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Isobel Asher Hamilton

Isobel Asher Hamilton

4 months ago

$181 million in bitcoin buried in a dump. $11 million to get them back

More on Web3 & Crypto

Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian

10 months ago

What is Terra? Your guide to the hot cryptocurrency

With cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Dogecoin gyrating in value over the past few months, many people are looking at so-called stablecoins like Terra to invest in because of their more predictable prices.

Terraform Labs, which oversees the Terra cryptocurrency project, has benefited from its rising popularity. The company said recently that investors like Arrington Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Pantera Capital have pledged $150 million to help it incubate various crypto projects that are connected to Terra.

Terraform Labs and its partners have built apps that operate on the company’s blockchain technology that helps keep a permanent and shared record of the firm’s crypto-related financial transactions.

Here’s what you need to know about Terra and the company behind it.

What is Terra?

Terra is a blockchain project developed by Terraform Labs that powers the startup’s cryptocurrencies and financial apps. These cryptocurrencies include the Terra U.S. Dollar, or UST, that is pegged to the U.S. dollar through an algorithm.

Terra is a stablecoin that is intended to reduce the volatility endemic to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Some stablecoins, like Tether, are pegged to more conventional currencies, like the U.S. dollar, through cash and cash equivalents as opposed to an algorithm and associated reserve token.

To mint new UST tokens, a percentage of another digital token and reserve asset, Luna, is “burned.” If the demand for UST rises with more people using the currency, more Luna will be automatically burned and diverted to a community pool. That balancing act is supposed to help stabilize the price, to a degree.

“Luna directly benefits from the economic growth of the Terra economy, and it suffers from contractions of the Terra coin,” Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon said.

Each time someone buys something—like an ice cream—using UST, that transaction generates a fee, similar to a credit card transaction. That fee is then distributed to people who own Luna tokens, similar to a stock dividend.

Who leads Terra?

The South Korean firm Terraform Labs was founded in 2018 by Daniel Shin and Kwon, who is now the company’s CEO. Kwon is a 29-year-old former Microsoft employee; Shin now heads the Chai online payment service, a Terra partner. Kwon said many Koreans have used the Chai service to buy goods like movie tickets using Terra cryptocurrency.

Terraform Labs does not make money from transactions using its crypto and instead relies on outside funding to operate, Kwon said. It has raised $57 million in funding from investors like HashKey Digital Asset Group, Divergence Digital Currency Fund, and Huobi Capital, according to deal-tracking service PitchBook. The amount raised is in addition to the latest $150 million funding commitment announced on July 16.

What are Terra’s plans?

Terraform Labs plans to use Terra’s blockchain and its associated cryptocurrencies—including one pegged to the Korean won—to create a digital financial system independent of major banks and fintech-app makers. So far, its main source of growth has been in Korea, where people have bought goods at stores, like coffee, using the Chai payment app that’s built on Terra’s blockchain. Kwon said the company’s associated Mirror trading app is experiencing growth in China and Thailand.

Meanwhile, Kwon said Terraform Labs would use its latest $150 million in funding to invest in groups that build financial apps on Terra’s blockchain. He likened the scouting and investing in other groups as akin to a “Y Combinator demo day type of situation,” a reference to the popular startup pitch event organized by early-stage investor Y Combinator.

The combination of all these Terra-specific financial apps shows that Terraform Labs is “almost creating a kind of bank,” said Ryan Watkins, a senior research analyst at cryptocurrency consultancy Messari.

In addition to cryptocurrencies, Terraform Labs has a number of other projects including the Anchor app, a high-yield savings account for holders of the group’s digital coins. Meanwhile, people can use the firm’s associated Mirror app to create synthetic financial assets that mimic more conventional ones, like “tokenized” representations of corporate stocks. These synthetic assets are supposed to be helpful to people like “a small retail trader in Thailand” who can more easily buy shares and “get some exposure to the upside” of stocks that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to obtain, Kwon said. But some critics have said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may eventually crack down on synthetic stocks, which are currently unregulated.

What do critics say?

Terra still has a long way to go to catch up to bigger cryptocurrency projects like Ethereum.

Most financial transactions involving Terra-related cryptocurrencies have originated in Korea, where its founders are based. Although Terra is becoming more popular in Korea thanks to rising interest in its partner Chai, it’s too early to say whether Terra-related currencies will gain traction in other countries.

Terra’s blockchain runs on a “limited number of nodes,” said Messari’s Watkins, referring to the computers that help keep the system running. That helps reduce latency that may otherwise slow processing of financial transactions, he said.

But the tradeoff is that Terra is less “decentralized” than other blockchain platforms like Ethereum, which is powered by thousands of interconnected computing nodes worldwide. That could make Terra less appealing to some blockchain purists.

Amelie Carver

Amelie Carver

2 months ago

Web3 Needs More Writers to Educate Us About It

WRITE FOR THE WEB3

Why web3’s messaging is lost and how crypto winter is growing growth seeds

Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash

People interested in crypto, blockchain, and web3 typically read Bitcoin and Ethereum's white papers. It's a good idea. Documents produced for developers and academia aren't always the ideal resource for beginners.

Given the surge of extremely technical material and the number of fly-by-nights, rug pulls, and other scams, it's little wonder mainstream audiences regard the blockchain sector as an expensive sideshow act.

What's the solution?

Web3 needs more than just builders.

After joining TikTok, I followed Amy Suto of SutoScience. Amy switched from TV scriptwriting to IT copywriting years ago. She concentrates on web3 now. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are seeking skilled copywriters for web3.

Amy has found that web3's basics are easy to grasp; you don't need technical knowledge. There's a paradigm shift in knowing the basics; be persistent and patient.

Apple is positioning itself as a data privacy advocate, leveraging web3's zero-trust ethos on data ownership.

Finn Lobsien, who writes about web3 copywriting for the Mirror and Twitter, agrees: acronyms and abstractions won't do.

Image screenshot from FLobsien’s Twitter feed

Web3 preached to the choir. Curious newcomers have only found whitepapers and scams when trying to learn why the community loves it. No wonder people resist education and buy-in.

Due to the gender gap in crypto (Crypto Bro is not just a stereotype), it attracts people singing to the choir or trying to cash in on the next big thing.

Last year, the industry was booming, so writing wasn't necessary. Now that the bear market has returned (for everyone, but especially web3), holding readers' attention is a valuable skill.

White papers and the Web3

Why does web3 rely so much on non-growth content?

Businesses must polish and improve their messaging moving into the 2022 recession. The 2021 tech boom provided such a sense of affluence and (unsustainable) growth that no one needed great marketing material. The market found them.

This was especially true for web3 and the first-time crypto believers. Obviously. If they knew which was good.

White papers help. White papers are highly technical texts that walk a reader through a product's details. How Does a White Paper Help Your Business and That White Paper Guy discuss them.

They're meant for knowledgeable readers. Investors and the technical (academic/developer) community read web3 white papers. White papers are used when a product is extremely technical or difficult to assist an informed reader to a conclusion. Web3 uses them most often for ICOs (initial coin offerings).

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

White papers for web3 education help newcomers learn about the web3 industry's components. It's like sending a first-grader to the Annotated Oxford English Dictionary to learn to read. It's a reference, not a learning tool, for words.

Newcomers can use platforms that teach the basics. These included Coinbase's Crypto Basics tutorials or Cryptochicks Academy, founded by the mother of Ethereum's inventor to get more women utilizing and working in crypto.

Discord and Web3 communities

Discord communities are web3's opposite. Discord communities involve personal communications and group involvement.

Online audience growth begins with community building. User personas prefer 1000 dedicated admirers over 1 million lukewarm followers, and the language is much more easygoing. Discord groups are renowned for phishing scams, compromised wallets, and incorrect information, especially since the crypto crisis.

White papers and Discord increase industry insularity. White papers are complicated, and Discord has a high risk threshold.

Web3 and writing ads

Copywriting is emotional, but white papers are logical. It uses the brain's quick-decision centers. It's meant to make the reader invest immediately.

Not bad. People think sales are sleazy, but they can spot the poor things.

Ethical copywriting helps you reach the correct audience. People who gain a following on Medium are likely to have copywriting training and a readership (or three) in mind when they publish. Tim Denning and Sinem Günel know how to identify a target audience and make them want to learn more.

In a fast-moving market, copywriting is less about long-form content like sales pages or blogs, but many organizations do. Instead, the copy is concise, individualized, and high-value. Tweets, email marketing, and IM apps (Discord, Telegram, Slack to a lesser extent) keep engagement high.

What does web3's messaging lack? As DAOs add stricter copyrighting, narrative and connecting tales seem to be missing.

Web3 is passionate about constructing the next internet. Now, they can connect their passion to a specific audience so newcomers understand why.

Elnaz Sarraf

Elnaz Sarraf

4 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.

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INTΞGRITY team

INTΞGRITY team

3 months ago

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Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

4 months ago

10 Years of Trying to Manage Time and Improve My Productivity.

I've spent the last 10 years of my career mastering time management. I've tried different approaches and followed multiple people and sources. My knowledge is summarized.

Great people, including entrepreneurs, master time management. I learned time management in college. I was studying Computer Science and Finance and leading Tanzanian students in Bangalore, India. I had 24 hours per day to do this and enjoy campus. I graduated and received several awards. I've learned to maximize my time. These tips and tools help me finish quickly.

Eisenhower-Box

I don't remember when I read the article. James Clear, one of my favorite bloggers, introduced me to the Eisenhower Box, which I've used for years. Eliminate waste to master time management. By grouping your activities by importance and urgency, the tool helps you prioritize what matters and drop what doesn't. If it's urgent, do it. Delegate if it's urgent but not necessary. If it's important but not urgent, reschedule it; otherwise, drop it. I integrated the tool with Trello to manage my daily tasks. Since 2007, I've done this.

James Clear's article mentions Eisenhower Box.

Essentialism rules

Greg McKeown's book Essentialism introduced me to disciplined pursuit of less. I once wrote about this. I wasn't sure what my career's real opportunities and distractions were. A non-essentialist thinks everything is essential; you want to be everything to everyone, and your life lacks satisfaction. Poor time management starts it all. Reading and applying this book will change your life.

Essential vs non-essential

Life Calendar

Most of us make corporate calendars. Peter Njonjo, founder of Twiga Foods, said he manages time by putting life activities in his core calendars. It includes family retreats, weddings, and other events. He joked that his wife always complained to him to avoid becoming a calendar item. It's key. "Time Masters" manages life's four burners, not just work and corporate life. There's no "work-life balance"; it's life.

Health, Family, Work, and Friends.

The Brutal No

In a culture where people want to look good, saying "NO" to a favor request seems rude. In reality, the crime is breaking a promise. "Time Masters" have mastered "NO".  More "YES" means less time, and more "NO" means more time for tasks and priorities. Brutal No doesn't mean being mean to your coworkers; it means explaining kindly and professionally that you have other priorities.

To-Do vs. MITs

Most people are productive with a routine to-do list. You can't be effective by just checking boxes on a To-do list. When was the last time you completed all of your daily tasks? Never. You must replace the to-do list with Most Important Tasks (MITs). MITs allow you to focus on the most important tasks on your list. You feel progress and accomplishment when you finish these tasks. MITs don't include ad-hoc emails, meetings, etc.

Journal Mapped

Most people don't journal or plan their day in the developing South. I've learned to plan my day in my journal over time. I have multiple sections on one page: MITs (things I want to accomplish that day), Other Activities (stuff I can postpone), Life (health, faith, and family issues), and Pop-Ups (things that just pop up). I leave the next page blank for notes. I reflected on the blocks to identify areas to improve the next day. You will have bad days, but at least you'll realize it was due to poor time management.

Buy time/delegate

Time or money? When you make enough money, you lose time to make more. The smart buy "Time." I resisted buying other people's time for years. I regret not hiring an assistant sooner. Learn to buy time from others and pay for time-consuming tasks. Sometimes you think you're saving money by doing things yourself, but you're actually losing money.


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Katharine Valentino

Katharine Valentino

5 months ago

A Gun-toting Teacher Is Like a Cook With Rat Poison

Pink or blue AR-15s?

A teacher teaches; a gun kills. Killing isn't teaching. Killing is opposite of teaching.

Without 27 school shootings this year, we wouldn't be talking about arming teachers. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA cause most school shootings. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA wouldn't be huge business if weapons weren't profitable.

Guns, ammo, body armor, holsters, concealed carriers, bore sights, cleaner kits, spare magazines and speed loaders, gun safes, and ear protection are sold. And more guns.

And lots more profit.

Guns aren't bread. You eat a loaf of bread in a week or so and then must buy more. Bread makers will make money. Winchester 94.30–30 1899 Lever Action Rifle from 1894 still kills. (For safety, I won't link to the ad.) Gun makers don't object if you collect antique weapons, but they need you to buy the latest, in-style killing machine. The youngster who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, used an AR-15. Better yet, two.

Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter, is a "killing influencer" He pushes consumers to buy items, which benefits manufacturers and distributors. Like every previous AR-15 influencer, he profits Colt, the rifle's manufacturer, and 52,779 gun dealers in the U.S. Ramos and other AR-15 influences make us fear for our safety and our children's. Fearing for our safety, we acquire 20 million firearms a year and live in a gun culture.

So now at school, we want to arm teachers.

Consider. Which of your teachers would you have preferred in body armor with a gun drawn?

Miss Summers? Remember her bringing daisies from her yard to second grade? She handed each student a beautiful flower. Miss Summers loved everyone, even those with AR-15s. She can't shoot.

Frasier? Mr. Frasier turned a youngster over down to explain "invert." Mr. Frasier's hands shook when he wasn't flipping fifth-graders and fractions. He may have shot wrong.

Mrs. Barkley barked in high school English class when anyone started an essay with "But." Mrs. Barkley dubbed Abie a "Jewboy" and gave him terrible grades. Arming Miss Barkley is like poisoning the chef.

Think back. Do you remember a teacher with a gun? No. Arming teachers so the gun industry can make more money is the craziest idea ever.

Or maybe you agree with Ted Cruz, the gun lobby-bought senator, that more guns reduce gun violence. After the next school shooting, you'll undoubtedly talk about arming teachers and pupils. Colt will likely develop a backpack-sized, lighter version of its popular killing machine in pink and blue for kids and boys. The MAR-15? (M for mini).


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