More on Web3 & Crypto
1 year ago
This is a YouTube video:
Isobel Asher Hamilton
10 months ago
$181 million in bitcoin buried in a dump. $11 million to get them back
James Howells lost 8,000 bitcoins. He has $11 million to get them back.
His life altered when he threw out an iPhone-sized hard drive.
Howells, from the city of Newport in southern Wales, had two identical laptop hard drives squirreled away in a drawer in 2013. One was blank; the other had 8,000 bitcoins, currently worth around $181 million.
He wanted to toss out the blank one, but the drive containing the Bitcoin went to the dump.
He's determined to reclaim his 2009 stash.
Howells, 36, wants to arrange a high-tech treasure hunt for bitcoins. He can't enter the landfill.
Newport's city council has rebuffed Howells' requests to dig for his hard drive for almost a decade, stating it would be expensive and environmentally destructive.
I got an early look at his $11 million idea to search 110,000 tons of trash. He expects submitting it to the council would convince it to let him recover the hard disk.
110,000 tons of trash, 1 hard drive
Finding a hard disk among heaps of trash may seem Herculean.
Former IT worker Howells claims it's possible with human sorters, robot dogs, and an AI-powered computer taught to find hard drives on a conveyor belt.
His idea has two versions, depending on how much of the landfill he can search.
His most elaborate solution would take three years and cost $11 million to sort 100,000 metric tons of waste. Scaled-down version costs $6 million and takes 18 months.
He's created a team of eight professionals in AI-powered sorting, landfill excavation, garbage management, and data extraction, including one who recovered Columbia's black box data.
The specialists and their companies would be paid a bonus if they successfully recovered the bitcoin stash.
Howells: "We're trying to commercialize this project."
Howells claimed rubbish would be dug up by machines and sorted near the landfill.
Human pickers and a Max-AI machine would sort it. The machine resembles a scanner on a conveyor belt.
Remi Le Grand of Max-AI told us it will train AI to recognize Howells-like hard drives. A robot arm would select candidates.
Howells has added security charges to his scheme because he fears people would steal the hard drive.
He's budgeted for 24-hour CCTV cameras and two robotic "Spot" canines from Boston Dynamics that would patrol at night and look for his hard drive by day.
Howells said his crew met in May at the Celtic Manor Resort outside Newport for a pitch rehearsal.
Richard Hammond's narrative swings from banal to epic.
Richard Hammond filmed the meeting and created a YouTube documentary on Howells.
Hammond said of Howells' squad, "They're committed and believe in him and the idea."
Hammond: "It goes from banal to gigantic." "If I were in his position, I wouldn't have the strength to answer the door."
Howells said trash would be cleaned and repurposed after excavation. Reburying the rest.
"We won't pollute," he declared. "We aim to make everything better."
After the project is finished, he hopes to develop a solar or wind farm on the dump site. The council is unlikely to accept his vision soon.
A council representative told us, "Mr. Howells can't convince us of anything." "His suggestions constitute a significant ecological danger, which we can't tolerate and are forbidden by our permit."
Will the recovered hard drive work?
The "platter" is a glass or metal disc that holds the hard drive's data. Howells estimates 80% to 90% of the data will be recoverable if the platter isn't damaged.
Phil Bridge, a data-recovery expert who consulted Howells, confirmed these numbers.
If the platter is broken, Bridge adds, data recovery is unlikely.
Bridge says he was intrigued by the proposal. "It's an intriguing case," he added. Helping him get it back and proving everyone incorrect would be a great success story.
Swiss and German venture investors Hanspeter Jaberg and Karl Wendeborn told us they would fund the project if Howells received council permission.
Jaberg: "It's a needle in a haystack and a high-risk investment."
Howells said he had no contract with potential backers but had discussed the proposal in Zoom meetings. "Until Newport City Council gives me something in writing, I can't commit," he added.
Suppose he finds the bitcoins.
Howells said he would keep 30% of the data, worth $54 million, if he could retrieve it.
A third would go to the recovery team, 30% to investors, and the remainder to local purposes, including gifting £50 ($61) in bitcoin to each of Newport's 150,000 citizens.
Howells said he opted to spend extra money on "professional firms" to help convince the council.
What if the council doesn't approve?
If Howells can't win the council's support, he'll sue, claiming its actions constitute a "illegal embargo" on the hard drive. "I've avoided that path because I didn't want to cause complications," he stated. I wanted to cooperate with Newport's council.
Howells never met with the council face-to-face. He mentioned he had a 20-minute Zoom meeting in May 2021 but thought his new business strategy would help.
He met with Jessica Morden on June 24. Morden's office confirmed meeting.
After telling the council about his proposal, he can only wait. "I've never been happier," he said. This is our most professional operation, with the best employees.
The "crypto proponent" buys bitcoin every month and sells it for cash.
Howells tries not to think about what he'd do with his part of the money if the hard disk is found functional. "Otherwise, you'll go mad," he added.
This post is a summary. Read the full article here.
4 months ago
The Age of Decentralized Capitalism and DeFi
DeCap is DeFi's killer app.
“Software is eating the world.” Marc Andreesen, venture capitalist
DeFi. Imagine a blockchain-based alternative financial system that offers the same products and services as traditional finance, but with more variety, faster, more secure, lower cost, and simpler access.
Decentralised finance (DeFi) is a marketplace without gatekeepers or central authority managing the flow of money, where customers engage directly with smart contracts running on a blockchain.
DeFi grew exponentially in 2020/21, with Total Value Locked (an inadequate estimate for market size) topping at $100 billion. After that, it crashed.
The accumulation of funds by individuals with high discretionary income during the epidemic, the novelty of crypto trading, and the high yields given (5% APY for stablecoins on established platforms to 100%+ for risky assets) are among the primary elements explaining this exponential increase.
No longer your older brothers DeFi
Since transactions are anonymous, borrowers had to overcollateralize DeFi 1.0. To borrow $100 in stablecoins, you must deposit $150 in ETH. DeFi 1.0's business strategy raises two problems.
Why does DeFi offer interest rates that are higher than those of the conventional financial system?;
Why would somebody put down more cash than they intended to borrow?
Maxed out on their own resources, investors took loans to acquire more crypto; the demand for those loans raised DeFi yields, which kept crypto prices increasing; as crypto prices rose, investors made a return on their positions, allowing them to deposit more money and borrow more crypto.
This is a bull market game. DeFi 1.0's overcollateralization speculation is dead. Cryptocrash sank it.
The “speculation by overcollateralisation” world of DeFi 1.0 is dead
At a JP Morgan digital assets conference, institutional investors were more interested in DeFi than crypto or fintech. To me, that shows DeFi 2.0's institutional future.
DeFi 2.0 protocols must handle KYC/AML, tax compliance, market abuse, and cybersecurity problems to be institutional-ready.
Stablecoins gaining market share under benign regulation and more CBDCs coming online in the next couple of years could help DeFi 2.0 separate from crypto volatility.
DeFi 2.0 will have a better footing to finally decouple from crypto volatility
Then we can transition from speculation through overcollateralization to DeFi's genuine comparative advantages: cheaper transaction costs, near-instant settlement, more efficient price discovery, faster time-to-market for financial innovation, and a superior audit trail.
Akin to Amazon for financial goods
Amazon decimated brick-and-mortar shops by offering millions of things online, warehouses by keeping just-in-time inventory, and back-offices by automating invoicing and payments. Software devoured retail. DeFi will eat banking with software.
DeFi is the Amazon for financial items that will replace fintech. Even the most advanced internet brokers offer only 100 currency pairings and limited bonds, equities, and ETFs.
Old banks settlement systems and inefficient, hard-to-upgrade outdated software harm them. For advanced gamers, it's like driving an F1 vehicle on dirt.
It is like driving a F1 car on a dirt road, for the most sophisticated players
Central bankers throughout the world know how expensive and difficult it is to handle cross-border payments using the US dollar as the reserve currency, which is vulnerable to the economic cycle and geopolitical tensions.
Decentralization is the only method to deliver 24h global financial markets. DeFi 2.0 lets you buy and sell startup shares like Google or Tesla. VC funds will trade like mutual funds. Or create a bundle coverage for your car, house, and NFTs. Defi 2.0 consumes banking and creates Global Wall Street.
Defi 2.0 is how software eats banking and delivers the global Wall Street
Decentralized Capitalism is Emerging
90% of markets are digital. 10% is hardest to digitalize. That's money creation, ID, and asset tokenization.
90% of financial markets are already digital. The only problem is that the 10% left is the hardest to digitalize
Debt helped Athens construct a powerful navy that secured trade routes. Bonds financed the Renaissance's wars and supply chains. Equity fueled industrial growth. FX drove globalization's payments system. DeFi's plans:
If the 20th century was a conflict between governments and markets over economic drivers, the 21st century will be between centralized and decentralized corporate structures.
Offices vs. telecommuting. China vs. onshoring/friendshoring. Oil & gas vs. diverse energy matrix. National vs. multilateral policymaking. DAOs vs. corporations Fiat vs. crypto. TradFi vs.
An age where the network effects of the sharing economy will overtake the gains of scale of the monopolistic competition economy
This is the dawn of Decentralized Capitalism (or DeCap), an age where the network effects of the sharing economy will reach a tipping point and surpass the scale gains of the monopolistic competition economy, further eliminating inefficiencies and creating a more robust economy through better data and automation. DeFi 2.0 enables this.
DeFi needs to pay the piper now.
DeCap won't be Web3.0's Shangri-La, though. That's too much for an ailing Atlas. When push comes to shove, DeFi folks want to survive and fight another day for the revolution. If feasible, make a tidy profit.
Decentralization wasn't meant to circumvent regulation. It circumvents censorship. On-ramp, off-ramp measures (control DeFi's entry and exit points, not what happens in between) sound like a good compromise for DeFi 2.0.
The sooner authorities realize that DeFi regulation is made ex-ante by writing code and constructing smart contracts with rules, the faster DeFi 2.0 will become the more efficient and safe financial marketplace.
More crucially, we must boost system liquidity. DeFi's financial stability risks are downplayed. DeFi must improve its liquidity management if it's to become mainstream, just as banks rely on capital constraints.
This reveals the complex and, frankly, inadequate governance arrangements for DeFi protocols. They redistribute control from tokenholders to developers, which is bad governance regardless of the economic model.
But crypto can only ride the existing banking system for so long before forming its own economy. DeFi will upgrade web2.0's financial rails till then.
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4 months ago
Three Simple Daily Practices That Will Immediately Double Your Output
Most productive people are habitual.
Early in the day, do important tasks.
In his best-selling book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy advised starting the day with your hardest, most important activity.
Most individuals work best in the morning. Energy and willpower peak then.
Mornings are also ideal for memory, focus, and problem-solving.
Thus, the morning is ideal for your hardest chores.
It makes sense to do these things during your peak performance hours.
Additionally, your morning sets the tone for the day. According to Brian Tracy, the first hour of the workday steers the remainder.
After doing your most critical chores, you may feel accomplished, confident, and motivated for the remainder of the day, which boosts productivity.
Develop Your Essentialism
In Essentialism, Greg McKeown claims that trying to be everything to everyone leads to mediocrity and tiredness.
You'll either burn out, be spread too thin, or compromise your ideals.
Greg McKeown advises Essentialism:
Clarify what’s truly important in your life and eliminate the rest.
Eliminating non-essential duties, activities, and commitments frees up time and energy for what matters most.
According to Greg McKeown, Essentialists live by design, not default.
You'll be happier and more productive if you follow your essentials.
Follow these three steps to live more essentialist.
Prioritize Your Tasks First
What matters most clarifies what matters less. List your most significant aims and values.
The clearer your priorities, the more you can focus on them.
On Essentialism, McKeown wrote, The ultimate form of effectiveness is the ability to deliberately invest our time and energy in the few things that matter most.
#2: Set Your Priorities in Order
Prioritize your priorities, not simply know them.
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” — Greg McKeown
Planning each day and allocating enough time for your priorities is the best method to become more purposeful.
#3: Practice saying "no"
If a request or demand conflicts with your aims or principles, you must learn to say no.
Saying no frees up space for our priorities.
Place Sleep Above All Else
Many believe they must forego sleep to be more productive. This is false.
A productive day starts with a good night's sleep.
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep) says:
“Getting a good night’s sleep can improve cognitive performance, creativity, and overall productivity.”
Sleep helps us learn, remember, and repair.
Unfortunately, 35% of people don't receive the recommended 79 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep deprivation can cause:
increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and obesity
Depression, stress, and anxiety risk are all on the rise.
decrease in general contentment
decline in cognitive function
To live an ideal, productive, and healthy life, you must prioritize sleep.
Follow these six sleep optimization strategies to obtain enough sleep:
Establish a nightly ritual to relax and prepare for sleep.
Avoid using screens an hour before bed because the blue light they emit disrupts the generation of melatonin, a necessary hormone for sleep.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule to control your body's biological clock (and optimizes melatonin production)
Create a peaceful, dark, and cool sleeping environment.
Limit your intake of sweets and caffeine (especially in the hours leading up to bedtime)
Regular exercise (but not right before you go to bed, because your body temperature will be too high)
Sleep is one of the best ways to boost productivity.
Sleep is crucial, says Matthew Walker. It's the key to good health and longevity.
5 months ago
When we want to return anything, why on earth do stores still require a receipt?
A friend told me of an incident she found particularly irritating: a retailer where she is a frequent client, with an account and loyalty card, asked for the item's receipt.
We all know that stores collect every bit of data they can on us, including our socio-demographic profile, address, shopping habits, and everything we've ever bought, so why would they need a fading receipt? Who knows? That their consumers try to pass off other goods? It's easy to verify past transactions to see when the item was purchased.
That's it. Why require receipts? Companies send us incentives, discounts, and other marketing, yet when we need something, we have to prove we're not cheating.
Why require us to preserve data and documents when our governments and governmental institutions already have them? Why do I need to carry documents like my driver's license if the authorities can check if I have one and what state it's in once I prove my identity?
We shouldn't be required to give someone data or documents they already have. The days of waiting up with our paperwork for a stern official to inform us something is missing are over.
How can retailers still ask if you have a receipt if we've made our slow, bureaucratic, and all-powerful government sensible? Then what? The shop may not accept your return (which has a two-year window, longer than most purchase tickets last) or they may just let you replace the item.
Isn't this an anachronism in the age of CRMs, customer files that know what we ate for breakfast, and loyalty programs? If government and bureaucracies have learnt to use its own files and make life easier for the consumer, why do retailers ask for a receipt?
They're adding friction to the system. They know we can obtain a refund, use our warranty, or get our money back. But if I ask for ludicrous criteria, like keeping the purchase receipt in your wallet (wallet? another anachronism, if I leave the house with only my smartphone! ), it will dissuade some individuals and tip the scales in their favor when it comes to limiting returns. Some manager will take credit for lowering returns and collect her annual bonus. Having the wrong metrics is common in management.
To slow things down, asking for a receipt is like asking us to perform a handstand and leap 20 times on one foot. You have my information, use it to send me everything, and know everything I've bought, yet when I need a two-way service, you refuse to utilize it and require that I keep it and prove it.
Refuse as customers. If retailers want our business, they should treat us well, not just when we spend money. If I come to return a product, claim its use or warranty, or be taught how to use it, I am the same person you treated wonderfully when I bought it. Remember that, and act accordingly.
A store should use my information for everything, not just what it wants. Keep my info, but don't sell me anything.
3 months ago
Changing Your Mindset From a Project to a Product
Product game mindsets? How do these vary from Project mindset?
1950s spawned the Iron Triangle. Project people everywhere know and live by it. In stakeholder meetings, it is used to stretch the timeframe, request additional money, or reduce scope.
Quality was added to this triangle as things matured.
Quality was intended to be transformative, but none of these principles addressed why we conduct projects.
Value and benefits are key.
Product value is quantified by ROI, revenue, profit, savings, or other metrics. For me, every project or product delivery is about value.
Most project managers, especially those schooled 5-10 years or more ago (thousands working in huge corporations worldwide), understand the world in terms of the iron triangle. What does that imply? They worry about:
a) enough time to get the thing done.
b) have enough resources (budget) to get the thing done.
c) have enough scope to fit within (a) and (b) >> note, they never have too little scope, not that I have ever seen! although, theoretically, this could happen.
To make the triangle function, project managers will utilize formal governance (Steering) to move those things. Increase money, scope, or both if time is short. Lacking funds? Increase time, scope, or both.
In current product development, shifting each item considerably may not yield value/benefit.
Even terrible. This approach will fail because it deprioritizes Value/Benefit by focusing the major stakeholders (Steering participants) and delivery team(s) on Time, Scope, and Budget restrictions.
Pre-agile, this problem was terrible. IT projects failed wildly. History is here.
Value, or benefit, is central to the product method. Product managers spend most of their time planning value-delivery paths.
Product people consider risk, schedules, scope, and budget, but value comes first. Let me illustrate.
Imagine managing internal products in an enterprise. Your core customer team needs a rapid text record of a chat to fix a problem. The consumer wants a feature/features added to a product you're producing because they think it's the greatest spot.
Project-minded, I may say;
Ok, I have budget as this is an existing project, due to run for a year. This is a new requirement to add to the features we’re already building. I think I can keep the deadline, and include this scope, as it sounds related to the feature set we’re building to give the desired result”.
This attitude repeats Scope, Time, and Budget.
Since it meets those standards, a project manager will likely approve it. If they have a backlog, they may add it and start specking it out assuming it will be built.
Instead, think like a product;
What problem does this feature idea solve? Is that problem relevant to the product I am building? Can that problem be solved quicker/better via another route ? Is it the most valuable problem to solve now? Is the problem space aligned to our current or future strategy? or do I need to alter/update the strategy?
A product mindset allows you to focus on timing, resource/cost, feasibility, feature detail, and so on after answering the aforementioned questions.
The above oversimplifies because
Leadership in discovery
Project managers are facilitators of ideas. This is as far as they normally go in the ‘idea’ space.
Business Requirements collection in classic project delivery requires extensive upfront documentation.
Agile project delivery analyzes requirements iteratively.
However, the project manager is a facilitator/planner first and foremost, therefore topic knowledge is not expected.
I mean business domain, not technical domain (to confuse matters, it is true that in some instances, it can be both technical and business domains that are important for a single individual to master).
Product managers are domain experts. They will become one if they are training/new.
They lead discovery.
Product Manager-led discovery is much more than requirements gathering.
Requirements gathering involves a Business Analyst interviewing people and documenting their requests.
The project manager calculates what fits and what doesn't using their Iron Triangle (presumably in their head) and reports back to Steering.
If this requirements-gathering exercise failed to identify requirements, what would a project manager do? or bewildered by project requirements and scope?
They would tell Steering they need a Business SME or Business Lead assigning or more of their time.
Product discovery requires the Product Manager's subject knowledge and a new mindset.
How should a Product Manager handle confusing requirements?
Product Managers handle these challenges with their talents and tools. They use their own knowledge to fill in ambiguity, but they have the discipline to validate those assumptions.
To define the problem, they may perform qualitative or quantitative primary research.
They might discuss with UX and Engineering on a whiteboard and test assumptions or hypotheses.
Do Product Managers escalate confusing requirements to Steering/Senior leaders? They would fix that themselves.
Product managers raise unclear strategy and outcomes to senior stakeholders. Open talks, soft skills, and data help them do this. They rarely raise requirements since they have their own means of handling them without top stakeholder participation.
Discovery is greenfield, exploratory, research-based, and needs higher-order stakeholder management, user research, and UX expertise.
Product Managers also aid discovery. They lead discovery. They will not leave customer/user engagement to a Business Analyst. Administratively, a business analyst could aid. In fact, many product organizations discourage business analysts (rely on PM, UX, and engineer involvement with end-users instead).
The Product Manager must drive user interaction, research, ideation, and problem analysis, therefore a Product professional must be skilled and confident.
Creating vs. receiving and having an entrepreneurial attitude
Product novices and project managers focus on details rather than the big picture. Project managers prefer spreadsheets to strategy whiteboards and vision statements.
These folks ask their manager or senior stakeholders, "What should we do?"
They then elaborate (in Jira, in XLS, in Confluence or whatever).
They want that plan populated fast because it reduces uncertainty about what's going on and who's supposed to do what.
Skilled Product Managers don't only ask folks Should we?
They're suggesting this, or worse, Senior stakeholders, here are some options. After asking and researching, they determine what value this product adds, what problems it solves, and what behavior it changes.
Therefore, to move into Product, you need to broaden your view and have courage in your ability to discover ideas, find insightful pieces of information, and collate them to form a valuable plan of action. You are constantly defining RoI and building Business Cases, so much so that you no longer create documents called Business Cases, it is simply ingrained in your work through metrics, intelligence, and insights.
Product Management is not a free lunch.
Plates and food must be prepared.
In conclusion, Product Managers must make at least three mentality shifts:
You put value first in all things. Time, money, and scope are not as important as knowing what is valuable.
You have faith in the field and have the ability to direct the search. YYou facilitate, but you don’t just facilitate. You wouldn't want to limit your domain expertise in that manner.
You develop concepts, strategies, and vision. You are not a waiter or an inbox where other people can post suggestions; you don't merely ask folks for opinion and record it. However, you excel at giving things that aren't clearly spoken or written down physical form.