DaveTradesCrypto – The Diary of an Unmade Man – Ep2

Episode Two – ‘So what really is this crypto lark?’

 

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Want to learn what Crypto, Blockchain and Bitcoin is? Well, so did I!

I was looking forward to getting rich quick, and making multiple millions of whatever currency I wanted and it was all going to be as easy as a quick stroll in the park. I did realise I would actually need to start finding out about this alien new world and learning what certain things actually were, and what certain terms actually meant, otherwise it really was going to be a car crash! So I set about it. I book marked a day in the diary to really sit down and learn. To scroll through the wonderful world of internet searches and wikipedia explanations, and to start to unravel a terrifyingly puzzling world. I decided to start with the basics (at least I made a decent start!);

  • What is blockchain?
  • What is cryptocurrency?
  • What is Bitcoin?
  • How did Bitcoin start?
  • How does Bitcoin work?
  • What is mining?

After a bit of keyboard poking, much head scratching and confused monitor stare-downs, I decided I needed to reduce the jargon and bring it down to layman terms – I am a tradesman after all. I acquired an old fashioned pen and pad of paper from a near defunct drawer in the office and started to come up with my own answers. Basically I whittled down most of the technical jargon and make it palatable for myself to understand. I am an average consumer, let’s not forget that. I do not understand computer science, coding or anything of a real technical computing nature. But I do have an understanding of how I like to understand things, simple! And a quick note for developers; from my point of view, if you are unable to explain something to a child then how are the mainstream going to adopt something? After all, humans DO NOT like change! Not everyone can, and will be able to read and/or write code, whereas we can tap a button on a phone screen, and we do like pretty icons!

With scratchy eyeballs and squared vision I realised I’d learnt a hell of a lot, I was ready to conquer the world. Coinbase here I come…

 

…’After all, humans DO NOT like change!…’

 

Armed with my new found, kindergarten level of knowledge, I felt ready to tackle the next task; buy me some Bitcoin! Thankfully after listening to the CRYPTO 101 all week I had gained some knowledge of a place called ‘Coinbase’. This was supposedly the place to go for Bitcoin virgins; so that’s where I headed. To my surprise I was greeted by a decent looking website, and some more mysterious coins?! Ethereum? Litecoin? What are these bad boys all about?! Obviously there’s Bitcoin but there’s more choice, oh dear this could get messy! I spent a few minutes poking around and I’ll be honest it’s a not a bad website. It looks exactly like a slick, well oiled, multi million dollar website should look like. It’s appealing to the eye, it looks like someone has thought;

‘Ok, so what do new people to this crypto market want? Yeah, that’s right, some more of exactly what they are used to already in a mainstream market. A good looking website that looks like it’s easy to navigate. Let’s not change anything to scare anyone off, especially by overcomplicating things, no, let’s keep it nice and simple. After all the Joe public LOVE simple!!’ 

Boom! That right there is A-grade, numero uno. First up, foremost, make it look good and keep it simple! Honestly, I know now that guys are looking to create Web 2.0 or whatever they call it, but trust me, it is really not blockchain/computer/nuclear/quantum/physic science! Please guys, just keep it simple! 

Google; you tap the search button and away you go. Amazon; you look for what you want, and hey presto, you click it and buy it. Twitter; you type in what you’re looking for and, damn, scrolling is hard right?! Ebay, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Uber. They are all adopted by the masses, for one reason, they are easy to use! What happens when they change something? There’s uproar, because developers start meddling with things. Humans DO NOT like change! (remember?!) Making things overcomplicated and difficult to use is an idea/company killer. Before Google there was Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and various others but Google made it easiest and most convenient to search for something, that’s why it stuck!

Signing up to Coinbase was relatively easy, although I did have a bit of scepticism giving my details still not wholly believing in the security issues associated with crypto. I’m new and my trust levels are currently quite low until proven otherwise. I then tried adding my credit card to transfer a payment and basically choked on my brew at how much they wanted to charge me for automatically converting my Great British Pounds into Euros! I nearly gave up at that point, genuine! But I’d come too far, I was determined to see this through. I took a little trip to the good ole Youtube and found what I was after. A little workaround via an app called Revolut, I converted my GBP into Euros and transferred it across to Coinbase. The first of many, many codes found it’s way into my shiny new notebook and there I sat patiently waiting for my monies to find it’s way across cyber-space. Jeez, it took it’s time! I know patience is a virtue, but it was definitely sketchy having to wait 2 whole days for it to appear! With the money then safely in my newly established Coinbase account I headed back to Youtube and CRYPTO 101 to find out where to go next.

I did the usual GDAX set up and switch across from Coinbase, with again, a little help from Youtube (thank god for youtube, I’d barely be able to tie my own shoelaces in the morning!). GDAX however, is a different beast to Coinbase. It is 100% overwhelming to start with, and I had a near on epileptic fit the first time I sat there watching the numbers and lines moving about the screen like an army of bustling ants! I am not a trader of any kind, and I am extremely new to all this exchange lark so it really didn’t make any sense. I’d listened to CRYPTO 101 about ‘Maker and Taker’ fees – didn’t fully understand it but hey why not just give it a go. I didn’t have a clue whether anything was trading up or down that day but I did know basic rule #1; buy red, sell green! I’d worked out about the green and red lines and decided to get involved. Limit and Stop didn’t make a whole deal of sense either but I’d guessed Market was a my kind of level to start with. I’d transferred about £100 to play with, so I put that in and hey presto I’d bought me some Bitcoin. I must admit it was a good feeling, it had taken long enough to get to this point. And having some sort of ‘internet money’ made me feel like part of an exclusive community. I’d made my first move, I was officially a crypto investor. I now just had to work out how to transfer it back to relative safety and then it was all systems go, strapping on my seat belt and getting ready to ride this ship to the moon!

I’d had my first taste, I didn’t fully understand how much I had bought or what it was worth, but I was ready for some more. I transferred another few quid across and got to work filling other people’s bank accounts with my hard earned money. Slow down you fool, just slow down god dammit! I’d promised the missus only a couple of hundred quid. I’d doubled it, and it was only day 1. I was in the doghouse and I needed to get myself out. Sharpish!

 

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If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please go back and check out my others. If you’ve already done that, never fear, I am looking to write a post every week, and get something posted at the weekends.

Next up;  Episode Three – ‘Walk before you can run!

As ever, thanks for reading and happy trading folks!

 

Dave x

 

E – davetradescrypto@gmail.com

T – @DaveDustpan

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Taylor Monahan on Starting a Crypto Business


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The creator of both My Etherum Wallet and now MyCrypto.com, Taylor Monahan, joined us for another discussion in what is fast becoming a mainstay of the Crypto 101 podcast. This time the topic of conversation was what to expect when building a crypto company from the ground up. Taylor has had ample experience — including mistakes made and lessons learned — and she shared some of her journey with us.

For most of us, our journey into the crypto space began as a hobby. We all learned about this strange concept called ‘the blockchain’ or had a friend who was evangelistic about Bitcoin. For most, being interested and engaged in the cryptosphere as a hobby is more than enough and a perfectly interesting and enjoyable past-time — maybe even a way to see some return on investment. But for some, that hobby has the potential to begin blossoming into something a bit more complex. Crypto 101 is the perfect example of an interest-turned-hobby-turned-potential business.

But when should a hobby become something more official? Should it ever? If you are interested in developing a company around blockchain or cryptocurrency, Taylor has some hard-won advice and some passionate concerns.

Her advice on when to start putting formalities in place is it is always best to be early rather than late. Below are some practical steps derived from lessons learned along the way. Taylor’s initial warning is that “these things take time and they’re not fun” but that doesn’t take away from their importance.

As everyone’s circumstances are different it is impossible to give a blanket “this is what you need to do” list. The first thing Taylor says when asked the “when do you make the call to start a crypto business” is:

You’ll know

We can’t answer this for you. But Taylor’s advice is that you’ll know when you know. Maybe you are unhappy in your current position, or perhaps the income you are receiving from your crypto hobby is starting to look competitive with your other income streams. The main thing to be concerned about here is to be reasonable and prepared. This is not something to take lightly or begin on a whim. Which leads to the next point.

Figure out if it is reasonable

Sometimes hobbies are so enjoyable because they are hobbies. Turning a hobby into work isn’t always the best idea. Be reasonable. Make sure to be as objective as possible before you turn this fun side project into something you are depending on for your next meal or rent payment. Things can go bad, and fast — we will come back to this.

Be mentally and organizationally prepared

Taylor stressed to not assume you can just figure it out as you go. You need to prepare yourself mentally for the task ahead. Not only that but you need to be organised. Make a list, have a plan. If you have a plan you are preparing yourself well for when circumstances change — because they will change. Don’t be scared when they do. Be flexible. Part of that plan involves being clear with business partners about expectations. These are people who have mouths to feed and bills to pay too. Treat them with respect.

Put it on paper and be clear on expectations

Be proactive and do the things that aren’t fun early. Write up contracts/agreements before it gets uncomfortable or messy. Be clear with each other up front.

These are just a few well-earned lessons from a pioneer in the crypto world. They bear a similar theme — that is that they are all rather simple and practical.

An important warning

So should a hobby be turned into a job? Taylor’s most passionate advice came not from mistakes she has made but worries she now has. If your hobby turns into a job for other people too, if your crypto company pays people, you now have a LOT of responsibility. You then have people that depend on you. If your company makes a misstep, that could result in people not being paid, or worse, losing their job. This is not to be taken lightly, and making sure you get the boring stuff right upfront can guard against this nightmare.

A last word

During the interview, Dani brought up a well-known business mantra — “fail fast” — and wondered if Taylor agreed. The mantra is designed to encourage people to find their weaknesses and fail quickly in order to minimize the damage and negative effects the failure brings. Taylor’s take on this was insightful and especially true for the crypto space. Her reasoning was more along the lines of ‘act fast.’ Get something to market, something people can engage with. Because “you have no idea how people will use your product.” Once it is out in the open you can learn what the community likes and dislikes and what they are using your creation for, thus giving you the opportunity to hone and tailor your product or service to be more effective.

If you haven’t listened to the episode yet, click the link below to hear our candid discussion with Taylor.


Crypto 101 interview with Taylor — here

Intro to privacy coins w/ Snappy Snap of PIVX

 

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Cryptocurrencies come wrapped in many kinds of packaging: altcoins, memecoins, stablecoins… and of course everyone’s favorite: shitcoins. Among these potentially confusing categories you are likely to find mention of the privacy coin. What differentiates a privacy coin from the others… and what exactly are their purpose?

For today’s Crypto 101 interview we are given an overview of privacy coins from our guest Bryan (aka Snappy Snap) of the PIVX community. Understanding this subcategory of cryptocurrency is fortunately not that complicated — but the conversation did open a number of other questions about the future of the cryptosphere, the way people connect within it, and how the powers that be may impact it. Let’s dig in.

The essential feature of a privacy coin (and PIVX in particular), is to protect its users from sharing personal financial information. PIVX puts this aspect front and center with its name: Private, Instant, Verified Transaction. Detractors of cryptocurrency like to use Bitcoin’s past association with the Silk Road website and inaccurately paint it as private and anonymous… therefore ideal for illegal transactions.

Bitcoin, however, is most certainly not a privacy coin which provides this anonymity. As its blockchain is a transparent and very public transaction history. The amount of and time of Bitcoin transactions are easily viewable with the block explorer. Snappy also points out that Bitcoin provides no IP masking (which makes identifying a user even easier).

Privacy as it relates to cryptocurrencies is often painted as a negative thing, and only of interest to criminals or people who are involved in questionable activities. In actuality, privacy is the reason you have curtains on your windows and a door on the bathroom. However, there’s no digital curtain to pull over your Bitcoin transactions — your wallet address holds your transaction history and balance up for inspection by any who care to look. Whether that be a curious look or a malicious one is anyone’s guess.

In response to Bitcoin user’s vulnerability, small pockets of developers began to work on improving the privacy aspect of cryptocurrency. Most notably, the zerocoin protocol was developed as an extension of Bitcoin which provided temporarily pooling and then trading the currency for ‘zerocoins,’ which obscured their transaction history. As a cryptocurrency in its own right, Zcoin was developed from the zerocoin protocol and then fully launched in 2016. PIVX became the first proof-of-stake currency to adopt the zerocoin protocol in 2017 .

Since that time, PIVX developed itself as a currency (units of which are called Piv) which is focused on inexpensive and speedy transactions with an option for privacy. Using the zerocoin protocol, Piv are converted into zPiv, making the currency completely fungible. Following conversion, the wallet, sender and receiver information become completely private. Instead of a one-to-one swap, base denominations (units of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000) are used to further obfuscate the transactions. The cost of sending a zPiv transaction is only 0.01 piv per minted denomination.

 

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of PIVX is the community which has developed around the currency. It defines itself as a digital autonomous organization (DAO) and has no central governance authority. Instead, a system of proposals are voted on regularly by the masternode operators. Developers and promoters earn their compensation in this way. Being a proof-of-stake blockchain, PIVX allows holders of the coin to participate in staking or running a masternode as well, both which net a monthly reward for helping to secure the network.

Regarding the privacy aspect of PIVX, Snappy notes that the community is aware that there is likely to be government scrutiny on the users in an attempt to tax the income. While the currency itself can be used to thwart outside efforts to audit transactions and balances, PIVX as a whole is eager to be at the forefront of digital asset projects which will help guide the discussion that will need to occur with governments to adapt to a world in which cryptoassets are destined to become an increasing piece of domestic and global economies. I personally feel that this demonstrates tremendous foresight on the part of the PIVX community.

PIVX is an interesting project which promotes the idea of community and interdependence in a way seldom seen in other cryptocurrency projects. It is at this level of community where the models we need as a whole will develop, and it very well may be that PIVX is a top contender in setting these new standards. For the adaptation for the cryptoeconomy to develop, survive and coexist with legacy models of economic participation, privacy and fungibility will be key components which demand our attention.


Check out the interview HERE

PIVX website

Autonio: An Algorithmic Cryptocurrency Trading App

Full disclosure: This post is an entry into a promotional bounty campaign for Autonio, and I am a NIO token holder at the time of this writing.

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Let’s make some money… right?

If you’re like me and new to the world of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, the prospect of profitable trading can be just as daunting as it is alluring. At the outset, it all sounds quite straightforward: identify a trend, calculate risk/reward, select some indicators and wait for the signals.

In practice, however, it is not so easy. Despite many hours of reading, taking notes and developing a plan I have made very few profitable trades, and many likely have had the same experience. The simple words of veteran traders ring true: this stuff isn’t easy.

Placing a buy order in a liquid market feels like being dropped into shark-infested waters. Illiquid markets are more like being picked off silently by snipers. Aribtrage is an anxiety-producing race from one exchange to another… with minimal upside. After various attempts to find a winning angle, the question remains: How will I ever turn a consistent trading profit?

It was the search for an answer to this question that led me to consider algorithmic trading, which is the use of a computer program to automate trade decisions. The program follows a set of user-defined settings to dictate when to place buy and sell orders. These applications are commonly referred to as trading bots or simply bots.

My search unfortunately led me to two disheartening facts: First, to use a trading bot you can either code them up yourself, or pay for someone else’s product. For the vast majority of us, this not even remotely feasible. Second, much of the commentary online mentions that using pre-existing trading bots is a shady prospect at best. The user experience is often reported to be confusing and you may not trade profitably enough to justify the hefty licensing fee.

Enter Autonio

I had just about written off the possibility of algorithmic trading entirely when I finally came across Autonio, which stood out to me due to a number of differences.

To begin with, it has own ERC20 token, NIO, which is used as “fuel” to activate Autonio (it is burned during this process). At a mere $50 per month (and a one-time $20 registration) it is substantially less expensive than other applications of its kind. As of the time of this writing, NIO is available on the Mercatox and IDEX exchanges.

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The circulating supply of NIO is 65,828,135 tokens, and up to 80% of the total will be burned. Should holders choose not to burn the NIO token, they will retain an asset which may appreciate as the supply diminishes. As a result, there are two potential ways to profit from the token.
Autonio also boasts 20 different technical indicators for users to employ in their trading. This greatly expands the repertoire of methods that a new trader is likely to master on their own. There are already dozens of available cryptoasset trading pairs, and the number of these are expected to grow significantly as the project continues.

Currently Autonio can be used with Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Bittrex, Kraken and QuadrigaCX exchanges, but a special collaboration to integrate Autonio with the closely-related BitShares and CryptoBridge DEX platforms is in development.

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How does it work?

Users connect the Autonio app to their exchange via the specific API associated with it. Once the registration fee and monthly subscription has been paid, the application is unlocked. Users are then able to proceed with back-testing any combination of the indicators they like, and can also live-test with real-time market conditions prior to trading real cryptocurrency. Developers of the program encourage trying a variety of indicators and settings to explore the most profitable combinations.

Autonio is currently available as a desktop application for IOS, Linux and Windows, with a mobile app for Android, too. Instructional YouTube videos created by the team give an overview of how to set it up and a review each of the indicators as well. An Autonio Traders Telegram chat also exists to discuss techniques, strategies and to get support.

In development

An algorithm marketplace is forthcoming which will provide indicator combinations with proven profit generating combinations (10% or better). In addition to the collaboration with BitShares and CryptoBridge, Autonio is purportedly working on developing its own exchange and may choose to launch another token (NIOEX) to provide discounts on trading fees and other privileges (details can be found here). Contests for the most profitable trading algorithms and other community-building events are slated for the near future as well.

Reputation

At the time of this writing, Autonio is undertaking a comprehensive promotional campaign to demonstrate that the project is legitimate and backed by a capable team, who have made themselves available for questions via a series of AMA threads in their official subReddit:

AMA #1 AMA #2 AMA #3 AMA #4 AMA #5

The website has been recently updated, and provides an abundance of information. A revised roadmap has also been released and it does appear that the team (who has faced a significant degree of doubt and frustration voiced by their Telegram community) has finally disclosed its members and is making progress on promises it has made.

Efforts to demonstrate the security of the tokens has been made as well. Being that the team tokens are locked in a multi-signature wallet (escrowed by James Drake of Embermine and Michael Morton of GNEISS) investors and users of the application can rest assured in the transparency of the team’s holdings. The Ethereum wallet which contains these NIO can be monitored HERE.

Public sentiment

While not yet the most relentlessly hyped project, there is quite a bit to indicate that many are excited about Autonio as well as the potential profitability of investment in NIO.

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The hype does not go without a bit of criticism, however. A couple of tweets point out potential risks… and does Autonio fit the definition of artificial intelligence, anyway?5NIO

Could there potentially be a risk of a backdoor attack?

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I personally have yet to try the application, but am curious to do so. I will leave it to someone with a more technical background to determine if Autonio fits the definition of AI as well as to assess any potential threat that installing the executable installation file on your computer may pose.

Bottom line

Autonio extolls the value of enabling emotional-free trading which is a source stress and costly mistakes for many. It brings tools and techniques used by professional traders to the average person, and in a much easier way than previous options. The token-as-fuel is a clever way to generate revenue and demand for the NIO token, and the team comes to the table with a working product versus a handful of promises.

Upcoming partnerships and community-building aspects suggest an enormous capacity to create connectivity within the cryptocurrency trading community overall. Although there are some potentially concerning aspects to the project (the credible yet vague threat that the platform could be an asset-depleting backdoor), the positives appear to far outweigh the negatives at this point. Time will tell, but on the whole the Autonio project looks well-suited to make an enormous splash on the crypto-trading scene.


Autonio Website HERE

Promotional Bounty Rules HERE

Telegram channel HERE

SubReddit HERE

YouTube HERE

DaveTradesCrypto – The Diary of an Unmade Man – Intro

Intro

 

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Hello and welcome to DaveTradesCrypto; the newest blog as part of the ever expanding  CRYPTO 101 family.

My name is Dave, and I am new to cryptoSo new in fact, I still have the tags on! I have been given the chance to document my journey, discuss my thoughts, and give my views on how I, Dave, see the ‘big, bad world’ of crypto.

By day I am a ‘tradie’. I work in the construction industry, however, I am no imbecilic neanderthal and I do know how to turn on a computer. By night I will be looking to learn and hopefully one day trade crypto, possibly even successfully – I hope. I believe I am a quick learner so taking on lots of new information whilst picking up hints and tips along the way should be fairly straightforward – ‘we’ll see’, I hear you say. In the world of technology I absolutely consider myself to fit well and truly into the average bracket, with the thoughts and views of a mainstream consumer. I am in no way shape or form a developer, and to me, HTML is just four capital letters put together. I am however willing to learn, I am never to proud to take on advice and if you are going to criticise then I have broad enough shoulders to take the abuse. I am not some soft touch millennial who is easily upset by keyboard warriors. I love an argument/discussion and 100% of the time, I’m right every time. I am never shy on an opinion, believe me!

I have been listening to the CRYPTO 101 podcast now for a couple of weeks, I came across it like most, searching ‘crypto’ on the iTunes Store. Matthew Aaron  now feels like a brother to me. His dulcet tones are soothing to ones ear – especially during a tough day at work – and he has been teaching me things I never thought I would learn – although I am googling new terminology most days! I am looking forward to getting stuck into the CRYPTO 101 Facebook group and learning more from the community there. If you would like to join me on this venture then please get involved. Hopefully my blog will be entertaining as well as informative, especially if you are new like me. If you are already ‘in the game’ then hopefully it will bring back a sense of nostalgia and a wry smile to your face as I discuss a few of my school boy errors – delivers palm to face in pure shame. We cannot all be experts in a world of fancy words and invisible theories. But I’m willing to give it a try!

So then, the journey starts as;

Episode One – Show me the monies! 

See you there.

 

Happy Trading

Dave x

 

E – davetradescrypto@gmail.com

T – @DaveDustpan

 

Finding the Balance in a Decentralized P2P Sharing Economy

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It is said that with great power comes great responsibility, and this is abundantly the case regarding how the blockchain and cryptoeconomy will operate as it grows into a place within mainstream society. While this subset of the financial ecosystem is still in its infancy, those with an eye on its future have begun to think about how designing peer-to-peer (or sharing economy) services based in the blockchain will best serve the interests of both its participants and the network as a whole.

To explore this topic, Crypto-101 host Matthew Aaron invited Josh Fraser of Origin Protocol back to the podcast for a debate on the pros and cons of 3rd party intermediaries and whether their presence is beneficial, detrimental or negligible when it comes to blockchain-based/sharing economy applications. While Matthew remained unconvinced by Josh’s perspective that eliminating the intermediary in peer to peer transactions is a positive direction to take, the discussion does highlight that some deep consideration is warranted at this very early stage in blockchain’s evolution.

To take a step backward, let’s clarify what the sharing economy is. You may be unfamiliar with the term (sometimes more accurately described as the access economy) but you’re actually quite likely to have used a service based on this economic model. The sharing economy is centered around providing access to goods and services through an online access point and carried out by individuals offering up their own time and resources. If you’ve taken an Uber or Lyft, stayed in an AirBnB or had food delivered by BiteSquad, you’ve participated in the sharing economy.

The aforementioned entities, however, are still split between innovative and more traditional business practices in that they rely on the use of a third-party arbitrator, the value and utility of which is at the center of our debate. Matthew argues that the middleman entity has a stake in the arrangement and acts as a protector for the users’ interests. Its reputation (and by extension its profitability) dictates what kinds of behaviors are prohibited by users of their platform.

For example, Uber (who acts as a centralized authority in this instance) has banned users of its service for posting racist Tweets. Matthew argues that this is an acceptable approach, kind of a win-win for both the platform and its users.

Josh counters that perhaps the line in the sand between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors could gradually move and eventually encompass less overtly controversial ones. Free speech should be protected, he argues. Potentially, the solution could be settled in the marketplace when users decide to vote with their wallets, but currently this is bypassed by Uber taking a public stance to protect its bottom line.

So who arbitrates between users in a P2P environment that has no intermediary? While Josh doesn’t provide any specific examples, he remains confident that innovation and experience will shape decentralized mechanisms to protect users of sharing economy platforms.

Could the consensus of the community itself provide protection for both individual users (sovereignty) as well as the platform as a whole (reputation)? I disagree with Matthew that an intermediary is utterly necessary, but it would necessitate an aggregate of opinion from the users to serve the same function. How might this be accomplished?

A network’s reputation could potentially be safeguarded by consensus voting within the platform’s community. This got me thinking about how BitShares was designed (using Dan Larimer‘s delegated proof of stake) to validate the blockchain as well as to address the decision-making process of its overall structure.

A recent update by Vitalik Buterin, however, warns that the DPoS structure could easily lend itself to the corruption inherent in a plutocracy.

Social trust assumptions can work well in many contexts, but they are difficult to universalize; what is trusted in one country or one company or one political tribe may not be trusted in others. They are also difficult to quantify; how much money does it take to manipulate social media to favor some particular delegate in a vote? Social trust assumptions seem secure and controllable, in the sense that “people” are in charge, but in reality they can be manipulated by economic incentives in all sorts of ways.

(In fairness, here is Dan Larimer’s rebuttal to Vitalik)

The comparison here is imperfect, unfortunately, as DPoS governs a financial/operational network rather than an ethical decision-making one. What is being deemed above as “bad behavior,” is theft, which is a very clear and binary circumstance. To effectively address more nuanced human behaviors such as hate speech, bigotry or categorical exclusion the complexity of the mechanism must match that of the problem.

I’m also lead to the logical assumption that specific P2P, sharing economy networks could develop their own cultures and sets of norms, but whether they are benevolent or reprehensible is in the eye of the beholder. Individuals outside those systems could choose to participate with or boycott them accordingly, though… which leads us back to voting with our wallets.

My personal takeaway was that for Josh’s prediction to be fruitful, designers of Decentralized P2P platforms (DP2P?) will need to make a close examination of the power of incentives. Although Matthew and Josh could not arrive at a consensus in their debate, the discussion does raise some incredibly important questions: What do we want out of this new technology and how will we design it to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the whole? How will those decision facilitate (or hinder) adoption? What’s the whole point of all this. WHEN MOON?

The one thing I do believe we can all agree upon, however, is that a lot of big changes are coming  — and those changes, while positive, will come at a cost. Exactly how we address and balance those costs will be make-or-break for both individual projects and the cryptoasset / blockchain economy as a whole. Whether or not a governance model can be developed to protect both individual sovereignty and the economic viability of a decentralized peer-to-peer sharing economy remains to be seen.


Big thanks to Josh for taking the time to be on the program again. Read More about the Origin Protocol project HERE

Listen to the debate on the Crypto101 podcast HERE

Honest Previewing of ICOs


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If you were to Google “upcoming ICOs” you would be met with an avalanche of information from various sources. According to Coinschedule.com 144 ICOs have already launched this year. It is hard to deny that the bulk of the ICO-related content out there is tailored toward people who are looking to time the market and make a quick buck. While there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this there is a distinct lack of a sense of real people talking about real ideas.

The same thing goes for the podcast space. Our Crypto 101 podcast has at times explored some aspects of certain ICOs but this is not its focus. The podcasts that do focus heavily on ICOs largely offer themselves as platforms for ICOs to advertise/market themselves. Most are transparent about the fact they do this for payment in a sponsorship model.

Aaron Paul, host of the ICO 101 podcast, has started to include an ICO preview at the beginning of each podcast episodes in which he discusses an ICO that has taken his interest. These previews are exactly what the cryptosphere needs more of — real people talking about real ideas.

The essential ingredient of these previews is that they are not sponsored. This allows Aaron to remain impartial and give his honest thoughts on the project. While we still stress that everyone is responsible for doing their own research on speculative investments, the purpose of these previews is to emulate a conversation between us and the listener. For example, the preview on the Venezuelan Petro was a quick introduction to the idea and some potential issues with its rollout. But Aaron invited listener contributions to help us better understand the project and promised to return to the Petro ICO in due course, to see how it has been unfolding.

Another benefit of investigating and discussing these ICOS from the perspective of an average person doing their own research is the opportunity it provides listeners to hear some of the potential concerns there might be with an upcoming ICO. For example, although Aaron was enamoured by many aspects of the collectables-focused ICO Kapow Coin, he plainly expressed his worry about several things including the project’s website presentation and how this would affect the average consumer’s first impression of their promising idea.

The ICO previews aren’t just limited to upcoming ICOs either. Occasionally we will explore relatively establish projects that have managed to stick around and draw some attention. For example, check out Aaron’s preview of ETHlend.

There is one fundamental driving question that serves as the backbone for all of ICO 101’s previews, and that is:

Does it make sense?

This is an incredibly important question that seems to be far too often overlooked in the cryptosphere. Just a basic “does this make sense?” can go a long way. For example, in the preview of Polyswarm, Aaron confesses upfront that, to him, the project does not make sense. Not least because they were asking for $50mil to fund a crowdsourced anti-virus platform — you can read more about that in our Polyswarm write up. It seems like a basic question but in this rapidly moving space, it is all too easy to get swept up in the hype or be affected by FOMO that we throw money at projects that if we were honest with ourselves, we don’t really understand.

With that in mind, ICO 101’s previews are a unique addition to the crypto-media space. They provide that average consumer with an impartial conversation partner who is enthusiastic about blockchain and cryptocurrency projects, has done a little digging and is prepared to ask “does this make sense?”

What do you think? Is there an ICO you would like previewed? Let us know in the comments.