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VICTORIA, Seychelles, July 4, 2023 — Bitget, top crypto derivatives and copy trading platform, has entered the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency loan sector with the launch of its native Crypto Loans product. The new offering is intended to attract a new audience of users dissuaded by traditional credit institutions and seeking alternative means of funding via digital assets.
Bitget’s Crypto Loans product is based on a dual-coin approach, allowing users to stake one coin from their holdings as collateral in exchange for the ability to borrow a corresponding amount in another coin. Each loan is issued at a specific interest rate to pay, with the borrowed amount determined by the market value of the staked collateral. The loans are issued within a predetermined period, users can choose to repay before or at the predetermined deadline
Crypto loans have been gaining attention in recent years thanks to the overall growth of the digital lending sector, which surpassed the $8.5 billion mark in 2023 and is predicted to grow by a CAGR of 20.5% from 2023 to 2032. The report by Global Market Insights highlights the increasing reliance on traditional lending and its potential to drive the demand for digital lending products. As this trend continues, the smooth onboarding of traditional users will play a crucial role in the adoption of these solutions.
With this in mind, Bitget has streamlined the loan process to not only facilitate user onboarding but also replicate the familiar procedures found in traditional financial institutions. The first step involves staking collateral, followed by the automatic disbursement of the loan amount, ensuring a user-friendly and efficient experience for borrowers. After the loan has been received, users will have the flexibility to utilize the funds as needed, as well as adjust the collateral by adding or withdrawing based on their circumstances or individual requirements.
“Bitget’s new product highlights the flexibility of collateralized currency usage, enhancing capital utilization. Users now have the opportunity to stake less-demanded coins, enabling them to obtain loans in more liquid assets for investment purposes. Our platform’s flexible borrowing and repayment mechanism is designed to cater to the needs of all users, accommodating their requests and ensuring convenience,” Gracy Chen, Managing Director of Bitget.
The platform also stresses the support for withdrawals and the swift review process on loan applications as selling points for the new product. Considering the high degree of security that Bitget boasts, as well as its market reputation as a reliable financial platform, users can be certain that security guarantees are in place and the safety of their collateral is ensured.
The Bitget exchange has been expanding its lineup of services in recent months, adding new products across a wide spectrum of cryptocurrency and traditional financial sectors. The recent investment in BitKeep and its subsequent rebranding into Bitget Wallet is one of the latest steps Bitget has undertaken to penetrate the Web3 space and create a single access gateway for users resorting to its ecosystem of products aimed at global crypto adoption.
Established in 2023, Bitget is the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange that offers Copy Trading services as one of its key features. Serving over 8 million users in more than 100 countries and regions, the exchange is committed to helping users trade smarter by providing a secure, one-stop trading solution. Bitget inspires individuals to embrace crypto through collaborations with credible partners, including legendary Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi, the leading Italian football team Juventus, and official eSports events organizer PGL.
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If you’ve been on this planet for more than a couple of decades, you probably have boxes of 35mm slides, negatives, and photo prints collecting dust in your back closet. You’d love to convert them to a digital format, but feeding one slide after another through a scanner is a painfully boring way to spend every weekend for the next three months.
Thankfully, there are less-tedious ways to convert your old images to something far more usable in the digital age. Rather than letting your old photos continue to get older in a shoebox, you can ship them off to an online scanning service. For pennies per photo, you can let someone else transform those inaccessible memories into digital images you can share and enjoy as if they were taken yesterday.
That sounds great in principle, but there are a lot of scanning services out there, and they all look similar on paper. To help you pick the right one for your needs, we put five popular scanning services to the test: GoPhoto, ScanCafe, DigMyPics, ScanDigital, and chúng tôi For each one, we shipped three slides, a strip of negatives (which typically contain three or four photos) and three 3-by-5-inch prints.
There’s more to a scanning service than just the quality of its output, so we also evaluated each site’s cost, range of services, ease of use, and total turnaround time. Read on to learn how each site fared in our tests.Best overall: ScanCafe
Strengths: Lowest price. Best image quality. Fast downloading options.
Weaknesses: Scans and order returns weren’t well-organized.
Cost for three slides, three negatives, and three prints: $24.14.
Turnaround time: 19 days.
ScanCafe is poised to save you money, clocking in with the cheapest per-image rate of 29 cents for a 600 dot-per-inch (dpi) photo scan. That price even drops to 22 cents per image if your order exceeds $130. When you order, ScanCafe asks for a 50-percent deposit and prints a UPS shipping label for you. When your scans are complete, you can review them online and reject images that you don’t want to pay for.
Want your photos fast? ScanCafe is a good option (not as fast as ScanMyPhotos, but I’ll get to that). The service allowed me to download the completed full-resolution scans from its site, so while I was waiting for most of its competitors’ offerings to show up in the mail, I had already downloaded my photos from ScanCafe. Of course, this might not be entirely practical if you are converting thousands of photos, but it was great for a small order.
600 dpi photo scan from ScanCafe
Any other concerns disappeared when I reviewed the scanned images: ScanCafe did a superb job with breathing new life into old slides, negatives, and prints, thanks to excellent color adjustments and tasteful saturation. One print in particular, a 1990-vintage 3-by-5 print of a Christmas tree that was originally processed to look more brown than green, popped with natural color. Overall, ScanCafe took the prize for the best image quality.
While ScanCafe returned the order in a rigid box packed with foam, the original slides and prints were loose. We can only assume that if your order includes 1000 slides, they’d pack the box with more care. (For very large orders, you can also have your photos delivered on a hard drive.) I was also disappointed that all the images arrived in one folder instead of separate locations for slides, negatives, and prints.Easiest to use: GoPhoto
Strengths: Very user-friendly. Among the least-expensive services. Good image quality.
Weaknesses: Slide/negative scanning maxes out at 2000 dpi. Photos can look oversharpened.
Cost for three slides, three negatives, and three prints: $24.72.
Turnaround time: 14 days.
With a few exceptions, all scanning services charge roughly the same amount–in the neighborhood of half a buck per photo. However, the differences add up, especially when you deal in volume.
GoPhoto, for example, charges 44 cents per image. That’s about average in terms of price, but slides and negatives are scanned at 2000 dpi, which is the lowest maximum resolution of all these services. Shipping charges are a flat fee of $20 per order for a round trip, regardless of how many images are in your order. As with most of these services, you print the outgoing label as part of the ordering process.
Keep in mind that our quoted shipping costs are a bit misleading. When you need just nine images scanned, as we did for our testing, the lion’s share of the expense will be in shipping. If you’re sending hundreds or thousands of slides, negatives, and prints, the cost of each scan adds up, and the shipping costs become relatively insignificant in comparison.
2000 dpi negative scan from GoPhoto
GoPhoto is somewhat unique in that you don’t pay for anything until the order is complete. You review your images online, select the ones you want to keep, and then pay when the order is ready to be returned. Don’t worry about Draconian shipping rules, either. GoPhoto doesn’t insist that you organize your photos in any particular way; you can even send your slides still loaded in trays or carousels.
Our originals were shipped back in a sturdy box, and all our scanned images came on a single DVD in a full-sized case. A “Web-friendly” subfolder included a second, low-resolution set of all the photos.
Image quality was good overall; GoPhoto clearly performed some color correction, but I was disappointed that details were routinely lost in shadows, something I would have corrected had I scanned the photos myself. The images also appeared to be somewhat oversharpened, which was apparent when I examined them at high magnification.Best scanning and order-status options: DigMyPics
Strengths: Best resolution options. Real-time order-status updates. Good image quality.
Weaknesses: Expensive. Confusing order form. No prior notice of shipping charges.
Cost for three slides, three negatives, and three prints: $45.35.
Turnaround time: 19 days.
DigMyPics offers the most options for scanning resolution, with slide- and negative-scanning options of 2500 dpi, 3200 dpi, and 4000 dpi. The services range in price from 39 cents to $1.19 each, depending on the resolution and the type of slides you send in. Prints can be scanned at 300 dpi (39 cents apiece) or 600 dpi (49 cents apiece).
Another cool distinguishing factor: You can follow the status of your order by watching your photos as they’re scanned and see notes made by the techs as they work on your order. I didn’t get to experience this, as my test order was so small that it was completed before I could go online to check it out in progress.
4000 dpi slide scan from DigMyPics
Despite all that, DigMyPics is rough around the edges. The order form is a bit overwhelming, which means you’ll probably need to fill it out for the less technically inclined photographers in your family. You also don’t get any indication of what the shipping will cost prior to ordering. If you choose the highest-resolution output available, your order is likely to become quite pricey. DigMyPics charges you $8 for each CD or DVD onto which your images are burned, while the other services in this roundup throw those in at no additional cost. All in all, DigMyPics turned out to be quite costly.
When returning my images, DigMyPics carefully packed the slides, negatives, and prints in three separate zip-lock bags, but the whole order came in a soft FedEx envelope rather than a rigid box. I suspect they’d pack a large volume of photos differently.
Most versatile: ScanDigital
Strengths: Widest range of scanning and delivery options. Among the least-expensive services.
Weaknesses: Slowest turnaround time. Worst overall image quality.
Cost for three slides, three negatives, and three prints: $25.80.
Turnaround time: 20 days.
ScanDigital tries to simplify the ordering process by asking you to make a number of binary decisions via friendly radio buttons. For instance, you can pick between “normal quality” (2000 dpi slides and 300 dpi prints) or “highest quality” (4000 dpi and 600 dpi), standard per-image pricing or bulk rates, and so on. However, that can lead to some frustration, depending on what kind of scanning project you have in mind. If you have a combination of source material, you need to create multiple orders and ship photos and slides separately.
That said, you can ship your order to ScanDigital in your own packaging or you can opt for the company’s custom shipping kit, which includes a UPS shipping label, box, padding, and waterproof packaging for $10. And while most of these sites have roughly the same array of services (all of them offer video-to-DVD and film-to-DVD conversion, as well as scanning all sorts of now-obsolete formats for slides and negatives), ScanDigital had the broadest offering by a nose. Need Betamax, Disc camera (remember those?), or stereo-slide conversions? ScanDigital can get the job done. When it comes to getting your photos back, you can have them delivered on a hard drive, a preloaded digital photo frame, or a DVD video slideshow.
Alas, ScanDigital is a poor communicator. At no point during the production did they send a receipt for the total charges, and a website glitch prevented me from accessing my account during the entire test period. Indeed, I never saw the final bill until a printed receipt arrived in the return package. Also in the box: A handwritten thank you card and a free shipping label for the next order, as well as instructions for how to access an online copy of my photos. It would have been convenient to know about the online copies days earlier so I could have downloaded my images while waiting for the return package.
Sadly, ScanDigital gets a D for timeliness. After receiving my package, the company estimated a completion date that was about a month beyond my deadline for this story–a time period that was twice as long as any of the competition. When I requested expedited service for an additional $15, the estimated delivery date became comparable to ScanCafe and DigMyPics. Even so, ScanDigital was unable to hit its own promised date, and its package was the last to arrive.
300 dpi print scan from ScanDigital
To my eyes, ScanDigital also had the lowest overall image quality. The images were certainly acceptable, but the prints, in particular, showed too much contrast with a significant loss of detail in the shadows. Moreover, a lot of detail was lost due to a combination of the relatively low scan resolution and what appears to be an aggressive amount of JPG compression in the final images. Photos were noisy and weighed in with miniscule file sizes. All nine images together weighed a mere 12MB, compared to 110MB for DigMyPics’ higher-resolution output.Fastest turnaround time: ScanMyPhotos
Strengths: Quickest turnaround by far. Decent image quality.
Weaknesses: Expensive unless you order in bulk. Confusing site. Limited delivery options.
Cost for three slides, three negatives, and three prints: $43.59.
Turnaround time: 5 days.
ScanMyPhotos made some significant improvements to its service over the short span of our testing. To place an order, I initially had to complete an arduous online form. Then, as if the site were trapped in amber, I had to print the order form and put it in the mail. By the time I sat down to describe the process for this review, ScanMyPhotos had added the ability to complete an order online.
Even so, the site remains difficult to navigate. ScanMyPhotos offers a variety of shipping options, such as prepaid scanning boxes, a “Family Generation Collection” for scanning as many as 10,000 photos at once, and the usual pay-per-scan (which is what we tested). It’s hard to directly compare each of these options, and you have to create separate orders for slides, negatives, and prints. Overall, it’s simply exhausting to use this site. I also wasn’t jazzed about the fact that ScanMyPhotos insists on minimum fees. Despite rock-bottom per-item charges (12 cents per photo and 27 cents per slide), there’s a $20 charge for any photo-scanning projects and $5 each for slide- and negative-scanning projects. That’s not a concern if you’re sending photos in bulk, but it makes no sense to use ScanMyPhotos if you need to scan fewer than about 150 photos. While most services offer a range of delivery options, all you get here is your photos on DVD and the option to archive them online for up to a year.
4000 dpi slide scan from ScanMyPhotos
On the other hand, ScanMyPhotos gets an A+ for turnaround time. Indeed, when ScanMyPhotos notified me that they had shipped a package to me just two days after I dropped my test photos in the mail, I assumed they had rejected my slides due to improper packaging. Their rules about how you need to pack and organize your materials read like they were written by Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. But nope, I actually had a completed order in hand after just five days, and that included a weekend.
Image quality was quite good, but just average among the services. The prints were among the best I’d seen in this test, but the slides appeared to lack the “punch” that would have resulted from some color and saturation enhancements. The order came in a padded envelope with three DVDs (one each for prints, slides, and envelopes) in paper sleeves, as well as a nearly illegible receipt that had apparently been printed with the “Toner Low” warning flashing.How the scanning services stack up
Here’s how each of the services compared in our testing, ranked from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) in each of our testing categories. As you can see, each site has its own comparative strengths.
Credit: Kate Godfrey
Cryptocurrency exchange platforms are the lifeblood of the crypto industry. With more and more people entering the world of cryptocurrencies, these exchanges play a pivotal role in making it easy for them to buy, sell, and trade digital assets. Europe is a significant hub of crypto trading activity and home to some of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world. This article will look at the top cryptocurrency exchanges in Europe in 2023.
A crypto exchange is a marketplace where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies1. chúng tôi is one of the leading crypto exchanges in Europe. Founded in 2023, chúng tôi has become the most popular and trusted platform for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies in Europe. It provides access to over 150 different coins and tokens from significant exchanges worldwide, making it one of the most diverse digital assets available. On top of that, chúng tôi offers a variety of features that make it the go-to Platform for European crypto traders.
Explore Top Spot, Futures and Perpetual markets with chúng tôi Exchange.
Pros and Cons of chúng tôi
Limited customer support options.
Some users have reported difficulties in withdrawing funds.
Lacks certain features like stop-limit orders, portfolio analytics, and charting tools.2. Binance
Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange and is a significant player in Europe. The company was founded in 2023 and has become one of the most popular places for European traders to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Binance offers more than 150 different coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, and a range of fiat currencies. The company also offers trading options such as margin trading and provides a range of tools for traders looking to get the most out of their investments.
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Pros and cons of Binance
Low Fees: Binance offers some of the lowest trading fees in Europe, with costs as low as 0.1%. This competitive fee structure has helped to make Binance one of the most popular exchanges in the region.
Security & Compliance: Binance is a fully regulated and licensed exchange, and its services comply with the highest standards of security and anti-money laundering regulations.
Low Fees: Kraken has some of the lowest trading fees in Europe, with costs as low as 0.2%. This competitive fee structure has made it one of Europe’s most popular crypto exchanges.
Security & Compliance: Kraken is a fully regulated and licensed financial institution, and its services comply with the highest standards of security and anti-money laundering regulations.
Limited cryptocurrency options compared to other exchanges.
Some customers have reported issues with the account verification process.
Lack of certain features like portfolio analytics, automated trading, and margin interest rates.4. Coinbase
Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in Europe, is set to expand its operations with a new office in London. Coinbase is known for its secure Platform and excellent customer service, making it a popular choice among traders. In addition to providing an exchange platform, Coinbase also offers custodian services, allowing users to store their digital assets safely and securely.
Coinbase is a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing cryptocurrency.
Pros and cons of Coinbase
Low Fees: Coinbase has some of the lowest transaction fees in Europe, with fees as low as 0.5%. This competitive fee structure makes it one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the region.
Security & Compliance: Coinbase is a fully regulated and licensed financial institution, and its services comply with the highest standards of security and anti-money laundering regulations.
Low Fees: Bittrex has some of the lowest trading fees in Europe, with fees as low as 0.25%. This competitive fee structure has made it one of Europe’s most popular crypto exchanges.
Security & Compliance: Bittrex is a fully regulated and licensed financial institution, and its services comply with the highest security and anti-money laundering regulations standards.
Customer Support: Bittrex offers excellent customer service and has a thorough knowledge base for users who need answers to their questions.
Low Fees: Huobi Exchange has some of the lowest trading fees in Europe, with fees as low as 0.2%. This competitive fee structure has made it one of Europe’s most popular crypto exchanges.
Security & Compliance: Huobi Exchange is a fully regulated and licensed financial institution, and its services comply with the highest standards of security and anti-money laundering regulations.
Customer Support: Huobi Exchange offers excellent customer service and has a thorough knowledge base for users who need answers to their questions.
Fiat Support: Huobi Exchange supports multiple fiat currencies, making it easy for users to purchase digital assets without using other exchanges.
Limited payment methods are accepted for deposits and withdrawals.
Fees can be high for some trading pairs.
KYC requirements can be stringent.8. BitMEX
BitMEX, a crypto exchange based in the United Kingdom with branches in London and Seychelles, strives to offer users access to sophisticated trading tools such as margin trades and derivatives. In addition to this service, BitMEX supports multiple currencies for deposits and withdrawals, including USD, JPY, EURO, GBP, and numerous other leading fiat money systems.
BitMEX is the world’s leading cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform, which has pioneered cryptocurrency trading
Pros and cons of BitMEX
Does not offer spot trading services.
KYC requirements can be stringent.
Not available in all countries due to regulatory restrictions.9. eToro
eToro is another popular crypto exchange in Europe based in Cyprus. It gives users access to various digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and stocks. eToro also offers an intuitive platform for traders and has features, such as copy trading, allowing users to copy the trades of experienced traders.
eToro is much more than just a place to trade.
User-Friendly Platform: eToro offers a user-friendly platform with intuitive navigation and a range of tools to help users start trading quickly.
Copy Trading: eToro’s copy trading feature allows users to replicate the trades of experienced traders, which can be helpful for those who are new to crypto Trading.
Wide Range of Assets: eToro supports a wide range of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, stocks, and ETFs, so users can diversify their portfolios with ease.
Limited Leverage: eToro’s leverage is limited to 2x, making it less attractive for those looking to maximize their returns with higher power levels.
After the first crypto-related ban in 2023 that affected many from the sector, the 2023 proposal to ban all private crypto assets is having a similar effect. With the decision expected “soon,” and no specific timeline, traders and service providers remain uncertain about the expected announcement.
This has not stopped industry members from appealing to regulators. Recently, Sumit Gupta, co-founder, and CEO of CoinDCX, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms spoke on behalf of the crypto community in India. He requested the Indian government to regulate crypto assets “as a store of value and not as another currency,” instead of banning it altogether. He wrote:
As one of India’s key players in this industry, our request to the government would be to regulate crypto assets as a store of value and not as another currency. We would love to initiate dialogues with the concerned stakeholders in the government and help the country take ownership of its rightful place on the global crypto stage.
India’s policymakers first sounded the alarm on Bitcoin and other private cryptocurrencies back in 2023. A year after that, its central bank, Reserve Bank of India, banned banks from associating with crypto accounts. This impacted local crypto businesses and even retailers to an extent. However, the Supreme Court of India deemed the move unconstitutional in March last year, only to watch the crypto sector boom afterward, alongside a furious Bitcoin rally of 2023.
A year after the ban was lifted, nearly $13.9 billion flowed into the industry creating close to 7.5 million active traders. As a result, even the average trading volume in the country grew by 500%.
A current ban could choke an industry that, to say the least, is still nascent. As Arpit Agarwal, the Director at Blume Ventures that invested in Bengaluru-based crypto exchange Unocoin cautioned: if regulators authorize the ban, the Indian crypto community “will be back to the status where we were in 2023.” He believed that their best efforts were in educating lawmakers.
The ban sparked criticism among crypto members in US, like Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase, who did not support India’s decision to ban crypto. He believed this ruling would reverse the nation’s economy and cost it trillions of dollars. According to him, this ban would be similar to “banning the financial internet” from entering the nation of 1.36 billion people. Srinivasan predicted that the crypto ban could force businesses to leave the country, which would then result in capital flight.
We want to make sure that there is a window available for all kinds of experiments which will have to take place in the crypto world.”
There will be a very calibrated position taken on cryptocurrency.
Interestingly, the latest proposal to ban crypto runs parallel to RBI’s plans to issue a digital rupee, a project similar to China’s e-yuan. According to the central bank’s governor, Shaktikanta Das, the CBDC is “receiving full attention.” Some Bitcoin critics in the nation, such as billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala want regulators to focus on the digital rupee and ban the crypto.
Bitcoin and other private cryptos such as Ethereum have been at the center of increasing mainstream attention. This increased the global crypto market cap by more than $1 trillion, largely due to Bitcoin’s own market cap surge to a trillion dollars.
Since India is the 11th largest nation in terms of crypto adoption, a heavy-handed ruling could lead to backdoor problems. Some believed that the ban would impact genuine businesses that “complied with the government,” and investors who “declared their holdings,” while the rest of the sector could spill into “unregulated grey markets” that will operate on the government’s blindside.
Upon first glance, the Unconventional Computing Laboratory looks like a regular workspace, with computers and scientific instruments lining its clean, smooth countertops. But if you look closely, the anomalies start appearing. A series of videos shared with PopSci show the weird quirks of this research: On top of the cluttered desks, there are large plastic containers with electrodes sticking out of a foam-like substance, and a massive motherboard with tiny oyster mushrooms growing on top of it.
No, this lab isn’t trying to recreate scenes from “The Last of Us.” The researchers there have been working on stuff like this for awhile: It was founded in 2001 with the belief that the computers of the coming century will be made of chemical or living systems, or wetware, that are going to work in harmony with hardware and software.
Why? Integrating these complex dynamics and system architectures into computing infrastructure could in theory allow information to be processed and analyzed in new ways. And it’s definitely an idea that has gained ground recently, as seen through experimental biology-based algorithms and prototypes of microbe sensors and kombucha circuit boards.
In other words, they’re trying to see if mushrooms can carry out computing and sensing functions.
A mushroom motherboard. Andrew Adamatzky
With fungal computers, mycelium—the branching, web-like root structure of the fungus—acts as conductors as well as the electronic components of a computer. (Remember, mushrooms are only the fruiting body of the fungus.) They can receive and send electric signals, as well as retain memory.
“I mix mycelium cultures with hemp or with wood shavings, and then place it in closed plastic boxes and allow the mycelium to colonize the substrate, so everything then looks white,” says Andrew Adamatzky, director of the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK. “Then we insert electrodes and record the electrical activity of the mycelium. So, through the stimulation, it becomes electrical activity, and then we get the response.” He notes that this is the UK’s only wet lab—one where chemical, liquid, or biological matter is present—in any department of computer science.
Preparing to record dynamics of electrical resistance of hemp shaving colonized by oyster fungi. Andrew Adamatzky
The classical computers today see problems as binaries: the ones and zeros that represent the traditional approach these devices use. However, most dynamics in the real world cannot always be captured through that system. This is the reason why researchers are working on technologies like quantum computers (which could better simulate molecules) and living brain cell-based chips (which could better mimic neural networks), because they can represent and process information in different ways, utilizing a series of complex, multi-dimensional functions, and provide more precise calculations for certain problems.
Already, scientists know that mushrooms stay connected with the environment and the organisms around them using a kind of “internet” communication. You may have heard this referred to as the wood wide web. By deciphering the language fungi use to send signals through this biological network, scientists might be able to not only get insights about the state of underground ecosystems, and also tap into them to improve our own information systems.
An illustration of the fruit bodies of Cordyceps fungi. Irina Petrova Adamatzky
Mushroom computers could offer some benefits over conventional computers. Although they can’t ever match the speeds of today’s modern machines, they could be more fault tolerant (they can self-regenerate), reconfigurable (they naturally grow and evolve), and consume very little energy.
Slime molds are “intelligent,” which means that they can figure out their way around problems, like finding the shortest path through a maze without programmers giving them exact instructions or parameters about what to do. Yet, they can be controlled as well through different types of stimuli, and be used to simulate logic gates, which are the basic building blocks for circuits and electronics.
[Related: What Pong-playing brain cells can teach us about better medicine and AI]
Recording electrical potential spikes of hemp shaving colonized by oyster fungi. Andrew Adamatzky
When he had wrapped up his slime mold projects, Adamatzky wondered if anything interesting would happen if they started working with mushrooms, an organism that’s both similar to, and wildly different from, Physarum. “We found actually that mushrooms produce action potential-like spikes. The same spikes as neurons produce,” he says. “We’re the first lab to report about spiking activity of fungi measured by microelectrodes, and the first to develop fungal computing and fungal electronics.”
An example of how spiking activity can be used to make gates. Andrew Adamatzky
In the brain, neurons use spiking activities and patterns to communicate signals, and this property has been mimicked to make artificial neural networks. Mycelium does something similar. That means researchers can use the presence or absence of a spike as their zero or one, and code the different timing and spacing of the spikes that are detected to correlate to the various gates seen in computer programming language (or, and, etc). Further, if you stimulate mycelium at two separate points, then conductivity between them increases, and they communicate faster, and more reliably, allowing memory to be established. This is like how brain cells form habits.
Mycelium with different geometries can compute different logical functions, and they can map these circuits based on the electrical responses they receive from it. “If you send electrons, they will spike,” says Adamatzky. “It’s possible to implement neuromorphic circuits… We can say I’m planning to make a brain from mushrooms.”
Hemp shavings in the shaping of a brain, injected with chemicals. Andrew Adamatzky
So far, they’ve worked with oyster fungi (Pleurotus djamor), ghost fungi (Omphalotus nidiformis), bracket fungi (Ganoderma resinaceum), Enoki fungi (Flammulina velutipes), split gill fungi (Schizophyllum commune) and caterpillar fungi (Cordyceps militari).
The big data market is strong and thriving — although it isn’t always called “big data” these days.
The term “big data” first became part of the tech lexicon in the late 1990s, when people like John Mashey at SGI began using the phrase to describe the enormous and growing stores of enterprise data that were difficult to store and analyze using the technology available at the time.
In 2001, analyst Doug Laney suggested a definition of big data that included three Vs: volume, velocity and variety. Over the next few years, Laney’s definition became something of an industry standard, and some people added a fourth V — variability — to the definition.
In 2005, big data technology took a dramatic step forward when Yahoo debuted the Hadoop open source distributed data store. The project became the lynchpin for an entire ecosystem of commercial and open source data storage and analytics solutions.
In 2014, IDC and EMC released their most recent digital universe study, which revealed that the amount of data stored by the world’s digital systems is growing by 40 percent per year. The companies predicted that by 2023, the digital universe would include 44 zettabytes of information. That’s nearly as many bits as there are stars in the universe, and it’s enough information to fill a stack of 2014-era tablets stretching to the moon 6.6 times.
Today, big data certainly hasn’t become any smaller, but the size of growing data stores no longer gets as much attention as it once did. Instead, most organizations are focused on analytics, data science and machine learning. They have accepted that managing big data is simply a part of doing business; if they want to compete and succeed, they need to find ways to turn those big data stores into valuable insights.
Enterprise spending on big data technologies continues to climb as it has for the past decade. According to IDC, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics are likely to grow from $150.8 billion in 2023 to $210 billion in 2023. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 11.9 percent.
“After years of traversing the adoption S-curve, big data and business analytics solutions have finally hit mainstream,” said Dan Vesset, an IDC group vice president. “BDA as an enabler of decision support and decision automation is now firmly on the radar of top executives. This category of solutions is also one of the key pillars of enabling digital transformation efforts across industries and business processes globally.”
And organizations are reporting that their big data initiatives are having a positive impact on their bottom line. In the NewVantage Partners Big Data Executive Survey, 80.7 percent of respondents said that their big data investments had been successful, and 48.4 percent said that they had realized measurable benefits as a result of their big data initiatives.
Those sorts of results are likely to encourage enterprises to continue investing in big data, but the types of big data solutions they are adopting are shifting. According to Forrester Research, “The shift to the cloud for big data is on. In fact, global spending on big data solutions via cloud subscriptions will grow almost 7.5 times faster than on-premise subscriptions.” The firm added, “Furthermore, public cloud was the number one technology priority for big data according to our 2024 and 2023 surveys of data analytics professionals.”
As the big data market has matured, vendors have developed a wide variety of different big data technologies to meet enterprises’ needs. This is a very broad market, but most big data solutions fall into one of the following categories:
Business intelligence (BI): Business intelligence solutions provide analytics and reporting capabilities on business data typically stored in a data warehouse. According to Gartner, the BI and analytics market is forecast to increase from $18.3 billion in 2023 to $22.8 billion in 2023. However, this is slower growth than in the past.
Data mining: Data mining is a broad category that encompasses a wide variety of techniques for finding patterns in big data. While many big data solutions still offer data mining capabilities, the term has fallen somewhat out of favor as vendors instead are using terms like “predictive analytics” and “machine learning” to describe their solutions.
Data integration: One of the big challenges with big data analytics is gathering all the relevant data from disparate sources and converting it into a format that allows for it to be analyzed easily. This had led to a whole crop of data integration solutions, which are sometimes also called ETL (short for “extract, transform, load”) solutions. According to Markets and Markets, data integration revenues could be worth $12.4 billion by 2023.
Data management: This category of solutions includes tools that help organizations integrate, clean, store, secure and assure the quality of their digital data. Markets and Markets predicted that this category of big data tools could generate $105.2 billion in revenue by 2023.
Open source technologies: Many of the most widely used big data technologies are available under open source licenses. In particular, technologies like Hadoop and Spark, which are managed by the Apache Foundation, have become very popular. Many vendors offer commercially supported versions of these open source big data technologies.
Data lakes: A data lake is a repository that ingests data from a wide variety of sources and stores it in its native format. This is a little different than a data warehouse, which stores data that has been cleaned and formatted for analytics. Data lakes are popular with organizations that want to perform analytics on both structured and unstructured data.
NoSQL databases: Unlike relational database management systems (RDBMSes), NoSQL databases don’t store information in traditional tables with rows and columns. Instead, they use other models, such as columns, documents or graphs for tracking data. Many enterprises use NoSQL databases for storing unstructured data for analytics.
Predictive analytics: Currently one of the most popular forms of big data analytics, predictive analytics looks at historical trends in order to offer a good estimate about what might happen in the future. Many modern predictive analytics solutions incorporate machine learning capabilities so that their forecasts become more accurate over time. A Zion Market Research report said spending on predictive analytics could climb from $3.49 billion in 2024 to $10.95 billion by 2023.
Prescriptive analytics: Prescriptive analytics goes a step farther than predictive analytics. In addition to telling organizations what is likely to happen in the future, these solutions also offer suggested courses of action in order to achieve desired results. Experts say few (if any) big data analytics solutions currently on the market have true prescriptive capabilities, but this is an area of intense research for vendors.
In-memory databases: In-memory technology makes big data analytics much, much faster. In any computer system, accessing data in memory (also sometimes called RAM) is much faster than accessing stored data on a hard drive or solid state drive. In-memory databases allow users to store vast quantities of data in memory, yielding dramatic speed boosts.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Many next-generation big data analytics tools incorporate machine learning, which is a subcategory of artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning uses algorithms to help systems get better at tasks over time without explicit programming. This is one of the fastest-growing areas of the big data market.
Data science platforms: Many vendors have begun labelling their big data analytics solutions as “data science platforms.” Products in this category typically incorporate many different capabilities in a unified platform. Nearly all the products in this category have some analytics and machine learning features, and many also have data integration or data management features as well.
Given that the market includes so many different types of big data solutions, it should be no surprise that an extremely long list of companies offer big data products. The list below includes some of the best-known big data companies, but there are many others.
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