Block.one, a blockchain platform backed by the billionaire Paypal and Palantir co-founder Peter Thiel, just invested $10 billion in a new crypto exchange called Bullish Global.
According to a recent press release on Tuesday, Bullish Global is a “blockchain-based cryptocurrency exchange designed to combine the performance, user privacy, and compliance offered by central order book technology with the vertically integrated user benefits of decentralized finance (DeFi) market architecture.”
The cryptocurrency exchange is set to launch this year and will utilize the EOSIO and EOS Public Blockchain.
Bullish will focus on bridging the gap between institutional investors and the crypto space, according to comments from the British billionaire hedge fund manager and Bullish Global investor Alan Howard.
“Successfully bridging the gap between digital assets and institutional actors will shape the future of the financial sector as we witness greater mainstream adoption of digital currencies,” Howard said in a press release.
“I am excited about being involved with Bullish’s mission to give its users more value-added control over their financial future,” he added.
The platform will provide both institutional and retail investors market-making, lending, and portfolio management services in a DeFi (decentralized finance) app without the use of banks as middlemen.
Bullish Global has received $10 billion worth of cash and digital asset backing from the likes of Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital and Founders Fund, Alan Howard, Louis Bacon, Richard Li, Christian Angermayer, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, and Japanese investment bank Nomura.
The funding includes 164,000 Bitcoin valued at around $9.7 billion, $100 million in cash, and 20 million EOS tokens, which power Block.one transactions. An additional funding round raised another $300 million for the operation as well.
Peter Thiel, Alan Howard, Richard Li, and Christian Angermayer will also serve as senior advisors to the company as a part of the deal.
Commenting on the new crypto exchange, Peter Thiel said “Bullish’s balance sheet is strong, and its vertical integration offers stability and liquidity to the cryptocurrency space.”
“I’m happy to join Bullish as an investor and advisor as it gets started on a long and fruitful journey,” Thiel added.
Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz said he was also “excited” for what Bullish Global can bring to the crypto space.
“Bullish’s sheer size and scale combined with Block.one’s experience in high-performance blockchain engineering will make Bullish a formidable player from day one. I’m excited to be on the journey with this team,” Novogratz said.
Block.one has faced headwinds since it ran the world’s biggest ICO netting $4 billion back in 2018.
The company was forced to pay a $24 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019 to resolve allegations of conducting an unregistered initial coin offering.
Block.one platform has also seen declining developer interest of late, according to a report from Electric Capital, per Bloomberg.
The new deal should help to revitalize Peter Thiel’s blockchain startup and position it to take advantage of growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.
Iterable CEO Justin Zhu was recently fired for “micro-dosing” LSD, a psychedelic drug, to improve his focus, he told Bloomberg last week. Micro-dosing, or taking small amounts of psychedelic substances, has gained popularity in recent years among entrepreneurs as a way to boost their creativity.
Plenty of other CEOs and founders who want to improve productivity and prevent burn out turn to so-called “biohacks,” a broad term that encompasses everything from enzyme injections to fasting days.
Here are seven biohacks executives have used, along with the science – or lack of it – that backs them up.
Injecting NAD+ coenzymes to boost energy
Winston Ibrahim, CEO of water filtration start-up Hydros, told Insider he has a “regenerative medicine specialist” inject him with NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) to boost his energy and prevent burnout. NAD+ is involved in all fundamental biological processes, including DNA repair and energy conversion in our cells.
Some overworked professionals swear by NAD+ “brain reboot” injections, citing higher levels of energy, focus and a faster metabolism.
Ibrahim said the injections mimic the effect of prescription stimulants, but without the side effects of taking them in pill form.
“You are literally giving your body and brain the optimum, most bio-available fuel to power peak energy and performance,” he told Insider.
Some private clinics offer a single NAD+ injection for $400.
What does the science say?
The molecule helps regulate our sleep cycle, and low levels are associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes, The Washington Post reported.
NAD+ naturally declines as we age, so it’s not clear if low levels are the cause of age-related health conditions.
Other claims for NAD+’s health benefits, including that it can slow aging, are less strong. Studies in mice have shown elevated levels of NAD+ lead to small increases in lifespan, but the results can’t easily be applied to humans. Simply raising the amount of NAD+ in human blood cells does not necessarily mean it can confer health benefits, or slow down the aging process.
Wearing electrodes at night to artificially generate deep sleep
Thriving on minimal sleep is the holy grail for many high-powered executives. Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof, a food startup famous for its butter-infused coffee, says he has spent $1 million trying to live to 180-years-old, including $200,000 on biohacking his sleep.
For Asprey, quality of sleep is more important than quantity.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if getting healthy got you more hours every day?,” Asprey told Men’s Health. “That’s the mindset that I’ve had. Because we don’t all want to sleep.”
Asprey has tried transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), where electrodes attached behind the ears pulse small electrical currents through the brain. It’s supposed to induce “delta sleep,” the deepest phase of sleep. Delta brain waves are associated with restorative sleep vital for the body’s immune system.
What does the science say?
Evidence on the benefits of sleep is well established. Getting enough sleep lowers a person’s risk of heart disease and diabetes, and helps fight infection. But whether TES can generate deep sleep is debatable.
Some studies into TES show limited impact on brain activity during sleep, while others have shown the therapy can extend the amount of time someone is in deep sleep.
In a study this year, participants receiving electrical stimulation stayed in deep sleep slightly longer than a placebo group.
“We’re excited by these results, and we’re moving to try to develop practical sleep therapy,” Dr. Don Tucker, neuroscience professor at the University of Oregon and the study’s co-author, told The Academic Times. “And this paper shows that it should be feasible.”
Creating small, ‘positive’ moments of stress
When a person’s stress-response system is activated, their adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Over prolonged periods, elevated levels of these hormones can increase a person’s risk of heart disease and digestive problems.
Some execs deliberately expose themselves to short bursts of stress to cope with their high-pressured jobs. Bayard Winthrop, CEO and founder of men’s clothing American Giant, has said he takes cold showers as way to introduce a small challenge into his mornings.
“There’s this undeniable endorphin rush, a good natural energy boost,” Winthrop told Inc. in 2018. “And I like the idea of starting the day by doing something challenging.”
What does the science say?
Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, argues that short intervals of stress can build resilience.
“Chronic stress is never good for you, even at low levels,” Swart said to Evening Standard. “But times of challenge like giving a talk or doing a sporting event, asking someone on a date, helping a friend go through a really tough time, for example, can elicit the acute stress response which is not fright/fight/flight but involves you rising to meet the challenge and fully recovering your resilience afterwards – things like this make us more resilient over time.”
Taking ice baths or cold showers have been associated with several health benefits, including improving circulation. Exposing parts of the body to a burst of cold water stimulates the supply of newly oxygenated blood to that area. Many athletes use ice baths for recovery.
However, Dr. Joon Yun, a physician and president of hedge fund Palo Alto Investors, and advocate of low-intensity stress to improve health, told CNBC that exposure to extreme temperatures is risky for some people.
Drinking bone broth, a slow-cooked form of stock, for breakfast
Nancy Fechnay, partner at Flight Ventures, says she drinks homemade bone broth for breakfast, or nothing at all.
“My approach is a tailored version of intermittent fasting,” Fechnay told Forbes. “This is the rave in the Bay Area, backed by studies showing the benefits to the mind and body.”
Fechnay said bone broth – a protein-rich liquid made by boiling animal bones and connective tissue – helps the immune system, maintains healthy skin and hair, and elevates collagen levels to fight aging.
“Bone broth is the most nutrient rich liquid you can drink,” Fechnay said.
Bone broth is very similar to stock, except the bones are left to simmer for much longer.
Going for days without food to improve concentration
Intermittent fasting (IF) involves going hours or even days with little to no food. In 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told fitness writer Ben Greenfield that he ate just one meal a day, and fasted for the whole weekend.
For weekday dinners, he usually ate a protein – fish, chicken or steak – with vegetables, and a pudding of mixed berries and dark chocolate, he told Greenfield on his podcast.
Dorsey said this routine improved his focus and helped him sleep better.
“It really has increased my appreciation for food and taste because I’m deprived of it for so long during the day,” Dorsey told Greenfield.
Popular IF patterns include the 5:2 plan, which involves eating normally for five days and then dramatically cutting calorie intake for two, and the 16:8 regime, where people fast for 16 hours and only eat within an eight-hour window.
Several studies in both humans and animals have shown that IF can result in health benefits for those with obesity and diabetes. Still, more research is needed to determine whether IF is healthy, or even feasible, if people do it for a long time.
Some nutrition experts say Dorsey’s version of the diet is extreme and more closely resembles an eating disorder, and that any feelings of mental alertness associated with extreme IF are because the body is in survival mode.
“When people undercut their need for food with radical under-eating, the body doesn’t care about the reasoning. It is just going react to save your life,” Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, a doctor who specializes in eating disorders, previously told Insider.
Gaudiani said that animals in starvation “should feel concerned and focused. They may interpret that initially as productive, but it’s the brain saying, ‘I don’t have enough food.'”
Wearing a $299 ring that tells you how to improve sleep
The Oura ring tracks a person’s sleep, collecting data on heart rate and body temperature. It then tells you how to sleep better. The $299 ring also works during the day, monitoring activity levels. Prince Harry, who recently took a Silicon-Valley job, has even been spotted wearing the band.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO and founder of dating app Bumble, sleeps with her curtains open to let the morning sunlight wake her up, she said in an interview with Entrepreneur.
“I think that’s a healthy thing to do because even if you don’t like to wake up early, your body does adjust,” Herd said.
In February, Herd became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire when she took her company public. Bumble raised $2.2 billion in its IPO.
What does the science say?
Exposure to natural light in the mornings is a good way to tell your body it’s time to get up.
Light-sensitive receptors in the eyes signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus – the part of the brain regulating the sleep-wake cycle – to wake the body up. Melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, also decreases with sunlight exposure.
“Opening your eyes to a burst of bright sunlight can pull you out of your sleep grogginess before your alarm alerts you it’s time to start your day,” Dr Kasey Nichols, an expert in sleep disorders, told Bustle.
Venture capitalist J.D. Vance has told friends that he will run for retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat in 2022, Axios first reported on Thursday.
Vance, who made a name for himself with his bestselling 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” recently met with former President Donald Trump and conservative Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Axios reported.
The 36-year-old Marine veteran and Yale Law School graduate was highly critical of Trump before he was elected president.
“I can’t stomach Trump. I think that he’s noxious and is leading the white working class to a very dark place,” Vance told NPR’s Terry Gross before Trump’s win in 2016. He also told conservative commentator Mona Charen, “If Trump wins it would be terrible for the country, but good for book sales.”
As Vance predicted, he became a popular translator of the issues facing the struggling white working-class that helped power Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. Over the last few years, he’s become a loyal Republican.
Vance previously worked for Thiel’s venture capital firm, Mithril Capital. In 2019, he founded his own firm, Narya, which invests in start-ups in under-resourced areas. Thiel and other prominent Silicon Valley figures, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and two top Facebook executives, contributed to Vance’s $90 million fund.
Thiel has helped shepherd Vance into politics and donated $10 million to the super PAC Protect Ohio Values, which was set up to back Vance’s Senate bid.
While Vance built his career in finance on support from prominent tech executives, he’s recently taken to condemning the power of “Big Tech” along with other conservatives politicians. He’s called on the Republican Party to remake itself as the champion of the working class and aligned himself with the likes of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who he recently argued “is the only powerful figure who consistently challenges elite dogma – on both cultural and economic questions.”
Several other Republicans have already entered the Senate primary, and the race is looking to be one of the most-watched of the cycle.
Thiel, the vocal libertarian who co-founded PayPal and Palantir and sits on the board of Facebook Facebook board member, also expressed concerns about technology theft and artificial intelligence, and called for greater restrictions on Chinese investment in the US and vice versa.
The event was called “The Nixon Seminar on Conservative Realism and National Security,” and the topic of discussion was “Big Tech and China: What do we need from Silicon Valley?”
Here are Thiel’s 17 best quotes from the seminar, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “Shockingly little innovation happens in China. But they have been very good at copying things, stealing things.”
2. “I criticized Google a few years ago for working with Chinese universities and Chinese researchers. And since everything in China is a civilian-military fusion, Google was effectively working with the Chinese military. One of the things that I was sort of told by some of the insiders at Google was they figured they might as well give the technology out the front door, because if they didn’t give it, it would get stolen anyway.”
3. “I had a set of conversations with some of the DeepMind AI people at Google. I asked them, ‘Is your AI being used to run the concentration camps in Xinjiang?’ and they said, ‘Well, we don’t know and don’t ask any questions.’ You have this almost magical thinking that by pretending everything is fine, that’s how you engage and have a conversation, and you make the world better.”
4. “If you look at the big five tech companies, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft all have very, very little presence in China. So they aren’t a naturally pro-China constituency. Apple is probably the one that’s structurally a real problem, because the whole iPhone supply chain gets made from China.”
5. “We need to call companies like Google out for working on AI with communist China. I also think we should be putting a lot of pressure on Apple.”
6. “At Facebook, during the Hong Kong protests a year ago, the employees from Hong Kong were all in favor of the protests and free speech. But there were more employees at Facebook who were born in China than who were born in Hong Kong. And the Chinese nationals actually said that it was just Western arrogance, and they shouldn’t be taking Hong Kong’s side and things like that. The internal debate felt like people were actually more anti-Hong Kong than pro-Hong Kong.”
7. “TikTok is problematic because it has this incredible exfiltration of data about people. You are creating this incredibly privacy-invading map of a large part of the population of the Western world. It is a fairly powerful application of AI in a certain sense, as they find ways to make it especially addictive and figure out what videos to show you to keep you watching more and more. It doesn’t seem that if you shut it down, it would be an economic catastrophe.”
8. “In a totalitarian society, you have no qualms about getting data on everybody, in every way possible. That makes AI a very tricky technology, because there are a lot of ways we don’t actually want to apply it in the US or West.” – highlighting the Chinese government’s use of AI for widescale facial recognition.
9. “People often say crypto or bitcoin is a vaguely libertarian technology. If crypto is kind of libertarian, AI is kind of communist.”
10. “Even though I’m sort of a pro-crypto, pro-bitcoin maximalist person, I do wonder whether bitcoin should be partly thought of as a Chinese financial weapon against the US. It threatens fiat money, especially the US dollar, and China wants to do things to weaken the dollar. If China’s long bitcoin, perhaps the US should be asking some tougher questions about exactly how that works.”
11. “An internal stable coin in China – that’s not a real cryptocurrency. That’s just some sort of totalitarian measuring device.”
12. “Make it harder for Chinese investors to invest in the US, and perhaps we should also make it a little bit harder for American investors to invest in China. We have US investors that invest in China and become a big constituency for open capital flows. I think a decent part of the Wall Street crowd is pretty bad in this regard. I would dial it back on both sides – making it harder for US investors to invest in China is an almost equally important part of this.”
13. “China doesn’t like the US having the reserve currency, because it gives us a lot of leverage over Iranian oil supply chains and all sorts of things like that. You can think of the Euro in part as a Chinese weapon against the dollar. China would have liked to see two reserve currencies.”
14. “One of the very strange dynamics in Silicon Valley is people don’t do very much with semiconductors anymore. One of the weird problems with 20 years of intellectual property theft, and where IP doesn’t really have as much value as it used to, is that you learn not to invest in things like that.”
15. “People are too anchored to doing things that worked in the past or copying some model. Building a new search engine was the right thing for Google to do in 1999. It’s probably not the right thing to do today. It’s very hard to compete against Google by doing the exact same thing they are doing.”
16. “You can think of big tech as something that’s very natural. It’s maybe unnaturally big. It’s unhealthy. It’s too strong. But there’s something in the nature of tech to be big. Big science is actually an oxymoron. If you have some giant science factory, there’s probably not much science going on at all.” – criticizing how science has become overly institutionalized and dominated by large corporations.
17. “De-platforming President Trump was really quite extraordinary. That does feel like you really crossed some kind of Rubicon where you declare war on maybe a third, 40% of the country – that seems really crazy.”
Peter Thiel, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capitalists, suggested bitcoin could pose a threat to the US during a virtual seminar held by the Richard Nixon Foundation this week.
“Even though I’m a pro-crypto, pro-bitcoin maximalist person, I do wonder whether at this point bitcoin should also be thought of in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the US,” the PayPal cofounder said. “It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the US dollar and China wants to do things to weaken it.”
Thiel, a Facebook board member and cofounder of Palantir Technologies, was expanding on his discussion about China not liking that the US dollar is the world’s preferred reserve currency. He said if China has a long position on bitcoin, then the US should be seeking answers on its stance from a geopolitical perspective.
The Asian economy recently created its own digital currency – a cyber yuan that is controlled by its central bank. Thiel referred to it as a “totalitarian measuring device,” rather than a real cryptocurrency.
The tech billionaire, who publicly supported former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was joined by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien at the seminar. Their discussion, hosted by the Nixon Foundation’s chief executive, largely focused on big tech issues and US-China relations.
Thiel, known for his controversial views, also criticized Google and Apple for working too closely with China. He called out Google for its work on artificial intelligence, saying that the tech giant was effectively working with the Chinese military, and not the American military, according to a transcript of the event seen by CNBC.
He separately called for tighter scrutiny on Apple “because the whole iPhone supply chain gets made from China.”
Billionaire Peter Thiel is backing J.D. Vance’s possible run for the US Senate.
Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal, donated $10 million to the Protect Ohio Values PAC, the group told the Cincinnati Enquirer. Protect Ohio Values was formed last month to recruit Vance to run for retiring US Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat.
“Protect Ohio Values PAC is amplifying the many voice who want JD Vance to be Ohio’s next US Senator,” Protect Ohio Values PAC spokesperson Bryan Lanza said in a statement to Insider.
J.D. Vance wrote the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” which recounted his childhood growing up in a white working class Rust Belt town. The Netflix film adaption of “Hillbilly Elegy” recently picked up an Oscar nomination.
Thiel also gave Vance financial backing last year, when Vance launched the venture capital fund Narya Capital. Narya invests in tech and science pursuits in cities outside of coastal tech hubs.
Vance had worked for Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management investment firm after graduating from Yale Law School in 2013.
Thiel had been a vocal supporter for Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign and presidency, but backed away from his 2020 reelection campaign. The tech investor had previously put $850,000 into a PAC that backed former secretary of state of Kansas Kris Kobach’s failed 2020 senate bid.
Thiel did not immediately return a request for comment.
The waterfront property comprises two homes that span a combined 10,041 square feet, as well as two outdoor swimming pools and a private boat dock, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
It sits on the manmade Venetian Islands in Biscayne Bay. The 72-year-old Nasser, who was Ford’s CEO from 1999 to 2001, bought both homes in 2005 for $5 million, per Mansion Global. Before it was acquired by Nasser, the house was the site of the 1996 season of MTV’s “The Real World: Miami.”
Thiel, who was a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and sits on the board of Facebook, bought the property for slightly less than the original $19.9 million listing price from July.
Take a look at the sprawling waterfront compound.
The 72-year-old former chief executive for Ford Motor Company sold his Miami compound for $18 million, Mansion Global reported.
The Venetian Islands – which straddle the cities of Miami and Miami Beach – is made up of six exclusive manmade islands: Biscayne Island, San Marco Island, San Marino Island, Di Lido Island, Rivo Alto Island, and Belle Isle.
Nasser’s former compound sits on Rivo Alto Island.
Jacques Nasser bought the home in 2005 for $5 million, four years after he retired from Ford, per Mansion Global.
He served as the CEO of Ford Motor Company from 1999 to 2001.
The Venetian Islands property has parking space for four cars.
The home’s listing agent, Dora Puig, declined to comment on the identity of the buyer who snapped up the property that Nasser owned for 15 years. Public records seen by Insider revealed Thiel as the buyer.
Without PayPal, there may not have been Palantir. Or YouTube. Or SpaceX, LinkedIn, and Yelp.
The payments company – launched as Confinity in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Luke Nosek – grew to become a Silicon Valley giant. It was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in a deal that altered Silicon Valley history and helped spawn the careers of some of tech’s most famous names.
Affirm was launched by Max Levchin, a PayPal cofounder.
When it was founded: 2013
What it does: Affirm offers instant lines of credit to customers shopping online, allowing them to buy a product and pay for it over time. The company raised a $500 million Series G round last month.
How it’s related to PayPal: Affirm is the brainchild of Max Levchin, one of the original PayPal founders. The company launched out of Levchin’s startup incubator, HVF — Levchin took over as CEO in 2014.
Levchin founded the company along with a team that includes Nathan Gettings, who also cofounded Palantir.
Fertility tracking company Glow was also born out of Levchin’s startup incubator.
When it was founded: 2013
What it does: Glow makes a family of apps that use data science to help track periods, ovulation, fertility, pregnancy, and children’s’ growth.
How it’s related to PayPal: Glow was also founded in Levchin’s HVF startup incubator, and Levchin now serves as executive chairman.
YouTube’s founders worked together at PayPal during the early days.
When it was founded: 2005
What it does: YouTube is a platform for hosting and sharing videos. It was sold to Google in November 2006.
How it’s related to PayPal: Founders Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim were all early employees at PayPal.
When PayPal sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, it sparked a “healthy competition” among the company’s alumni, early YouTube investor Roelof Botha told Business Insider earlier this year. When it came time for YouTube to sell, the team intentionally chose a price of $1.65 billion — 10% more than what eBay sold for.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX after working at PayPal.
When it was founded: 2002
What it does: The goal of SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies, is to make space flight cheaper and eventually colonize Mars.
How it’s related to PayPal: In 1999, Musk launched an online banking company called X.com. That company merged with Thiel’s Confinity in 2000, then became PayPal in 2001. Musk was briefly PayPal CEO before being replaced by Thiel. But when PayPal sold, Musk netted $165 million from the deal, which he used to start SpaceX.
Musk was an early investor in and cofounder of Tesla.
When it was founded: 2003
What it does: Tesla manufactures electric vehicles, batteries, and solar panels.
How it’s related to PayPal: Musk was an early Tesla investor and cofounder. He became CEO in 2008.
Musk launched The Boring Company after becoming irritated by Los Angeles traffic.
When it was founded: 2016
What it does: The Boring Company builds underground tunnels with the intention of housing high-speed transit systems to reduce traffic in cities.