Ep. 74 — Get Yo’ House in Order!

 

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Image: Still from ‘Snakes on a Plane’

 


There is no doubt 2017 was a breakout year for cryptocurrency. With Bitcoin reaching an all-time high of near $20 000 USD and the introduction of hundreds of new alt coins to the market — each promising new and interesting solutions to stale yet worthwhile problems. The cryptosphere saw hundreds of thousands of new investors, traders and those who were simply curious about blockchain technology enter the arena.

Various projects watched their market caps rise exponentially as we invested more and more money into them. Some of us were looking to be taken to the moon, others were throwing a little money behind a project they believe in. But all of us were somewhere on the spectrum between the two.

November and December hit us like a full chamber orchestra. At first, lulling and cooing at us with warm tones of bemusement and intrigue. The symphony soon rose to euphoria as we were swept up in the semi-orgasmic, too-good-to-be-true, nothing-but-up adventure we all found ourselves on.

Then the crescendo hit. Far from euphoric, she struck with a vengeance. Shaking us from our brain-dead complacency. Ripping us from the inexplicable, yet somehow, expected torrent of good news, great times, and incredible gains.

But this was needed. This was healthy.

As investors, we poured money into projects with no real-world products. We signed up to financially support a long list of promises that in reality should have already been delivered. 2017 saw the price of many cryptocurrencies vastly outrank their tangible value.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not FUD — I am bullish. I am bullish enough on cryptocurrency to expect excellence. We need to understand that if we have put money into a crypto project we are investors. Companies are accountable to their shareholders and cryptocurrencies and protocols are accountable to their coin/token holders.

Of course, this is a relatively new space, and things are changing rapidly. Many projects are working hard at delivering on their promises and moving the cryptosphere into an exciting future, which is great — but many are not.

Bloomberg recently published a report detailing how 30% of Millennials would feel more comfortable investing in cryptocurrency than traditional stocks.

You know what Millenials value? They value good design, a crisp aesthetic appeal. They value intuitive usability and instant feedback. They value clarity and sharability. All of this is disappointingly lacking. Yet they should be priorities for the projects currently dominating the cryptosphere.

If I can’t download a clean iOS app, send funds instantly and touch and feel the real-world impact of the project, I will quickly lose interest. Granted, some of that responsibility falls on me as the user/investor (as Taylor Monahan rightly stresses here). But we need to re-assess our measures of success. A popular Telegram channel is not enough (have you experienced the chaos of a 10, 000+ person Telegram channel!?).

2017 may have been the “breakout” year for crypto but 2018 needs to be the “get your shit together” year! As investors, and pioneers in the space, we owe it to ourselves and the technology to demand as much from these projects in 2018.


 

Bloomberg Article — https://bloom.bg/2hUiKkl 

Crypto 101 Podcast Episode 74 — https://apple.co/2HfkLml

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Ep. 80 — My Ether Wallet + My Crypto with Taylor Monahan

 

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Image: http://bit.ly/2C0r4dO

 


For kids of the 90s like me, MEW was just a Pokémon. It was mysterious and incredibly hard to catch. In 2015 however, MEW became something else — My Ether Wallet. 

Taylor Monahan is the mind and workhorse behind MEW. She sat down with Matthew and Dani Amsalem from Decryptionary.com in a successful effort to make her own MEW a little less like the enigmatic Pokémon and a little more Crypto 101. 

The original intention behind the creation of MEW was not unlike our own — to make crypto more accessible. Before MEW, interacting with the Ethereum blockchain required users to run command lines. Since it’s inception it has become and remained community-built and focused. It is no surprise that the platform has grown into the most widely-used tool for transacting with Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.

Since recording this episode, Taylor has forked from MEW to create MyCrypto.com which is, for the most part, an evolved (pardon the pun) version of MEW, aimed at addressing the exponential scaling that was rapidly becoming a problem. Her own detailed explanation is linked below.

One of the core focusses Taylor will be taking with her into this new project is her commitment to an increased user experience; focussing on ease of use and clarity.

Within the interview, however, Taylor touched upon a few points worth restating. 

Security

Hackers and phishers are incredibly determined to steal from unprepared crypto holders. However, this is nothing to be afraid of if you take some basic security measures like two-factor authentication, solid passwords and being careful with your private keys. A little preparation goes a long way. Which leads to:

Custody

The main difference between a platform like Coinbase and MEW or MyCrypto is custody — who ultimately has ownership of your private keys. The function MEW and Mycrypto provide everyday users is access to and complete ownership of their funds.

ICOs

This is the reason why you should never purchase ICO tokens from within a platform like Coinbase. You are essentially paying the ICO team from your Coinbase wallet, which is not owned by you, it is owned for you, by Coinbase. If you pay for a product from within Coinbase, it will be Coinbase that receives the product, not you.

Taylor’s final two points are the key takeaways from the interview. Whether you are a veteran or a complete neophyte in the cryptosphere, never stop learning, never stop growing. Taylor says “read everything,” stay informed and chase what excites you.

Lastly, if you are concerned about price (and she isn’t) ask yourself, “what am I doing to increase the value of cryptocurrency?” Who can we educate, what can we offer the community that will ultimately build the legitimacy and real-world tangibility of this new technology?


Taylor’s comments on the MyCrypto fork — https://medium.com/mycrypto/mycrypto-launch-6a066bf41093 

Decryptionary — https://Decryptionary.com 

Crypto 101 Podcast Episode 80 — pca.st/XjB0 

Ep. 79 — The Kyber Network with Loi Luu

 

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Image: http://bit.ly/2EomY0V

 


A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, a rare and beautiful type of crystal was used by rogue anarchists to channel the light side of the Force in their fight for freedom, autonomy and peace — these were the Kyber crystals.

This is the inspiration behind the Kyber Network, headed up by Loi Luu (CEO). Though, their inspiration runs deeper than a love of Star Wars. The Kyber Network’s vision is to become a global decentralised exchange and trading platform for those wanting to transact with cryptocurrencies as well as those who need a simpler way to engage in the cryptosphere using fiat.

Kyber’s intention is to develop a platform that prioritises security and usability — both incredibly topical and important issues for cryptocurrency. They aim to achieve this by running their entire service on the Ethereum blockchain via the mechanic of smart contracts. This ensures user security and the sort of transparency that has been so evidently lacking with some of the more established, centralised crypto exchanges currently dominating the space.

Besides developing a mobile wallet for instant payments, one of the ways in which Kyber seeks to be user-friendly lies in its addressing one of the more common issues for decentralised exchanges: liquidity. Kyber guarantees liquidity within their exchange which means that users can buy and sell the currencies they want, when they want. They achieve this through a dedicated reserve which incentivises contributors and provides the liquidity everyday users and traders depend on.

The Kyber Network bears striking resemblance to something like the VISA network which can accept dozens of fiat currencies and guarantee liquidity for meaningful exchange between them. Though a key difference is that not only does the Kyber network aim to achieve this for cryptocurrencies but, as evidenced by partnerships like their recent one with Coinduck in South Korea, crypto to fiat transactions are just as achievable. In fact, they are happening right now!

At the time of recording the Kyber Network was built exclusively on the Ethereum blockchain, however in the following days Loi Luu has signed a partnership with Wanchain. Wanchain is a cross-chain protocol capable of executing cross-chain smart contracts and token exchange. Kyber has announced they will be building a decentralised exchange on top of Wanchain to compliment their presence on the Ethereum blockchain. The ability to meaningfully translate value between blockchains is an essential step for the success of decentralised exchanges.

Decentralised exchanges are sorely needed in this burgeoning and exciting world of cryptocurrency. They address some of the more fundamental problems the community has run into time and time again, like transparency and liquidity. But perhaps more importantly, they represent the ethos behind cryptocurrency and blockchain technology — a break away from centralised control. Ultimately it comes down to a reclaiming of ownership and trust. Decentralised exchanges are another step in this promising new direction.


 

The Kyber Network’s decentralised exchange is already live — you can find it here: https://ropsten.kyber.network

You can learn more about the Kyber Network here: https://kyber.network

Wanchain: https://wanchain.org

Link to Crypto 101’s interview with Loi Luu: https://apple.co/2G49u6Q