More on Entrepreneurship
2 months ago
Looking for a Reliable Micro SaaS Niche
Niches are rich, as the adage goes.
Micro SaaS requires a great micro-niche; otherwise, it's merely plain old SaaS with a large audience.
Instead of targeting broad markets with few identifying qualities, specialise down to a micro-niche. How would you target these users?
Better go tiny. You'll locate and engage new consumers more readily and serve them better with a customized solution.
Imagine you're a real estate lawyer looking for a case management solution. Because it's so specific to you, you'd be lured to this link:
instead of below:
Next, locate mini SaaS niches that could work for you. You're not yet looking at the problems/solutions in these areas, merely shortlisting them.
The market should be growing, not shrinking
We shouldn't design apps for a declining niche. We intend to target stable or growing niches for the next 5 to 10 years.
If it's a developing market, you may be able to claim a stake early. You must balance this strategy with safer, longer-established niches (accountancy, law, health, etc).
First Micro SaaS apps I designed were for Merch By Amazon creators, a burgeoning niche. I found this niche when searching for passive income.
Graphic designers and entrepreneurs post their art to Amazon to sell on clothes. When Amazon sells their design, they get a royalty. Since 2015, this platform and specialty have grown dramatically.
Amazon doesn't publicize the amount of creators on the platform, but it's possible to approximate by looking at Facebook groups, Reddit channels, etc.
I could see the community growing week by week, with new members joining. Merch was an up-and-coming niche, and designers made money when their designs sold. All I had to do was create tools that let designers focus on making bestselling designs.
Look at the Google Trends graph below to see how this niche has evolved and when I released my apps and resigned my job.
Are the users able to afford the tools?
Who's your average user? Consumer or business? Is your solution budgeted?
If they're students, you'll struggle to convince them to subscribe to your study-system app (ahead of video games and beer).
Let's imagine you designed a Shopify plugin that emails customers when a product is restocked. If your plugin just needs 5 product sales a month to justify its cost, everyone wins (just be mindful that one day Shopify could potentially re-create your plugins functionality within its core offering making your app redundant ).
Do specialized users buy tools? If so, that's comforting. If not, you'd better have a compelling value proposition for your end customer if you're the first.
This should include how much time or money your program can save or make the user.
Are you able to understand the Micro SaaS market?
Ideally, you're already familiar about the industry/niche. Maybe you're fixing a challenge from your day job or freelance work.
If not, evaluate how long it would take to learn the niche's users. Health & Fitness is easier to relate to and understand than hedge fund derivatives trading.
Competing in these complex (and profitable) fields might offer you an edge.
B2C, B2M, or B2B?
Consider your user base's demographics. Will you target businesses, consumers, or both? Let's examine the different consumer types:
B2B refers to business-to-business transactions where customers are other businesses. UpVoty, Plutio, Slingshot, Salesforce, Atlassian, and Hubspot are a few examples of SaaS, ranging from Micro SaaS to SaaS.
Business to Consumer (B2C), in which your clients are people who buy things. For instance, Duolingo, Canva, and Nomad List.
For instance, my tool KDP Wizard has a mixed user base of publishing enterprises and also entrepreneurial consumers selling low-content books on Amazon. This is a case of business to many (B2M), where your users are a mixture of businesses and consumers. There is a large SaaS called Dropbox that offers both personal and business plans.
Targeting a B2B vs. B2C niche is very different. The sales cycle differs.
A B2B sales staff must make cold calls to potential clients' companies. Long sales, legal, and contractual conversations are typically required for each business to get the go-ahead. The cost of obtaining a new customer is substantially more than it is for B2C, despite the fact that the recurring fees are significantly higher.
Since there is typically only one individual making the purchasing decision, B2C signups are virtually always self-service with reduced recurring fees. Since there is typically no outbound sales staff in B2C, acquisition costs are significantly lower than in B2B.
User Characteristics for B2B vs. B2C
Consider where your niche's users congregate if you don't already have a presence there.
B2B users frequent LinkedIn and Twitter. B2C users are on Facebook/Instagram/Reddit/Twitter, etc.
Churn is higher in B2C because consumers haven't gone through all the hoops of a B2B sale. Consumers are more unpredictable than businesses since they let their bank cards exceed limitations or don't update them when they expire.
With a B2B solution, there's a contractual arrangement and the firm will pay the subscription as long as they need it.
Depending on how you feel about the above (sales team vs. income vs. churn vs. targeting), you'll know which niches to pursue.
You ought to respect potential customers.
Would you hang out with customers?
You'll connect with users at conferences (in-person or virtual), webinars, seminars, screenshares, Facebook groups, emails, support calls, support tickets, etc.
If talking to a niche's user base makes you shudder, you're in for a tough road. Whether they're demanding or dull, avoid them if possible.
Merch users are mostly graphic designers, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs. These laid-back users embrace technologies that assist develop their Merch business.
I discovered there was only one annual conference for this specialty, held in Seattle, USA. I decided to organize a conference for UK/European Merch designers, despite never having done so before.
Hosting a conference for over 80 people was stressful, and it turned out to be much bigger than expected, with attendees from the US, Europe, and the UK.
I met many specialized users, built relationships, gained trust, and picked their brains in person. Many of the attendees were already Merch Wizard users, so hearing their feedback and ideas for future features was invaluable.
focused and specific
Instead of building for a generic, hard-to-reach market, target a specific group.
I liken it to fishing in a little, hidden pond. This small pond has only one species of fish, so you learn what bait it likes. Contrast that with trawling for hours to catch as many fish as possible, even if some aren't what you want.
In the case management scenario, it's difficult to target leads because several niches could use the app. Where do your potential customers hang out? Your generic solution: No.
It's easier to join a community of Real Estate Lawyers and see if your software can answer their pain points.
My Success with Micro SaaS
In my case, my Micro SaaS apps have been my chrome extensions. Since I launched them, they've earned me an average $10k MRR, allowing me to quit my lousy full-time job years ago.
I sold my apps after scaling them for a life-changing lump amount. Since then, I've helped unfulfilled software developers escape the 9-5 through Micro SaaS.
Whether it's a profitable side hustle or a liferaft to quit their job and become their own Micro SaaS boss.
Having built my apps to the point where I could quit my job, then scaled and sold them, I feel I can share my skills with software developers worldwide.
Read my free guide on self-funded SaaS to discover more about Micro SaaS, or download your own copy. 12 chapters cover everything from Idea to Exit.
Watch my YouTube video to learn how to construct a Micro SaaS app in 10 steps.
26 days ago
Why Now Is Your Chance To Create A Millionaire Career
People don’t believe in influencers anymore; they need people like you.
Social media influencers have dominated for years. We've seen videos, images, and articles of *famous* individuals unwrapping, reviewing, and endorsing things.
This industry generates billions. This year, marketers spent $2.23 billion on Instagram, $1 million on Youtube, and $775 million on Tiktok. This marketing has helped start certain companies.
Influencers are dying, so ordinary people like us may take over this billion-dollar sector. Why?
Why influencers are perishing
Most influencers lie to their fans, especially on Instagram. Influencers' first purpose was to make their lives so flawless that others would want to buy their stuff.
In 2015, an Australian influencer with 600,000 followers went viral for revealing all her photos and everything she did to seem great before deleting her account.
“I dramatically edited the pictures, I manipulated the environements, and made my life look perfect in social media… I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation … This was the reason why I quit social media: for me, personally, it consumed me. I wasn’t living in a 3D world.”
Influencers then lost credibility.
Influencers seem to live in a bubble, separate from us. Thanks to self-popularity love's and constant awareness campaigns, people find these people ridiculous.
Influencers are praised more for showing themselves as natural and common than for showing luxuries and lies.
Little by little, they are dying, making room for a new group to take advantage of this multi-million dollar business, which gives us (ordinary people) a big opportunity to grow on any content creation platform we want.
Why this is your chance to develop on any platform for creating content
In 2021, I wrote “Not everyone who talks about money is a Financial Advisor, be careful of who you take advice from,”. In it, I warned that not everyone with a large following is a reputable source of financial advice.
Other writers hated this post and said I was wrong.
People don't want Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk's counsel, they said. They prefer to hear about their neighbor's restroom problems or his closest friend's terrible business.
Real advice from regular folks.
And I found this was true when I returned to my independent YouTube channel and had more than 1000 followers after having abandoned it with fewer than 30 videos in 2021 since there were already many personal finance and travel channels and I thought mine wasn't special.
People appreciated my videos because I was a 20-something girl trying to make money online, and they believed my advice more than that of influencers with thousands of followers.
I think today is the greatest time to grow on any platform as an ordinary person. Normal individuals give honest recommendations about what works for them and look easier to make because they have the same options as us.
Nobody cares how a millionaire acquired a Lamborghini unless it's entertaining. Education works now. Real counsel from average people is replicable.
Many individuals don't appreciate how false influencers seem (unreal bodies and excessive surgery and retouching) since it makes them feel uneasy.
That's why body-positive advertisements have been so effective, but they've lost ground in places like Tiktok, where the audience wants more content from everyday people than influencers living amazing lives. More people will relate to your content if you appear genuine.
Influencers are dwindling. People want more real people to give real advice and demonstrate an ordinary life.
People will enjoy anything you tell about your daily life as long as you provide value, and you can build a following rapidly if you're honest.
This is a millionaire industry that is getting more expensive and will go with what works, so stand out immediately.
17 days ago
The Berkus Startup Valuation Method: What Is It?
What Is That?
Berkus is a pre-revenue valuation method based exclusively on qualitative criteria, like Scorecard.
Few firms match their financial estimates, especially in the early stages, so valuation methodologies like the Berkus method are a good way to establish a valuation when the economic measures are not reliable.
How does it work?
This technique evaluates five key success factors.
Strategic alliances in its primary market
Production, followed by sales
The Berkus technique values the business idea and four success factors. As seen in the matrix below, each of these dimensions poses a danger to the startup's success.
It assigns $0-$500,000 to each of these beginning regions. This approach enables a maximum $2.5M pre-money valuation.
This approach relies significantly on geography and uses the US as a baseline, as it differs in every country in Europe.
A set of standards for analyzing each dimension individually
Fundamental principle (or strength of the idea)
Ideas are worthless; execution matters. Most of us can relate to seeing a new business open in our area or a startup get funded and thinking, "I had this concept years ago!" Someone did it.
The concept remains. To assess the idea's viability, we must consider several criteria.
The concept's exclusivity It is necessary to protect a product or service's concept using patents and copyrights. Additionally, it must be capable of generating large profits.
Planned growth and growth that goes in a specific direction have a lot of potential, therefore incorporating them into a business is really advantageous.
The ability of a concept to grow A venture's ability to generate scalable revenue is a key factor in its emergence and continuation. A startup needs a scalable idea in order to compete successfully in the market.
The attraction of a business idea to a broad spectrum of people is significantly influenced by the current socio-political climate. Thus, the requirement for the assumption of conformity.
Concept Validation Ideas must go through rigorous testing with a variety of audiences in order to lower risk during the implementation phase.
This aspect reduces startup's technological risk. How good is the startup prototype when facing cyber threats, GDPR compliance (in Europe), tech stack replication difficulty, etc.?
Check the management team's efficacy. A potential angel investor must verify the founders' experience and track record with previous ventures. Good leadership is needed to chart a ship's course.
Strategic alliances in its primary market
Existing and new relationships will play a vital role in the development of both B2B and B2C startups. What are the startup's synergies? potential ones?
Production, followed by sales (product rollout)
Startup success depends on its manufacturing and product rollout. It depends on the overall addressable market, the startup's ability to market and sell their product, and their capacity to provide consistent, high-quality support.
We're now founders of EyeCaramba, a machine vision-assisted streaming platform. My imagination always goes to poor puns when naming a startup.
Since we're first-time founders and the Berkus technique depends exclusively on qualitative methods and the evaluator's skill, we ask our angel-investor acquaintance for a pre-money appraisal of EyeCaramba.
Our friend offers us the following table:
Because we're first-time founders, our pal lowered our Execution score. He knows the idea's value and that the gaming industry is red-hot, with worse startup ideas getting funded, therefore he gave the Basic value the highest value (idea).
EyeCaramba's pre-money valuation is $400,000 + $250,000 + $75,000 + $275,000 + $164,000 (1.16M). Good.
You might also like
2 months ago
Hate NFTs? I must break some awful news to you...
If you think NFTs are awful, check out the art market.
The fervor around NFTs has subsided in recent months due to the crypto market crash and the media's short attention span. They were all anyone could talk about earlier this spring. Last semester, when passions were high and field luminaries were discussing "slurp juices," I asked my students and students from over 20 other universities what they thought of NFTs.
According to many, NFTs were either tasteless pyramid schemes or a new way for artists to make money. NFTs contributed to the climate crisis and harmed the environment, but so did air travel, fast fashion, and smartphones. Some students complained that NFTs were cheap, tasteless, algorithmically generated schlock, but others asked how this was different from other art.
I'm not sure what I expected, but the intensity of students' reactions surprised me. They had strong, emotional opinions about a technology I'd always considered administrative. NFTs address ownership and accounting, like most crypto/blockchain projects.
Art markets can be irrational, arbitrary, and subject to the same scams and schemes as any market. And maybe a few shenanigans that are unique to the art world.
The Fairness Question
Fairness, a deflating moral currency, was the general sentiment (the less of it in circulation, the more ardently we clamor for it.) These students, almost all of whom are artists, complained to the mismatch between the quality of the work in some notable NFT collections and the excessive amounts these items were fetching on the market. They can sketch a Bored Ape or Lazy Lion in their sleep. Why should they buy ramen with school loans while certain swindlers get rich?
I understand students. Art markets are unjust. They can be irrational, arbitrary, and governed by chance and circumstance, like any market. And art-world shenanigans.
Almost every mainstream critique leveled against NFTs applies just as easily to art markets
Over 50% of artworks in circulation are fake, say experts. Sincere art collectors and institutions are upset by the prevalence of fake goods on the market. Not everyone. Wealthy people and companies use art as investments. They can use cultural institutions like museums and galleries to increase the value of inherited art collections. People sometimes buy artworks and use family ties or connections to museums or other cultural taste-makers to hype the work in their collection, driving up the price and allowing them to sell for a profit. Money launderers can disguise capital flows by using market whims, hype, and fluctuating asset prices.
Almost every mainstream critique leveled against NFTs applies just as easily to art markets.
Art has always been this way. Edward Kienholz's 1989 print series satirized art markets. He stamped 395 identical pieces of paper from $1 to $395. Each piece was initially priced as indicated. Kienholz was joking about a strange feature of art markets: once the last print in a series sells for $395, all previous works are worth at least that much. The entire series is valued at its highest auction price. I don't know what a Kienholz print sells for today (inquire with the gallery), but it's more than $395.
I love Lee Lozano's 1969 "Real Money Piece." Lozano put cash in various denominations in a jar in her apartment and gave it to visitors. She wrote, "Offer guests coffee, diet pepsi, bourbon, half-and-half, ice water, grass, and money." "Offer real money as candy."
Lee Lozano kept track of who she gave money to, how much they took, if any, and how they reacted to the offer of free money without explanation. Diverse reactions. Some found it funny, others found it strange, and others didn't care. Lozano rarely says:
Apr 17 Keith Sonnier refused, later screws lid very tightly back on. Apr 27 Kaltenbach takes all the money out of the jar when I offer it, examines all the money & puts it all back in jar. Says he doesn’t need money now. Apr 28 David Parson refused, laughing. May 1 Warren C. Ingersoll refused. He got very upset about my “attitude towards money.” May 4 Keith Sonnier refused, but said he would take money if he needed it which he might in the near future. May 7 Dick Anderson barely glances at the money when I stick it under his nose and says “Oh no thanks, I intend to earn it on my own.” May 8 Billy Bryant Copley didn’t take any but then it was sort of spoiled because I had told him about this piece on the phone & he had time to think about it he said.
Smart Contracts (smart as in fair, not smart as in Blockchain)
Cornell University's Cheryl Finley has done a lot of research on secondary art markets. I first learned about her research when I met her at the University of Florida's Harn Museum, where she spoke about smart contracts (smart as in fair, not smart as in Blockchain) and new protocols that could help artists who are often left out of the economic benefits of their own work, including women and women of color.
Her talk included findings from her ArtNet op-ed with Lauren van Haaften-Schick, Christian Reeder, and Amy Whitaker.
NFTs allow us to think about and hack on formal contractual relationships outside a system of laws that is currently not set up to service our community.
The ArtNet article The Recent Sale of Amy Sherald's ‘Welfare Queen' Symbolizes the Urgent Need for Resale Royalties and Economic Equity for Artists discussed Sherald's 2012 portrait of a regal woman in a purple dress wearing a sparkling crown and elegant set of pearls against a vibrant red background.
Amy Sherald sold "Welfare Queen" to Princeton professor Imani Perry. Sherald agreed to a payment plan to accommodate Perry's budget.
Amy Sherald rose to fame for her 2016 portrait of Michelle Obama and her full-length portrait of Breonna Taylor, one of the most famous works of the past decade.
As is common, Sherald's rising star drove up the price of her earlier works. Perry's "Welfare Queen" sold for $3.9 million in 2021.
Imani Perry's early investment paid off big-time. Amy Sherald, whose work directly increased the painting's value and who was on an artist's shoestring budget when she agreed to sell "Welfare Queen" in 2012, did not see any of the 2021 auction money. Perry and the auction house got that money.
Sherald sold her Breonna Taylor portrait to the Smithsonian and Louisville's Speed Art Museum to fund a $1 million scholarship. This is a great example of what an artist can do for the community if they can amass wealth through their work.
NFTs haven't solved all of the art market's problems — fakes, money laundering, market manipulation — but they didn't create them. Blockchain and NFTs are credited with making these issues more transparent. More ideas emerge daily about what a smart contract should do for artists.
NFTs are a copyright solution. They allow us to hack formal contractual relationships outside a law system that doesn't serve our community.
Amy Sherald shows the good smart contracts can do (as in, well-considered, self-determined contracts, not necessarily blockchain contracts.) Giving back to our community, deciding where and how our work can be sold or displayed, and ensuring artists share in the equity of our work and the economy our labor creates.
7 months ago
Why I Love Azuki
Azuki Banner (www.azuki.com)
Disclaimer: This is my personal viewpoint. I'm not on the Azuki team. Please keep in mind that I am merely a fan, community member, and holder. Please do your own research and pardon my grammar. Thanks!
Azuki has changed my view of NFTs.
When I first entered the NFT world, I had no idea what to expect. I liked the idea. So I invested in some projects, fought for whitelists, and discovered some cool NFTs projects (shout-out to CATC). I lost more money than I earned at one point, but I hadn't invested excessively (only put in what you can afford to lose). Despite my losses, I kept looking. I almost waited for the “ah-ha” moment. A NFT project that changed my perspective on NFTs. What makes an NFT project more than a work of art?
The Azuki art drew me in as an anime fan. It looked like something out of an anime, and I'd never seen it before in NFT.
The project was still new. The first two animated teasers were released with little fanfare, but I was impressed with their quality. You can find them on Instagram or in their earlier Tweets.
The teasers hinted that this project could be big and that the team could deliver. It was amazing to see Shao cut the Azuki posters with her katana. Especially at the end when she sheaths her sword and the music cues. Then the live action video of the young boy arranging the Azuki posters seemed movie-like. I felt like I was entering the Azuki story, brand, and dope theme.
The team did not disappoint with the Azuki NFTs. The level of detail in the art is stunning. There were Azukis of all genders, skin and hair types, and more. These 10,000 Azukis have so much representation that almost anyone can find something that resonates. Rather than me rambling on, I suggest you visit the Azuki gallery
If the art is meant to draw you in and be the project's face, the team makes it more. The NFT would be a JPEG without a good team leader. Not that community isn't important, but no community would rally around a bad team.
Because I've been rugged before, I'm very focused on the team when considering a project. While many project teams are anonymous, I try to find ones that are doxxed (public) or at least appear to be established. Unlike Azuki, where most of the Azuki team is anonymous, Steamboy is public. He is (or was) Overwatch's character art director and co-creator of Azuki. I felt reassured and could trust the project after seeing someone from a major game series on the team.
Then I tried to learn as much as I could about the team. Following everyone on Twitter, reading their tweets, and listening to recorded AMAs. I was impressed by the team's professionalism and dedication to their vision for Azuki, led by ZZZAGABOND.
I believe the phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to Azuki. I can think of a few examples of what the Azuki team has done, but my favorite is ERC721A.
With ERC721A, Azuki has created a new algorithm that allows minting multiple NFTs for essentially the same cost as minting one NFT.
I was ecstatic when the dev team announced it. This fascinates me as a self-taught developer. Azuki released a product that saves people money, improves the NFT space, and is open source. It showed their love for Azuki and the NFT community.
Community, community, community. It's almost a chant in the NFT space now. A community, like a team, can make or break a project. We are the project's consumers, shareholders, core, and lifeblood. The team builds the house, and we fill it. We stay for the community.
When I first entered the Azuki Discord, I was surprised by the calm atmosphere. There was no news about the project. No release date, no whitelisting requirements. No grinding or spamming either. People just wanted to hangout, get to know each other, and talk. It was nice. So the team could pick genuine people for their mintlist (aka whitelist).
But nothing fundamental has changed since the release. It has remained an authentic, fun, and helpful community. I'm constantly logging into Discord to chat with others or follow conversations. I see the community's openness to newcomers. Everyone respects each other (barring a few bad apples) and the variety of people passing through is fascinating. This human connection and interaction is what I enjoy about this place. Being a part of a group that supports a cause.
Finally, I want to thank the amazing Azuki mod team and the kissaten channel for their contributions.
So, what sets Azuki apart from other projects? They are shaping a brand or identity. The Azuki website, I believe, best captures their vision. (This is me gushing over the site.)
If you go to the website, turn on the dope playlist in the bottom left. The playlist features a mix of Asian and non-Asian hip-hop and rap artists, with some lo-fi thrown in. The songs on the playlist change, but I think you get the vibe Azuki embodies just by turning on the music.
The Garden is our next stop where we are introduced to Azuki.
We're creating a new brand together.
A metaverse brand. By the people.
A collection of 10,000 avatars that grant Garden membership. It starts with exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and more. Azuki allows for a new media genre that the world has yet to discover. Let's build together an Azuki, your metaverse identity.
The Garden is a magical internet corner where art, community, and culture collide. The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring.
Try a Red Bean.
The text begins with Azuki's intention in the space. It's a community-made metaverse brand. Then it goes into more detail about Azuki's plans. Initiation of a story or journey. "Would you like to take the red bean and jump down the rabbit hole with us?" I love the Matrix red pill or blue pill play they used. (Azuki in Japanese means red bean.)
Morpheus, the rebel leader, offers Neo the choice of a red or blue pill in The Matrix. “You take the blue pill... After the story, you go back to bed and believe whatever you want. Your red pill... Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Aware that the red pill will free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, he takes it. However, living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult.
It's intriguing and draws you in. Taking the red bean causes what? Where am I going? I think they did well in piqueing a newcomer's interest.
Not convinced by the Garden? Read the Manifesto. It reinforces Azuki's role.
Here comes a new wave…
And surfing here is different.
Breaking down barriers.
Building open communities.
Creating magic internet money with our friends.
To those who don’t get it, we tell them: gm.
They’ll come around eventually.
Here’s to the ones with the courage to jump down a peculiar rabbit hole.
One that pulls you away from a world that’s created by many and owned by few…
To a world that’s created by more and owned by all.
From The Garden come the human beans that sprout into your family.
We rise together.
We build together.
We grow together.
Ready to take the red bean?
Not to mention the Mindmap, it sets Azuki apart from other projects and overused Roadmaps. I like how the team recognizes that the NFT space is not linear. So many of us are still trying to figure it out. It is Azuki's vision to adapt to changing environments while maintaining their values. I admire their commitment to long-term growth.
To be honest, I have no idea what the future holds. Azuki is still new and could fail. But I'm a long-term Azuki fan. I don't care about quick gains. The future looks bright for Azuki. I believe in the team's output. I love being an Azuki.
Thank you! IKUZO!
Full post here
3 months ago
The complete, easy-to-understand guide to bitcoin
Markets rely on knowledge.
The internet provided practically endless knowledge and wisdom. Humanity has never seen such leverage. Technology's progress drives us to adapt to a changing world, changing our routines and behaviors.
In a digital age, people may struggle to live in the analogue world of their upbringing. Can those who can't adapt change their lives? I won't answer. We should teach those who are willing to learn, nevertheless. Unravel the modern world's riddles and give them wisdom.
Adapt or die . Accept the future or remain behind.
This essay will help you comprehend Bitcoin better than most market participants and the general public. Let's dig into Bitcoin.
Bitcoin.org was registered in August 2008. Bitcoin whitepaper was published on 31 October 2008. The document intrigued and motivated people around the world, including technical engineers and sovereignty seekers. Since then, Bitcoin's whitepaper has been read and researched to comprehend its essential concept.
I recommend reading the whitepaper yourself. You'll be able to say you read the Bitcoin whitepaper instead of simply Googling "what is Bitcoin" and reading the fundamental definition without knowing the revolution's scope. The article links to Bitcoin's whitepaper. To avoid being overwhelmed by the whitepaper, read the following article first.
Bitcoin isn't the first peer-to-peer digital currency. Hashcash or Bit Gold were once popular cryptocurrencies. These two Bitcoin precursors failed to gain traction and produce the network effect needed for general adoption. After many struggles, Bitcoin emerged as the most successful cryptocurrency, leading the way for others.
Satoshi Nakamoto, an active bitcointalk.org user, created Bitcoin. Satoshi's identity remains unknown. Satoshi's last bitcointalk.org login was 12 December 2010. Since then, he's officially disappeared. Thus, conspiracies and riddles surround Bitcoin's creators. I've heard many various theories, some insane and others well-thought-out.
It's not about who created it; it's about knowing its potential. Since its start, Satoshi's legacy has changed the world and will continue to.
Bitcoin is a distributed ledger. What's the meaning?
Everyone can view all blockchain transactions, but no one can undo or delete them.
Imagine you and your friends routinely eat out, but only one pays. You're careful with money and what others owe you. How can everyone access the info without it being changed?
You'll keep a notebook of your evening's transactions. Everyone will take a page home. If one of you changed the page's data, the group would notice and reject it. The majority will establish consensus and offer official facts.
Miners add a new Bitcoin block to the main blockchain every 10 minutes. The appended block contains miner-verified transactions. Now that the next block has been added, the network will receive the next set of user transactions.
Bitcoin Proof of Work—prove you earned it
Any firm needs hardworking personnel to expand and serve clients. Bitcoin isn't that different.
Bitcoin's Proof of Work consensus system needs individuals to validate and create new blocks and check for malicious actors. I'll discuss Bitcoin's blockchain consensus method.
Proof of Work helps Bitcoin reach network consensus. The network is checked and safeguarded by CPU, GPU, or ASIC Bitcoin-mining machines (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit).
Every 10 minutes, miners are rewarded in Bitcoin for securing and verifying the network. It's unlikely you'll finish the block. Miners build pools to increase their chances of winning by combining their processing power.
In the early days of Bitcoin, individual mining systems were more popular due to high maintenance costs and larger earnings prospects. Over time, people created larger and larger Bitcoin mining facilities that required a lot of space and sophisticated cooling systems to keep machines from overheating.
Proof of Work is a vital part of the Bitcoin network, as network security requires the processing power of devices purchased with fiat currency. Miners must invest in mining facilities, which creates a new business branch, mining facilities ownership. Bitcoin mining is a topic for a future article.
More mining, less reward
Bitcoin is usually scarce.
Why is it rare? It all comes down to 21,000,000 Bitcoins.
Were all Bitcoins mined? Nope. Bitcoin's supply grows until it hits 21 million coins. Initially, 50BTC each block was mined, and each block took 10 minutes. Around 2140, the last Bitcoin will be mined.
But 50BTC every 10 minutes does not give me the year 2140. Indeed careful reader. So important is Bitcoin's halving process.
What is halving?
The block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks, which takes around 4 years. The initial payout was 50BTC per block and has been decreased to 25BTC after 210,000 blocks. First halving occurred on November 28, 2012, when 10,500,000 BTC (50%) had been mined. As of April 2022, the block reward is 6.25BTC and will be lowered to 3.125BTC by 19 March 2024.
The halving method is tied to Bitcoin's hashrate. Here's what "hashrate" means.
What if we increased the number of miners and hashrate they provide to produce a block every 10 minutes? Wouldn't we manufacture blocks faster?
Every 10 minutes, blocks are generated with little asymmetry. Due to the built-in adaptive difficulty algorithm, the overall hashrate does not affect block production time. With increased hashrate, it's harder to construct a block. We can estimate when the next halving will occur because 10 minutes per block is fixed.
Building with nodes and blocks
For someone new to crypto, the unusual terms and words may be overwhelming. You'll also find everyday words that are easy to guess or have a vague idea of what they mean, how they work, and what they do. Consider blockchain technology.
Nodes and blocks: Think about that for a moment. What is your first idea?
The blockchain is a chain of validated blocks added to the main chain. What's a "block"? What's inside?
The block is another page in the blockchain book that has been filled with transaction information and accepted by the majority.
We won't go into detail about what each block includes and how it's built, as long as you understand its purpose.
What about nodes?
Nodes, along with miners, verify the blockchain's state independently. But why?
To create a full blockchain node, you must download the whole Bitcoin blockchain and check every transaction against Bitcoin's consensus criteria.
What's Bitcoin's size?
In April 2022, the Bitcoin blockchain was 389.72GB.
Bitcoin's blockchain has miners and node runners.
Let's revisit the US gold rush. Miners mine gold with their own power (physical and monetary resources) and are rewarded with gold (Bitcoin). All become richer with more gold, and so does the country.
Nodes are like sheriffs, ensuring everything is done according to consensus rules and that there are no rogue miners or network users.
Lost and held bitcoin
Does the Bitcoin exchange price match each coin's price? How many coins remain after 21,000,000? 21 million or less?
Common reason suggests a 21 million-coin supply.
What if I lost 1BTC from a cold wallet?
What if I saved 1000BTC on paper in 2010 and it was damaged?
What if I mined Bitcoin in 2010 and lost the keys?
Satoshi Nakamoto's coins? Since then, those coins haven't moved.
How many BTC are truly in circulation?
Many people are trying to answer this question, and you may discover a variety of studies and individual research on the topic. Be cautious of the findings because they can't be evaluated and the statistics are hazy guesses.
On the other hand, we have long-term investors who won't sell their Bitcoin or will sell little amounts to cover mining or living needs.
The price of Bitcoin is determined by supply and demand on exchanges using liquid BTC. How many BTC are left after subtracting lost and non-custodial BTC?
We have significantly less Bitcoin in circulation than you think, thus the price may not reflect demand if we knew the exact quantity of coins available.
True HODLers and diamond-hand investors won't sell you their coins, no matter the market.
Unspent (U) Transaction (TX) Output (O)
Imagine taking a $100 bill to a store. After choosing a drink and munchies, you walk to the checkout to pay. The cashier takes your $100 bill and gives you $25.50 in change. It's in your wallet.
Is it simply 100$? No way.
The $25.50 in your wallet is unrelated to the $100 bill you used. Your wallet's $25.50 is just bills and coins. Your wallet may contain these coins and bills:
2x 10$ 1x 10$
1x 5$ or 3x 5$
1x 0.50$ 2x 0.25$
Any combination of coins and bills can equal $25.50. You don't care, and I'd wager you've never ever considered it.
That is UTXO. Now, I'll detail the Bitcoin blockchain and how UTXO works, as it's crucial to know what coins you have in your (hopefully) cold wallet.
You purchased 1BTC. Is it all? No. UTXOs equal 1BTC. Then send BTC to a cold wallet. Say you pay 0.001BTC and send 0.999BTC to your cold wallet. Is it the 1BTC you got before? Well, yes and no. The UTXOs are the same or comparable as before, but the blockchain address has changed. It's like if you handed someone a wallet, they removed the coins needed for a network charge, then returned the rest of the coins and notes.
UTXO is a simple concept, but it's crucial to grasp how it works to comprehend dangers like dust attacks and how coins may be tracked.
Lightning Network: fast cash
You've probably heard of "Layer 2 blockchain" projects.
What does it mean?
Layer 2 on a blockchain is an additional layer that increases the speed and quantity of transactions per minute and reduces transaction fees.
Imagine going to an obsolete bank to transfer money to another account and having to pay a charge and wait. You can transfer funds via your bank account or a mobile app without paying a fee, or the fee is low, and the cash appear nearly quickly. Layer 1 and 2 payment systems are different.
Layer 1 is not obsolete; it merely has more essential things to focus on, including providing the blockchain with new, validated blocks, whereas Layer 2 solutions strive to offer Layer 1 with previously processed and verified transactions. The primary blockchain, Bitcoin, will only receive the wallets' final state. All channel transactions until shutting and balancing are irrelevant to the main chain.
Layer 2 and the Lightning Network's goal are now clear. Most Layer 2 solutions on multiple blockchains are created as blockchains, however Lightning Network is not. Remember the following remark, as it best describes Lightning.
Lightning Network connects public and private Bitcoin wallets.
Opening a private channel with another wallet notifies just two parties. The creation and opening of a public channel tells the network that anyone can use it.
Why create a public Lightning Network channel?
Every transaction through your channel generates fees.
Money, if you don't know.
See who benefits when in doubt.
Bitcoin anonymity? Bitcoin's anonymity was utilized to launder money.
Well… You've heard similar stories. When you ask why or how it permits people to remain anonymous, the conversation ends as if it were just a story someone heard.
Bitcoin isn't private. Pseudonymous.
What if someone tracks your transactions and discovers your wallet address? Where is your anonymity then?
Bitcoin is like bulletproof glass storage; you can't take or change the money. If you dig and analyze the data, you can see what's inside.
Every online action leaves a trace, and traces may be tracked. People often forget this guideline.
A tool like that can help you observe what the major players, or whales, are doing with their coins when the market is uncertain. Many people spend time analyzing on-chain data. Worth it?
Ask yourself a question. What are the big players' options? Do you think they're letting you see their wallets for a small on-chain data fee?
Instead of short-term behaviors, focus on long-term trends.
More wallet transactions leave traces. Having nothing to conceal isn't a defect. Can it lead to regulating Bitcoin so every transaction is tracked like in banks today?
But wait. How can criminals pay out Bitcoin? They're doing it, aren't they?
Mixers can anonymize your coins, letting you to utilize them freely. This is not a guide on how to make your coins anonymous; it could do more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing.
Remember, being anonymous attracts greater attention.
Bitcoin isn't the only cryptocurrency we can use to buy things. Using cryptocurrency appropriately can provide usability and anonymity. Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), and Litecoin (LTC) following the Mimblewimble upgrade are examples.
Congratulations! You've reached the conclusion of the article and learned about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. You've entered the future.
You know what Bitcoin is, how its blockchain works, and why it's not anonymous. I bet you can explain Lightning Network and UTXO to your buddies.
Markets rely on knowledge. Prepare yourself for success before taking the first step. Let your expertise be your edge.
This article is a summary of this one.