Bitcoin Now the Sixth Most Valuable Currency in the World

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has risen to become the sixth most valuable currency in the world by the amount in circulation, after a series of surges saw it rise to a value over $11,000 a coin.

As a result, the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation is considerably more than the equivalent of several major currencies.

According to a report by SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk, the current value of all Bitcoins is currently approximately $180bn. By contrast, all the UK Pound Sterling banknotes and coins in circulation currently total only $103bn, while the total value of all Canadian and Australian currency in circulation now is $59bn and $55bn respectively.

As a result, 54% of the world’s population lives in countries with in-circulation currencies lower than the total value of Bitcoin.

2017 has seen Bitcoin undergo a dramatic surge in price. At the very start of the year, the cryptocurrency was worth just under $1,000 a coin, and rose relatively steadily over the next few months to reach $3,000 in June.

However, the last few months has seen more marked growth, it hitting $5,000 for the first time in October, $8,000 in November and $10,000 in December.

If it continues its current pace of growth it will hit $15,000 within a month, which would make it the fifth most valuable currency in the world, ahead of India’s Rupee.

Climbing much higher than that, however, will be a challenge. To beat the Euro to second place, Bitcoin will need to rise to an incredible $72,300, and to knock the US Dollar off the top spot, Bitcoin will need to reach $85,160.

While there are other cryptocurrencies attracting investment, none of the others have reached the giddy heights of Bitcoin, with just Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash reaching the top 20 world currencies.

Ethereum has a current total value of $44bn, making it the 17th most valuable currency in the world, while Bitcoin Cash is at the 20th place with a current total in-circulation value of $24bn.

Lesser known cryptocurrency Ripple follows in 21st place, with a value of $10bn, making it worth more than all Swedish Krona ($9bn) and all South African Rand ($6bn).

US wants to use the Moon as a petrol station

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has said that the Trump administration aims to turn the Moon into a petrol station, which will allow for the exploration of deeper parts of the solar system. According to Ross, explorers would use ice from the moon's craters to refuel on the way to other destinations.

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Source: Ars Technica

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Source: Tech Crunch

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Source: BBC

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Millions of dollars in Ethereum are vulnerable to hackers

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Source: Motherboard

Stronger in old age: Stem cell research paves way for muscle-building medication

It could in the future be possible to take medication that will allow you to build muscle, even when you are in old age.

This is due to the findings of research at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, which found that large, and wholly unexpected, amounts of mutations in muscle stem cells blocks their ability to regenerate cells.

“What is most surprising is the high number of mutations. We have seen how a healthy 70-year-old has accumulated more than 1,000 mutations in each stem cell in the muscle, and that these mutations are not random but there are certain regions that are better protected,” said Maria Eriksson, professor at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet.

With this knowledge, researchers could develop therapies that would encourage such regeneration, and so allow older people to rebuild lost muscle.

“We can demonstrate that this protection diminishes the older you become, indicating an impairment in the cell’s capacity to repair their DNA. And this is something we should be able to influence with new drugs,” explained Eriksson.

The landmark research, which is published today in the journal Nature Communications, involved the use of single stem cells, which were cultivated to provide enough DNA for whole genome sequencing – a medical first for this part of the body.

“We achieved this in the skeletal muscle tissue, which is absolutely unique. We have also found that there is very little overlap of mutations, despite the cells being located close to each other, representing an extremely complex mutational burden,” said study first author Irene Franco, a postdoc in Eriksson’s research group.

While a significant step, the research is now being expanded to look at whether exercise affects the number of mutations – a potentially vital factor in understand why and how these mutations occur.

“We aim to discover whether it is possible to individually influence the burden of mutations. Our results may be beneficial for the development of exercise programmes, particularly those designed for an ageing population,” said Eriksson.

The research is one of a host of projects being conducted across the world that have potential impacts on ageing, an area that was long ignored by much of the scientific community, but is now garnering increased support.

If many – or even a fair minority – of these findings eventually become the basis of therapeutics, it could be transformative for old age in the future, allowing people to remain healthier for far later in life and potentially even leading to longer life expectancies.