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December 7, 2020
Steve Wozniak has a new blockchain and green tech company: caution required
securitizes efforce token

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a new startup called Efforce. Since leaving Apple in 1985, Woz has been involved in a bunch of interesting projects including teaching children in elementary school, and had some Chief Scientist roles in various companies, and also started Woz U, a tech-based online education program. 

  • I’ve always found Woz to be pretty wholesome, charitable and strong on topics like human rights. He does Cameos, but donates all the money to charity — good stuff.

Now, he’s part of a team launching Efforce, a big new crypto-project that’s launched over at efforce.io, where you can see Woz himself talk about, quote: “the first decentralized platform that allows you to participate and benefit from worldwide energy efficiency projects.”

Wait, so what?

  • Efforce is described as acting as a digital marketplace that companies can use to raise funding for energy efficiency projects. 
  • This is done via WOZX, a new cryptocurrency token for funding, and blockchain is used to redistribute the profits to token holders and businesses using the platform.

Here’s how Efforce says it works:

⏰ Alarm bells should be ringing ⏰:

  • Normally, a new blockchain project that doesn’t fully describe why exactly a blockchain has to be used, has a flashy name involved, and issues its own cryptocurrency… well, those projects have been borderline scams at times in the recent past. The BBC’s enjoyable podcast investigation, The Missing Cryptoqueen, neatly dug into the enormous scam that was OneCoin.
  • Efforce is vastly different to the OneCoin ponzi scheme but applying caution here makes sense.
  • Woz is involved as a co-founder, not just a consultant. Though, there are six listed co-founders.
  • And the pre-mined tokens at least seem somewhat tied to something useful — from the whitepaper on the Efforce website: “Each token represents an Energy Performance Smart Contract, which guarantees the savings obtained over a certain period of time, thanks to a specific energy efficiency project. The energy savings generated become a tangible asset held by token holders, who may decide to sell them or use them to reduce their electricity bills.”
  • Less good: the value of the project hit nearly $1 billion in 13 minutes after launch, a classic example of a “pump and dump” that can go on in crypto projects.
  • And the whitepaper is pretty thin on the tech details, never a good sign. 
  • Plus, while it’s all for energy-efficiency projects, what’s the carbon cost of computing time needed to run the cryptocurrency? (At least it’s running on the Ethereum network, which sips power compared to Bitcoin.)
  • In essence, what I think we have here is a way to track investments in climate efficiency projects.
  • A bunch of this feels un-Woz, so let’s hope it is actually something great for the environment, and that the clout of Woz means something, 45 years after he founded Apple. 
  • There are so many fundamental questions, and enough red flags that I personally wouldn’t touch it.
  • And there are others in the green/crypto space doing good as TechCrunch profiled back in June this year, for investing directly in solar power projects in Africa.
  • And non-decentralized direct solar investments exist too, like Trine.com out of Sweden.

🍏 No surprises but now confirmed: Apple is working on outpacing Intel’s flagship CPUs with its next Apple Silicon processors in 2021 Macs. Intel stock dropped immediately after the report broke (Bloomberg).

📸 A Samsung leak suggests that the company’s still thinking about the practical usage of 600MP sensors on smartphones. Problem: right now a sensor that big would mean a huge camera bump (Android Authority)

🔊 Leak: Spotify is finally working on supporting local music files on your phone (Android Authority).

📲 Your next smartphone could gain molecular analysis, with near-infrared spectroscopy tech promised to come to smartphones as early as this time next year. What it means: your phone could analyze your skin for dryness, or assess food or if material like silk is real or fake (Android Authority). 

🧹 Here’s how iPhones are professionally cleaned — the amount of dirt is pretty crazy once you get the microscope out. As Julius Kaveckas does! (YouTube)

🤳 Oppo explores phones with removable camera modules (Engadget).

📽 YouTube is streaming the first 19 James Bond movies for free, right now — US-only (YouTube).

📺 Disney is hosting a big Investor Day regarding the company’s streaming strategy this week, including new shows and movies and plans and ambitions. Ahead of that, the FT has a deep dive into Disney’s expensive online push, with reports that Hulu may become part of Disney Plus (FT, $).

🏡 Airbnb is boosting its IPO price-range: now planning to offer shares for $56-60, up from $44-$50. Demand must be pretty good! (Bloomberg).

🎶 TikTok is just sitting around, as previous Trump administration deadlines keep lapsing (NY Times).

🔋 Aptera “is back with a new solar-boosted EV it says doesn’t need charging,” but it’s all promises for now… (Car and Driver).

🛫 This guy flew 900 drones in Kansas (r/pics) – watch the drone show (Twitter).

🌊 For the first time, physicists have captured the flowing sound of a ‘perfect’ fluid. Not quite a stream of water, something much more… epic? (MIT + Soundcloud link inside).

🍼 The incredible journey of plastic bottles: researchers loaded plastic bottles with trackers in Bangladesh, and watched where they went to better understand plastic trash in waterways (Wired).

🌠 Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe has returned to earth in remote Australia with asteroid dust intact, after it captured bits of the Ryugu asteroid two years ago. JAXA is hoping for at least 10 grams of sample, just the second time ever pristine space rock has been returned to earth. I didn’t realize this either: Hayabusa2 is now off to explore another asteroid: 1998KY26 (Gizmodo).

🚀 ELI5: “How did Hayabusa2 travel such a long distance?” (r/explainlikeimfive)

Monday meme

And here’s the big brain time: 

  • Assuming Jeff Bezos’ current wealth could be turned into cash, the Amazon founder could give everyone on Earth $24.
  • Let’s make it $20 to leave a little on the table, we’re not greedy.
  • Then, instead of cash, he could turn it into $20 gift cards, which we could then spend on Amazon.
  • It’s simple Christmas math!

Thanks,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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