Discover more from Not Boring by Packy McCormick
Weekly Dose of Optimism #59
Crusoe, Frontier, Moon Sniper, China Slowdown, Fury
Hi friends 👋,
Happy Friday and welcome back to our 59th Weekly Dose of Optimism.
Summer is over. Football is back. Onward.
Let’s get to it.
Today’s Not Boring is brought to you by... Fundrise
Venture capital has finally been democratized. You can now invest like the largest LPs in the world, gaining access to one of the best performing asset classes of the last 20+ years.
Fundrise is actively investing in some of the most prized private tech firms in the world—including those leading the AI revolution.
This first-of-its-kind product has removed nearly all of the typical barriers that gatekeep VC by offering:
No accreditation required.
No 2-and-20 fees.
No membership fees.
The lowest venture investment minimum ever offered.
Join America’s largest direct-access alternative asset manager and the more than 2 million people already using Fundrise.
Packy had the founders of Crusoe Energy on the pod. Crusoe is one of the most inventive and ambitious projects we’ve come across recently. The company’s mission is to align the future of computing with the future of the climate. How do they do that?
Crusoe taps into stranded energy — methane being flared or excess production from clean and renewable sources — to power the compute resources. Its initial focus was on bitcoin and crypto mining, but has recently focused in on building AI-specific cloud offerings.
For energy companies, Crusoe provides a new revenue stream and alternative to wasteful and environmentally-damaging flaring.
For clients, Crusoe is able to provide affordable compute resources by trading lower energy costs for a few extra milliseconds of latency, which matters much less for things like mining or training AI models than it does for normal internet stuff.
People are going to use more compute regardless. It’s inevitable and it’s a good thing. Crusoe meets the demand for more data centers in a way that also reduces emissions. Abundance mindset. Capitalism at its finest.
Frontier has facilitated $7M of carbon removal purchases from 12 companies—Airhive, Alkali Earth, Banyu Carbon, Carbon Atlantis, CarbonBlue, CarbonRun, EDAC Labs, Holocene, Mati, Planetary Technologies, Spiritus Technologies, and Vaulted Deep—on behalf of buyers Stripe, Shopify, and H&M Group.
We’ve covered Frontier a fair amount here at Not Boring. As a reminder, Frontier is an advance market commitment (AMC) to buy an initial $1B+ of permanent carbon removal between 2022 and 2030. It was founded by Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, McKinsey and tens of thousands of businesses using Stripe Climate.
The AMC announced its third round of carbon removal purchases, totaling $7M across 12 companies. Notably, Frontier received 7x the number of applications for the program this round versus its first batch in 2020 — which is kind of the point of the AMC. Pre-establish demand in order to pull-forward supply. There’s still a long ways to go in terms of satisfying that demand (only a small portion of the $1B commitment has been allocated), which leads us to believe we’ll see a wave of supply (carbon removal projects) come on-line in the next couple of years.
Kantaro Komiya for Reuters
Japan launched a lunar exploration spacecraft on Thursday aboard a homegrown H-IIA rocket, hoping to become the world's fifth country to land on the moon early next year.
Just two weeks after India became the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon, Japan launched its own lunar-bound spacecraft. Beyond establishing Japan’s independent space capabilities, the expedition is meant to achieve a precise lunar landing — meaning landing the spacecraft at an exact location on the moon rather landing wherever it can. Once the craft lands, its mission is to test advanced optical and image processing technology, and then analyze some rock sites that could give insight into the origins of the moon.
As the space race heats up, the moon has become a location of renewed interest. There are limited resources on the moon, and countries are racing to secure those resources since they will eventually be needed to power further, deeper exploration.
Our friends at Pirate Wires are going to need to hurry up if they want to make Moon a State.
Jasmine Ng for Bloomberg
China is no longer set to eclipse the US as the world’s biggest economy soon, and it may never consistently pull ahead to claim the top spot as the nation’s confidence slump becomes more entrenched.
China’s rise over the past 40 years has lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty. That economic rise has done just about as much as any other trend to increase global average quality of life standards during the period. And its established China as the world’s second largest economy and, perhaps, the second most powerful nation.
But, hard times are ahead for China. It has an aging population, its exports are dropping, and its real estate market is plunging. It’s likely heading into a recession, if not an economic depression. These factors combined means that GDP growth will continue to slow, and according to Bloomberg, slow to a rate at which China will not overtake the US’ economy for nearly 20 years (if it ever does).
This isn’t just us cheering bad stuff happening to China — as we mentioned at the top, an economically weak China likely means millions of more folks living in poverty. We’re not in the business of Sino-schadenfreude. But China troubles are, in this case, most likely the U.S.’ treasures. China’s troubles could lead to reduced inflation in the U.S. which would make lowering interest rates more tenable, which would then boost an already-strong U.S. economic momentum. Noah Smith broke it all down here.
Whether or not an economically weaker China is a net-net “good thing” is up for interpretation. Could it make China more likely to provoke war? Could it weaken Xi’s/CCP’s grip on the population? Who are we to say. But, what we can say with some degree of certainty is that China’s economy is in a tough place while the US capitalist machine chugs along.
Ensuring that economic conflicts don’t overheat into wars is partially about deterrence. The U.S. doesn’t just have the best funded, most powerful military in the world to ensure that we can win any war, but also to prevent other nations from even attempting to start one. The military deters and defends.
And we do so, in part, by having the most advances military technologies and defense systems. Not Boring Capital portfolio company, Anduril, is arguably the most exciting defense company in the space right now — having transformed from sensors, to drones, to now a full fleet of land, air, and sea vehicles.
On Thursday, Anduril founder Palmer Luckey announced that it had acquired Blue Force Technologies and unveiled its newest platform, Fury: a high-performance, multi-mission group 5 autonomous air vehicle, which is capable of pulling 9Gs at Mach 0.95 for a tiny fraction of the cost of similarly performant fighter craft. It’s unmanned, which means fewer human pilots in harmed way.
Equipping the military with cutting-edge, affordable technology like Fury should only further deterrence and ensure economic wars stay economic.
That’s all for this week. We’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday.
Thanks for reading,
Dan + Packy