1. President Biden’s New Executive Order Is A Promising Step On The Road To Crypto Innovation In The US
This week, the White House released President Biden’s proposed “Executive Order on ensuring responsible development of digital assets,” a long-awaited directive and an encouraging sign for the future of crypto in the US. As highlighted in the White House Crypto Fact Sheet, the executive order calls for measures to:
- Protect US consumers, investors, and businesses.
- Protect US and global financial stability and mitigate systemic risk.
- Mitigate the finance and national security risks posed by the illicit use of digital assets.
- Promote US leadership in technology and economic competitiveness.
- Promote equitable access to safe and affordable financial services.
- Support technological advances and ensure responsible development and use of digital assets.
- Explore a US Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
As US Congressman Tom Emmer pointed out, however, the executive order does not offer an ideal regulatory framework, given its:
- Lack of emphasis on decentralization and the importance of supporting the most decentralized cryptoassets.
- Overemphasis on pursuing a US CBDC as the primary response to an unmet financial service need that a network like Bitcoin solves.
That said, the US appears committed to finding advantageous ways to deploy digital asset technology that will facilitate innovation and widespread crypto adoption by citizens and institutions in the US. ARK will be paying close attention to the forthcoming policies associated with the President’s directive.
2. Microfluidics and Deep Learning Can Be Combined to Sort Living Cells
For over a century, biologists have studied how different types of cells look under a microscope. This early form of basic science has enabled cytopathologists to use high-power imaging tools to distinguish between malignant and benign cells and predict how aggressive a tumor might be. The visual analysis of single cells is labor-intensive and subjective, partially explaining why more recent quantitative methods, such as next-generation sequencing, are gaining in popularity.
Deepcell, a technology spinout from Stanford, recently published its flagship paper on COSMOS—the company’s deep learning-based platform for identifying, sorting, and enriching single cells. Trained on HD images of 1.5 billion single cells, Deepcell’s AI can recognize subtle visual features of living cells and sort them into a microfluidic chamber, as shown in Figure A here, potentially separating cancerous cells from healthy human cells.
Unlike other cell-sorting methods, Deepcell’s approach does not require scientists to label cells with fluorescent dyes or rely on a narrow set of sorting criteria. Given Deepcell’s success in using deep learning, we believe new AI models could isolate many types of cells and make them more prevalent in research studies. By making rare target cells more common in a mixture of malignant and benign cells, a researcher should save time, energy, and money on downstream analyses, giving COSMOS broad applicability in such areas as diagnostics, drug discovery, and synthetic biology.
3. Apple TV+ Clinches A Major League Baseball Deal
During its “Peek Performance” event last week, Apple announced that it would stream some Friday night Major League Baseball games exclusively on Apple TV+, suggesting that they would not be broadcast on the teams’ regional sports networks (RSN). A huge win for Apple, this deal has significant ramifications for the broader TV landscape.
According to Kagan Research, roughly 18.5 million households have cut the cord, reducing US linear household TV consumption by 22% since the end of 2019. With approximately 68 million households in the US, linear TV still controls live sports distribution, but times are changing in sports as well. As previous ARK research postulated, “Now that players with more cash and reach––Amazon, Apple, and Google––are using streaming as customer acquisition channels for their core businesses, their digital bidding budgets seem likely to scale to heights that linear TV will find difficult to match.”
The combination of cord-cutting and deep-pocketed players aiming to attract streaming deals is likely to compel sports leagues to move increasingly towards streaming. Advertising is likely to be the primary catalyst. According to Roku, only 18% of TV ad budgets have migrated from linear to streaming TV, despite the fact that streaming now accounts for 45% of consumer TV viewing time. Once advertisers catch up to that reality, sports leagues are likely to follow.
4. Stripe Has Reengaged With The Crypto Community
Earlier this week, payments processor Stripe announced it will offer some of its products to crypto companies like FTX, Nifty Gateway, and Blockchain.com, among others. To become a seamless bridge between traditional and crypto infrastructure, Stripe is offering a number of services: fiat-to-crypto onramps, banking-as-a-service APIs for crypto wallets, fraud detection, and identity verification. With Stripe’s identity product, for example, crypto exchange FTX “significantly reduced the number of rejections of new investors” recently.
The new offerings follow its previous attempt in 2014 to enable Bitcoin as the “IP layer of payments”. After merchants lost interest in accepting bitcoin as a form of payment, Stripe discontinued the service in 2018. In 2020, Stripe co-founder John Collison stated that “buying things online with cryptocurrencies” hadn’t reached “big scale and product market fit yet.” Last year, Stripe changed course again, building a team focused on crypto that now employs at least 20 people.1
 Based on LinkedIn, Strip currently has 20 employees who have the word “crypto” in their titles or role descriptions.