Biological Attack Threatened at India IT Firm if $100 Million Dollar Bitcoin Ransom Not Paid

Hackers threatened the Bengaluru-based IT giant Wipro with a biological attack if the company did not pay $77,760,498 USD (500 crore) in bitcoins by May 25. In an email sent on Friday the sender threatened to use Ricin, a natural toxin, in food served in cafeterias, drones or on toilet seats. The email, with a link for payment, contends a two gram sample of the toxin will be sent to a Wipro office in the coming days.

“The mail has mentioned that a biochemical powder (Ricin) will be sent in covers to your (Wipro) offices to assure that the threat is not fake,” said a police source on the condition of anonymity. The toxic protein (Ricin) is made out of castor bean, from which castor oil is also produced.



The company, who is not changing its operations but is bolstering security, registered a complaint with local authorities. “Wipro confirms that it has filed a complaint with the local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source. Wipro has augmented security measures at all its office locations. There is no impact on the company’s operations. We have no further comments as the investigation is ongoing”, the IT major said in a statement.

The Bengaluru police cyber crimes unit is investigating the case, currently looking to find the origin of the email. Police have said the email might be a hoax.

“We will have to explore and find out whether these are genuine are not,” noted Additional Commissioner (Crime) of the Bengaluru police S Ravi.

“We have registered the case under Section 66F of the IT Act (cyber terrorism) and are investigating it,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Anand Kumar. Although the company declined to mention who sent the threat mail, police sources said it was from some “ramesh2@protonmail.com” mail ID.

“Though we got some clues, we cannot share, as the investigation is underway. We have to also find out who all are involved in it from the IP address from where the threat mail was sent,” noted Kumar.

The IT behemoth received a similar threat, which turned out to be a hoax, in 2013. An anonymous letter threatened to blow up the company’s campuses in Bengaluru.

Since the threat, WiproBSE shares are down an unnotable one-tenth of a percent. The ransom threat underscores the useful nature of bitcoins in the now.

While Wipro has been threatened with a biological attack, hackers typical merely threaten to destroy a person or company’s important data while demanding bitcoins. Reports say Wipro is bolstering security in the wake of threats at all of its offices. 

“We have augmented security measures at all office locations, though there is no impact on our operations,” said the city-based IT firm in a statement emailed on Saturday.

The toxic material can be fatal if inhaled, taken as a pill or mixed in water for anyone. “As the investigation is going on, we would not like to comment further on the issue,” said Wipro in the statement.

Golden State Warriors Owner Tweets Digital Currency Coke vs. Pepsi Analogy

Chamath Palihapitiya, an owner of the Golden State Warriors professional basketball team, recently took to twitter to celebrate the digital currency Bitcoin.

“Reiterating my belief about $BTC,” the venture capitalist from Sri-Lanka (raised in Canada) tweeted. “It’s the ultimate insurance policy against autocracy, currency curbs and other forms of value destruction.”

When asked to compare Ethereum with Bitcoin by a fellow Twitter user, Mr. Palihapitiya replied: “Coke v Pepsi. Pick the more mainstream option that more people can easily consume. Both will make money but bigger is always better.”

Mr. Palihapitiya has told his friends it is “entirely rational to allocate one percent of your assets to Bitcoin.” It’s what he’s done.  

As Alan Silbert, founder of luxury Bitcoin marketplace BitPremier, correctly pointed out on Twitter, Mr. Palihapitiya has called Bitcoin “schmuck insurance.”

He wrote: “As the 2008 crisis proved, schmucks can cause world damage.”

 

It’s no secret that Mr. Palihapitiya, a former executive with Facebook, invests in bitcoins and is also one of the largest holders in the world alongside the Winklevoss Twins. The serial entrepreneur likes Bitcoin for its electronic, peer-to-peer nature.

“Bitcoin today is in roughly the same development phase that TCP/IP was back then,” he once wrote for Bloomberg. “Instead of IP addresses and websites, Bitcoin has unique strings that represent money and a mechanism to send these strings securely and safely wherever you want. It is a protocol that is allowing money to flow around the world much like TCP/IP allows information to flow — in an orderly, predictable way.”

In his support of Bitcoin, he underscores not bitcoin’s future, but the ways in which Bitcoin is working today.

“Bitcoin is being used all over the world in a wide range of ways already: to avoid the high fees of using a Visa card in San Paulo; to settle the purchase of a million dollar home in Buenos Aires; to pay a mechanic for services in Lagos; to provide Egyptians access to a liquid currency,” the Silicon Valley veteran wrote in the Bloomberg article that appeared in 2013. “The list goes on.”

It’s a diverse range of uses for the digital currency, he notes.

Because “the world needs more red pills”, he says, he hopes Bitcoin succeeds.

“There is a famous scene in the Matrix where Morpheus asks Neo if he wants to take the blue pill and go back to life as he knows it or take the red pill and see life as it is,” he once wrote about Bitcoin. “Neo takes the red pill and begins a period of exploration about humanity, hierarchy, rules, etc. Bitcoin is a red pill. There will be some bad and awkward moments, but lots of good, useful and powerful things will also ensue. It will reallocate financial strength and power to the people versus keeping it within a few centralized authorities.”

 

Geopolitics Driving Gold

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) President Trump warned last week of a  “major, major conflict with North Korea”. He said he’d rather do things diplomatically, though it’d prove “very difficult.”

Trump has made no secret about tensions between North Korea and the US. “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” the president said. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically, but it’s very difficult.”

Trump noted that he was confident in Chinese President Xi Jinping and his attempts to influence the North. The pair met in Florida earlier this month to discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula.



“I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death,” Trump told Reuters. “He doesn’t want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well. With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it’s possible that he can’t.”

White House officials on Wednesday describe North Korea as an “urgent” threat to national security and a “top foreign policy priority.”

Military action by the US would likely snowball into a massive strike from the North on South Korea. North Korea could also attack Japan.




“My problem is that I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi,” the president said. “I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation. So I wouldn’t want to be causing difficulty right now for him. So I would certainly want to speak to him first.”

Russia blocked a Security Council statement proposed by the U.S. on Wednesday to condemn North Korea’s missile tests. China supported the measure.

“Russia is slowing this down, and it is not clear why,” the diplomat told CBS News. “The U.S. wanted to get the message out.” North Korea’s failed missile test launch on Sunday added to geopolitical tensions escalating between President Donald Trump and Pyongyang.

By Wednesday, the world learned that military aircraft headed for Australia were not on their way to North Korea, as President Trump had intonated.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that Washington would work with its allies and China but that United States would meet any attack with an “overwhelming response”.

The first of 1250 US Marines have begun to make landfall  “stand ready to fight” against North Korea.

“I think that the commitment that we’ve taken to put a task force here with a conversation to get larger over the years says that we do think this is an important region,” Lieut. Colonel Middleton said.

“We are seeing once again a little bit of a flight to safety as a result of the news over the weekend of North Korea’s attempted missile test. That’s resulting in a little bit of a weakness in the U.S. dollar,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

The U.S. military intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off Alaska’s coast. A pair of F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted the Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on Monday, according to Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman said. He called the intercept “safe and professional.”

On Tuesday, at an annual military parade in Tehran, Iran put on display new S-300 air defense missile system, as well as other weapons seen under banners calling for “Death to Israel” in Persian.

President Hassan Rouhani said at the ceremony that Iranian military was “avoiding tensions and encounters” but that it had to “remain vigilant in the face of plots hatched by the others and increase deterrent power.”

Gold has held firm in recent weeks, thanks to tensions surrounding North Korea other geopolitical uncertainty including the upcoming French presidential election. Still, it endured its worst gain in a month on Wednesday, falling 0.8 percent.

Poor U.S. economic data and a lack of confidence for the Trump administration on tax cuts have led to the expectation of faster inflation.

Economic turbulence, extended by President Trump, contributed to safe-haven bids for gold. Unrest in other parts of the world, like Syria and North Korea, also contributed to gold’s higher price.

Gold climbed on Friday, ensuring a monthly gain of more than 1%, as data showing weak U.S. economic growth weighed on the dollar.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which helps measure the dollar, had fallen 0.1% and trading about 1.6% lower for the month.

Exchange-traded funds SPDR Gold Trust increased 0.2%, climing for the month 1.6%. iShares Silver Trust fell 0.2%, down 5.3% for the month. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF increased 2.5% Friday,  its monthly loss 1.9%.




Mike Cannon-Brookes admitted he likes to gamble – on bitcoin

Mike Cannon-Brookes admitted he likes to gamble – on bitcoin.

Cannon-Brookes tweeted on Monday:

Cannon-Brookes, who mistakenly thinks bitcoins come in ounces,  tweeted later that he “bet” on bitcoin, and he has done well based on the assumption that, “It will be worth a lot, or zero”.



He added: “Much like a horse racing. Not like investing.”   

Cannon-Brookes later tweeted that $10,000 USD in bitcoins purchased in July 2010 would today be worth more than $US 146,428,889.

Cannon-Brookes is believed to enjoy bets in the crypto currency space via tech investor Blackbird Ventures and bank disrupter Tyro.

The Tyro Fintech Hub was opened in February 2015. The Hub takes up the entire third floor of Tyro’s new offices in the newly refurbished art deco building at 155 Clarence Street Sydney.

Cannon-Brookes has condemned what he sees as overreaching regulation by Australian authorities.

In reference to Bitcoin company CoinJar moving to the UK to avoid Australian bnitcoin sales tax, he tweeted: “Make a stupid law. Lose business. When will we learn Aus?”

Mr Cannon-Brookes, whose company Atlassian is currently valued around $US4.25 billion on the NASDAQ, has received high praise.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk thanked Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes for promising to fix South Australia’s energy crisis throughj large-scale battery storage.

Mr Musk tweeted“@mcannonbrookes Can only happen with your support, and working closely with key govt and utility leaders who are strongly committed to trying new approaches.”

 

 

Cloudy Earnings Season Might Spell Troubled Water for Economy

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) Companies aren’t letting investors know what to expect ahead of earnings season. Less than 100 have published their expectations, the least amount since Bloomberg began keeping track in 1999. The latest drop in reports is the quickest on record, down 35% from a year ago. Investors are concerned about a pullback in car sales and a slowdown in merger and acquisition activity.

“There are some warning signs that are getting darker,” said BlackRock’s Larry Fink, in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.  



Gasoline, wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles and apparel all led the declines in the Consumer Price Index.

March figures for U.S. automakers were less than expected and provided evidence that the U.S.’ boom cycle in car sales could be declining. General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shares both declined nearly 4 percent. Ford Motor Co.

Reports indicated that lenders may have been behind the decline in auto sales last month. Verizon Communications Inc reported Thursday that results fell short due to a drop in subscribers paying a monthly bill despite its launch of unlimited data plans. Share declined 2.3% to $47.80 while net income attributable to Verizon dropped to $3.45 billion from $4.31 billion, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier. Total operating revenue fell to $29.81 billion from $32.17 billion a year prior.


After having reached an all-time high on March 1, the S&P 500 Index has been confined to a 55-point range. One week it gains. The next it loses. Deutsche Bank AG showed the Index demonstrated its lowest volatility to begin a new year since 1965.

The US government reported on Friday that price inflation in the US fell for the first time in 13 months (-0.3%). The year over year rate decreased to 2.4%, overshooting the Fed’s goal, but still below the historical average of 3.3%.

Gold suffered its largest one day drop in over six weeks leading into the French presidential election wherein both far-right and far-left candidates could be elected, though centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron apparently is in the lead. The euro increased to a three-week high against the U.S. dollar after Trump made comments that the dollar was too high.

Gold increase 0.16 an ounce to $1,281 an ounce, hitting a five-month high of $1,295.42, then declining. “Even though momentum has been positive there are other factors preventing a quick move higher from here – the sentiment is still that there will be stronger data from the U.S., and yields will probably rise. That will likely limit the upside (for gold),” said ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele.

Equities increased marginally in Europe and the United States decreased safehaven buying demand behind gold. Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, the world’s largest gold backed exchange-traded fund, increased 11.8 tonnes on Wednesday – their biggest one-day inflow since September.



“While the metal is well positioned for a test of $1,300 with geopolitical concerns underpinning its safe-haven status, the failed tests of $1,290 are beginning to weigh upon investor
confidence,” MKS said in a note.

“Supply will struggle to register any growth, and indeed is likely to show a small decline following unusually high production in Russia in 2016. Demand, on the other hand, will continue to expand,” said Johnson Matthey Precious Metals Management in a quarterly report. “Higher vehicle production, combined with an increase in average catalyst loadings at a global level, will drive autocatalyst demand for the metal to another record level.”

Spot palladium increased 3.2 percent to $799.58 an ounce, on track for its biggest one-day jump since early February. Silver, down 0.4 percent at $18.01, while platinum was up 1.1 percent at $973.24.

The experts are optimistic, expecting 9.7 growth in S&P 500 earnings for the March quarter, 12 percent for the full year. Growth estimates were zero as reporting season drew near.over the past two years.

Fink anticipates a 5-10 percent correction. “If we don’t have earnings validated in these higher P/Es we could adjust downward 5 or 10 percent from here,” Fink said. “If the administration does succeed on some of these items then the market will then reassert itself going higher.”

The data in toto could point towards a bearish economic outlook – an excuse for the FOMC to leave interest rates.

A good sign for safehaven assets like cash, bitcoin, gold and silver.

 

Trump Wants Ride in Queen of England’s Golden Carriage for UK Visit



Donald Trump wants a golden carriage procession down the London Mall during his planned UK visit in October in what police believe will likely be the most extensive public order operation in years.

“If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased,” said a source.

Trump

Hundreds of heavily-armed security agents travel with Trump,along with plain-clothed police officers, positioned snipers and firearms officers in the crowds.

The source added: “There may well be protections in that coach such as bulletproof glass, but they are limited. In particular it is very flimsy.”


Image: Shutterstock, The Sun

Inmates Hack Prison’s Computer Network with DIY Computers



Five prisoners in the United States managed to build two personal computers from parts hidden behind a plywood board in the ceiling of a closet of their detention center. The prisoners connected the PC’s to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) network and abused their new found powers.

The actions by the prisoners caused the State of Ohio’s Office of the Inspector General to publish a 50-page report [PDF] about their investigations into the incident this week.

Related: Australian Man Withdrew $2.1 Million Thanks to Bank Error

Ohio Inspector General forensic analysis determined the prisoners issued passes for inmates to gain access to multiple areas within the institution, and used the Departmental Offender Tracking System to steal the personal information of an inmate and apply for five credit cards.

Forensics also found “a large hacker’s toolkit with numerous malicious tools for possible attacks. These malicious tools included password-cracking tools, virtual private network (VPN) tools, network enumeration tools, hand-crafted software, numerous proxy tools, and other software used for various types of malicious activity.”

The prisoners had “self-signed certificates, Pidgin chat accounts, Tor sites, Tor geo exit nodes, ether soft, virtual phone, pornography, videos, VideoLan, and other various software.”

A ODRC technical team reports: “Inmates appeared to have been conducting attacks against the ODRC network using proxy machines that were connected to the inmate and department networks. It appears the Departmental Offender Tracking System portal was attacked and inmate passes were created. Findings of bitcoin wallets, stripe accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts point toward possible identity fraud, along with other possible cybercrimes.”

The Ohio Inspector General was tipped off to the actions of the prisoners after the ODRC IT team moved the Marion Correctional Institution from Microsoft proxy servers to Websense.

On July 3, 2015, Websense sent an email alert reporting that a computer on the ODRC network had exceeded daily internet usage threshold. More alerts were forthcoming, warning of “hacking” and 59 regarding “proxy avoidance.”

So, ODRC investigated. The login credentials by the computer were found to be illicit and a search for the computer itself ensued. The computer was found when ODRC employees identified the network switch the PC’s were connected into.

“I was following up on information received from OSC IT department,” an incident report stated. “I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers. They narrowed the search area down to the switch in P3 and the PC was connected to port 16. I was able to follow the cable from the switch to a closet in the small training room. When I removed the ceiling tiles I found 2 PCs hidden in the ceiling on 2 pieces of plywood.”

The prisoners had gathered the computer parts from Marion’s Correction Institution’s RET3 program, which helps to rehabilitate prisoners by putting them to work breaking PCs into component parts so they can be recycled.

Five inmates were involved, and have since been separated in other correctional facilities, as detailed by the Inspector General report.

ODRC appreciates “the time the Inspector General’s office has taken to conduct these investigations and we have already taken steps to address some areas of concern. We will thoroughly review the reports and take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again.”

It added: “It is of critical importance that we provide necessary safeguards in regards to the use of technology while still providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming.”


Images: Shutterstock

Royal Canadian Mint Releases Coins Celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary

 

2017 $10 Fine Silver Coin - Celebrating Canada's 150th - Wild Swift Fox and Pups_ReverseThe Royal Canadian Mint is a favorite coin producer for precious metals investors. Many prefer the Mint’s 24k gold offerings or maybe the .9999 silver bullion. To investor delight, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled its fourth numismatic line for 2017.

Of note, the Mint celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary in this line, including an ultra-high relief 10 oz fine silver coin featuring the 1867 Confederation Medal and an obverse of Their Majesties Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. The new line of coins celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary even features fireworks that light up!



Another 2017 $10 Fine Silver Coin – Celebrating Canada’s 150th: Wild Swift Fox and Pups, features the photography of Saskatchewan’s John E. Marriott.

The 2017 $5 Fine Silver Coin was designed by Tony Bianco and features a traditional Canada Day fireworks display surrounding a colored Canadian flag.

Canadian

The fireworks will light up thanks to the inclusion of glow-in-the-dark technology.

The Bitcoiner’s Guide to Travel

Travel for Bitcoin has become much easier since 2013, when Bitcoin skyrocketed above $1,000 for the first time. Perhaps, you’ve seen a bitcoin sign hanging in the window of a streetside business. There are, to be certain, an increasing number of merchants accepting bitcoin, as well as individuals curious about using the first financial technology based on the blockchain. This is a Bitcoiner’s guide to travel.

Transportation

When it comes to flying, there are several options to use Bitcoin. One can fly American Airlines for bitcoins via Gyft. In Europe, Asia and Africa, Abitsky accepts the digital currency for flights, as well as hotels and car rentals. Moreover, Airbaltic accepts bitcoins for destinations worldwide. The reputable service, Cheapair, represents one of the most recognized bitcoin-accepting merchants in the world. Btctrip caters specifically to the Bitcoin community, and Destinia has won favor for some bitcoiners. Gift off turns bitcoin into UK National Rail vouchers. Gasoline gift cards via Coinfueled.com can save you money on a road trip.

Related: The Physical Bitcoin Market Not Available to North Americans

Accommodations

Of course, once you arrive at your destination, it might be a good time to rest. Towards this end, Expedia accepts Bitcoin for one’s travel needs. As well, Hotelgo24.com. Through Gyft, one might search gift card offers on Bedandbreakfast.com or peruse Orbitz’s Globalhotelcard.com. Further, Egifter has offered accommodations at the San Luis Resort.

Dining

For dining, Bitcoin Restaurants maintains a comprehensive list of places where one could pay for dining with bitcoin. Restaurant options might also be found at Coinmap.org, Gyft, EGifter and AirBitz. If you’re looking to shop for groceries in bitcoin, and save a little money instead of dining out, you might find options at Coinmap or Usebitcoins. Whole Foods gift cards can also be found at Gyft.

Bitcoin ATMs

Likely during the course of your travels, it might prove convenient to exchange bitcoins into the local currency. A robust network of 1,000 bitcoin transaction machines worldwide makes this possible, and indeed is perhaps an unsung hero of the Bitcoin ecosystem. On Coinatmradar one can find the closest so-called ‘Bitcoin ATM’ near them.

There are different types of ATMs, so ensure a machine you intend to visit does what you need. Some bitcoin ATMs only turn bitcoins into a local currency, while others vice versa. Two-way Bitcoin ATMs offer the most robust services of any machines, allowing customers to exchange bitcoins for local currency and vice versa.

Coupons

Taking the time to find coupons relevant to your life saves money over time. And Bitcoin has even this covered. Groupon via Gyft is a great option, as Grapo.bg, which helped Felix Weis, a Bitcoin traveler, navigate Bulgaria. We’ll hear from Mr. Weis shortly.

Related: Rap Legend, Coinbase Investor Nas’ Favorite Bitcoin Charity is Watsi.org

Debit Cards

Using a Bitcoin debit card won’t win you much (if any) cred among the cypherpunks in the Bitcoin scene, but they can be extremely convenient.

Bitcoin prepaid or debit card from Xapo, Coinbase, BitPay, Bitplastic, or others can make traveling on bitcoin much easier, as the debit cards allow for fast transactions and access to SWIFT, the global payment system used by MasterCard and Visa, via Bitcoin.

Directories

Directories like Airbitz, Coinmap, Cointerest, and Bitcoin Restaurants, Bitcoin.travel can help you find bitcoin merchants. Researching and joining localized bitcoin-oriented social media group can help you integrate into a local Bitcoin community for the time you will be a guest there.

Traveling on Bitcoin might not be as hard as it seems. More than 5,000 convenience stores in Taiwan accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Traveler

“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if this could be done,” Felix Weis, who completed a trip around the world using mainly bitcoins in 2016, told GoldSilverBitcoin.com. Before he left for his trip, the Luxembourger lived in Berlin. He set out rules for his journey as such:

  1. No banks. And that meant no Western Union, no money exchanges, no converting USD to euros, no euros to yen.
  2. Bitcoin first. He had to use Bitcoin whenever possible.
  3. Cash only for bitcoin. Recognizing that there would be times when he would need local currency. He allowed himself to do peer-to-peer exchanges of bitcoin for cash, which, he says, led to some “fun adventures.”

The 28-year old used websites like Coinmap, a directory of Bitcoin-accepting businesses, to know where he could spend coins. He bought on Interrail pass with All4btc.com, a site which will buy something for you and you send them the bitcoins. He told GoldSilverBitcoin.com it would take between one afternoon and an entire day to research how to get around and find food in the next country. He often harbored uncertainties about how he would pay for things before departing for the next location.

He paid for hotels and flights via Bitcoin on the internet. People might use their credit cards at dinner, and he would repay them in bitcoins.

The hardest country for Mr. Weis was Bulgaria. He could not find a restaurant that would accept his Bitcoin. A man with whom he scheduled an appointment to make a Bitcoin transaction did not show. He ate nothing but his hotel’s continental breakfast – cereal, orange juice, and apples – for two days.

“Usually I was able to talk to people into accepting some Bitcoin, but in Bulgaria, few people spoke English, so the language barrier created a problem,” he said. He had a bit of cash at that point. He almost gave up.

“I spoke with a Bulgarian friend on the Internet and he told me about Grapo.bg, a Groupon-style website that accepts Bitcoins for vouchers.”

In Argentina, there was no Uber after the country banned the service. In other countries, Mr. Weis used the Bitcoin service Bitcoin Builder to pay for Uber in bitcoins. He reached out to the Argentina Facebook group, where he ultimately found a ride to the airport.

He sought out Bitcoin ATM’s, which were particularly helpful in places like Macau, Japan, and Mexico, but said there needs to be more in airports. He also noted how popular Bitcoin is popular in Venezuela.

His overall thoughts on the trip?

“The world is beautiful,” he concludes.

Goldman Sachs Wants to Mine Asteroids and Run Bank with APIs in “Radical Future” Vision

goldman-sachs-hq-is-worth-176-million-less-now-than-it-was-last-year

An asteroid just passed earth. It had £3.7trillion worth of platinum on board. Goldman Sachs wants to mine that platinum.

The multinational financial company holds futuristic visions of tomorrow, starting with the “realistic” goal of mining asteroids for trillions of dollars worth of platinum. But, the bank’s plans don’t end there. Goldman Sachs wants to transform its business model here on Earth via APIs – and, yes, the plan will cost human jobs.

Noting that asteroids can be rich in mineral platinum – which grows scarcer and scarcer here on earth – Goldman Sachs has carved out a plan to procure more for human resources in a plan of science-fiction proportions.

Related: China & Russia Are Stockpiling Gold

Platinum, which costs $1 million per one thousand cubic centimeters, sits at just under $1,000 per troy ounce on terrestrial markets for investment bullion grade metal, which is referred to as the ‘rich man’s gold.’

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” reads a Goldman Sachs report. “Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech (University) has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion [£2.1 billion].”

The firm adds: “Space mining could be more realistic than perceived.”

Goldman Sachs warns that mining asteroids for platinum could destroy platinum market dynamics, undermining the scarcity of metal, which is mainly mined in Russia and South Africa by workers paid very little.

“According to a 2012 Reuters interview with Planetary Resources, a single asteroid the size of a football field could contain $25bn- $50bn worth of platinum,” states Goldman Sachs. “Successful asteroid mining would likely crater the global price of platinum, with a single 500-meter-wide asteroid containing nearly 175X the global output, according to MIT’s Mission 2016.” This won’t deter Goldman Sachs.

“We expect that systems could be built for less than that given trends in the cost of manufacturing spacecraft and improvements in technology,” the investment bank surmises. “Given the capex of mining operations on Earth, we think that financing a space mission is not outside the realm of possibility.”

Further, Goldman Sachs’ deputy chief financial officer Marty Chavez portends a “radical future” for the Wall Street Bank back down on earth.

“We’re packaging everything we do, and actually, we’re redesigning the whole company, around APIs,” said the executive officer of the bank earlier this year.

Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs who once said the bank was doing “god’s work” felt Mr. Chavez needed a mentor.

Mr. Chavez, on his way to becoming the bank’s chief financial officer, received an email from Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

“Hey Marty, I’d like to come over to your office to introduce myself,” the tech executive wrote.

“We’ve been talking ever since about the similarities in the businesses,” Chavez told a group of computer scientists at the Harvard Institute for Applied Computational Science earlier in 2017. “Some of the similarities are aspirational, I have to emphasize that, and some are there right now.” The YouTube video of the talk was recently released, and has been viewed approximately 2,000 times.

“Goldman is for risk what Google is for search,” as Chavez sees it.”Google produces software services, and those software services aggregate the attention of billions of people, and then Google sells the attention of billions of people to advertisers.”

As for Goldman Sachs?

“A client has a risk they don’t want or wants a risk they don’t have, and we make it happen for them,” Chavez explained. “This is the fundamental truth of Goldman Sachs. If the clients stop calling and talking to us about risks they have but don’t want or want but don’t have, then we have no business whatsoever.”

Goldman Sach’s Data Lake, which pools data on transactions, markets, and investment research, as well as insights from emails, voice calls and instant messages. The bank applies machine learning to the data it accumulates. The result is a guide for employees.

“What really makes us valuable is the immense amount of data that we have,” Chavez said. “In this job of inspiring our clients to call us because they have risks they don’t want or want risks they don’t have, there is incredible information content, and using that for the benefit of the clients to get a better result is what we’re up to.” Mr. Chavez compared how Google operates to Wall Street’s status quo.

“Imagine if Google had gone a slightly different route and they said, ‘Every time somebody wants to do a search, they pick up the phone, call their Google salesperson, read the search terms to the Google salesperson, who types them into the internal Google search engine, gets the results, and then reads them back over the phone,’” he pictures.

He mentions: “That is not the route Google took. Unfortunately, that is a pretty good description of how Wall Street works.”

The new Goldman Sachs is based on APIs if Chavez, who highlights the success of  Salesforce, eBay and Expedia API revenues, gets his way.

“Historically, the API has been human beings talking to other human beings over the telephone, and all the tools, the content, the analytics is on the internal platform only,” Chavez said. “We are shifting this radically and shifting this fast, and we’re packaging everything we do, and actually, we’re redesigning the whole company, around APIs.”

He adds: “We’re turning all of the verbs, all of the activities at Goldman Sachs, into APIs,” Chavez said. “One of the things we’re insisting on is a very high standard of lovely and impeccable documentation for these APIs, because we’re opening up the vertical monolith which used to have only one API point, which was human beings on the phone.”