FTSE Russell to Exclude Snap From Stock Indexes Over Voting Rights

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/07/26/business/26reuters-snap-russell.html?src=busln&_r=2

The stock index provider said it made the decision based on client feedback, the latest sign of the growing importance of corporate governance rights to investors even as technology companies move to concentrate power with insiders.

It plans to require new constituents of its indexes to have at least 5 percent of their voting rights in the hands of public shareholders, though current constituents will be given a five-year grace period to comply.

It probably won’t change anything at Snap, but this may start to affect governance decisions for future private companies when they get ready to go public – especially if other index providers follow FTSE Russell’s lead.

(Related data on index + mutual fund ownership of US stocks: http://www.wsj.com/graphics/index-funds-taking-over-sp-500/)

 

SEC Issues Investigative Report Concluding DAO Tokens Were Securities

https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2017-131

The SEC’s Report stems from an inquiry that the agency’s Enforcement Division launched into whether The DAO and associated entities and individuals violated federal securities laws with unregistered offers and sales of DAO Tokens in exchange for “Ether,” a virtual currency. The DAO has been described as a “crowdfunding contract” but it would not have met the requirements of the Regulation Crowdfunding exemption because, among other things, it was not a broker-dealer or a funding portal registered with the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

This opinion blog post does a good job discussing the implications of this particular enforcement language:

https://www.inc.com/brian-d-evans/sec-report-about-the-dao-ico-being-a-security-is-g.html

As the report goes on, they continue to explain that ICOs that are offering investments must register with the SEC. However, they also point out that certain exemptions may apply. In some cases, if a token is not a security, but instead has an actual utility, then the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) may not have to register with the SEC since that would not necessarily be considered an “investment” or security. They have not released detailed explanations of exactly what would or wouldn’t be considered a security, but only commented on The Dao.

Blockchain Infrastructure Landscape

https://blog.bigchaindb.com/blockchain-infrastructure-landscape-a-first-principles-framing-92cc5549bafe

The elements of computing are storage, compute, and communications. Mainframes, PCs, mobile, and cloud all manifest these elements in their own unique ways. Specialized building blocks emerge to reconcile tradeoffs within a given element.

This article focuses on the blockchain landscape: the blocks for each element of computing, and some examples of systems manifesting each block. For each block, I will focus on being illustrative over thorough.

Token Network Effects

// https://medium.freecodecamp.com/token-network-effects-a-new-business-model-for-a-decentralized-web-6cde8b4e862

The underlying magic of the token is to align incentives across all stakeholders to hold the token.

In this flywheel, the token increases in value as the utility of the project increases. As long as everyone in the ecosystem believes there is value, it’ll be difficult for the token to drop to zero. Each participant of the ecosystem is now aligned to increase the value of the token.

This relationship increases the value of the token as demand for the token exceeds the limited supply, and drives up the price of the token. These market forces enable projects to fund more development (more developers, entrepreneurs, miners, participants, etc) which creates a better project.

Digital-to-biological converter for on-demand production of biologics

https://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nbt.3859.html

Manufacturing processes for biological molecules in the research laboratory have failed to keep pace with the rapid advances in automization and parellelization. We report the development of a digital-to-biological converter for fully automated, versatile and demand-based production of functional biologics starting from DNA sequence information. Specifically, DNA templates, RNA molecules, proteins and viral particles were produced in an automated fashion from digitally transmitted DNA sequences without human intervention.

AngelList is Funding the Minor League of VC

AngelList is funding the minor leagues of venture capital (and giving founders $500,000 to start)

“We’re creating hundreds of new VCs,” says Ravikant, who argues the venture space is anything but overcrowded. “Every time I hear someone say there are too many VC funds, it is always a venture capitalist saying it, not entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs want to raise money from other entrepreneurs.”

Angel investors have been a force in Silicon Valley for decades, but they often lack the capital to make bigger investments. Angel Funds are designed connect money with insiders to pick early winners. The new financing from AngelList’s Maiden Lane and other venture firms will give dozens of startup operators on the AngelList platform between $500,000 to a $1 million (a few will be larger) to make their first investments, with additional funds from their own backers. The funds are due to be invested within one year. Operators are drawn from successful syndicate leads, as well as startup founders selected by AngelList. Angel Fund leads earn 15% of profits from any deal, with 5% going to AngelList.

The Shock Tactics Set to Shake Up Immunology

http://www.nature.com/news/the-shock-tactics-set-to-shake-up-immunology-1.21918

The technique, called vagus-nerve stimulation, has been used since the 1990s to treat epilepsy, and since the early 2000s to treat depression. But Katrin, a 70-year-old fitness instructor in Amsterdam, who asked that her name be changed for this story, uses it to control rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that results in the destruction of cartilage around joints and other tissues. A clinical trial in which she enrolled five years ago is the first of its kind in humans, and it represents the culmination of two decades of research looking into the connection between the nervous and immune systems.