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middlemarch.eth

middlemarch.eth

9 months ago

ERC721R: A new ERC721 contract for random minting so people don’t snipe all the rares!

That is, how to snipe all the rares without using ERC721R!

Introduction: Blessed and Lucky 

Mphers was the first mfers derivative, and as a Phunks derivative, I wanted one.

I wanted an alien. And there are only 8 in the 6,969 collection. I got one!

In case it wasn't clear from the tweet, I meant that I was lucky to have figured out how to 100% guarantee I'd get an alien without any extra luck.
Read on to find out how I did it, how you can too, and how developers can avoid it!
How to make rare NFTs without luck.

# How to mint rare NFTs without needing luck

The key to minting a rare NFT is knowing the token's id ahead of time.

For example, once I knew my alien was #4002, I simply refreshed the mint page until #3992 was minted, and then mint 10 mphers.

How did I know #4002 was extraterrestrial? Let's go back.

First, go to the mpher contract's Etherscan page and look up the tokenURI of a previously issued token, token #1:

As you can see, mphers creates metadata URIs by combining the token id and an IPFS hash.

This method gives you the collection's provenance in every URI, and while that URI can be changed, it affects everyone and is public.

Consider a token URI without a provenance hash, like https://mphers.art/api?tokenId=1.
As a collector, you couldn't be sure the devs weren't changing #1's metadata at will.
The API allows you to specify “if #4002 has not been minted, do not show any information about it”, whereas IPFS does not allow this.

It's possible to look up the metadata of any token, whether or not it's been minted.
Simply replace the trailing “1” with your desired id.


Mpher #4002

These files contain all the information about the mpher with the specified id. For my alien, we simply search all metadata files for the string “alien mpher.”

Take a look at the 6,969 meta-data files I'm using OpenSea's IPFS gateway, but you could use ipfs.io or something else.


Use curl to download ten files at once. Downloading thousands of files quickly can lead to duplicates or errors. But with a little tweaking, you should be able to get everything (and dupes are fine for our purposes).
Now that you have everything in one place, grep for aliens:


The numbers are the file names that contain “alien mpher” and thus the aliens' ids.
The entire process takes under ten minutes. This technique works on many NFTs currently minting.

In practice, manually minting at the right time to get the alien is difficult, especially when tokens mint quickly. Then write a bot to poll totalSupply() every second and submit the mint transaction at the exact right time.

You could even look for the token you need in the mempool before it is minted, and get your mint into the same block!

However, in my experience, the “big” approach wins 95% of the time—but not 100%.
“Am I being set up all along?”

Is a question you might ask yourself if you're new to this.
It's disheartening to think you had no chance of minting anything that someone else wanted.
But, did you have no opportunity? You had an equal chance as everyone else!
Take me, for instance: I figured this out using open-source tools and free public information. Anyone can do this, and not understanding how a contract works before minting will lead to much worse issues.

The mpher mint was fair.

While a fair game, “snipe the alien” may not have been everyone's cup of tea.
People may have had more fun playing the “mint lottery” where tokens were distributed at random and no one could gain an advantage over someone simply clicking the “mint” button.

How might we proceed?
Minting For Fashion Hats Punks, I wanted to create a random minting experience without sacrificing fairness. In my opinion, a predictable mint beats an unfair one. Above all, participants must be equal.

Sadly, the most common method of creating a random experience—the post-mint “reveal”—is deeply unfair. It works as follows:

  • During the mint, token metadata is unavailable. Instead, tokenURI() returns a blank JSON file for each id.
  • An IPFS hash is updated once all tokens are minted.
  • You can't tell how the contract owner chose which token ids got which metadata, so it appears random.

Because they alone decide who gets what, the person setting the metadata clearly has a huge unfair advantage over the people minting. Unlike the mpher mint, you have no chance of winning here.
But what if it's a well-known, trusted, doxxed dev team? Are reveals okay here?
No! No one should be trusted with such power. Even if someone isn't consciously trying to cheat, they have unconscious biases. They might also make a mistake and not realize it until it's too late, for example.

You should also not trust yourself. Imagine doing a reveal, thinking you did it correctly (nothing is 100%! ), and getting the rarest NFT. Isn't that a tad odd Do you think you deserve it? An NFT developer like myself would hate to be in this situation.

Reveals are bad*

UNLESS they are done without trust, meaning everyone can verify their fairness without relying on the developers (which you should never do).
An on-chain reveal powered by randomness that is verifiably outside of anyone's control is the most common way to achieve a trustless reveal (e.g., through Chainlink).

Tubby Cats did an excellent job on this reveal, and I highly recommend their contract and launch reflections. Their reveal was also cool because it was progressive—you didn't have to wait until the end of the mint to find out.

In his post-launch reflections, @DefiLlama stated that he made the contract as trustless as possible, removing as much trust as possible from the team.

In my opinion, everyone should know the rules of the game and trust that they will not be changed mid-stream, while trust minimization is critical because smart contracts were designed to reduce trust (and it makes it impossible to hack even if the team is compromised). This was a huge mistake because it limited our flexibility and our ability to correct mistakes.

And @DefiLlama is a superstar developer. Imagine how much stress maximizing trustlessness will cause you!

That leaves me with a bad solution that works in 99 percent of cases and is much easier to implement: random token assignments.

Introducing ERC721R: A fully compliant IERC721 implementation that picks token ids at random.

ERC721R implements the opposite of a reveal: we mint token ids randomly and assign metadata deterministically.
This allows us to reveal all metadata prior to minting while reducing snipe chances.
Then import the contract and use this code:

What is ERC721R and how does it work

First, a disclaimer: ERC721R isn't truly random. In this sense, it creates the same “game” as the mpher situation, where minters compete to exploit the mint. However, ERC721R is a much more difficult game.
To game ERC721R, you need to be able to predict a hash value using these inputs:

This is impossible for a normal person because it requires knowledge of the block timestamp of your mint, which you do not have.

To do this, a miner must set the timestamp to a value in the future, and whatever they do is dependent on the previous block's hash, which expires in about ten seconds when the next block is mined.

This pseudo-randomness is “good enough,” but if big money is involved, it will be gamed. Of course, the system it replaces—predictable minting—can be manipulated.
The token id is chosen in a clever implementation of the Fisher–Yates shuffle algorithm that I copied from CryptoPhunksV2.

Consider first the naive solution: (a 10,000 item collection is assumed):

  1. Make an array with 0–9999.
  2. To create a token, pick a random item from the array and use that as the token's id.
  3. Remove that value from the array and shorten it by one so that every index corresponds to an available token id.

This works, but it uses too much gas because changing an array's length and storing a large array of non-zero values is expensive.

How do we avoid them both? What if we started with a cheap 10,000-zero array? Let's assign an id to each index in that array.

Assume we pick index #6500 at random—#6500 is our token id, and we replace the 0 with a 1.

But what if we chose #6500 again? A 1 would indicate #6500 was taken, but then what? We can't just "roll again" because gas will be unpredictable and high, especially later mints.

This allows us to pick a token id 100% of the time without having to keep a separate list. Here's how it works:

  1. Make a 10,000 0 array.
  2. Create a 10,000 uint numAvailableTokens.
  3. Pick a number between 0 and numAvailableTokens. -1
  4. Think of #6500—look at index #6500. If it's 0, the next token id is #6500. If not, the value at index #6500 is your next token id (weird!)
  5. Examine the array's last value, numAvailableTokens — 1. If it's 0, move the value at #6500 to the end of the array (#9999 if it's the first token). If the array's last value is not zero, update index #6500 to store it.
  6. numAvailableTokens is decreased by 1.
  7. Repeat 3–6 for the next token id.

So there you go! The array stays the same size, but we can choose an available id reliably. The Solidity code is as follows:


GitHub url

Unfortunately, this algorithm uses more gas than the leading sequential mint solution, ERC721A.

This is most noticeable when minting multiple tokens in one transaction—a 10 token mint on ERC721R costs 5x more than on ERC721A. That said, ERC721A has been optimized much further than ERC721R so there is probably room for improvement.

Conclusion

Listed below are your options:

  • ERC721A: Minters pay lower gas but must spend time and energy devising and executing a competitive minting strategy or be comfortable with worse minting results.
  • ERC721R: Higher gas, but the easy minting strategy of just clicking the button is optimal in all but the most extreme cases. If miners game ERC721R it’s the worst of both worlds: higher gas and a ton of work to compete.
  • ERC721A + standard reveal: Low gas, but not verifiably fair. Please do not do this!
  • ERC721A + trustless reveal: The best solution if done correctly, highly-challenging for dev, potential for difficult-to-correct errors.

Did I miss something? Comment or tweet me @dumbnamenumbers.
Check out the code on GitHub to learn more! Pull requests are welcome—I'm sure I've missed many gas-saving opportunities.

Thanks!

Read the original post here

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Tora Northman

Tora Northman

10 months ago

Pixelmon NFTs are so bad, they are almost good!

Bored Apes prices continue to rise, HAPEBEAST launches, Invisible Friends hype continues to grow. Sadly, not all projects are as successful.
Of course, there are many factors to consider when buying an NFT. Is the project a scam? Will the reveal derail the project? Possibly, but when Pixelmon first teased its launch, it generated a lot of buzz.

With a primary sale mint price of 3 ETH ($8,100 USD), it started as an expensive project, with plenty of fans willing to invest in what was sold as a game. After it was revealed, it fell rapidly.
Why? It was overpromised and under delivered.

According to the project's creator[^1], the funds generated will be used to develop the artwork. "The Pixelmon reveal was wrong. This is what our Pixelmon look like in-game. "Despite the fud, I will not go anywhere," he wrote on Twitter. The goal remains. The funds will still be used to build our game. I will finish this project."

The project raised $70 million USD, but the NFTs buyers received were not the project's original teasers. Some call it "the worst NFT project ever," while others call it a complete scam.

But there's hope for some buyers. Kevin emerged from the ashes as the project was roasted over the fire.

A Minecraft character meets Salad Fingers - that's Kevin. He's a frog-like creature whose reveal was such a terrible NFT that it became part of history – and a meme.

If you're laughing at people paying $8K for a silly pixelated image, you might need to take it back. Precisely because of this, lucky holders who minted Kevin have been able to sell the now-memed NFT for over 8 ETH (around $24,000 USD), with some currently listed for 100 ETH.

Of course, Twitter has been awash in memes mocking those who invested in the project, because what else can you do when so many people lose money?

It's still unclear if the NFT project is a scam, but the team behind it was hired on Upwork. There's still hope for redemption, but Kevin's rise to fame appears to be the only positive outcome so far.

[^1] This is not the first time the creator (A 20-yo New Zealanders) has sought money via an online platform and had people claiming he under-delivered.  He raised $74,000 on Kickstarter for a card game called Psycho Chicken. There are hundreds of comments on the Kickstarter project saying they haven't received the product and pleading for a refund or an update.

Jayden Levitt

Jayden Levitt

2 months ago

How to Explain NFTs to Your Grandmother, in Simple Terms

Credit — Grandma Finds The Internet

In simple terms, you probably don’t.

But try. Grandma didn't grow up with Facebook, but she eventually joined.

Perhaps the fear of being isolated outweighed the discomfort of learning the technology.

Grandmas are Facebook likers, sharers, and commenters.

There’s no stopping her.

Not even NFTs. Web3 is currently very complex.

It's difficult to explain what NFTs are, how they work, and why we might use them.

Three explanations.

1. Everything will be ours to own, both physically and digitally.

Why own something you can't touch? What's the point?

Blockchain technology proves digital ownership.

Untouchables need ownership proof. What?

Digital assets reduce friction, save time, and are better for the environment than physical goods.

Many valuable things are intangible. Feeling like your favorite brands. You'll pay obscene prices for clothing that costs pennies.

Secondly, NFTs Are Contracts. Agreements Have Value.

Blockchain technology will replace all contracts and intermediaries.

Every insurance contract, deed, marriage certificate, work contract, plane ticket, concert ticket, or sports event is likely an NFT.

We all have public wallets, like Grandma's Facebook page.

3. Your NFT Purchases Will Be Visible To Everyone.

Everyone can see your public wallet. What you buy says more about you than what you post online.

NFTs issued double as marketing collateral when seen on social media.

While I doubt Grandma knows who Snoop Dog is, imagine him or another famous person holding your NFT in his public wallet and the attention that could bring to you, your company, or brand.

This Technical Section Is For You

The NFT is a contract; its founders can add value through access, events, tuition, and possibly royalties.

Imagine Elon Musk releasing an NFT to his network. Or yearly business consultations for three years.

Christ-alive.

It's worth millions.

These determine their value.

No unsuspecting schmuck willing to buy your hot potato at zero. That's the trend, though.

Overpriced NFTs for low-effort projects created a bubble that has burst.

During a market bubble, you can make money by buying overvalued assets and selling them later for a profit, according to the Greater Fool Theory.

People are struggling. Some are ruined by collateralized loans and the gold rush.

Finances are ruined.

It's uncomfortable.

The same happened in 2018, during the ICO crash or in 1999/2000 when the dot com bubble burst. But the underlying technology hasn’t gone away.

Nate Kostar

7 months ago

# DeaMau5’s PIXELYNX and Beatport Launch Festival NFTs

Pixelynx, a music metaverse gaming platform, has teamed up with Beatport, an online music retailer focusing in electronic music, to establish a Synth Heads non-fungible token (NFT) Collection.

Richie Hawtin, aka Deadmau5, and Joel Zimmerman, nicknamed Pixelynx, have invented a new music metaverse game platform called Pixelynx. In January 2022, they released their first Beatport NFT drop, which saw 3,030 generative NFTs sell out in seconds.

The limited edition Synth Heads NFTs will be released in collaboration with Junction 2, the largest UK techno festival, and having one will grant fans special access tickets and experiences at the London-based festival.

Membership in the Synth Head community, day passes to the Junction 2 Festival 2022, Junction 2 and Beatport apparel, special vinyl releases, and continued access to future ticket drops are just a few of the experiences available.

Five lucky NFT holders will also receive a Golden Ticket, which includes access to a backstage artist bar and tickets to Junction 2's next large-scale London event this summer, in addition to full festival entrance for both days.

The Junction 2 festival will take place at Trent Park in London on June 18th and 19th, and will feature performances from Four Tet, Dixon, Amelie Lens, Robert Hood, and a slew of other artists. Holders of the original Synth Head NFT will be granted admission to the festival's guestlist as well as line-jumping privileges.

The new Synth Heads NFTs collection  contain 300 NFTs.

NFTs that provide IRL utility are in high demand.

The benefits of NFT drops related to In Real Life (IRL) utility aren't limited to Beatport and Pixelynx.

Coachella, a well-known music event, recently partnered with cryptocurrency exchange FTX to offer free NFTs to 2022 pass holders. Access to a dedicated entry lane, a meal and beverage pass, and limited-edition merchandise were all included with the NFTs.

Coachella also has its own NFT store on the Solana blockchain, where fans can buy Coachella NFTs and digital treasures that unlock exclusive on-site experiences, physical objects, lifetime festival passes, and "future adventures."

Individual artists and performers have begun taking advantage of NFT technology outside of large music festivals like Coachella.

DJ Tisto has revealed that he would release a VIP NFT for his upcoming "Eagle" collection during the EDC festival in Las Vegas in 2022. This NFT, dubbed "All Access Eagle," gives collectors the best chance to get NFTs from his first drop, as well as unique access to the music "Repeat It."

NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets that can be verified, purchased, sold, and traded on blockchains, opening up new possibilities for artists and businesses alike. Time will tell whether Beatport and Pixelynx's Synth Head NFT collection will be successful, but if it's anything like the first release, it's a safe bet.

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Theo Seeds

Theo Seeds

5 months ago

The nine novels that have fundamentally altered the way I view the world

I read 53 novels last year and hope to do so again.

Books are best if you love learning. You get a range of perspectives, unlike podcasts and YouTube channels where you get the same ones.

Book quality varies. I've read useless books. Most books teach me something.

These 9 novels have changed my outlook in recent years. They've made me rethink what I believed or introduced me to a fresh perspective that changed my worldview.

You can order these books yourself. Or, read my summaries to learn what I've synthesized.

Enjoy!

Fooled By Randomness

Nassim Taleb worked as a Wall Street analyst. He used options trading to bet on unlikely events like stock market crashes.

Using financial models, investors predict stock prices. The models assume constant, predictable company growth.

These models base their assumptions on historical data, so they assume the future will be like the past.

Fooled By Randomness argues that the future won't be like the past. We often see impossible market crashes like 2008's housing market collapse. The world changes too quickly to use historical data: by the time we understand how it works, it's changed.

Most people don't live to see history unfold. We think our childhood world will last forever. That goes double for stable societies like the U.S., which hasn't seen major turbulence in anyone's lifetime.

Fooled By Randomness taught me to expect the unexpected. The world is deceptive and rarely works as we expect. You can't always trust your past successes or what you've learned.

Antifragile

More Taleb. Some things, like the restaurant industry and the human body, improve under conditions of volatility and turbulence.

We didn't have a word for this counterintuitive concept until Taleb wrote Antifragile. The human body (which responds to some stressors, like exercise, by getting stronger) and the restaurant industry both benefit long-term from disorder (when economic turbulence happens, bad restaurants go out of business, improving the industry as a whole).

Many human systems are designed to minimize short-term variance because humans don't understand it. By eliminating short-term variation, we increase the likelihood of a major disaster.

Once, we put out every forest fire we found. Then, dead wood piled up in forests, causing catastrophic fires.

We don't like price changes, so politicians prop up markets with stimulus packages and printing money. This leads to a bigger crash later. Two years ago, we printed a ton of money for stimulus checks, and now we have double-digit inflation.

Antifragile taught me how important Plan B is. A system with one or two major weaknesses will fail. Make large systems redundant, foolproof, and change-responsive.

Reality is broken

We dread work. Work is tedious. Right?

Wrong. Work gives many people purpose. People are happiest when working. (That's why some are workaholics.)

Factory work saps your soul, office work is boring, and working for a large company you don't believe in and that operates unethically isn't satisfying.

Jane McGonigal says in Reality Is Broken that meaningful work makes us happy. People love games because they simulate good work. McGonigal says work should be more fun.

Some think they'd be happy on a private island sipping cocktails all day. That's not true. Without anything to do, most people would be bored. Unemployed people are miserable. Many retirees die within 2 years, much more than expected.

Instead of complaining, find meaningful work. If you don't like your job, it's because you're in the wrong environment. Find the right setting.

The Lean Startup

Before the airplane was invented, Harvard scientists researched flying machines. Who knew two North Carolina weirdos would beat them?

The Wright Brothers' plane design was key. Harvard researchers were mostly theoretical, designing an airplane on paper and trying to make it fly in theory. They'd build it, test it, and it wouldn't fly.

The Wright Brothers were different. They'd build a cheap plane, test it, and it'd crash. Then they'd learn from their mistakes, build another plane, and it'd crash.

They repeated this until they fixed all the problems and one of their planes stayed aloft.

Mistakes are considered bad. On the African savannah, one mistake meant death. Even today, if you make a costly mistake at work, you'll be fired as a scapegoat. Most people avoid failing.

In reality, making mistakes is the best way to learn.

Eric Reis offers an unintuitive recipe in The Lean Startup: come up with a hypothesis, test it, and fail. Then, try again with a new hypothesis. Keep trying, learning from each failure.

This is a great startup strategy. Startups are new businesses. Startups face uncertainty. Run lots of low-cost experiments to fail, learn, and succeed.

Don't fear failing. Low-cost failure is good because you learn more from it than you lose. As long as your worst-case scenario is acceptable, risk-taking is good.

The Sovereign Individual

Today, nation-states rule the world. The UN recognizes 195 countries, and they claim almost all land outside of Antarctica.

We agree. For the past 2,000 years, much of the world's territory was ungoverned.

Why today? Because technology has created incentives for nation-states for most of the past 500 years. The logic of violence favors nation-states, according to James Dale Davidson, author of the Sovereign Individual. Governments have a lot to gain by conquering as much territory as possible, so they do.

Not always. During the Dark Ages, Europe was fragmented and had few central governments. Partly because of armor. With armor, a sword, and a horse, you couldn't be stopped. Large states were hard to form because they rely on the threat of violence.

When gunpowder became popular in Europe, violence changed. In a world with guns, assembling large armies and conquest are cheaper.

James Dale Davidson says the internet will make nation-states obsolete. Most of the world's wealth will be online and in people's heads, making capital mobile.

Nation-states rely on predatory taxation of the rich to fund large militaries and welfare programs.

When capital is mobile, people can live anywhere in the world, Davidson says, making predatory taxation impossible. They're not bound by their job, land, or factory location. Wherever they're treated best.

Davidson says that over the next century, nation-states will collapse because they won't have enough money to operate as they do now. He imagines a world of small city-states, like Italy before 1900. (or Singapore today).

We've already seen some movement toward a more Sovereign Individual-like world. The pandemic proved large-scale remote work is possible, freeing workers from their location. Many cities and countries offer remote workers incentives to relocate.

Many Western businesspeople live in tax havens, and more people are renouncing their US citizenship due to high taxes. Increasing globalization has led to poor economic conditions and resentment among average people in the West, which is why politicians like Trump and Sanders rose to popularity with angry rhetoric, even though Obama rose to popularity with a more hopeful message.

The Sovereign Individual convinced me that the future will be different than Nassim Taleb's. Large countries like the U.S. will likely lose influence in the coming decades, while Portugal, Singapore, and Turkey will rise. If the trend toward less freedom continues, people may flee the West en masse.

So a traditional life of college, a big firm job, hard work, and corporate advancement may not be wise. Young people should learn as much as possible and develop flexible skills to adapt to the future.

Sapiens

Sapiens is a history of humanity, from proto-humans in Ethiopia to our internet society today, with some future speculation.

Sapiens views humans (and Homo sapiens) as a unique species on Earth. We were animals 100,000 years ago. We're slowly becoming gods, able to affect the climate, travel to every corner of the Earth (and the Moon), build weapons that can kill us all, and wipe out thousands of species.

Sapiens examines what makes Homo sapiens unique. Humans can believe in myths like religion, money, and human-made entities like countries and LLCs.

These myths facilitate large-scale cooperation. Ants from the same colony can cooperate. Any two humans can trade, though. Even if they're not genetically related, large groups can bond over religion and nationality.

Combine that with intelligence, and you have a species capable of amazing feats.

Sapiens may make your head explode because it looks at the world without presupposing values, unlike most books. It questions things that aren't usually questioned and says provocative things.

It also shows how human history works. It may help you understand and predict the world. Maybe.

The 4-hour Workweek

Things can be done better.

Tradition, laziness, bad bosses, or incentive structures cause complacency. If you're willing to make changes and not settle for the status quo, you can do whatever you do better and achieve more in less time.

The Four-Hour Work Week advocates this. Tim Ferriss explains how he made more sales in 2 hours than his 8-hour-a-day colleagues.

By firing 2 of his most annoying customers and empowering his customer service reps to make more decisions, he was able to leave his business and travel to Europe.

Ferriss shows how to escape your 9-to-5, outsource your life, develop a business that feeds you with little time, and go on mini-retirement adventures abroad.

Don't accept the status quo. Instead, level up. Find a way to improve your results. And try new things.

Why Nations Fail

Nogales, Arizona and Mexico were once one town. The US/Mexico border was arbitrarily drawn.

Both towns have similar cultures and populations. Nogales, Arizona is well-developed and has a high standard of living. Nogales, Mexico is underdeveloped and has a low standard of living. Whoa!

Why Nations Fail explains how government-created institutions affect country development. Strong property rights, capitalism, and non-corrupt governments promote development. Countries without capitalism, strong property rights, or corrupt governments don't develop.

Successful countries must also embrace creative destruction. They must offer ordinary citizens a way to improve their lot by creating value for others, not reducing them to slaves, serfs, or peasants. Authors say that ordinary people could get rich on trading expeditions in 11th-century Venice.

East and West Germany and North and South Korea have different economies because their citizens are motivated differently. It explains why Chile, China, and Singapore grow so quickly after becoming market economies.

People have spent a lot of money on third-world poverty. According to Why Nations Fail, education and infrastructure aren't the answer. Developing nations must adopt free-market economic policies.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the world's richest man, but that’s not a good way to describe him. Elon Musk is the world's richest man, which is like calling Steve Jobs a turtleneck-wearer or Benjamin Franklin a printer.

Elon Musk does cool sci-fi stuff to help humanity avoid existential threats.

Oil will run out. We've delayed this by developing better extraction methods. We only have so much nonrenewable oil.

Our society is doomed if it depends on oil. Elon Musk invested heavily in Tesla and SolarCity to speed the shift to renewable energy.

Musk worries about AI: we'll build machines smarter than us. We won't be able to stop these machines if something goes wrong, just like cows can't fight humans. Neuralink: we need to be smarter to compete with AI when the time comes.

If Earth becomes uninhabitable, we need a backup plan. Asteroid or nuclear war could strike Earth at any moment. We may not have much time to react if it happens in a few days. We must build a new civilization while times are good and resources are plentiful.

Short-term problems dominate our politics, but long-term issues are more important. Long-term problems can cause mass casualties and homelessness. Musk demonstrates how to think long-term.

The main reason people are impressed by Elon Musk, and why Ashlee Vances' biography influenced me so much, is that he does impossible things.

Electric cars were once considered unprofitable, but Tesla has made them mainstream. SpaceX is the world's largest private space company.

People lack imagination and dismiss ununderstood ideas as impossible. Humanity is about pushing limits. Don't worry if your dreams seem impossible. Try it.

Thanks for reading.

Olga Kharif

6 months ago

A month after freezing customer withdrawals, Celsius files for bankruptcy.

Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius, speaks at Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon. 

Celsius Network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a month after freezing customer withdrawals, joining other crypto casualties.

Celsius took the step to stabilize its business and restructure for all stakeholders. The filing was done in the Southern District of New York.

The company, which amassed more than $20 billion by offering 18% interest on cryptocurrency deposits, paused withdrawals and other functions in mid-June, citing "extreme market conditions."

As the Fed raises interest rates aggressively, it hurts risk sentiment and squeezes funding costs. Voyager Digital Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, and Three Arrows Capital has called in liquidators.

Celsius called the pause "difficult but necessary." Without the halt, "the acceleration of withdrawals would have allowed certain customers to be paid in full while leaving others to wait for Celsius to harvest value from illiquid or longer-term asset deployment activities," it said.

Celsius declined to comment. CEO Alex Mashinsky said the move will strengthen the company's future.

The company wants to keep operating. It's not requesting permission to allow customer withdrawals right now; Chapter 11 will handle customer claims. The filing estimates assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Celsius is advised by Kirkland & Ellis, Centerview Partners, and Alvarez & Marsal.

Yield-promises

Celsius promised 18% returns on crypto loans. It lent those coins to institutional investors and participated in decentralized-finance apps.

When TerraUSD (UST) and Luna collapsed in May, Celsius pulled its funds from Terra's Anchor Protocol, which offered 20% returns on UST deposits. Recently, another large holding, staked ETH, or stETH, which is tied to Ether, became illiquid and discounted to Ether.

The lender is one of many crypto companies hurt by risky bets in the bear market. Also, Babel halted withdrawals. Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy, and crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy.

According to blockchain data and tracker Zapper, Celsius repaid all of its debt in Aave, Compound, and MakerDAO last month.

Celsius charged Symbolic Capital Partners Ltd. 2,000 Ether as collateral for a cash loan on June 13. According to company filings, Symbolic was charged 2,545.25 Ether on June 11.

In July 6 filings, it said it reshuffled its board, appointing two new members and firing others.

Sanjay Priyadarshi

Sanjay Priyadarshi

3 months ago

Meet a Programmer Who Turned Down Microsoft's $10,000,000,000 Acquisition Offer

Failures inspire young developers

Photo of Jason Citron from Marketrealist.com

Jason citron created many products.

These products flopped.

Microsoft offered $10 billion for one of these products.

He rejected the offer since he was so confident in his success.

Let’s find out how he built a product that is currently valued at $15 billion.

Early in his youth, Jason began learning to code.

Jason's father taught him programming and IT.

His father wanted to help him earn money when he needed it.

Jason created video games and websites in high school.

Jason realized early on that his IT and programming skills could make him money.

Jason's parents misjudged his aptitude for programming.

Jason frequented online programming communities.

He looked for web developers. He created websites for those people.

His parents suspected Jason sold drugs online. When he said he used programming to make money, they were shocked.

They helped him set up a PayPal account.

Florida higher education to study video game creation

Jason never attended an expensive university.

He studied game design in Florida.

“Higher Education is an interesting part of society… When I work with people, the school they went to never comes up… only thing that matters is what can you do…At the end of the day, the beauty of silicon valley is that if you have a great idea and you can bring it to the life, you can convince a total stranger to give you money and join your project… This notion that you have to go to a great school didn’t end up being a thing for me.”

Jason's life was altered by Steve Jobs' keynote address.

After graduating, Jason joined an incubator.

Jason created a video-dating site first.

Bad idea.

Nobody wanted to use it when it was released, so they shut it down.

He made a multiplayer game.

It was released on Bebo. 10,000 people played it.

When Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple app store, he stopped playing.

The introduction of the app store resembled that of a new gaming console.

Jason's life altered after Steve Jobs' 2008 address.

“Whenever a new video game console is launched, that’s the opportunity for a new video game studio to get started, it’s because there aren’t too many games available…When a new PlayStation comes out, since it’s a new system, there’s only a handful of titles available… If you can be a launch title you can get a lot of distribution.”

Apple's app store provided a chance to start a video game company.

They released an app after 5 months of work.

Aurora Feint is the game.

Jason believed 1000 players in a week would be wonderful. A thousand players joined in the first hour.

Over time, Aurora Feints' game didn't gain traction. They don't make enough money to keep playing.

They could only make enough for one month.

Instead of buying video games, buy technology

Jason saw that they established a leaderboard, chat rooms, and multiplayer capabilities and believed other developers would want to use these.

They opted to sell the prior game's technology.

OpenFeint.

Assisting other game developers

They had no money in the bank to create everything needed to make the technology user-friendly.

Jason and Daniel designed a website saying:

“If you’re making a video game and want to have a drop in multiplayer support, you can use our system”

TechCrunch covered their website launch, and they gained a few hundred mailing list subscribers.

They raised seed funding with the mailing list.

Nearly all iPhone game developers started adopting the Open Feint logo.

“It was pretty wild… It was really like a whole social platform for people to play with their friends.”

What kind of a business model was it?

OpenFeint originally planned to make the software free for all games. As the game gained popularity, they demanded payment.

They later concluded it wasn't a good business concept.

It became free eventually.

Acquired for $104 million

Open Feint's users and employees grew tremendously.

GREE bought OpenFeint for $104 million in April 2011.

GREE initially committed to helping Jason and his team build a fantastic company.

Three or four months after the acquisition, Jason recognized they had a different vision.

He quit.

Jason's Original Vision for the iPad

Jason focused on distribution in 2012 to help businesses stand out.

The iPad market and user base were growing tremendously.

Jason said the iPad may replace mobile gadgets.

iPad gamers behaved differently than mobile gamers.

People sat longer and experienced more using an iPad.

“The idea I had was what if we built a gaming business that was more like traditional video games but played on tablets as opposed to some kind of mobile game that I’ve been doing before.”

Unexpected insight after researching the video game industry

Jason learned from studying the gaming industry that long-standing companies had advantages beyond a single release.

Previously, long-standing video game firms had their own distribution system. This distribution strategy could buffer time between successful titles.

Sony, Microsoft, and Valve all have gaming consoles and online stores.

So he built a distribution system.

He created a group chat app for gamers.

He envisioned a team-based multiplayer game with text and voice interaction.

His objective was to develop a communication network, release more games, and start a game distribution business.

Remaking the video game League of Legends

Jason and his crew reimagined a League of Legends game mode for 12-inch glass.

They adapted the game for tablets.

League of Legends was PC-only.

So they rebuilt it.

They overhauled the game and included native mobile experiences to stand out.

Hammer and Chisel was the company's name.

18 people worked on the game.

The game was funded. The game took 2.5 years to make.

Was the game a success?

July 2014 marked the game's release. The team's hopes were dashed.

Critics initially praised the game.

Initial installation was widespread.

The game failed.

As time passed, the team realized iPad gaming wouldn't increase much and mobile would win.

Jason was given a fresh idea by Stan Vishnevskiy.

Stan Vishnevskiy was a corporate engineer.

He told Jason about his plan to design a communication app without a game.

This concept seeded modern strife.

“The insight that he really had was to put a couple of dots together… we’re seeing our customers communicating around our own game with all these different apps and also ourselves when we’re playing on PC… We should solve that problem directly rather than needing to build a new game…we should start making it on PC.”

So began Discord.

Online socializing with pals was the newest trend.

Jason grew up playing video games with his friends.

He never played outside.

Jason had many great moments playing video games with his closest buddy, wife, and brother.

Discord was about providing a location for you and your group to speak and hang out.

Like a private cafe, bedroom, or living room.

Discord was developed for you and your friends on computers and phones.

You can quickly call your buddies during a game to conduct a conference call. Put the call on speaker and talk while playing.

Discord wanted to give every player a unique experience. Because coordinating across apps was a headache.

The entire team started concentrating on Discord.

Jason decided Hammer and Chisel would focus on their chat app.

Jason didn't want to make a video game.

How Discord attracted the appropriate attention

During the first five months, the entire team worked on the game and got feedback from friends.

This ensures product improvement. As a result, some teammates' buddies started utilizing Discord.

The team knew it would become something, but the result was buggy. App occasionally crashed.

Jason persuaded a gamer friend to write on Reddit about the software.

New people would find Discord. Why not?

Reddit users discovered Discord and 50 started using it frequently.

Discord was launched.

Rejecting the $10 billion acquisition proposal

Discord has increased in recent years.

It sends billions of messages.

Discord's users aren't tracked. They're privacy-focused.

Purchase offer

Covid boosted Discord's user base.

Weekly, billions of messages were transmitted.

Microsoft offered $10 billion for Discord in 2021.

Jason sold Open Feint for $104m in 2011.

This time, he believed in the product so much that he rejected Microsoft's offer.

“I was talking to some people in the team about which way we could go… The good thing was that most of the team wanted to continue building.”

Last time, Discord was valued at $15 billion.

Discord raised money on March 12, 2022.

The $15 billion corporation raised $500 million in 2021.