. Its long-awaited mainnet launch is now only a few days away. Filecoin touts itself as a decentralized data retrieval and storage network designed to ‘store humanity’s most important information.’ The Protocol Labs-developed crypto project is […]

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One of the hottest projects in crypto at the moment is Filecoin, which has been gaining momentum mostly in China. Its long-awaited mainnet launch is now only a few days away.

Filecoin touts itself as a decentralized data retrieval and storage network designed to ‘store humanity’s most important information.’ The Protocol Labs-developed crypto project is finally poised to launch on mainnet three years after its $200 million ICO.

The network uses InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) technology which allows users to rent unused hard drive space for storage and offer their own to host content. A great deal of hype has mounted as the project aims to be a decentralized alternative to Amazon Web Services which currently has the majority of the cloud industry market share.

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Filecoin Mainnet Mania Mounting

In late September, Nasdaq published an article highlighting the project’s three-year roadmap and the ‘Space Race’ testnet that was initiated. It added that around 3.5 million native FIL tokens were used to buy and sell storage on the network and will be distributed to participants.

According to the network explorer Filfox, the current network storage capacity is around 535 PiB (pebibytes), which is the binary equivalent of a Petabyte. As with Bitcoin, miners in China dominate the distribution, although Singapore is also a top runner. Over 62% of all miners taking part in the testnet were based in China according to the dashboard.

According to a recent post on the Filecoin Twitter, there will be a week of talks, workshops, and panels from the web3 community to celebrate the launch. The mainnet will officially begin at epoch 148,888, which it expects to occur around Oct. 15. Just like Polkadot, Filecoin will take a phased approach to launching its mainnet.

Token Pump Inbound?

A Twitter account called Autism Capital (@AutismCapital), which has recently delved into some of DeFi’s dodgy dealings, noted that there was a huge surge in Chinese OTC demand for Filecoin:

The post was in response to one by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried who was questioning the nomenclature of its ticker.

At the time of press, FIL was trading hands for $38.19 after hitting an all-time high of $44 earlier.

FILUSDTFILUSDT
FIL/USDT Chart by TradingView

Crypto exchange OKEx listed Filecoin over the weekend, and analysts have already started to become suspicious, especially when these unnatural pumps follow.

Industry analyst Mike Dudas added;

“It’s wild that @Filecoin $FIL currently has a higher inflation-adjusted market cap than $ETH.”

As with many newly-hyped crypto tokens, there is often an initial pump followed by a dump — Polkadot (DOT) is a good example of this.

Source: https://beincrypto.com/filecoin-fervor-gaining-momentum-in-china-as-mainnet-nears-launch/

Nano Technology

Nanoscopic barcodes set a new science limit

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Nov 29, 2020 (Nanowerk News) Using barcodes to label and identify everyday items is as familiar as a trip to the supermarket. Imagine shrinking those barcodes a million times, from millimetre to nanometre scale, so that they could be used inside living cells to label, identify and track the building blocks of life or, blended into inks to prevent counterfeiting. This is the frontier of nanoengineering, requiring fabrication and controlled manipulation of nanostructures at atomic level – new, fundamental research, published in Nature Communications (“Nanorods with multidimensional optical information beyond the diffraction limit”), shows the possibilities and opportunities ahead. Schematic diagram to illustrate the route that leads to the formation of the nanorods a Schematic diagram to illustrate the route that leads to the formation of the nanorods. Conditions, including the well-controlled amount of surfactant concentration (OA-) and the relatively low concentration of shell precursor, have to be met, otherwise, nanoplates, nanodumbbells, and small nanoparticles from precursor self-nucleation, will form. b High-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) images of three typical heterogeneous nanorods, scale bar is 50 nm. c Large area HAADF-STEM image of 18-segment heterogeneous nanorods, scale bar is 100 nm. d Distance statistics of five pairwise NaErF4 segments (center-to-center of each pairwise with different color markers) of the heterogeneous nanorods in c. (© Nature Communications) (click on image to enlarge) The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) led collaboration developed a nanocrystal growth method that controls the growth direction, producing programmable atomic thin layers, arbitrary barcoded nanorods, with morphology uniformity. The result is millions of different kinds of nanobarcodes that can form a “library” for future nanoscale sensing applications. The researchers anticipate that such barcode structures will attract broad interests in a range of applications as information nanocarriers for bio-nanotechnology, life sciences, data storage, once they are incorporated into a variety of matrixes. Lead author Dr Shihui Wen said the research provides a benchmark that will open up the potential for engineering smaller nanophotonics devices. “The inorganic nanobarcode structures are rigid, and it is easy to control the composite, thickness and distance accuracy between different functional segments for geometrical barcoding beyond the optical diffraction limit. Because they are chemically and optically stable, the nanoscopic barcodes can be used as carriers for drug delivery and tracking into the cell, once the surface of the barcode structures is further modified and functionalized with probe molecules and cargos,” Dr Wen, from the UTS Institute of Biomedical Materials and Devices (IBMD), said. The team also had an additional breakthrough with the development of a novel, tandem decoding system, using super-resolution nanoscopy to characterize different optical barcodes within the diffraction limit. Senior author, UTS IBMD Director, Professor Dayong Jin said there was no commercial system available for this type of super resolution imaging. “We had to build the instrumentation to diagnose the sophisticated functions that can be intentionally built into the tiny nanorod. These together allow us to unlock the further potential for placing atomic molecules where we want them so we can continue to miniaturise devices. This was the first time we were able to use super resolution system to probe, activate and readout the specific functional segment within the nanorod. “Imagine a tiny device, smaller than one thousandth the width of a human hair, and we can selectively activate a particular region of that device, see the optical properties, quantify them. This is the science now showing many new possibilities,” he said. Professor Jin is also the co-director of UTS-SUStech Joint Research Centre. The researchers envisage the developed nanoscale optical devices could be simultaneously used for tagging different cellular species. “These devices are also readily applicable for high-security-level anticounterfeiting when different batches of them are blended with inks and can be readily printed on high-value products for authentication.’ Dr Wen said

Source: https://feeds.nanowerk.com/~/639384579/0/nanowerk/agwb~Nanoscopic-barcodes-set-a-new-science-limit.php

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Blockchain

New York Times reports on Racism Allegations at Coinbase

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2020 has turned out to be a tough year for popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, as the company and its founder’s ‘apolitical’ culture stance, has left the company open to even accusations of racism. 

The crypto trading platform was recently the subject of a New York Times report, which highlights the various racial issues within the company, pointing towards several departures of Black employees and a consistently low percentage of Black hires.

Coinbase has denied the presence of such issues, and has even hired outside consultants and conducted internal investigations into these claims by current and former employees. The reviews were not able to confirm these allegations.

However, the company’s hiring record reveals that Black employees consistently comprise about three percent of its workforce. Depending on the field chosen in official employment statistics, this is anywhere from one-half to one-third of what’s the industry average. Corporate expansion also had no effect on this percentage.

The report noted that other tech companies, such as Square, PayPal and Twitter have worked at increasing the share of Black employees in their firms.

The report even cites a number of employees, with One Black employee stating that her manager suggested in front of other employees that she was dealing drugs and carrying a gun, based on racist stereotypes.

Another noted that a co-worker at a recruiting meeting openly described Black employees as less capable. While another employee said managers spoke down to her and her Black colleagues, adding that they were passed over for promotions in favor of less experienced white employees. These incidents altogether have led to the wave of departures at the company.

“Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,” said Ms. Butler, who resigned in April 2019. “But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase.”

The New York Times report continues that Black employees of the firm were hurt by the decision of the company’s leadership who did not address the matter. The employees had also organized a meeting with the executives, and CEO Brian Armstrong had said:

“There was this outpouring of, like, Why does the company not have my back?”

It all started back in September

It all originated from a blog post from the CEO that stated that Coinbase was ‘mission-focused’ and it suggested that activism was a distraction from that mission. The conversation went deeper for those at the company as a memo said those who wanted to maintain their activism would have to take a severance.

The New York Times report particularly highlights one line in this company blog post. “We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission.” According to the report, the post with this line outraged the employees.

Source: https://thedailychain.com/new-york-times-reports-on-racism-allegations-at-coinbase/

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Nano Technology

Freeze like a star! Web exhibition explores the mysteries of the quantum world

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(Nanowerk News) Colder than in outer space, higher pressure than 30 sperm whales on a stamp, and super magnets that could hold two Eiffel Towers: The search for new quantum materials – the materials of the day after tomorrow – is taking place today under extreme conditions.
Yet it is often difficult to understand what the researchers actually do in their high-performance laboratories.
The Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat–Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter has now taken a big step towards popular science communication.
The web exhibition SHOWCASE–Insight into our Research provides information about the goals, current activities, and research achievements of over 250 international cluster researchers – with easy-to-understand texts, catchy illustrations and entertaining videos.
“No less than three exhibitions were opened this year, all explaining our research themes. The positive response inspired us to prepare these topics in a multimedia format and make them accessible on our website. Now you can navigate through our mysterious quantum world from the comfort of your sofa anywhere in the world. This is an enormous advantage, not the least during the coronavirus pandemic,” emphasizes Prof. Matthias Vojta, spokesperson of the Dresden branch of the Cluster of Excellence.
Available in German and English, the web exhibition explains in an easily understandable way the extreme conditions that prevail in the high-performance laboratories, why researchers design quantum materials atom by atom, and what topological quantum physics has to do with hairy donuts.
An outlook on future applications leads from “cold chips” to “QuBits” and quantum computers. For those who want to know more, there are links to background information.
“In Germany we are leaders in the field of topological quantum materials and we play in the top league of our research field worldwide. But we also want to communicate to the general public outside our scientific community how exciting our experiments are, what groundbreaking results we have achieved and what this means for the society as a whole. This is particularly important to us, because we are convinced that quantum technologies will decisively shape the high-tech of the 21st century and lead to new applications,” explains Prof. Ralph Claessen, spokesperson of the Würzburg branch of the Cluster.
Source: Technische Universität Dresden
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Source: https://feeds.nanowerk.com/~/639374679/0/nanowerk/agwb~Freeze-like-a-star-Web-exhibition-explores-the-mysteries-of-the-quantum-world.php

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Nano Technology

Game-changer in thermoelectric materials: decoupling electronic and thermal transport

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Nov 29, 2020 (Nanowerk News) A new University of Wollongong study (Advanced Energy Materials,“Ultra-High Thermoelectric Performance in Bulk BiSbTe/Amorphous Boron Composites with Nano-Defect Architectures”) overcomes a major challenge of thermoelectric materials, which can convert heat into electricity and vice versa, improving conversion efficiency by more than 60%. Current and potential future applications range from low-maintenance, solid-state refrigeration to compact, zero-carbon power generation, which could include small, personal devices powered by the body’s own heat. “The decoupling of electronic (electron-based) and thermal (phonon-based) transport will be a game-changer in this industry,” says the UOW’s Prof Xiaolin Wang.

Thermoelectric applications and challenges

Bismuth telluride-based materials (Bi2Te3, Sb2Te3 and their alloys) are the most successful commercially-available thermoelectric materials, with current and future applications falling into two categories: converting electricity into heat, and vice versa:
  • Converting electricity into heat: reliable, low-maintenance solid-state refrigeration (heat pump) with no moving parts, no noise, and no vibration.
  • Converting heat into electricity including fossil-free power generation from a wide range of heat sources or powering micro-devices ‘for free’, using ambient or body temperature.
  • Heat ‘harvesting’ takes advantage of the free, plentiful heat sources provided by body heat, automobiles, everyday living, and industrial process. Without the need for batteries or a power supply, thermoelectric materials could be used to power intelligent sensors in remote, inaccessible locations. An ongoing challenge of thermoelectric materials is the balance of electrical and thermal properties: In most cases, an improvement in a material’s electrical properties (higher electrical conductivity) means a worsening of thermal properties (higher thermal conductivity), and vice versa. “The key is to decouple thermal transport and electrical transport”, says lead author, PhD student Guangsai Yang.

    Better efficiency through decoupling

    The three-year project at UOW’s Institute of Superconductivity and Electronic Materials (ISEM) found a way to decouple and simultaneously improve both thermal and electronic properties.
    cover image Advanced Energy Materials
    The new paper was selected as the cover story for the November edition of Wiley’s Advanced Energy Materials

    The team added a small amount of amorphous nano-boron particles to bismuth telluride-based thermoelectric materials, using nano-defect engineering and structural design.

    Amorphous nano boron particles were introduced using the spark plasma sintering (SPS) method.

    “This reduces the thermal conductivity of the material, and at the same time increases its electron transmission”, explains corresponding author Prof Xiaolin Wang.

    “The secret of thermoelectric materials engineering is manipulating the phonon and electron transport,” explains Professor Wang.

    Because electrons both carry heat and conduct electricity, material engineering based on electron transport alone is prone to the perennial tradeoff between thermal and electrical properties.

    Phonons, on the other hand, only carry heat. Therefore, blocking phonon transport reduces thermal conductivity induced by lattice vibrations, without affecting electronic properties. “The key to improving thermoelectric efficiency is to minimize the heat flow via phonon blocking, and maximize electron flow via (electron transmitting),” says Guangsai Yang. “This is the origin of the record-high thermoelectric efficiency in our materials.” The result is record-high conversion efficiency of 11.3%, which is 60% better than commercially-available materials prepared by the zone melting method. As well as being the most successful commercially-available thermoelectric materials, bismuth telluride-based materials are also typical topological insulators.

    Source: https://feeds.nanowerk.com/~/639374601/0/nanowerk/agwb~Gamechanger-in-thermoelectric-materials-decoupling-electronic-and-thermal-transport.php

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