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Vitalik

Vitalik

8 months ago

An approximate introduction to how zk-SNARKs are possible (part 1)

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has 2 very powerful applications: Perhaps the most powerful cryptographic technology to come out of the last decade is general-purpose succinct zero knowledge proofs, usually called zk-SNARKs ("zero knowledge succinct arguments of knowledge"). A zk-SNARK allows you to generate a proof that some computation has some particular output, in such a way that the proof can be verified extremely quickly even if the underlying computation takes a very long time to run. The "ZK" part adds an additional feature: the proof can keep some of the inputs to the computation hidden.

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has two very powerful applications:

  1. Scalability: if a block takes a long time to verify, one person can verify it and generate a proof, and everyone else can just quickly verify the proof instead
  2. Privacy: you can prove that you have the right to transfer some asset (you received it, and you didn't already transfer it) without revealing the link to which asset you received. This ensures security without unduly leaking information about who is transacting with whom to the public.

But zk-SNARKs are quite complex; indeed, as recently as in 2014-17 they were still frequently called "moon math". The good news is that since then, the protocols have become simpler and our understanding of them has become much better. This post will try to explain how ZK-SNARKs work, in a way that should be understandable to someone with a medium level of understanding of mathematics.

Why ZK-SNARKs "should" be hard

Let us take the example that we started with: we have a number (we can encode "cow" followed by the secret input as an integer), we take the SHA256 hash of that number, then we do that again another 99,999,999 times, we get the output, and we check what its starting digits are. This is a huge computation.

A "succinct" proof is one where both the size of the proof and the time required to verify it grow much more slowly than the computation to be verified. If we want a "succinct" proof, we cannot require the verifier to do some work per round of hashing (because then the verification time would be proportional to the computation). Instead, the verifier must somehow check the whole computation without peeking into each individual piece of the computation.

One natural technique is random sampling: how about we just have the verifier peek into the computation in 500 different places, check that those parts are correct, and if all 500 checks pass then assume that the rest of the computation must with high probability be fine, too?

Such a procedure could even be turned into a non-interactive proof using the Fiat-Shamir heuristic: the prover computes a Merkle root of the computation, uses the Merkle root to pseudorandomly choose 500 indices, and provides the 500 corresponding Merkle branches of the data. The key idea is that the prover does not know which branches they will need to reveal until they have already "committed to" the data. If a malicious prover tries to fudge the data after learning which indices are going to be checked, that would change the Merkle root, which would result in a new set of random indices, which would require fudging the data again... trapping the malicious prover in an endless cycle.

But unfortunately there is a fatal flaw in naively applying random sampling to spot-check a computation in this way: computation is inherently fragile. If a malicious prover flips one bit somewhere in the middle of a computation, they can make it give a completely different result, and a random sampling verifier would almost never find out.


It only takes one deliberately inserted error, that a random check would almost never catch, to make a computation give a completely incorrect result.

If tasked with the problem of coming up with a zk-SNARK protocol, many people would make their way to this point and then get stuck and give up. How can a verifier possibly check every single piece of the computation, without looking at each piece of the computation individually? There is a clever solution.

see part 2

(Edited)

More on Web3 & Crypto

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

1 month ago

Nomad.xyz got exploited for $190M

Key Takeaways:

Another hack. This time was different. This is a doozy.

Why? Nomad got exploited for $190m. It was crypto's 5th-biggest hack. Ouch.

It wasn't hackers, but random folks. What happened:

A Nomad smart contract flaw was discovered. They couldn't drain the funds at once, so they tried numerous transactions. Rookie!

People noticed and copied the attack.

They just needed to discover a working transaction, substitute the other person's address with theirs, and run it.


Nomad.xyz got exploited for $190M

In a two-and-a-half-hour attack, $190M was siphoned from Nomad Bridge.

Nomad is a novel approach to blockchain interoperability that leverages an optimistic mechanism to increase the security of cross-chain communication.  — nomad.xyz

This hack was permissionless, therefore anyone could participate.

After the fatal blow, people fought over the scraps.

Cross-chain bridges remain a DeFi weakness and exploit target. When they collapse, it's typically total.

$190M...gobbled.

Unbacked assets are hurting Nomad-dependent chains. Moonbeam, EVMOS, and Milkomeda's TVLs dropped.

This incident is every-man-for-himself, although numerous whitehats exploited the issue... 

But what triggered the feeding frenzy?

How did so many pick the bones?

After a normal upgrade in June, the bridge's Replica contract was initialized with a severe security issue. The  0x00 address was a trusted root, therefore all messages were valid by default.

After a botched first attempt (costing $350k in gas), the original attacker's exploit tx called process() without first 'proving' its validity.

The process() function executes all cross-chain messages and checks the merkle root of all messages (line 185).

The upgrade caused transactions with a'messages' value of 0 (invalid, according to old logic) to be read by default as 0x00, a trusted root, passing validation as 'proven'

Any process() calls were valid. In reality, a more sophisticated exploiter may have designed a contract to drain the whole bridge.

Copycat attackers simply copied/pasted the same process() function call using Etherscan, substituting their address.

The incident was a wild combination of crowdhacking, whitehat activities, and MEV-bot (Maximal Extractable Value) mayhem.

For example, 🍉🍉🍉. eth stole $4M from the bridge, but claims to be whitehat.

Others stood out for the wrong reasons. Repeat criminal Rari Capital (Artibrum) exploited over $3M in stablecoins, which moved to Tornado Cash.

The top three exploiters (with 95M between them) are:

$47M: 0x56D8B635A7C88Fd1104D23d632AF40c1C3Aac4e3

$40M: 0xBF293D5138a2a1BA407B43672643434C43827179

$8M: 0xB5C55f76f90Cc528B2609109Ca14d8d84593590E

Here's a list of all the exploiters:

The project conducted a Quantstamp audit in June; QSP-19 foreshadowed a similar problem.

The auditor's comments that "We feel the Nomad team misinterpreted the issue" speak to a troubling attitude towards security that the project's "Long-Term Security" plan appears to confirm:

Concerns were raised about the team's response time to a live, public exploit; the team's official acknowledgement came three hours later.

"Removing the Replica contract as owner" stopped the exploit, but it was too late to preserve the cash.

Closed blockchain systems are only as strong as their weakest link.

The Harmony network is in turmoil after its bridge was attacked and lost $100M in late June.

What's next for Nomad's ecosystems?

Moonbeam's TVL is now $135M, EVMOS's is $3M, and Milkomeda's is $20M.

Loss of confidence may do more damage than $190M.

Cross-chain infrastructure is difficult to secure in a new, experimental sector. Bridge attacks can pollute an entire ecosystem or more.

Nomadic liquidity has no permanent home, so consumers will always migrate in pursuit of the "next big thing" and get stung when attentiveness wanes.

DeFi still has easy prey...

Sources: rekt.news & The Milk Road.

rekt

rekt

8 months ago

LCX is the latest CEX to have suffered a private key exploit.

The attack began around 10:30 PM +UTC on January 8th.

Peckshield spotted it first, then an official announcement came shortly after.

We’ve said it before; if established companies holding millions of dollars of users’ funds can’t manage their own hot wallet security, what purpose do they serve?

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of centralised finance grows smaller by the day.

The official incident report states that 7.94M USD were stolen in total, and that deposits and withdrawals to the platform have been paused.

LCX hot wallet: 0x4631018f63d5e31680fb53c11c9e1b11f1503e6f

Hacker’s wallet: 0x165402279f2c081c54b00f0e08812f3fd4560a05

Stolen funds:

  • 162.68 ETH (502,671 USD)
  • 3,437,783.23 USDC (3,437,783 USD)
  • 761,236.94 EURe (864,840 USD)
  • 101,249.71 SAND Token (485,995 USD)
  • 1,847.65 LINK (48,557 USD)
  • 17,251,192.30 LCX Token (2,466,558 USD)
  • 669.00 QNT (115,609 USD)
  • 4,819.74 ENJ (10,890 USD)
  • 4.76 MKR (9,885 USD)

**~$1M worth of $LCX remains in the address, along with 611k EURe which has been frozen by Monerium.

The rest, a total of 1891 ETH (~$6M) was sent to Tornado Cash.**

Why can’t they keep private keys private?

Is it really that difficult for a traditional corporate structure to maintain good practice?

CeFi hacks leave us with little to say - we can only go on what the team chooses to tell us.

Next time, they can write this article themselves.

See below for a template.

mbvissers.eth

mbvissers.eth

1 month ago

Why does every smart contract seem to implement ERC165?

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

ERC165 (or EIP-165) is a standard utilized by various open-source smart contracts like Open Zeppelin or Aavegotchi.

What's it? You must implement? Why do we need it? I'll describe the standard and answer any queries.

What is ERC165

ERC165 detects and publishes smart contract interfaces. Meaning? It standardizes how interfaces are recognized, how to detect if they implement ERC165, and how a contract publishes the interfaces it implements. How does it work?

Why use ERC165? Sometimes it's useful to know which interfaces a contract implements, and which version.

Identifying interfaces

An interface function's selector. This verifies an ABI function. XORing all function selectors defines an interface in this standard. The following code demonstrates.

// SPDX-License-Identifier: UNLICENCED
pragma solidity >=0.8.0 <0.9.0;

interface Solidity101 {
    function hello() external pure;
    function world(int) external pure;
}

contract Selector {
    function calculateSelector() public pure returns (bytes4) {
        Solidity101 i;
        return i.hello.selector ^ i.world.selector;
        // Returns 0xc6be8b58
    }

    function getHelloSelector() public pure returns (bytes4) {
        Solidity101 i;
        return i.hello.selector;
        // Returns 0x19ff1d21
    }

    function getWorldSelector() public pure returns (bytes4) {
        Solidity101 i;
        return i.world.selector;
        // Returns 0xdf419679
    }
}

This code isn't necessary to understand function selectors and how an interface's selector can be determined from the functions it implements.

Run that sample in Remix to see how interface function modifications affect contract function output.

Contracts publish their implemented interfaces.

We can identify interfaces. Now we must disclose the interfaces we're implementing. First, import IERC165 like so.

pragma solidity ^0.4.20;

interface ERC165 {
    /// @notice Query if a contract implements an interface
    /// @param interfaceID The interface identifier, as specified in ERC-165
    /// @dev Interface identification is specified in ERC-165. 
    /// @return `true` if the contract implements `interfaceID` and
    ///  `interfaceID` is not 0xffffffff, `false` otherwise
    function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceID) external view returns (bool);
}

We still need to build this interface in our smart contract. ERC721 from OpenZeppelin is a good example.

// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
// OpenZeppelin Contracts (last updated v4.5.0) (token/ERC721/ERC721.sol)

pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

import "./IERC721.sol";
import "./extensions/IERC721Metadata.sol";
import "../../utils/introspection/ERC165.sol";
// ...

contract ERC721 is Context, ERC165, IERC721, IERC721Metadata {
  // ...

  function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceId) public view virtual override(ERC165, IERC165) returns (bool) {
    return
      interfaceId == type(IERC721).interfaceId ||
      interfaceId == type(IERC721Metadata).interfaceId ||
      super.supportsInterface(interfaceId);
  }
  
  // ...
}

I deleted unnecessary code. The smart contract imports ERC165, IERC721 and IERC721Metadata. The is keyword at smart contract declaration implements all three.

Kind (interface).

Note that type(interface).interfaceId returns the same as the interface selector.

We override supportsInterface in the smart contract to return a boolean that checks if interfaceId is the same as one of the implemented contracts.

Super.supportsInterface() calls ERC165 code. Checks if interfaceId is IERC165.

function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceId) public view virtual override returns (bool) {
    return interfaceId == type(IERC165).interfaceId;
}

So, if we run supportsInterface with an interfaceId, our contract function returns true if it's implemented and false otherwise. True for IERC721, IERC721Metadata, andIERC165.

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you understand and use ERC165 and why it's employed.

Have a great day, thanks for reading!

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Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

1 month 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.

a digital Billboard showed during the 4th annual NFT.NYC conference, a four-day event that featured 1,500 speakers from the crypto and NFT space and hosted 14,000 attendees | Getty Images, Noam Galai / Contributor June 20th, 2022 in New York City Times Square

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?

Long Beach, California the sign for the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Themed Restaurant, Getty Images, Mario Tama / Staff April 9th 2022

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.

Cheryl Finley on the right, with Hank Thomas and Dr. Deborah Willis attending the 2018 Aperture Gala at Ceder Lake on October 30th, 2018 in NYC, Photo by Patrick Mullan via Getty Images.

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.

Amy Sherald speaking about her work in front of her painting “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance) | Getty Images
Raleigh News & Observer / Contributor May 2018

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.

Photo of Amy Sherald during New York Fashion Week attending Ulla Johnson at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Getty Images
Dominik Bindl / Stringer September 2021

Abhimanyu Bhargava

Abhimanyu Bhargava

2 months ago

VeeFriends Series 2: The Biggest NFT Opportunity Ever

VeeFriends is one NFT project I'm sure will last.

I believe in blockchain technology and JPEGs, aka NFTs. NFTs aren't JPEGs. It's not as it seems.

Gary Vaynerchuk is leading the pack with his new NFT project VeeFriends, I wrote a year ago. I was spot-on. It's the most innovative project I've seen.

Since its minting in May 2021, it has given its holders enormous value, most notably the first edition of VeeCon, a multi-day superconference featuring iconic and emerging leaders in NFTs and Popular Culture. First-of-its-kind NFT-ticketed Web3 conference to build friendships, share ideas, and learn together.

VeeFriends holders got free VeeCon NFT tickets. Attendees heard iconic keynote speeches, innovative talks, panels, and Q&A sessions.

It was a unique conference that most of us, including me, are looking forward to in 2023. The lineup was epic, and it allowed many to network in new ways. Really memorable learning. Here are a couple of gratitude posts from the attendees.

VeeFriends Series 2

This article explains VeeFriends if you're still confused.

GaryVee's hand-drawn doodles have evolved into wonderful characters. The characters' poses and backgrounds bring the VeeFriends IP to life.

Yes, this is the second edition of VeeFriends, and at current prices, it's one of the best NFT opportunities in years. If you have the funds and risk appetite to invest in NFTs, VeeFriends Series 2 is worth every penny. Even if you can't invest, learn from their journey.

1. Art Is the Start

Many critics say VeeFriends artwork is below average and not by GaryVee. Art is often the key to future success.

Let's look at one of the first Mickey Mouse drawings. No one would have guessed that this would become one of the most beloved animated short film characters. In Walt Before Mickey, Walt Disney's original mouse Mortimer was less refined.

First came a mouse...

These sketches evolved into Steamboat Willie, Disney's first animated short film.

Fred Moore redesigned the character artwork into what we saw in cartoons as kids. Mickey Mouse's history is here.

Looking at how different cartoon characters have evolved and gained popularity over decades, I believe Series 2 characters like Self-Aware Hare, Kind Kudu, and Patient Pig can do the same.

GaryVee captures this journey on the blockchain and lets early supporters become part of history. Time will tell if it rivals Disney, Pokemon, or Star Wars. Gary has been vocal about this vision.

2. VeeFriends is Intellectual Property for the Coming Generations

Most of us grew up watching cartoons, playing with toys, cards, and video games. Our interactions with fictional characters and the stories we hear shape us.

GaryVee is slowly curating an experience for the next generation with animated videos, card games, merchandise, toys, and more.

VeeFriends UNO, a collaboration with Mattel Creations, features 17 VeeFriends characters.

VeeFriends and Zerocool recently released Trading Cards featuring all 268 Series 1 characters and 15 new ones. Another way to build VeeFriends' collectibles brand.

At Veecon, all the characters were collectible toys. Something will soon emerge.

Kids and adults alike enjoy the YouTube channel's animated shorts and VeeFriends Tunes. Here's a song by the holder's Optimistic Otter-loving daughter.

This VeeFriends story is only the beginning. I'm looking forward to animated short film series, coloring books, streetwear, candy, toys, physical collectibles, and other forms of VeeFriends IP.

3. Veefriends will always provide utilities

Smart contracts can be updated at any time and authenticated on a ledger.

VeeFriends Series 2 gives no promise of any utility whatsoever. GaryVee released no project roadmap. In the first few months after launch, many owners of specific characters or scenes received utilities.

Every benefit or perk you receive helps promote the VeeFriends brand.

Recent partnerships are listed below.

  • MaryRuth's Multivitamin Gummies

  • Productive Puffin holders from VeeFriends x Primitive

  • Pickleball Scene & Clown Holders Only

Pickleball & Competitive Clown Exclusive experience, anteater multivitamin gummies, and Puffin x Primitive merch

Considering the price of NFTs, it may not seem like much. It's just the beginning; you never know what the future holds. No other NFT project offers such diverse, ongoing benefits.

4. Garyvee's team is ready

Gary Vaynerchuk's team and record are undisputed. He's a serial entrepreneur and the Chairman & CEO of VaynerX, which includes VaynerMedia, VaynerCommerce, One37pm, and The Sasha Group.

Gary founded VaynerSports, Resy, and Empathy Wines. He's a Candy Digital Board Member, VCR Group Co-Founder, ArtOfficial Co-Founder, and VeeFriends Creator & CEO. Gary was recently named one of Fortune's Top 50 NFT Influencers.

Gary Vayenerchuk aka GaryVee

Gary documents his daily life as a CEO on social media, which has 34 million followers and 272 million monthly views. GaryVee Audio Experience is a top podcast. He's a five-time New York Times best-seller and sought-after speaker.

Gary can observe consumer behavior to predict trends. He understood these trends early and pioneered them.

  • 1997 — Realized e-potential commerce's and started winelibrary.com. In five years, he grew his father's wine business from $3M to $60M.

  • 2006 — Realized content marketing's potential and started Wine Library on YouTube. TV

  • 2009 — Estimated social media's potential (Web2) and invested in Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

  • 2014: Ethereum and Bitcoin investments

  • 2021 — Believed in NFTs and Web3 enough to launch VeeFriends

GaryVee isn't all of VeeFriends. Andy Krainak, Dave DeRosa, Adam Ripps, Tyler Dowdle, and others work tirelessly to make VeeFriends a success.

GaryVee has said he'll let other businesses fail but not VeeFriends. We're just beginning his 40-year vision.

I have more confidence than ever in a company with a strong foundation and team.

5. Humans die, but characters live forever

What if GaryVee dies or can't work?

A writer's books can immortalize them. As long as their books exist, their words are immortal. Socrates, Hemingway, Aristotle, Twain, Fitzgerald, and others have become immortal.

Everyone knows Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night.

We all love reading and watching Peter Parker, Thor, or Jessica Jones. Their behavior inspires us. Stan Lee's message and stories live on despite his death.

GaryVee represents VeeFriends. Creating characters to communicate ensures that the message reaches even those who don't listen.

Gary wants his values and messages to be omnipresent in 268 characters. Messengers die, but their messages live on.

Gary envisions VeeFriends creating timeless stories and experiences. Ten years from now, maybe every kid will sing Patient Pig.

6. I love the intent.

Gary planned to create Workplace Warriors three years ago when he began designing Patient Panda, Accountable Ant, and Empathy elephant. The project stalled. When NFTs came along, he knew.

Gary wanted to create characters with traits he values, such as accountability, empathy, patience, kindness, and self-awareness. He wants future generations to find these traits cool. He hopes one or more of his characters will become pop culture icons.

These emotional skills aren't taught in schools or colleges, but they're crucial for business and life success. I love that someone is teaching this at scale.

In the end, intent matters.

Humans Are Collectors

Buy and collect things to communicate. Since the 1700s. Medieval people formed communities around hidden metals and stones. Many people still collect stamps and coins, and luxury and fashion are multi-trillion dollar industries. We're collectors.

The early 2020s NFTs will be remembered in the future. VeeFriends will define a cultural and technological shift in this era. VeeFriends Series 1 is the original hand-drawn art, but it's expensive. VeeFriends Series 2 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at $1,000.

If you are new to NFTs, check out How to Buy a Non Fungible Token (NFT) For Beginners


This is a non-commercial article. Not financial or legal advice. Information isn't always accurate. Before making important financial decisions, consult a pro or do your own research.


This post is a summary. Read the full article here

Nir Zicherman

Nir Zicherman

1 month ago

The Great Organizational Conundrum

Only two of the following three options can be achieved: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance

A DALL-E 2 generated “photograph of a teddy bear who is frustrated because it can’t finish a jigsaw puzzle”

Someone told me that growing from 30 to 60 is the biggest adjustment for a team or business.

I remember thinking, That's random. Each company is unique. I've seen teams of all types confront the same issues during development periods. With new enterprises starting every year, we should be better at navigating growing difficulties.

As a team grows, its processes and systems break down, requiring reorganization or declining results. Why always? Why isn't there a perfect scaling model? Why hasn't that been found?

The Three Things Productive Organizations Must Have

Any company should be efficient and productive. Three items are needed:

First, it must verify that no two team members have conflicting information about the roadmap, strategy, or any input that could affect execution. Teamwork is required.

Second, it must ensure that everyone can receive the information they need from everyone else quickly, especially as teams become more specialized (an inevitability in a developing organization). It requires everyone's accessibility.

Third, it must ensure that the organization can operate efficiently even if a piece is unavailable. It's partition-tolerant.

From my experience with the many teams I've been on, invested in, or advised, achieving all three is nearly impossible. Why a perfect organization model cannot exist is clear after analysis.

The CAP Theorem: What is it?

Eric Brewer of Berkeley discovered the CAP Theorem, which argues that a distributed data storage should have three benefits. One can only have two at once.

The three benefits are consistency, availability, and partition tolerance, which implies that even if part of the system is offline, the remainder continues to work.

This notion is usually applied to computer science, but I've realized it's also true for human organizations. In a post-COVID world, many organizations are hiring non-co-located staff as they grow. CAP Theorem is more important than ever. Growing teams sometimes think they can develop ways to bypass this law, dooming themselves to a less-than-optimal team dynamic. They should adopt CAP to maximize productivity.

Path 1: Consistency and availability equal no tolerance for partitions

Let's imagine you want your team to always be in sync (i.e., for someone to be the source of truth for the latest information) and to be able to share information with each other. Only division into domains will do.

Numerous developing organizations do this, especially after the early stage (say, 30 people) when everyone may wear many hats and be aware of all the moving elements. After a certain point, it's tougher to keep generalists aligned than to divide them into specialized tasks.

In a specialized, segmented team, leaders optimize consistency and availability (i.e. every function is up-to-speed on the latest strategy, no one is out of sync, and everyone is able to unblock and inform everyone else).

Partition tolerance suffers. If any component of the organization breaks down (someone goes on vacation, quits, underperforms, or Gmail or Slack goes down), productivity stops. There's no way to give the team stability, availability, and smooth operation during a hiccup.

Path 2: Partition Tolerance and Availability = No Consistency

Some businesses avoid relying too heavily on any one person or sub-team by maximizing availability and partition tolerance (the organization continues to function as a whole even if particular components fail). Only redundancy can do that. Instead of specializing each member, the team spreads expertise so people can work in parallel. I switched from Path 1 to Path 2 because I realized too much reliance on one person is risky.

What happens after redundancy? Unreliable. The more people may run independently and in parallel, the less anyone can be the truth. Lack of alignment or updated information can lead to people executing slightly different strategies. So, resources are squandered on the wrong work.

Path 3: Partition and Consistency "Tolerance" equates to "absence"

The third, least-used path stresses partition tolerance and consistency (meaning answers are always correct and up-to-date). In this organizational style, it's most critical to maintain the system operating and keep everyone aligned. No one is allowed to read anything without an assurance that it's up-to-date (i.e. there’s no availability).

Always short-lived. In my experience, a business that prioritizes quality and scalability over speedy information transmission can get bogged down in heavy processes that hinder production. Large-scale, this is unsustainable.

Accepting CAP

When two puzzle pieces fit, the third won't. I've watched developing teams try to tackle these difficulties, only to find, as their ancestors did, that they can never be entirely solved. Idealized solutions fail in reality, causing lost effort, confusion, and lower production.

As teams develop and change, they should embrace CAP, acknowledge there is a limit to productivity in a scaling business, and choose the best two-out-of-three path.