While progress is often described as a persistent march forward, a more accurate metaphor might be something more in line with a dance, where the dancer takes two steps forward and one back, over and over. Taking those steps forward this week, there is Zillow quietly building an entirely new digital ecosystem for real estate. There is also robotics taking a new giant step forward in San Francisco – this time with the world’s first robo-barista – or inclusion taking a big step forward in sub-Saharan Africa, where access to mobile means access to money for an emerging class of consumers. But where there are steps forward, there will inevitably be their opposite – and doing the back-stepping side of the dance this week are cryptocurrencies, whose values have been fighting unsuccessfully with gravity all year.
175.5 million: Zillow’s estimated monthly active users count.
$19 billion: The total amount of value the cryptocurrency managed to lose in a single day this week.
6.5 million: Number of Kenyans who have received loans from a mobile lending app.
$100,000: The amount of money in a Thiel Foundation grant it took to build the first robotic barista out of sheet metal.
57 percent: The amount bitcoin is down from its peak price.
20 percent: Share of European banking customers that have used a personal finance app in the last 12 months.