Integrity
Write
Loading...
Max Parasol

Max Parasol

6 months ago

Are DAOs the future or just a passing fad?

How do you DAO? Can DAOs scale?

DAO: Decentralized Autonomous. Organization.

“The whole phrase is a misnomer. They're not decentralized, autonomous, or organizations,” says Monsterplay blockchain consultant David Freuden.

As part of the DAO initiative, Freuden coauthored a 51-page report in May 2020. “We need DAOs,” he says. “‘Shareholder first' is a 1980s/90s concept. Profits became the focus, not products.”

His predictions for DAOs have come true nearly two years later. DAOs had over 1.6 million participants by the end of 2021, up from 13,000 at the start of the year. Wyoming, in the US, will recognize DAOs and the Marshall Islands in 2021. Australia may follow that example in 2022.

But what is a DAO?

Members buy (or are rewarded with) governance tokens to vote on how the DAO operates and spends its money. “DeFi spawned DAOs as an investment vehicle. So a DAO is tokenomics,” says Freuden.

DAOs are usually built around a promise or a social cause, but they still want to make money. “If you can't explain why, the DAO will fail,” he says. “A co-op without tokenomics is not a DAO.”

Operating system DAOs, protocol DAOs, investment DAOs, grant DAOs, service DAOs, social DAOs, collector DAOs, and media DAOs are now available.

Freuden liked the idea of people rallying around a good cause. Speculators and builders make up the crypto world, so it needs a DAO for them.

,Speculators and builders, or both, have mismatched expectations, causing endless, but sometimes creative friction.

Organisms that boost output

Launching a DAO with an original product such as a cryptocurrency, an IT protocol or a VC-like investment fund like FlamingoDAO is common. DAOs enable distributed open-source contributions without borders. The goal is vital. Sometimes, after a product is launched, DAOs emerge, leaving the company to eventually transition to a DAO, as Uniswap did.

Doing things together is a DAO. So it's a way to reward a distributed workforce. DAOs are essentially productivity coordination organisms.

“Those who work for the DAO make permissionless contributions and benefit from fragmented employment,” argues Freuden. DAOs are, first and foremost, a new form of cooperation.

DAO? Distributed not decentralized

In decentralized autonomous organizations, words have multiple meanings. DAOs can emphasize one aspect over another. Autonomy is a trade-off for decentralization.

DAOstack CEO Matan Field says a DAO is a distributed governance system. Power is shared. However, there are two ways to understand a DAO's decentralized nature. This clarifies the various DAO definitions.

A decentralized infrastructure allows a DAO to be decentralized. It could be created on a public permissionless blockchain to prevent a takeover.

As opposed to a company run by executives or shareholders, a DAO is distributed. Its leadership does not wield power

Option two is clearly distributed.

But not all of this is “automated.”

Think quorum, not robot.

DAOs can be autonomous in the sense that smart contracts are self-enforcing and self-executing. So every blockchain transaction is a simplified smart contract.


Dao landscape

The DAO landscape is evolving.

Consider how Ethereum's smart contracts work. They are more like self-executing computer code, which Vitalik Buterin calls “persistent scripts”.

However, a DAO is self-enforcing once its members agree on its rules. As such, a DAO is “automated upon approval by the governance committee.” This distinguishes them from traditional organizations whose rules must be interpreted and applied.

Why a DAO? They move fast

A DAO can quickly adapt to local conditions as a governance mechanism. It's a collaborative decision-making tool.

Like UkraineDAO, created in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine by Ukrainian expat Alona Shevchenko, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Trippy Labs, and PleasrDAO. The DAO sought to support Ukrainian charities by selling Ukrainian flag NFTs. With a single mission, a DAO can quickly raise funds for a country accepting crypto where banks are distrusted.

This could be a watershed moment for DAOs.

ConstitutionDAO was another clever use case for DAOs for Freuden. In a failed but “beautiful experiment in a single-purpose DAO,” ConstitutionDAO tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution from a Sotheby's auction. In November 2021, ConstitutionDAO raised $47 million from 19,000 people, but a hedge fund manager outbid them.

Contributions were returned or lost if transactional gas fees were too high. The ConstitutionDAO, as a “beautiful experiment,” proved exceptionally fast at organizing and crowdsourcing funds for a specific purpose.

We may soon be applauding UkraineDAO's geopolitical success in support of the DAO concept.

Some of the best use cases for DAOs today, according to Adam Miller, founder of DAOplatform.io and MIDAO Directory Services, involve DAO structures.

That is, a “flat community is vital.” Prototyping by the crowd is a good example.  To succeed,  members must be enthusiastic about DAOs as an alternative to starting a company. Because DAOs require some hierarchy, he agrees that "distributed is a better acronym."

Miller sees DAOs as a “new way of organizing people and resources.” He started DAOplatform.io, a DAO tooling advisery that is currently transitioning to a DAO due to the “woeful tech options for running a DAO,” which he says mainly comprises of just “multisig admin keys and a voting system.” So today he's advising on DAO tech stacks.

Miller identifies three key elements.

Tokenization is a common method and tool. Second, governance mechanisms connected to the DAO's treasury. Lastly, community.”

How a DAO works...

They can be more than glorified Discord groups if they have a clear mission. This mission is a mix of financial speculation and utopianism. The spectrum is vast.

The founder of Dash left the cryptocurrency project in 2017. It's the story of a prophet without an heir. So creating a global tokenized evangelical missionary community via a DAO made sense.

Evan Duffield, a “libertarian/anarchist” visionary, forked Bitcoin in January 2014 to make it instant and essentially free. He went away for a while, and DASH became a DAO.

200,000 US retailers, including Walmart and Barnes & Noble, now accept Dash as payment. This payment system works like a gift card.

Arden Goldstein, Dash's head of crypto, DAO, and blockchain marketing, claims Dash is the “first successful DAO.” It was founded in 2016 and disbanded after a hack, an Ethereum hard fork and much controversy. But what are the success metrics?

Crypto success is measured differently, says Goldstein. To achieve common goals, people must participate or be motivated in a healthy DAO. People are motivated to complete tasks in a successful DAO. And, crucially, when tasks get completed.

“Yes or no, 1 or 0, voting is not a new idea. The challenge is getting people to continue to participate and keep building a community.” A DAO motivates volunteers: Nothing keeps people from building. The DAO “philosophy is old news. You need skin in the game to play.”

MasterNodes must stake 1000 Dash. Those members are rewarded with DASH for marketing (and other tasks). It uses an outsourced team to onboard new users globally.

Joining a DAO is part of the fun of meeting crazy or “very active” people on Discord. No one gets fired (usually). If your work is noticed, you may be offered a full-time job.

DAO community members worldwide are rewarded for brand building. Dash is also a great product for developing countries with high inflation and undemocratic governments. The countries with the most Dash DAO members are Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, India, China, France, Italy, and the Philippines.

Grassroots activism makes this DAO work. A DAO is local. Venezuelans can't access Dash.org, so DAO members help them use a VPN. DAO members are investors, fervent evangelicals, and local product experts.

Every month, proposals and grant applications are voted on via the Dash platform. However, the DAO may decide not to fund you. For example, the DAO once hired a PR firm, but the community complained about the lack of press coverage. This raises a great question: How are real-world contractual obligations met by a DAO?

Does the DASH DAO work?

“I see the DAO defund projects I thought were valuable,” Goldstein says. Despite working full-time, I must submit a funding proposal. “Much faster than other companies I've worked on,” he says.

Dash DAO is a headless beast. Ryan Taylor is the CEO of the company overseeing the DASH Core Group project. 

The issue is that “we don't know who has the most tokens [...] because we don't know who our customers are.” As a result, “the loudest voices usually don't have the most MasterNodes and aren't the most invested.”

Goldstein, the only female in the DAO, says she worked hard. “I was proud of the DAO when I made the logo pink for a day and got great support from the men.” This has yet to entice a major influx of female DAO members.

Many obstacles stand in the way of utopian dreams.

Governance problems remain

And what about major token holders behaving badly?

In early February, a heated crypto Twitter debate raged on about inclusion, diversity, and cancel culture in relation to decentralized projects. In this case, the question was how a DAO addresses alleged inappropriate behavior.

In a corporation, misconduct can result in termination. In a DAO, founders usually hold a large number of tokens and the keys to the blockchain (multisignature) or otherwise.

Brantly Millegan, the director of operations of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), made disparaging remarks about the LGBTQ community and other controversial topics. The screenshotted comments were made in 2016 and brought to the ENS board's attention in early 2022.

His contract with ENS has expired. But what of his large DAO governance token holdings?

Members of the DAO proposed a motion to remove Millegan from the DAO. His “delegated” votes net 370,000. He was and is the DAO's largest delegate.

What if he had refused to accept the DAO's decision?

Freuden says the answer is not so simple.

“Can a DAO kick someone out who built the project?”

The original mission “should be dissolved” if it no longer exists. “Does a DAO fail and return the money? They must r eturn the money with interest if the marriage fails.”

Before an IPO, VCs might try to remove a problematic CEO.

While DAOs use treasury as a governance mechanism, it is usually controlled (at least initially) by the original project creators. Or, in the case of Uniswap, the venture capital firm a16z has so much voting power that it has delegated it to student-run blockchain organizations.

So, can DAOs really work at scale? How to evolve voting paradigms beyond token holdings?

The whale token holder issue has some solutions. Multiple tokens, such as a utility token on top of a governance token, and quadratic voting for whales, are now common. Other safeguards include multisignature blockchain keys and decision time locks that allow for any automated decision to be made. The structure of each DAO will depend on the assets at stake.

In reality, voter turnout is often a bigger issue.

Is DAO governance scalable?

Many DAOs have low participation. Due to a lack of understanding of technology, apathy, or busy lives. “The bigger the DAO, the fewer voters who vote,” says Freuden.

Freuden's report cites British anthropologist Dunbar's Law, who argued that people can only maintain about 150 relationships.

"As the DAO grows in size, the individual loses influence because they perceive their voting power as being diminished or insignificant. The Ringelmann Effect and Dunbar's Rule show that as a group grows in size, members become lazier, disenfranchised, and detached.

Freuden says a DAO requires “understanding human relationships.” He believes DAOs work best as investment funds rooted in Cryptoland and small in scale. In just three weeks, SyndicateDAO enabled the creation of 450 new investment group DAOs.

Due to SEC regulations, FlamingoDAO, a famous NFT curation investment DAO, could only have 100 investors. The “LAO” is a member-directed venture capital fund and a US LLC. To comply with US securities law, they only allow 100 members with a 120ETH minimum staking contribution.

But how did FlamingoDAO make investment decisions? How often did all 70 members vote? Art and NFTs are highly speculative.

So, investment DAOs are thought to work well in a small petri dish environment. This is due to a crypto-native club's pooled capital (maximum 7% per member) and crowdsourced knowledge.

While scalability is a concern, each DAO will operate differently depending on the goal, technology stage, and personalities. Meetups and hackathons are common ways for techies to collaborate on a cause or test an idea. But somebody still organizes the hack.

Holographic consensus voting

But clever people are working on creative solutions to every problem.

Miller of DAOplatform.io cites DXdao as a successful DAO. Decentralized product and service creator DXdao runs the DAO entirely on-chain. “You earn voting rights by contributing to the community.”

DXdao, a DAOstack fork, uses holographic consensus, a voting algorithm invented by DAOstack founder Matan Field. The system lets a random or semi-random subset make group-wide decisions.

By acting as a gatekeeper for voters, DXdao's Luke Keenan explains that “a small predictions market economy emerges around the likely outcome of a proposal as tokens are staked on it.” Also, proposals that have been financially boosted have fewer requirements to be successful, increasing system efficiency.” DXdao “makes decisions by removing voting power as an economic incentive.”

Field explains that holographic consensus “does not require a quorum to render a vote valid.”

“Rather, it provides a parallel process. It is a game played (for profit) by ‘predictors' who make predictions about whether or not a vote will be approved by the voters. The voting process is valid even when the voting quorum is low if enough stake is placed on the outcome of the vote.

“In other words, a quorum is not a scalable DAO governance strategy,” Field says.

You don't need big votes on everything. If only 5% vote, fine. To move significant value or make significant changes, you need a longer voting period (say 30 days) and a higher quorum,” says Miller.

Clearly, DAOs are maturing. The emphasis is on tools like Orca and processes that delegate power to smaller sub-DAOs, committees, and working groups.

Miller also claims that “studies in psychology show that rewarding people too much for volunteering disincentivizes them.” So, rather than giving out tokens for every activity, you may want to offer symbolic rewards like POAPs or contributor levels.

“Free lunches are less rewarding. Random rewards can boost motivation.”

Culture and motivation

DAOs (and Web3 in general) can give early adopters a sense of ownership. In theory, they encourage early participation and bootstrapping before network effects.

"A double-edged sword," says Goldstein. In the developing world, they may not be fully scalable.

“There must always be a leader,” she says. “People won't volunteer if they don't want to.”

DAO members sometimes feel entitled. “They are not the boss, but they think they should be able to see my calendar or get a daily report,” Goldstein gripes. Say, “I own three MasterNodes and need to know X, Y, and Z.”

In most decentralized projects, strong community leaders are crucial to influencing culture.

Freuden says “the DAO's community builder is the cryptoland influencer.” They must “disseminate the DAO's culture, cause, and rally the troops” in English, not tech.

They must keep members happy.

So the community builder is vital. Building a community around a coin that promises riches is simple, but keeping DAO members motivated is difficult.

It's a human job. But tools like SourceCred or coordinate that measure contributions and allocate tokens are heavily marketed. Large growth funds/community funds/grant programs are common among DAOs.

The Future?

Onboarding, committed volunteers, and an iconic community builder may be all DAOs need.

It takes a DAO just one day to bring together a passionate (and sometimes obsessive) community. For organizations with a common goal, managing stakeholder expectations is critical.

A DAO's core values are community and cause, not scalable governance. “DAOs will work at scale like gaming communities, but we will have sub-DAOs everywhere like committees,” says Freuden.

So-called holographic consensuses “can handle, in principle, increasing rates of proposals by turning this tension between scale and resilience into an economical cost,” Field writes. Scalability is not guaranteed.

The DAO's key innovation is the fragmented workplace. “Voting is a subset of engagement,” says Freuden. DAO should allow for permissionless participation and engagement. DAOs allow for remote work.”

In 20 years, DAOs may be the AI-powered self-organizing concept. That seems far away now. But a new breed of productivity coordination organisms is maturing.

More on Web3 & Crypto

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

2 months 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.

Yogesh Rawal

Yogesh Rawal

7 months ago

Blockchain to solve growing privacy challenges

Most online activity is now public. Businesses collect, store, and use our personal data to improve sales and services.

In 2014, Uber executives and employees were accused of spying on customers using tools like maps. Another incident raised concerns about the use of ‘FaceApp'. The app was created by a small Russian company, and the photos can be used in unexpected ways. The Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed serious privacy issues. The whole incident raised questions about how governments and businesses should handle data. Modern technologies and practices also make it easier to link data to people.

As a result, governments and regulators have taken steps to protect user data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced by the EU to address data privacy issues. The law governs how businesses collect and process user data. The Data Protection Bill in India and the General Data Protection Law in Brazil are similar.
Despite the impact these regulations have made on data practices, a lot of distance is yet to cover.

Blockchain's solution

Blockchain may be able to address growing data privacy concerns. The technology protects our personal data by providing security and anonymity. The blockchain uses random strings of numbers called public and private keys to maintain privacy. These keys allow a person to be identified without revealing their identity. Blockchain may be able to ensure data privacy and security in this way. Let's dig deeper.

Financial transactions

Online payments require third-party services like PayPal or Google Pay. Using blockchain can eliminate the need to trust third parties. Users can send payments between peers using their public and private keys without providing personal information to a third-party application. Blockchain will also secure financial data.

Healthcare data

Blockchain technology can give patients more control over their data. There are benefits to doing so. Once the data is recorded on the ledger, patients can keep it secure and only allow authorized access. They can also only give the healthcare provider part of the information needed.

The major challenge

We tried to figure out how blockchain could help solve the growing data privacy issues. However, using blockchain to address privacy concerns has significant drawbacks. Blockchain is not designed for data privacy. A ‘distributed' ledger will be used to store the data. Another issue is the immutability of blockchain. Data entered into the ledger cannot be changed or deleted. It will be impossible to remove personal data from the ledger even if desired.

MIT's Enigma Project aims to solve this. Enigma's ‘Secret Network' allows nodes to process data without seeing it. Decentralized applications can use Secret Network to use encrypted data without revealing it.

Another startup, Oasis Labs, uses blockchain to address data privacy issues. They are working on a system that will allow businesses to protect their customers' data. 

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is already being used. Several governments use blockchain to eliminate centralized servers and improve data security. In this information age, it is vital to safeguard our data. How blockchain can help us in this matter is still unknown as the world explores the technology.

Caleb Naysmith

Caleb Naysmith

1 month ago   Draft

A Myth: Decentralization

It’s simply not conceivable, or at least not credible.

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

One of the most touted selling points of Crypto has always been this grandiose idea of decentralization. Bitcoin first arose in 2009 after the housing crisis and subsequent crash that came with it. It aimed to solve this supposed issue of centralization. Nobody “owns” Bitcoin in theory, so the idea then goes that it won’t be subject to the same downfalls that led to the 2008 crash or similarly speculative events that led to the 2008 disaster. The issue is the banks, not the human nature associated with the greedy individuals running them.

Subsequent blockchains have attempted to fix many of the issues of Bitcoin by increasing capacity, decreasing the costs and processing times associated with Bitcoin, and expanding what can be done with their blockchains. Since nobody owns Bitcoin, it hasn’t really been able to be expanded on. You have people like Vitalk Buterin, however, that actively work on Ethereum though.

The leap from Bitcoin to Ethereum was a massive leap toward centralization, and the trend has only gotten worse. In fact, crypto has since become almost exclusively centralized in recent years.

Decentralization is only good in theory

It’s a good idea. In fact, it’s a wonderful idea. However, like other utopian societies, individuals misjudge human nature and greed. In a perfect world, decentralization would certainly be a wonderful idea because sure, people may function as their own banks, move payments immediately, remain anonymous, and so on. However, underneath this are a couple issues:

  • You can already send money instantaneously today.

  • They are not decentralized.

  • Decentralization is a bad idea.

  • Being your own bank is a stupid move.

Let’s break these down. Some are quite simple, but lets have a look.

Sending money right away

One thing with crypto is the idea that you can send payments instantly. This has pretty much been entirely solved in current times. You can transmit significant sums of money instantly for a nominal cost and it’s instantaneously cleared. Venmo was launched in 2009 and has since increased to prominence, and currently is on most people's phones. I can directly send ANY amount of money quickly from my bank to another person's Venmo account.

Comparing that with ETH and Bitcoin, Venmo wins all around. I can send money to someone for free instantly in dollars and the only fee paid is optional depending on when you want it.

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are subject to demand. If the blockchains have a lot of people trying to process transactions fee’s go up, and the time that it takes to receive your crypto takes longer. When Ethereum gets bad, people have reported spending several thousand of dollars on just 1 transaction.

These transactions take place via “miners” bundling and confirming transactions, then recording them on the blockchain to confirm that the transaction did indeed happen. They charge fees to do this and are also paid in Bitcoin/ETH. When a transaction is confirmed, it's then sent to the other users wallet. This within itself is subject to lots of controversy because each transaction needs to be confirmed 6 times, this takes massive amounts of power, and most of the power is wasted because this is an adversarial system in which the person that mines the transaction gets paid, and everyone else is out of luck. Also, these could theoretically be subject to a “51% attack” in which anyone with over 51% of the mining hash rate could effectively control all of the transactions, and reverse transactions while keeping the BTC resulting in “double spending”.

There are tons of other issues with this, but essentially it means: They rely on these third parties to confirm the transactions. Without people confirming these transactions, Bitcoin stalls completely, and if anyone becomes too dominant they can effectively control bitcoin.

Not to mention, these transactions are in Bitcoin and ETH, not dollars. So, you need to convert them to dollars still, and that's several more transactions, and likely to take several days anyway as the centralized exchange needs to send you the money by traditional methods.

They are not distributed

That takes me to the following point. This isn’t decentralized, at all. Bitcoin is the closest it gets because Satoshi basically closed it to new upgrades, although its still subject to:

  • Whales

  • Miners

It’s vital to realize that these are often the same folks. While whales aren’t centralized entities typically, they can considerably effect the price and outcome of Bitcoin. If the largest wallets holding as much as 1 million BTC were to sell, it’d effectively collapse the price perhaps beyond repair. However, Bitcoin can and is pretty much controlled by the miners. Further, Bitcoin is more like an oligarchy than decentralized. It’s been effectively used to make the rich richer, and both the mining and price is impacted by the rich. The overwhelming minority of those actually using it are retail investors. The retail investors are basically never the ones generating money from it either.

As far as ETH and other cryptos go, there is realistically 0 case for them being decentralized. Vitalik could not only kill it but even walking away from it would likely lead to a significant decline. It has tons of issues right now that Vitalik has promised to fix with the eventual Ethereum 2.0., and stepping away from it wouldn’t help.

Most tokens as well are generally tied to some promise of future developments and creators. The same is true for most NFT projects. The reason 99% of crypto and NFT projects fail is because they failed to deliver on various promises or bad dev teams, or poor innovation, or the founders just straight up stole from everyone. I could go more in-depth than this but go find any project and if there is a dev team, company, or person tied to it then it's likely, not decentralized. The success of that project is directly tied to the dev team, and if they wanted to, most hold large wallets and could sell it all off effectively killing the project. Not to mention, any crypto project that doesn’t have a locked contract can 100% be completely rugged and they can run off with all of the money.

Decentralization is undesirable

Even if they were decentralized then it would not be a good thing. The graphic above indicates this is effectively a rich person’s unregulated playground… so it’s exactly like… the very issue it tried to solve?

Not to mention, it’s supposedly meant to prevent things like 2008, but is regularly subjected to 50–90% drawdowns in value? Back when Bitcoin was only known in niche parts of the dark web and illegal markets, it would regularly drop as much as 90% and has a long history of massive drawdowns.

The majority of crypto is blatant scams, and ALL of crypto is a “zero” or “negative” sum game in that it relies on the next person buying for people to make money. This is not a good thing. This has yet to solve any issues around what caused the 2008 crisis. Rather, it seemingly amplified all of the bad parts of it actually. Crypto is the ultimate speculative asset and realistically has no valuation metric. People invest in Apple because it has revenue and cash on hand. People invest in crypto purely for speculation. The lack of regulation or accountability means this is amplified to the most extreme degree where anything goes: Fraud, deception, pump and dumps, scams, etc. This results in a pure speculative madhouse where, unsurprisingly, only the rich win. Not only that but the deck is massively stacked in against the everyday investor because you can’t do a pump and dump without money.

At the heart of all of this is still the same issues: greed and human nature. However, in setting out to solve the issues that allowed 2008 to happen, they made something that literally took all of the bad parts of 2008 and then amplified it. 2008, similarly, was due to greed and human nature but was allowed to happen due to lack of oversite, rich people's excessive leverage over the poor, and excessive speculation. Crypto trades SOLELY on human emotion, has 0 oversite, is pure speculation, and the power dynamic is just as bad or worse.

Why should each individual be their own bank?

This is the last one, and it's short and basic. Why do we want people functioning as their own bank? Everything we do relies on another person. Without the internet, and internet providers there is no crypto. We don’t have people functioning as their own home and car manufacturers or internet service providers. Sure, you might specialize in some of these things, but masquerading as your own bank is a horrible idea.

I am not in the banking industry so I don’t know all the issues with banking. Most people aren’t in banking or crypto, so they don’t know the ENDLESS scams associated with it, and they are bound to lose their money eventually.

If you appreciate this article and want to read more from me and authors like me, without any limits, consider buying me a coffee: buymeacoffee.com/calebnaysmith

You might also like

Katherine Kornei

Katherine Kornei

4 months ago

The InSight lander from NASA has recorded the greatest tremor ever felt on Mars.

The magnitude 5 earthquake was responsible for the discharge of energy that was 10 times greater than the previous record holder.

Any Martians who happen to be reading this should quickly learn how to duck and cover.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported that on May 4, the planet Mars was shaken by an earthquake of around magnitude 5, making it the greatest Marsquake ever detected to this point. The shaking persisted for more than six hours and unleashed more than ten times as much energy as the earthquake that had previously held the record for strongest.

The event was captured on record by the InSight lander, which is operated by the United States Space Agency and has been researching the innards of Mars ever since it touched down on the planet in 2018 (SN: 11/26/18). The epicenter of the earthquake was probably located in the vicinity of Cerberus Fossae, which is located more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander.

The surface of Cerberus Fossae is notorious for being broken up and experiencing periodic rockfalls. According to geophysicist Philippe Lognonné, who is the lead investigator of the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the seismometer that is onboard the InSight lander, it is reasonable to assume that the ground is moving in that area. "This is an old crater from a volcanic eruption."

Marsquakes, which are similar to earthquakes in that they give information about the interior structure of our planet, can be utilized to investigate what lies beneath the surface of Mars (SN: 7/22/21). And according to Lognonné, who works at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, there is a great deal that can be gleaned from analyzing this massive earthquake. Because the quality of the signal is so high, we will be able to focus on the specifics.

Hannah Elliott

1 month ago

Pebble Beach Auto Auctions Set $469M Record

The world's most prestigious vintage vehicle show included amazing autos and record-breaking sums.

This 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo earned Best of Show in 2022.

This 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo earned Best of Show in 2022.

David Paul Morris (DPM)/Bloomberg

2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance winner was a pre-war roadster.

Lee Anderson's 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best of Show at Pebble Beach Golf Links near Carmel, Calif., on Sunday. First American win since 2013.

Sandra Button, chairperson of the annual concours, said the car, whose chassis and body had been separated for years, "marries American force with European style." "Its resurrection story is passionate."

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Auction

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Auction

Since 1950, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance has welcomed the world's most costly collectable vehicles for a week of parties, auctions, rallies, and high-roller meetings. The cold, dreary weather highlighted the automobiles' stunning lines and hues.

DPM/Bloomberg

A visitor photographs a 1948 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta

A visitor photographs a 1948 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta. This is one of 25 Ferraris manufactured in the years after World War II. First shown at the 1948 Turin Salon. Others finished Mille Miglia and Le Mans, which set the tone for Ferrari racing for years.

DPM/Bloomberg

This year's frontrunners were ultra-rare pre-war and post-war automobiles with long and difficult titles, such a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe and a 1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet.

The hefty, enormous coaches inspire visions of golden pasts when mysterious saloons swept over the road with otherworldly style, speed, and grace. Only the richest and most powerful people, like Indian maharaja and Hollywood stars, owned such vehicles.

Antonio Chopitea, a Peruvian sugar tycoon, ordered a new Duesenberg in Paris. Hemmings says the two-tone blue beauty was moved to the US and dismantled in the 1960s. Body and chassis were sold separately and rejoined decades later in a three-year, prize-winning restoration.

The concours is the highlight of Monterey Car Week, a five-day Super Bowl for car enthusiasts. Early events included Porsche and Ferrari displays, antique automobile races, and new-vehicle debuts. Many auto executives call Monterey Car Week the "new auto show."

Many visitors were drawn to the record-breaking auctions.

A 1969 Porsche 908/02 auctioned for $4.185 million.

A 1969 Porsche 908/02 auctioned for $4.185 million. Flat-eight air-cooled engine, 90.6-inch wheelbase, 1,320-pound weight. Vic Elford, Richard Attwood, Rudi Lins, Gérard Larrousse, Kurt Ahrens Jr., Masten Gregory, and Pedro Rodriguez drove it, according to Gooding.

DPM/Bloomberg

The 1931 Bentley Eight Liter Sports Tourer doesn't meet its reserve

The 1931 Bentley Eight Liter Sports Tourer doesn't meet its reserve. Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the concours, made more than $105 million and had an 82% sell-through rate. This powerful open-top tourer is one of W.O. Bentley's 100 automobiles. Only 80 remain.

DPM/Bloomberg

The final auction on Aug. 21 brought in $456.1 million, breaking the previous high of $394.48 million established in 2015 in Monterey. “The week put an exclamation point on what has been an exceptional year for the collector automobile market,” Hagerty analyst John Wiley said.

Many cars that go unsold at public auction are sold privately in the days after. After-sales pushed the week's haul to $469 million on Aug. 22, up 18.9% from 2015's record.

In today's currencies, 2015's record sales amount to $490 million, Wiley noted. The dollar is degrading faster than old autos.

Still, 113 million-dollar automobiles sold. The average car sale price was $583,211, up from $446,042 last year, while multimillion-dollar hammer prices made up around 75% of total sales.

Industry insiders and market gurus expected that stock market volatility, the crisis in Ukraine, and the dollar-euro exchange rate wouldn't influence the world's biggest spenders.

Classic.com's CEO said there's no hint of a recession in an e-mail. Big sales and crowds.

Ticket-holders wore huge hats, flowery skirts, and other Kentucky Derby-esque attire.

Ticket-holders wore huge hats, flowery skirts, and other Kentucky Derby-esque attire. Coffee, beverages, and food are extra.

DPM/Bloomberg

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, 1955. Mercedes produced the two-seat gullwing coupe from 1954–1957 and the roadster from 1957–1963

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, 1955. Mercedes produced the two-seat gullwing coupe from 1954–1957 and the roadster from 1957–1963. It was once West Germany's fastest and most powerful automobile. You'd be hard-pressed to locate one for less $1 million.

DPM/Bloomberg

1955 Ferrari 410 Sport sold for $22 million at RM Sotheby's. It sold a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sindelfingen Roadster for $9.9 million and a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C Transformable Torpedo for $9.245 million. The family-run mansion sold $221.7 million with a 90% sell-through rate, up from $147 million in 2021. This year, RM Sotheby's cars averaged $1.3 million.

Not everyone saw such great benefits.

Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the concours, made more than $105 million and had an 82% sell-through rate. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante, 1990 Ferrari F40, and 1994 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport were top sellers.

The 1969 Autobianchi A112 Bertone.

The 1969 Autobianchi A112 Bertone. This idea two-seater became a Hot Wheels toy but was never produced. It has a four-speed manual drive and an inline-four mid-engine arrangement like the Lamborghini Miura.

DPM/Bloomberg

1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster at Gooding & Co. The Porsche 356 is a lightweight,

1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster at Gooding & Co. The Porsche 356 is a lightweight, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle that lacks driving power but is loved for its rounded, Beetle-like hardtop coupé and open-top versions.

DPM/Bloomberg

Mecum sold $50.8 million with a 64% sell-through rate, down from $53.8 million and 77% in 2021. Its top lot, a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT 'Tour de France' Alloy Coupe, sold for $2.86 million, but its average price was $174,016.

Bonhams had $27.8 million in sales with an 88% sell-through rate. The same sell-through generated $35.9 million in 2021.

Gooding & Co. and RM Sotheby's posted all 10 top sales, leaving Bonhams, Mecum, and Hagerty-owned Broad Arrow fighting for leftovers. Six of the top 10 sellers were Ferraris, which remain the gold standard for collectable automobiles. Their prices have grown over decades.

Classic.com's Calle claimed RM Sotheby's "stole the show," but "BroadArrow will be a force to reckon with."

Although pre-war cars were hot, '80s and '90s cars showed the most appreciation and attention. Generational transition and new buyer profile."

2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance judges inspect 1953 Siata 208

2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance judges inspect 1953 Siata 208. The rounded coupe was introduced at the 1952 Turin Auto Show in Italy and is one of 18 ever produced. It sports a 120hp Fiat engine, five-speed manual transmission, and alloy drum brakes. Owners liked their style, but not their reliability.

DPM/Bloomberg

The Czinger 21 CV Max at Pebble Beach

The Czinger 21 CV Max at Pebble Beach. Monterey Car Week concentrates on historic and classic automobiles, but modern versions like this Czinger hypercar also showed.

DPM/Bloomberg

The 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best in Show in 2022

The 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best in Show in 2022. Lee and Penny Anderson of Naples, Fla., own the once-separate-chassis-from-body automobile.

DPM/Bloomberg

Justin Kuepper

Justin Kuepper

5 months ago

Day Trading Introduction

Historically, only large financial institutions, brokerages, and trading houses could actively trade in the stock market. With instant global news dissemination and low commissions, developments such as discount brokerages and online trading have leveled the playing—or should we say trading—field. It's never been easier for retail investors to trade like pros thanks to trading platforms like Robinhood and zero commissions.

Day trading is a lucrative career (as long as you do it properly). But it can be difficult for newbies, especially if they aren't fully prepared with a strategy. Even the most experienced day traders can lose money.

So, how does day trading work?

Day Trading Basics

Day trading is the practice of buying and selling a security on the same trading day. It occurs in all markets, but is most common in forex and stock markets. Day traders are typically well educated and well funded. For small price movements in highly liquid stocks or currencies, they use leverage and short-term trading strategies.

Day traders are tuned into short-term market events. News trading is a popular strategy. Scheduled announcements like economic data, corporate earnings, or interest rates are influenced by market psychology. Markets react when expectations are not met or exceeded, usually with large moves, which can help day traders.

Intraday trading strategies abound. Among these are:

  • Scalping: This strategy seeks to profit from minor price changes throughout the day.
  • Range trading: To determine buy and sell levels, range traders use support and resistance levels.
  • News-based trading exploits the increased volatility around news events.
  • High-frequency trading (HFT): The use of sophisticated algorithms to exploit small or short-term market inefficiencies.

A Disputed Practice

Day trading's profit potential is often debated on Wall Street. Scammers have enticed novices by promising huge returns in a short time. Sadly, the notion that trading is a get-rich-quick scheme persists. Some daytrade without knowledge. But some day traders succeed despite—or perhaps because of—the risks.

Day trading is frowned upon by many professional money managers. They claim that the reward rarely outweighs the risk. Those who day trade, however, claim there are profits to be made. Profitable day trading is possible, but it is risky and requires considerable skill. Moreover, economists and financial professionals agree that active trading strategies tend to underperform passive index strategies over time, especially when fees and taxes are factored in.

Day trading is not for everyone and is risky. It also requires a thorough understanding of how markets work and various short-term profit strategies. Though day traders' success stories often get a lot of media attention, keep in mind that most day traders are not wealthy: Many will fail, while others will barely survive. Also, while skill is important, bad luck can sink even the most experienced day trader.

Characteristics of a Day Trader

Experts in the field are typically well-established professional day traders.
They usually have extensive market knowledge. Here are some prerequisites for successful day trading.

Market knowledge and experience

Those who try to day-trade without understanding market fundamentals frequently lose. Day traders should be able to perform technical analysis and read charts. Charts can be misleading if not fully understood. Do your homework and know the ins and outs of the products you trade.

Enough capital

Day traders only use risk capital they can lose. This not only saves them money but also helps them trade without emotion. To profit from intraday price movements, a lot of capital is often required. Most day traders use high levels of leverage in margin accounts, and volatile market swings can trigger large margin calls on short notice.

Strategy

A trader needs a competitive advantage. Swing trading, arbitrage, and trading news are all common day trading strategies. They tweak these strategies until they consistently profit and limit losses.

Strategy Breakdown:

Type | Risk | Reward

Swing Trading | High | High
Arbitrage | Low | Medium
Trading News | Medium | Medium
Mergers/Acquisitions | Medium | High

Discipline

A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Many day traders lose money because they don't meet their own criteria. “Plan the trade and trade the plan,” they say. Success requires discipline.

Day traders profit from market volatility. For a day trader, a stock's daily movement is appealing. This could be due to an earnings report, investor sentiment, or even general economic or company news.

Day traders also prefer highly liquid stocks because they can change positions without affecting the stock's price. Traders may buy a stock if the price rises. If the price falls, a trader may decide to sell short to profit.

A day trader wants to trade a stock that moves (a lot).

Day Trading for a Living

Professional day traders can be self-employed or employed by a larger institution.

Most day traders work for large firms like hedge funds and banks' proprietary trading desks. These traders benefit from direct counterparty lines, a trading desk, large capital and leverage, and expensive analytical software (among other advantages). By taking advantage of arbitrage and news events, these traders can profit from less risky day trades before individual traders react.

Individual traders often manage other people’s money or simply trade with their own. They rarely have access to a trading desk, but they frequently have strong ties to a brokerage (due to high commissions) and other resources. However, their limited scope prevents them from directly competing with institutional day traders. Not to mention more risks. Individuals typically day trade highly liquid stocks using technical analysis and swing trades, with some leverage. 

Day trading necessitates access to some of the most complex financial products and services. Day traders usually need:

Access to a trading desk

Traders who work for large institutions or manage large sums of money usually use this. The trading or dealing desk provides these traders with immediate order execution, which is critical during volatile market conditions. For example, when an acquisition is announced, day traders interested in merger arbitrage can place orders before the rest of the market.

News sources

The majority of day trading opportunities come from news, so being the first to know when something significant happens is critical. It has access to multiple leading newswires, constant news coverage, and software that continuously analyzes news sources for important stories.

Analytical tools

Most day traders rely on expensive trading software. Technical traders and swing traders rely on software more than news. This software's features include:

  • Automatic pattern recognition: It can identify technical indicators like flags and channels, or more complex indicators like Elliott Wave patterns.

  • Genetic and neural applications: These programs use neural networks and genetic algorithms to improve trading systems and make more accurate price predictions.

  • Broker integration: Some of these apps even connect directly to the brokerage, allowing for instant and even automatic trade execution. This reduces trading emotion and improves execution times.

  • Backtesting: This allows traders to look at past performance of a strategy to predict future performance. Remember that past results do not always predict future results.

Together, these tools give traders a competitive advantage. It's easy to see why inexperienced traders lose money without them. A day trader's earnings potential is also affected by the market in which they trade, their capital, and their time commitment.

Day Trading Risks

Day trading can be intimidating for the average investor due to the numerous risks involved. The SEC highlights the following risks of day trading:

Because day traders typically lose money in their first months of trading and many never make profits, they should only risk money they can afford to lose.
Trading is a full-time job that is stressful and costly: Observing dozens of ticker quotes and price fluctuations to spot market trends requires intense concentration. Day traders also spend a lot on commissions, training, and computers.
Day traders heavily rely on borrowing: Day-trading strategies rely on borrowed funds to make profits, which is why many day traders lose everything and end up in debt.
Avoid easy profit promises: Avoid “hot tips” and “expert advice” from day trading newsletters and websites, and be wary of day trading educational seminars and classes. 

Should You Day Trade?
As stated previously, day trading as a career can be difficult and demanding.

  • First, you must be familiar with the trading world and know your risk tolerance, capital, and goals.
  • Day trading also takes a lot of time. You'll need to put in a lot of time if you want to perfect your strategies and make money. Part-time or whenever isn't going to cut it. You must be fully committed.
  • If you decide trading is for you, remember to start small. Concentrate on a few stocks rather than jumping into the market blindly. Enlarging your trading strategy can result in big losses.
  • Finally, keep your cool and avoid trading emotionally. The more you can do that, the better. Keeping a level head allows you to stay focused and on track.
    If you follow these simple rules, you may be on your way to a successful day trading career.

Is Day Trading Illegal?

Day trading is not illegal or unethical, but it is risky. Because most day-trading strategies use margin accounts, day traders risk losing more than they invest and becoming heavily in debt.

How Can Arbitrage Be Used in Day Trading?

Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of a security in multiple markets to profit from small price differences. Because arbitrage ensures that any deviation in an asset's price from its fair value is quickly corrected, arbitrage opportunities are rare.

Why Don’t Day Traders Hold Positions Overnight?

Day traders rarely hold overnight positions for several reasons: Overnight trades require more capital because most brokers require higher margin; stocks can gap up or down on overnight news, causing big trading losses; and holding a losing position overnight in the hope of recovering some or all of the losses may be against the trader's core day-trading philosophy.

What Are Day Trader Margin Requirements?

Regulation D requires that a pattern day trader client of a broker-dealer maintain at all times $25,000 in equity in their account.

How Much Buying Power Does Day Trading Have?

Buying power is the total amount of funds an investor has available to trade securities. FINRA rules allow a pattern day trader to trade up to four times their maintenance margin excess as of the previous day's close.

The Verdict

Although controversial, day trading can be a profitable strategy. Day traders, both institutional and retail, keep the markets efficient and liquid. Though day trading is still popular among novice traders, it should be left to those with the necessary skills and resources.