Kin Cheung / AP

Bitcoin has been leading the digital currency market, doubling in value since the beginning of 2017. But now, Ether (another digital currency hosted on the platform Ethereum) is quickly surpassing Bitcoin: As of Monday, Ether units were worth "82 percent as much as all the Bitcoin in existence," per NYT. For context, Ether was worth just 5% of Bitcoin's value at the start of the year.

Why it matters: Although individual investors are typically the ones buying Bitcoin and Ether, the recent spikes in value for both suggest a wave of interest and investment in digital currency that could make it more mainstream.

Battle lines: Ether has received backing from companies like JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft. but it's far from becoming a mainstream currency platform, despite its meteoric 4,600% increase in value this year. Meanwhile, Bitcoin has been puncturing the e-commerce market, with companies like Expedia and Overstock.com accepting the digital currency.

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Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Monday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.