Crypto Legislation Might Progress Beyond Talk in 2022
Financial regulators have for years attempted to apply existing laws to the multitude of issues created by digital assets. In 2021, leading federal regulators and members of Congress have begun to call for legislation to address these issues. As a result, 2022 may be the year when federal legislation finally addresses digital asset issues that have been growing since the mining of the first Bitcoin block in 2009.
Digital Asset Regulation in the Absence of Legislation
So far, Congress has left the task of addressing issues created by digital assets to regulatory agencies. Although a Congressional Blockchain Caucus formed in 2016, House and Senate members introduced few bills addressing digital assets until 2018. As of October 2021, Congress has not amended federal laws on financial regulation, which were last significantly revised by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, to address digital asset issues.
In the absence of legislation, issues that do not fit well into existing statutes have created problems. An example is the legal status of digital assets, which can be considered to be either securities or commodities, and can even shift from one to the other over time. Years after the SEC’s 2017 report applying the definition of a security to digital tokens, the SEC and the CFTC have yet to clarify the distinction between securities and commodities for the thousands of digital assets in existence.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has called for Congress to act, stating in August, “We need additional Congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products, and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks.” Gensler has reached out to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.), who has expressed her own concerns about the need for legislation.
Legislation on Digital Assets in 2021
While regulators and members of Congress talked about the need for legislation, and the debate over cryptocurrency tax reporting in the 2021 infrastructure bill generated headlines, House and Senate bills proposing specific solutions to various issues quietly started to emerge.
Digital Token Sales
Several House bills attempt to address securities law barriers to digital token sales—some of them by building on ideas proposed by regulators in past years.
Exclusion from the definition of a security. Congressional Blockchain Caucus members have been introducing bills to exclude digital tokens from the definition of a security since 2018, and they have revived those bills in 2021. They include the Token Taxonomy Act of 2021 (H.R. 1628), successor to identically named bills in 2018 and 2019, and the Securities Clarity Act (H.R. 4451), successor to a 2020 namesake.
Safe harbor. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce proposed a regulatory safe harbor for token sales in 2020, and two 2021 bills have proposed statutory safe harbors. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Republican leader of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced a Clarity for Digital Tokens Act of 2021 (H.R. 5496) that would amend the Securities Act to create a safe harbor providing a grace period of exemption from Securities Act registration requirements. The Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act (H.R. 4741) from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) would amend the Securities Exchange Act to define a new type of security—a “digital asset security”—and add issuers of digital asset securities to an existing provision for delayed registration of securities.
Stablecoins—digital currencies linked to the value of the U.S. dollar or other fiat currencies—have not yet been the subject of regulatory action, although Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell have each underscored the need to create a regulatory framework for them. The Beyer bill proposes to create a regulatory regime for stablecoins by amending Title 31 of the U.S. Code. Treasury Department approval would be required for any “digital asset fiat-based stablecoin” to be issued or used, under an application process to be established by Treasury in consultation with the Federal Reserve, the SEC, and the CFTC.
Serious consideration for any of these proposals in the current session of Congress may be unlikely. A spate of autumn bills on crypto ransom payments (S. 2666, S. 2923, S. 2926, H.R. 5501) shows that Congress is more inclined to pay attention first to issues that are more spectacular and less arcane. Moreover, the arcaneness of digital asset regulatory issues is likely only to increase further, now that major industry players such as Coinbase and Andreessen Horowitz are starting to roll out their own regulatory proposals.
Digital Dollar vs. Digital Yuan
Impetus to pass legislation on another type of digital asset, a central bank digital currency (CBDC), may come from a different source: rivalry with China.
China established itself as a world leader in developing a CBDC with a pilot project launched in 2020, and in 2021, the People’s Bank of China announced that its CBDC will be used at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. Republican Senators responded by calling for the U.S. Olympic Committee to forbid use of China’s CBDC by U.S. athletes in Beijing and introducing a bill (S. 2543) to require a study of its national security implications.
The Beijing Olympics could motivate a legislative mandate to accelerate implementation of a U.S. digital dollar, which the Federal Reserve has been in the process of considering in 2021. Antecedents to such legislation already exist. A House bill sponsored by 46 Republicans (H.R. 4792) has a provision that would require the Treasury Department to assess China’s CBDC project and report on the status of Federal Reserve work on a CBDC, and the Beyer bill includes a provision amending the Federal Reserve Act to authorize issuing a digital dollar.
Both parties are likely to support creating a digital dollar. The Covid-19 pandemic made a digital dollar for delivery of relief payments a popular idea in 2020, and House Democrats introduced bills with provisions for creating one in 2020 and 2021. Bipartisan support for a bill on a digital dollar, based on concerns both foreign and domestic in nature, could result.
International rivalry and bipartisan support may make the digital dollar a gateway issue for digital asset legislation in 2022. Legislative work on a digital dollar may open the door for considering further digital asset issues—including the regulatory issues that have been emerging for years—in 2022 and beyond.
More on Web3 & Crypto
10 months ago
Why Bitcoin's Crash Could Be Good for Investors
The crypto market crashed in June 2022. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies hit their lowest prices in over a year, causing market panic. Some believe this crash will benefit future investors.
Before I discuss how this crash might help investors, let's examine why it happened. Inflation in the U.S. reached a 30-year high in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine. In response, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.5%, the most in almost 20 years. This hurts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Higher interest rates make people less likely to invest in volatile assets like crypto, so many investors sold quickly.
The crypto market collapsed. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance dropped 40%. Other cryptos crashed so hard they were delisted from almost every exchange. Bitcoin peaked in April 2022 at $41,000, but after the May interest rate hike, it crashed to $28,000. Bitcoin investors were worried. Even in bad times, this crash is unprecedented.
Bitcoin wasn't "doomed." Before the crash, LUNA was one of the top 5 cryptos by market cap. LUNA was trading around $80 at the start of May 2022, but after the rate hike?
Less than 1 cent. LUNA lost 99.99% of its value in days and was removed from every crypto exchange. Bitcoin's "crash" isn't as devastating when compared to LUNA.
Many people said Bitcoin is "due" for a LUNA-like crash and that the only reason it hasn't crashed is because it's bigger. Still false. If so, Bitcoin should be worth zero by now. We didn't. Instead, Bitcoin reached 28,000, then 29k, 30k, and 31k before falling to 18k. That's not the world's greatest recovery, but it shows Bitcoin's safety.
Bitcoin isn't falling constantly. It fell because of the initial shock of interest rates, but not further. Now, Bitcoin's value is more likely to rise than fall. Bitcoin's low price also attracts investors. They know what prices Bitcoin can reach with enough hype, and they want to capitalize on low prices before it's too late.
Bitcoin's crash was bad, but in a way it wasn't. To understand, consider 2021. In March 2021, Bitcoin surpassed $60k for the first time. Elon Musk's announcement in May that he would no longer support Bitcoin caused a massive crash in the crypto market. In May 2017, Bitcoin's price hit $29,000. Elon Musk's statement isn't worth more than the Fed raising rates. Many expected this big announcement to kill Bitcoin.
Not so. Bitcoin crashed from $58k to $31k in 2021. Bitcoin fell from $41k to $28k in 2022. This crash is smaller. Bitcoin's price held up despite tensions and stress, proving investors still believe in it. What happened after the initial crash in the past?
Bitcoin fell until mid-July. This is also something we’re not seeing today. After a week, Bitcoin began to improve daily. Bitcoin's price rose after mid-July. Bitcoin's price fluctuated throughout the rest of 2021, but it topped $67k in November. Despite no major changes, the peak occurred after the crash. Elon Musk seemed uninterested in crypto and wasn't likely to change his mind soon. What triggered this peak? Nothing, really. What really happened is that people got over the initial statement. They forgot.
Internet users have goldfish-like attention spans. People quickly forgot the crash's cause and were back investing in crypto months later. Despite the market's setbacks, more crypto investors emerged by the end of 2017. Who gained from these peaks? Bitcoin investors who bought low. Bitcoin not only recovered but also doubled its ROI. It was like a movie, and it shows us what to expect from Bitcoin in the coming months.
The current Bitcoin crash isn't as bad as the last one. LUNA is causing market panic. LUNA and Bitcoin are different cryptocurrencies. LUNA crashed because Terra wasn’t able to keep its peg with the USD. Bitcoin is unanchored. It's one of the most decentralized investments available. LUNA's distrust affected crypto prices, including Bitcoin, but it won't last forever.
This is why Bitcoin will likely rebound in the coming months. In 2022, people will get over the rise in interest rates and the crash of LUNA, just as they did with Elon Musk's crypto stance in 2021. When the world moves on to the next big controversy, Bitcoin's price will soar.
Bitcoin may recover for another reason. Like controversy, interest rates fluctuate. The Russian invasion caused this inflation. World markets will stabilize, prices will fall, and interest rates will drop.
Next, lower interest rates could boost Bitcoin's price. Eventually, it will happen. The U.S. economy can't sustain such high interest rates. Investors will put every last dollar into Bitcoin if interest rates fall again.
Bitcoin has proven to be a stable investment. This boosts its investment reputation. Even if Ethereum dethrones Bitcoin as crypto king one day (or any other crypto, for that matter). Bitcoin may stay on top of the crypto ladder for a while. We'll have to wait a few months to see if any of this is true.
This post is a summary. Read the full article here.
5 months ago
These new DeFi protocols are just amazing.
I've never seen this before.
Focus on native crypto development, not price activity or turmoil.
CT is boring now. Either folks are still angry about FTX or they're distracted by AI. Plus, it's year-end, and people rest for the holidays. 2022 was rough.
So DeFi fans can get inspired by something fresh. Who's building? As I read the Defillama daily roundup, many updates are still on FTX and its contagion.
I've used the same method on their Raises page. Not much happened :(. Maybe my high standards are to fault, but the business may be resting. OK.
The handful I locate might last us till the end of the year. (If another big blowup occurs.)
An on-chain monitor account I follow reported a huge transfer of $HFT from Binance to Jump Tradings.
I was intrigued. Stacking? So I checked and discovered out the project was launched through Binance Launchpad, which has introduced many 100x tokens (although momentarily) in the past, such as GALA and STEPN.
Hashflow appears to be pumpable. Binance launchpad, VC backers, CEX listing immediately. What's the protocol?
Hasflow is intriguing and timely, I discovered. After the FTX collapse, people looked more at DEXs.
Hashflow is a decentralized exchange that connects traders with professional market makers, according to its Binance launchpad description. Post-FTX, market makers lost their MM-ing chance with the collapse of the world's third-largest exchange. Jump and Wintermute back them?
Why is that the case? Hashflow doesn't use bonding curves like standard AMM. On AMMs, you pay more for the following trade because the prior trade reduces liquidity (supply and demand). With market maker quotations, you get a CEX-like experience (fewer coins in the pool, higher price). Stable prices, no MEV frontrunning.
Hashflow is innovative because...
DEXs gained from the FTX crash, but let's be honest: DEXs aren't as good as CEXs. Hashflow will change this.
Hashflow offers MEV protection, which major dealers seek in DEXs. You can trade large amounts without front running and sandwich assaults.
Hasflow offers a user-friendly swapping platform besides MEV. Any chain can be traded smoothly. This is a benefit because DEXs lag CEXs in UX.
Wintermute wrote in August that prominent market makers will work on Hashflow. Binance launched a month-long farming session in December. Jump probably participated in this initial sell, therefore we witnessed a significant transfer after the introduction.
Binance began trading HFT token on November 11 (the day FTX imploded). coincidence?)
Tokens are used for community rewards. Perhaps they'd copy dYdX. (Airdrop?). Read their documents about their future plans. Tokenomics doesn't impress me. Governance, rewards, and NFT.
Their stat page details their activity. First came Ethereum, then Arbitrum. For a new protocol in a bear market, they handled a lot of unique users daily.
It’s interesting to see their future. Will they be thriving? Not only against DEXs, but also among the CEXs too.
I forget how I found STFX. Possibly a Twitter thread concerning Arbitrum applications. STFX was the only new protocol I found interesting.
STFX is a new concept and trader problem-solver. I've never seen this protocol.
STFX allows you copy trades. You give someone your money to trade for you.
It's a marketplace. Traders are everywhere. You put your entry, exit, liquidation point, and trading theory. Twitter has a verification system for socials. Leaderboards display your trading skill.
This service could be popular. Staying disciplined is the hardest part of trading. Sometimes you take-profit too early or too late, or sell at a loss when an asset dumps, then it soon recovers (often happens in crypto.) It's hard to stick to entry-exit and liquidation plans.
What if you could hire someone to run your trade for a little commission? Set-and-forget.
Trading money isn't easy. Trust how? How do you know they won't steal your money?
STFX's trader is a vault maker/manager. One trade=one vault. User sets long/short, entrance, exit, and liquidation point. Anyone who agrees can exchange instantly. The smart contract will keep the fund during the trade and limit the manager's actions.
Here's STFX's transaction flow.
Managers and the treasury receive fees. It's a sustainable business strategy that benefits everyone.
I'm impressed by $STFX's planned use. Brilliant priority access. A crypto dealer opens a vault here. Many would join. STFX tokens offer VIP access over those without tokens.
STFX provides short-term trading, which is mind-blowing to me. I agree with their platform's purpose. Crypto market pricing actions foster short-termism. When you trade, the turnover could be larger than long-term holding or trading. 2017 BTC buyers waited 5 years to complete their holdings.
STFX teams simply adapted. Volatility aids trading.
All things about STFX scream Degen. The protocol fully embraces the degen nature of some, if not most, crypto natives.
An enjoyable dApp. Leaderboards are fun for reputation-building. FLEXING COMPETITIONS. You can join for as low as $10. STFX uses Arbitrum, therefore gas costs are low. Alpha procedure completes the degen feeling.
Despite looking like they don't take themselves seriously, I sense a strong business plan below. There is a real demand for the solution STFX offers.
1 year ago
What the hell is Web3 anyway?
"Web 3.0" is a trendy buzzword with a vague definition. Everyone agrees it has to do with a blockchain-based internet evolution, but what is it?
Yet, the meaning and prospects for Web3 have become hot topics in crypto communities. Big corporations use the term to gain a foothold in the space while avoiding the negative connotations of “crypto.”
But it can't be evaluated without a definition.
Among those criticizing Web3's vagueness is Cobie:
“Despite the dominie's deluge of undistinguished think pieces, nobody really agrees on what Web3 is. Web3 is a scam, the future, tokenizing the world, VC exit liquidity, or just another name for crypto, depending on your tribe.
“Even the crypto community is split on whether Bitcoin is Web3,” he adds.
The phrase was coined by an early crypto thinker, and the community has had years to figure out what it means. Many ideologies and commercial realities have driven reverse engineering.
Web3 is becoming clearer as a concept. It contains ideas. It was probably coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014. His definition of Web3 included “trustless transactions” as part of its tech stack. Wood founded the Web3 Foundation and the Polkadot network, a Web3 alternative future.
The 2013 Ethereum white paper had previously allowed devotees to imagine a DAO, for example.
Web3 now has concepts like decentralized autonomous organizations, sovereign digital identity, censorship-free data storage, and data divided by multiple servers. They intertwine discussions about the “Web3” movement and its viability.
These ideas are linked by Cobie's initial Web3 definition. A key component of Web3 should be “ownership of value” for one's own content and data.
Noting that “late-stage capitalism greedcorps that make you buy a fractionalized micropayment NFT on Cardano to operate your electric toothbrush” may build the new web, he notes that “crypto founders are too rich to care anymore.”
Many critics of Web3 claim it isn't practical or achievable. Web3 critics like Moxie Marlinspike (creator of sslstrip and Signal/TextSecure) can never see people running their own servers. Early in January, he argued that protocols are more difficult to create than platforms.
While this is true, some projects, like the file storage protocol IPFS, allow users to choose which jurisdictions their data is shared between.
But full decentralization is a difficult problem. Suhaza, replying to Moxie, said:
”People don't want to run servers... Companies are now offering API access to an Ethereum node as a service... Almost all DApps interact with the blockchain using Infura or Alchemy. In fact, when a DApp uses a wallet like MetaMask to interact with the blockchain, MetaMask is just calling Infura!
So, here are the questions: Web3: Is it a go? Is it truly decentralized?
Web3 history is shaped by Web2 failure.
This is the story of how the Internet was turned upside down...
Then came the vision. Everyone can create content for free. Decentralized open-source believers like Tim Berners-Lee popularized it.
Real-world data trade-offs for content creation and pricing.
A giant Wikipedia page married to a giant Craig's List. No ads, no logins, and a private web carve-up. For free usage, you give up your privacy and data to the algorithmic targeted advertising of Web 2.
Our data is centralized and savaged by giant corporations. Data localization rules and geopolitical walls like China's Great Firewall further fragment the internet.
The decentralized Web3 reflects Berners-original Lee's vision: "No permission is required from a central authority to post anything... there is no central controlling node and thus no single point of failure." Now he runs Solid, a Web3 data storage startup.
So Web3 starts with decentralized servers and data privacy.
Web3 begins with decentralized storage.
Data decentralization is a key feature of the Web3 tech stack. Web2 has closed databases. Large corporations like Facebook, Google, and others go to great lengths to collect, control, and monetize data. We want to change it.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Huawei, according to Gartner, currently control 80% of the global cloud infrastructure market. Web3 wants to change that.
Decentralization enlarges power structures by giving participants a stake in the network. Users own data on open encrypted networks in Web3. This area has many projects.
Apps like Filecoin and IPFS have led the way. Data is replicated across multiple nodes in Web3 storage providers like Filecoin.
But the new tech stack and ideology raise many questions.
Giving users control over their data
According to Ryan Kris, COO of Verida, his “Web3 vision” is “empowering people to control their own data.”
Verida targets SDKs that address issues in the Web3 stack: identity, messaging, personal storage, and data interoperability.
A big app suite? “Yes, but it's a frontier technology,” he says. They are currently building a credentialing system for decentralized health in Bermuda.
By empowering individuals, how will Web3 create a fairer internet? Kris, who has worked in telecoms, finance, cyber security, and blockchain consulting for decades, admits it is difficult:
“The viability of Web3 raises some good business questions,” he adds. “How can users regain control over centralized personal data? How are startups motivated to build products and tools that support this transition? How are existing Web2 companies encouraged to pivot to a Web3 business model to compete with market leaders?
Kris adds that new technologies have regulatory and practical issues:
"On storage, IPFS is great for redundantly sharing public data, but not designed for securing private personal data. It is not controlled by the users. When data storage in a specific country is not guaranteed, regulatory issues arise."
Each project has varying degrees of decentralization. The diehards say DApps that use centralized storage are no longer “Web3” companies. But fully decentralized technology is hard to build.
Some argue that we're actually building Web2.5 businesses, which are crypto-native but not fully decentralized. This is vital. For example, the NFT may be on a blockchain, but it is linked to centralized data repositories like OpenSea. A server failure could result in data loss.
However, according to Apollo Capital crypto analyst David Angliss, OpenSea is “not exactly community-led”. Also in 2021, much to the chagrin of crypto enthusiasts, OpenSea tried and failed to list on the Nasdaq.
This is where Web2.5 is defined.
“Web3 isn't a crypto segment. “Anything that uses a blockchain for censorship resistance is Web3,” Angliss tells us.
“Web3 gives users control over their data and identity. This is not possible in Web2.”
“Web2 is like feudalism, with walled-off ecosystems ruled by a few. For example, an honest user owned the Instagram account “Meta,” which Facebook rebranded and then had to make up a reason to suspend. Not anymore with Web3. If I buy ‘Ethereum.ens,' Ethereum cannot take it away from me.”
Angliss uses OpenSea as a Web2.5 business example. Too decentralized, i.e. censorship resistant, can be unprofitable for a large company like OpenSea. For example, OpenSea “enables NFT trading”. But it also stopped the sale of stolen Bored Apes.”
Web3 (or Web2.5, depending on the context) has been described as a new way to privatize internet.
“Being in the crypto ecosystem doesn't make it Web3,” Angliss says. The biggest risk is centralized closed ecosystems rather than a growing Web3.
LooksRare and OpenDAO are two community-led platforms that are more decentralized than OpenSea. LooksRare has even been “vampire attacking” OpenSea, indicating a Web3 competitor to the Web2.5 NFT king could find favor.
The addition of a token gives these new NFT platforms more options for building customer loyalty. For example, OpenSea charges a fee that goes nowhere. Stakeholders of LOOKS tokens earn 100% of the trading fees charged by LooksRare on every basic sale.
Maybe Web3's time has come.
So whose data is it?
Continuing criticisms of Web3 platforms' decentralization may indicate we're too early. Users want to own and store their in-game assets and NFTs on decentralized platforms like the Metaverse and play-to-earn games. Start-ups like Arweave, Sia, and Aleph.im propose an alternative.
To be truly decentralized, Web3 requires new off-chain models that sidestep cloud computing and Web2.5.
“Arweave and Sia emerged as formidable competitors this year,” says the Messari Report. They seek to reduce the risk of an NFT being lost due to a data breach on a centralized server.
Aleph.im, another Web3 cloud competitor, seeks to replace cloud computing with a service network. It is a decentralized computing network that supports multiple blockchains by retrieving and encrypting data.
“The Aleph.im network provides a truly decentralized alternative where it is most needed: storage and computing,” says Johnathan Schemoul, founder of Aleph.im. For reasons of consensus and security, blockchains are not designed for large storage or high-performance computing.
As a result, large data sets are frequently stored off-chain, increasing the risk for centralized databases like OpenSea
Aleph.im enables users to own digital assets using both blockchains and off-chain decentralized cloud technologies.
"We need to go beyond layer 0 and 1 to build a robust decentralized web. The Aleph.im ecosystem is proving that Web3 can be decentralized, and we intend to keep going.”
Aleph.im raised $10 million in mid-January 2022, and Ubisoft uses its network for NFT storage. This is the first time a big-budget gaming studio has given users this much control.
It also suggests Web3 could work as a B2B model, even if consumers aren't concerned about “decentralization.” Starting with gaming is common.
Can Tokenomics help Web3 adoption?
Web3 consumer adoption is another story. The average user may not be interested in all this decentralization talk. Still, how much do people value privacy over convenience? Can tokenomics solve the privacy vs. convenience dilemma?
Holon Global Investments' Jonathan Hooker tells us that human internet behavior will change. “Do you own Bitcoin?” he asks in his Web3 explanation. How does it feel to own and control your own sovereign wealth? Then:
“What if you could own and control your data like Bitcoin?”
“The business model must find what that person values,” he says. Putting their own health records on centralized systems they don't control?
“How vital are those medical records to that person at a critical time anywhere in the world? Filecoin and IPFS can help.”
Web3 adoption depends on NFT storage competition. A free off-chain storage of NFT metadata and assets was launched by Filecoin in April 2021.
Denationalization and blockchain technology have significant implications for data ownership and compensation for lending, staking, and using data.
Tokenomics can change human behavior, but many people simply sign into Web2 apps using a Facebook API without hesitation. Our data is already owned by Google, Baidu, Tencent, and Facebook (and its parent company Meta). Is it too late to recover?
Maybe. “Data is like fruit, it starts out fresh but ages,” he says. "Big Tech's data on us will expire."
Web3 founder Kris agrees with Hooker that “value for data is the issue, not privacy.” People accept losing their data privacy, so tokenize it. People readily give up data, so why not pay for it?
"Personalized data offering is valuable in personalization. “I will sell my social media data but not my health data.”
Purists and mass consumer adoption struggle with key management.
Others question data tokenomics' optimism. While acknowledging its potential, Box founder Aaron Levie questioned the viability of Web3 models in a Tweet thread:
“Why? Because data almost always works in an app. A product and APIs that moved quickly to build value and trust over time.”
Levie contends that tokenomics may complicate matters. In addition to community governance and tokenomics, Web3 ideals likely add a new negotiation vector.
“These are hard problems about human coordination, not software or blockchains,”. Using a Facebook API is simple. The business model and user interface are crucial.
For example, the crypto faithful have a common misconception about logging into Web3. It goes like this: Web 1 had usernames and passwords. Web 2 uses Google, Facebook, or Twitter APIs, while Web 3 uses your wallet. Pay with Ethereum on MetaMask, for example.
But Levie is correct. Blockchain key management is stressed in this meme. Even seasoned crypto enthusiasts have heart attacks, let alone newbies.
Web3 requires a better user experience, according to Kris, the company's founder. “How does a user recover keys?”
And at this point, no solution is likely to be completely decentralized. So Web3 key management can be improved. ”The moment someone loses control of their keys, Web3 ceases to exist.”
That leaves a major issue for Web3 purists. Put this one in the too-hard basket.
Is 2022 the Year of Web3?
Web3 must first solve a number of issues before it can be mainstreamed. It must be better and cheaper than Web2.5, or have other significant advantages.
Web3 aims for scalability without sacrificing decentralization protocols. But decentralization is difficult and centralized services are more convenient.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin himself stated recently"
This is why (centralized) Binance to Binance transactions trump Ethereum payments in some places because they don't have to be verified 12 times."
“I do think a lot of people care about decentralization, but they're not going to take decentralization if decentralization costs $8 per transaction,” he continued.
“Blockchains need to be affordable for people to use them in mainstream applications... Not for 2014 whales, but for today's users."
For now, scalability, tokenomics, mainstream adoption, and decentralization believers seem to be holding Web3 hostage.
Much like crypto's past.
But stay tuned.
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6 months ago
An Approach to Product Strategy
I've been pondering product strategy and how to articulate it. Frameworks helped guide our thinking.
If your teams aren't working together or there's no clear path to victory, your product strategy may not be well-articulated or communicated (if you have one).
Before diving into a product strategy's details, it's important to understand its role in the bigger picture — the pieces that move your organization forward.
the overall picture
A product strategy is crucial, in my opinion. It's part of a successful product or business. It's the showpiece.
To simplify, we'll discuss four main components:
Your company's mission? Your company/product in 35 years? Which headlines?
The vision defines everything your organization will do in the long term. It shows how your company impacted the world. It's your organization's rallying cry.
An ambitious but realistic vision is needed.
Without a clear vision, your product strategy may be inconsistent.
Our main subject. Product strategy connects everything. It fulfills the vision.
In Part 2, we'll discuss product strategy.
This component can be goals, objectives, key results, targets, milestones, or whatever goal-tracking framework works best for your organization.
These product strategy metrics will help your team prioritize strategies and roadmaps.
Your company's goals should be unified. This fuels success.
The roadmap is your product strategy's timeline. It provides a prioritized view of your team's upcoming deliverables.
A roadmap is time-bound and includes measurable goals for your company. Your team's steps and capabilities for executing product strategy.
If your team has trouble prioritizing or defining a roadmap, your product strategy or vision is likely unclear.
Formulation of a Product Strategy
Now that we've discussed where your product strategy fits in the big picture, let's look at a framework.
A product strategy should include challenges, an approach, and actions.
First, analyze the problems/situations you're solving. It can be customer- or company-focused.
The analysis should explain the problems and why they're important. Try to simplify the situation and identify critical aspects.
What issues are we attempting to resolve?
What obstacles—internal or otherwise—are we attempting to overcome?
What is the opportunity, and why should we pursue it, in your opinion?
Second, describe your approach. This can be a set of company policies for handling the challenge. It's the overall approach to the first part's analysis.
The approach can be your company's bets, the solutions you've found, or how you'll solve the problems you've identified.
Again, these questions can help:
What is the value that we hope to offer to our clients?
Which market are we focusing on first?
What makes us stand out? Our benefit over rivals?
Third, identify actions that result from your approach. Second-part actions should be these.
Coordinate these actions. You may need to add products or features to your roadmap, acquire new capabilities through partnerships, or launch new marketing campaigns. Whatever fits your challenges and strategy.
What skills do we need to develop or obtain?
What is the chosen remedy? What are the main outputs?
What else ought to be added to our road map?
Put everything together
… and iterate!
Strategy isn't one-and-done. Changes occur. Economies change. Competitors emerge. Customer expectations change.
One unexpected event can make strategies obsolete quickly. Muscle it. Review, evaluate, and course-correct your strategies with your teams. Quarterly works. In a new or unstable industry, more often.
6 months ago
A Comparison of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google's Compensation
Learn or earn
In 2020, I started software engineering. My base wage has progressed as follows:
Amazon (2020): $112,000
Microsoft (2021): $123,000
Google (2022): $169,000
I didn't major in math, but those jumps appear more than a 7% wage increase. Here's a deeper look at the three.
The Three Categories of Compensation
Most software engineering compensation packages at IT organizations follow this format.
Base salary is pre-tax income. Most organizations give a base pay. This is paid biweekly, twice monthly, or monthly.
Sign-On incentives are one-time rewards to new hires. Companies need an incentive to switch. If you leave early, you must pay back the whole cost or a pro-rated amount.
Equity is complex and requires its own post. A company will promise to give you a certain amount of company stock but when you get it depends on your offer. 25% per year for 4 years, then it's gone.
If a company gives you $100,000 and distributes 25% every year for 4 years, expect $25,000 worth of company stock in your stock brokerage on your 1 year work anniversary.
Tech offers may include yearly performance bonuses. Depends on performance and funding. I've only seen 0-20%.
Engineers' overall compensation usually includes:
Base Salary + Sign-On + (Total Equity)/4 + Average Performance Bonus
Amazon: (TC: 150k)
Base Pay System
Amazon pays Seattle employees monthly on the first work day. I'd rather have my money sooner than later, even if it saves processing and pay statements.
The company upped its base pay cap from $160,000 to $350,000 to compete with other tech companies.
Amazon has no performance bonus, so you can work as little or as much as you like and get paid the same. Amazon is savvy to avoid promising benefits it can't deliver.
Amazon gives two two-year sign-up bonuses. First-year workers could receive $20,000 and second-year workers $15,000. It's probably to make up for the company's strange equity structure.
If you leave during the first year, you'll owe the entire money and a prorated amount for the second year bonus.
Most organizations prefer a 25%, 25%, 25%, 25% equity structure. Amazon takes a different approach with end-heavy equity:
the first year, 5%
15% after one year.
20% then every six months
We thought it was constructed this way to keep staff longer.
Microsoft (TC: 185k)
Base Pay System
Microsoft paid biweekly.
My offer letter suggested a 0%-20% performance bonus. Everyone will be satisfied with a 10% raise at year's end.
But misleading press where the budget for the bonus is doubled can upset some employees because they won't earn double their expected bonus. Still barely 10% for 2022 average.
Microsoft's sign-on bonus is a one-time payout. The contract can require 2-year employment. You must negotiate 1 year. It's pro-rated, so that's fair.
Microsoft is one of those companies that has standard 25% equity structure. Except if you’re a new graduate.
In that case it’ll be
25% six months later
25% each year following that
New grads will acquire equity in 3.5 years, not 4. I'm guessing it's to keep new grads around longer.
Google (TC: 300k)
Base Pay Structure
Google pays biweekly.
Google's offer letter specifies a 15% bonus. It's wonderful there's no cap, but I might still get 0%. A little more than Microsoft’s 10% and a lot more than Amazon’s 0%.
Google gave a 1-year sign-up incentive. If the contract is only 1 year, I can move without any extra obligations.
Not as fantastic as Amazon's sign-up bonuses, but the remainder of the package might compensate.
We covered Amazon's tail-heavy compensation structure, so Google's front-heavy equity structure may surprise you.
Annual structure breakdown
33% Year 1
33% Year 2
22% Year 3
12% Year 4
The goal is to get them to Google and keep them there.
This post hopefully helped you understand the 3 firms' compensation arrangements.
There's always more to discuss, such as refreshers, 401k benefits, and business discounts, but I hope this shows a distinction between these 3 firms.
10 months ago
Bear market duration and how to invest during one
Bear markets don't last forever, but that's hard to remember. Jamie Cullen's illustration
A bear market is a 20% decline from peak to trough in stock prices.
The S&P 500 was down 24% from its January highs at its low point this year. Bear market.
The U.S. stock market has had 13 bear markets since WWII (including the current one). Previous 12 bear markets averaged –32.7% losses. From peak to trough, the stock market averaged 12 months. The average time from bottom to peak was 21 months.
In the past seven decades, a bear market roundtrip to breakeven has averaged less than three years.
Long-term averages can vary widely, as with all historical market data. Investors can learn from past market crashes.
Historical bear markets offer lessons.
Bear market duration
A bear market can cost investors money and time. Most of the pain comes from stock market declines, but bear markets can be long.
Here are the longest U.S. stock bear markets since World war 2:
Stock market crashes can make it difficult to break even. After the 2008 financial crisis, the stock market took 4.5 years to recover. After the dotcom bubble burst, it took seven years to break even.
The longer you're underwater in the market, the more suffering you'll experience, according to research. Suffering can lead to selling at the wrong time.
Bear markets require patience because stocks can take a long time to recover.
Stock crash recovery
Bear markets can end quickly. The Corona Crash in early 2020 is an example.
The S&P 500 fell 34% in 23 trading sessions, the fastest bear market from a high in 90 years. The entire crash lasted one month. Stocks broke even six months after bottoming. Stocks rose 100% from those lows in 15 months.
Seven bear markets have lasted two years or less since 1945.
The 2020 recovery was an outlier, but four other bear markets have made investors whole within 18 months.
During a bear market, you don't know if it will end quickly or feel like death by a thousand cuts.
Recessions vs. bear markets
Many people believe the U.S. economy is in or heading for a recession.
I agree. Four-decade high inflation. Since 1945, inflation has exceeded 5% nine times. Each inflationary spike caused a recession. Only slowing economic demand seems to stop price spikes.
This could happen again. Stocks seem to be pricing in a recession.
Recessions almost always cause a bear market, but a bear market doesn't always equal a recession. In 1946, the stock market fell 27% without a recession in sight. Without an economic slowdown, the stock market fell 22% in 1966. Black Monday in 1987 was the most famous stock market crash without a recession. Stocks fell 30% in less than a week. Many believed the stock market signaled a depression. The crash caused no slowdown.
Economic cycles are hard to predict. Even Wall Street makes mistakes.
Bears vs. bulls
Bear markets for U.S. stocks always end. Every stock market crash in U.S. history has been followed by new all-time highs.
How should investors view the recession? Investing risk is subjective.
You don't have as long to wait out a bear market if you're retired or nearing retirement. Diversification and liquidity help investors with limited time or income. Cash and short-term bonds drag down long-term returns but can ensure short-term spending.
Young people with years or decades ahead of them should view this bear market as an opportunity. Stock market crashes are good for net savers in the future. They let you buy cheap stocks with high dividend yields.
You need discipline, patience, and planning to buy stocks when it doesn't feel right.
Bear markets aren't fun because no one likes seeing their portfolio fall. But stock market downturns are a feature, not a bug. If stocks never crashed, they wouldn't offer such great long-term returns.