More on Web3 & Crypto
3 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.
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.
2 months ago Draft
A Myth: Decentralization
It’s simply not conceivable, or at least not credible.
One of the most touted selling points of Crypto has always been this grandiose idea of decentralization. Bitcoin first arose in 2009 after the housing crisis and subsequent crash that came with it. It aimed to solve this supposed issue of centralization. Nobody “owns” Bitcoin in theory, so the idea then goes that it won’t be subject to the same downfalls that led to the 2008 crash or similarly speculative events that led to the 2008 disaster. The issue is the banks, not the human nature associated with the greedy individuals running them.
Subsequent blockchains have attempted to fix many of the issues of Bitcoin by increasing capacity, decreasing the costs and processing times associated with Bitcoin, and expanding what can be done with their blockchains. Since nobody owns Bitcoin, it hasn’t really been able to be expanded on. You have people like Vitalk Buterin, however, that actively work on Ethereum though.
The leap from Bitcoin to Ethereum was a massive leap toward centralization, and the trend has only gotten worse. In fact, crypto has since become almost exclusively centralized in recent years.
Decentralization is only good in theory
It’s a good idea. In fact, it’s a wonderful idea. However, like other utopian societies, individuals misjudge human nature and greed. In a perfect world, decentralization would certainly be a wonderful idea because sure, people may function as their own banks, move payments immediately, remain anonymous, and so on. However, underneath this are a couple issues:
You can already send money instantaneously today.
They are not decentralized.
Decentralization is a bad idea.
Being your own bank is a stupid move.
Let’s break these down. Some are quite simple, but lets have a look.
Sending money right away
One thing with crypto is the idea that you can send payments instantly. This has pretty much been entirely solved in current times. You can transmit significant sums of money instantly for a nominal cost and it’s instantaneously cleared. Venmo was launched in 2009 and has since increased to prominence, and currently is on most people's phones. I can directly send ANY amount of money quickly from my bank to another person's Venmo account.
Comparing that with ETH and Bitcoin, Venmo wins all around. I can send money to someone for free instantly in dollars and the only fee paid is optional depending on when you want it.
Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are subject to demand. If the blockchains have a lot of people trying to process transactions fee’s go up, and the time that it takes to receive your crypto takes longer. When Ethereum gets bad, people have reported spending several thousand of dollars on just 1 transaction.
These transactions take place via “miners” bundling and confirming transactions, then recording them on the blockchain to confirm that the transaction did indeed happen. They charge fees to do this and are also paid in Bitcoin/ETH. When a transaction is confirmed, it's then sent to the other users wallet. This within itself is subject to lots of controversy because each transaction needs to be confirmed 6 times, this takes massive amounts of power, and most of the power is wasted because this is an adversarial system in which the person that mines the transaction gets paid, and everyone else is out of luck. Also, these could theoretically be subject to a “51% attack” in which anyone with over 51% of the mining hash rate could effectively control all of the transactions, and reverse transactions while keeping the BTC resulting in “double spending”.
There are tons of other issues with this, but essentially it means: They rely on these third parties to confirm the transactions. Without people confirming these transactions, Bitcoin stalls completely, and if anyone becomes too dominant they can effectively control bitcoin.
Not to mention, these transactions are in Bitcoin and ETH, not dollars. So, you need to convert them to dollars still, and that's several more transactions, and likely to take several days anyway as the centralized exchange needs to send you the money by traditional methods.
They are not distributed
That takes me to the following point. This isn’t decentralized, at all. Bitcoin is the closest it gets because Satoshi basically closed it to new upgrades, although its still subject to:
It’s vital to realize that these are often the same folks. While whales aren’t centralized entities typically, they can considerably effect the price and outcome of Bitcoin. If the largest wallets holding as much as 1 million BTC were to sell, it’d effectively collapse the price perhaps beyond repair. However, Bitcoin can and is pretty much controlled by the miners. Further, Bitcoin is more like an oligarchy than decentralized. It’s been effectively used to make the rich richer, and both the mining and price is impacted by the rich. The overwhelming minority of those actually using it are retail investors. The retail investors are basically never the ones generating money from it either.
As far as ETH and other cryptos go, there is realistically 0 case for them being decentralized. Vitalik could not only kill it but even walking away from it would likely lead to a significant decline. It has tons of issues right now that Vitalik has promised to fix with the eventual Ethereum 2.0., and stepping away from it wouldn’t help.
Most tokens as well are generally tied to some promise of future developments and creators. The same is true for most NFT projects. The reason 99% of crypto and NFT projects fail is because they failed to deliver on various promises or bad dev teams, or poor innovation, or the founders just straight up stole from everyone. I could go more in-depth than this but go find any project and if there is a dev team, company, or person tied to it then it's likely, not decentralized. The success of that project is directly tied to the dev team, and if they wanted to, most hold large wallets and could sell it all off effectively killing the project. Not to mention, any crypto project that doesn’t have a locked contract can 100% be completely rugged and they can run off with all of the money.
Decentralization is undesirable
Even if they were decentralized then it would not be a good thing. The graphic above indicates this is effectively a rich person’s unregulated playground… so it’s exactly like… the very issue it tried to solve?
Not to mention, it’s supposedly meant to prevent things like 2008, but is regularly subjected to 50–90% drawdowns in value? Back when Bitcoin was only known in niche parts of the dark web and illegal markets, it would regularly drop as much as 90% and has a long history of massive drawdowns.
The majority of crypto is blatant scams, and ALL of crypto is a “zero” or “negative” sum game in that it relies on the next person buying for people to make money. This is not a good thing. This has yet to solve any issues around what caused the 2008 crisis. Rather, it seemingly amplified all of the bad parts of it actually. Crypto is the ultimate speculative asset and realistically has no valuation metric. People invest in Apple because it has revenue and cash on hand. People invest in crypto purely for speculation. The lack of regulation or accountability means this is amplified to the most extreme degree where anything goes: Fraud, deception, pump and dumps, scams, etc. This results in a pure speculative madhouse where, unsurprisingly, only the rich win. Not only that but the deck is massively stacked in against the everyday investor because you can’t do a pump and dump without money.
At the heart of all of this is still the same issues: greed and human nature. However, in setting out to solve the issues that allowed 2008 to happen, they made something that literally took all of the bad parts of 2008 and then amplified it. 2008, similarly, was due to greed and human nature but was allowed to happen due to lack of oversite, rich people's excessive leverage over the poor, and excessive speculation. Crypto trades SOLELY on human emotion, has 0 oversite, is pure speculation, and the power dynamic is just as bad or worse.
Why should each individual be their own bank?
This is the last one, and it's short and basic. Why do we want people functioning as their own bank? Everything we do relies on another person. Without the internet, and internet providers there is no crypto. We don’t have people functioning as their own home and car manufacturers or internet service providers. Sure, you might specialize in some of these things, but masquerading as your own bank is a horrible idea.
I am not in the banking industry so I don’t know all the issues with banking. Most people aren’t in banking or crypto, so they don’t know the ENDLESS scams associated with it, and they are bound to lose their money eventually.
If you appreciate this article and want to read more from me and authors like me, without any limits, consider buying me a coffee: buymeacoffee.com/calebnaysmith
8 months ago
A Warm Welcome to Web3 and the Future of the Internet
Let's take a look back at the internet's history and see where we're going — and why.
Tim Berners Lee had a problem. He was at CERN, the world's largest particle physics factory, at the time. The institute's stated goal was to study the simplest particles with the most sophisticated scientific instruments. The institute completed the LEP Tunnel in 1988, a 27 kilometer ring. This was Europe's largest civil engineering project (to study smaller particles — electrons).
The problem Tim Berners Lee found was information loss, not particle physics. CERN employed a thousand people in 1989. Due to team size and complexity, people often struggled to recall past project information. While these obstacles could be overcome, high turnover was nearly impossible. Berners Lee addressed the issue in a proposal titled ‘Information Management'.
When a typical stay is two years, data is constantly lost. The introduction of new people takes a lot of time from them and others before they understand what is going on. An emergency situation may require a detective investigation to recover technical details of past projects. Often, the data is recorded but cannot be found. — Information Management: A Proposal
He had an idea. Create an information management system that allowed users to access data in a decentralized manner using a new technology called ‘hypertext'.
To quote Berners Lee, his proposal was “vague but exciting...”. The paper eventually evolved into the internet we know today. Here are three popular W3C standards used by billions of people today:
HTML (Hypertext Markup)
A web formatting language.
URI (Unique Resource Identifier)
Each web resource has its own “address”. Known as ‘a URL'.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
Retrieves linked resources from across the web.
These technologies underpin all computer work. They were the seeds of our quest to reorganize information, a task as fruitful as particle physics.
Tim Berners-Lee would probably think the three decades from 1989 to 2018 were eventful. He'd be amazed by the billions, the inspiring, the novel. Unlocking innovation at CERN through ‘Information Management'.
The fictional character would probably need a drink, walk, and a few deep breaths to fully grasp the internet's impact. He'd be surprised to see a few big names in the mix.
Then he'd say, "Something's wrong here."
We should review the web's history before going there. Was it a success after Berners Lee made it public? Web1 and Web2: What is it about what we are doing now that so many believe we need a new one, web3?
Per Outlier Ventures' Jamie Burke:
Web 1.0 was read-only.
Web 2.0 was the writable
Web 3.0 is a direct-write web.
Web1: The Read-Only Web
Web1 was the digital age. We put our books, research, and lives ‘online'. The web made information retrieval easier than any filing cabinet ever. Massive amounts of data were stored online. Encyclopedias, medical records, and entire libraries were put away into floppy disks and hard drives.
In 2015, the web had around 305,500,000,000 pages of content (280 million copies of Atlas Shrugged).
Initially, one didn't expect to contribute much to this database. Web1 was an online version of the real world, but not yet a new way of using the invention.
One gets the impression that the web has been underutilized by historians if all we can say about it is that it has become a giant global fax machine. — Daniel Cohen, The Web's Second Decade (2004)
That doesn't mean developers weren't building. The web was being advanced by great minds. Web2 was born as technology advanced.
Web2: Read-Write Web
Remember when you clicked something on a website and the whole page refreshed? Is it too early to call the mid-2000s ‘the good old days'?
Browsers improved gradually, then suddenly. AJAX calls augmented CGI scripts, and applications began sending data back and forth without disrupting the entire web page. One button to ‘digg' a post (see below). Web experiences blossomed.
In 2006, Digg was the most active ‘Web 2.0' site. (Photo: Ethereum Foundation Taylor Gerring)
Interaction was the focus of new applications. Posting, upvoting, hearting, pinning, tweeting, liking, commenting, and clapping became a lexicon of their own. It exploded in 2004. Easy ways to ‘write' on the internet grew, and continue to grow.
Facebook became a Web2 icon, where users created trillions of rows of data. Google and Amazon moved from Web1 to Web2 by better understanding users and building products and services that met their needs.
Business models based on Software-as-a-Service and then managing consumer data within them for a fee have exploded.
Web2 Emerging Issues
Unbelievably, an intriguing dilemma arose. When creating this read-write web, a non-trivial question skirted underneath the covers. Who owns it all?
You have no control over [Web 2] online SaaS. People didn't realize this because SaaS was so new. People have realized this is the real issue in recent years.
Even if these organizations have good intentions, their incentive is not on the users' side.
“You are not their customer, therefore you are their product,” they say. With Laura Shin, Vitalik Buterin, Unchained
A good plot line emerges. Many amazing, world-changing software products quietly lost users' data control.
For example: Facebook owns much of your social graph data. Even if you hate Facebook, you can't leave without giving up that data. There is no ‘export' or ‘exit'. The platform owns ownership.
While many companies can pull data on you, you cannot do so.
On the surface, this isn't an issue. These companies use my data better than I do! A complex group of stakeholders, each with their own goals. One is maximizing shareholder value for public companies. Tim Berners-Lee (and others) dislike the incentives created.
“Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” — Berkshire Hathaway's CEO
It's easy to see what the read-write web has allowed in retrospect. We've been given the keys to create content instead of just consume it. On Facebook and Twitter, anyone with a laptop and internet can participate. But the engagement isn't ours. Platforms own themselves.
Web3: The ‘Unmediated’ Read-Write Web
Tim Berners Lee proposed a decade ago that ‘linked data' could solve the internet's data problem.
However, until recently, the same principles that allowed the Web of documents to thrive were not applied to data...
The Web of Data also allows for new domain-specific applications. Unlike Web 2.0 mashups, Linked Data applications work with an unbound global data space. As new data sources appear on the Web, they can provide more complete answers.
At around the same time as linked data research began, Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin. After ten years, it appears that Berners Lee's ideas ‘link' spiritually with cryptocurrencies.
What should Web 3 do?
Here are some quick predictions for the web's future.
Users own information and provide it to corporations, businesses, or services that will benefit them.
No government, company, or institution should control your access to information (1, 2, 3)
Connect users and platforms:
Create symbiotic rather than competitive relationships between users and platform creators.
“First, the cryptonetwork-participant contract is enforced in open source code. Their voices and exits are used to keep them in check.” Dixon, Chris (4)
Transacting value, information, or assets with anyone with internet access, anywhere, at low cost
Giving you the ability to own, see, and understand your entire digital identity.
Not pull, push:
‘Push' your data to trusted sources instead of ‘pulling' it from others.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Change incentives, change the world. Nick Babalola
People believe web3 can help build a better, fairer system. This is not the same as equal pay or outcomes, but more equal opportunity.
It should be noted that some of these advantages have been discussed previously. Will the changes work? Will they make a difference? These unanswered questions are technical, economic, political, and philosophical. Unintended consequences are likely.
We hope Web3 is a more democratic web. And we think incentives help the user. If there’s one thing that’s on our side, it’s that open has always beaten closed, given a long enough timescale.
We are at the start.
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2 months ago
A Search Engine From Apple?
Apple's search engine has long been rumored. Recent Google developments may confirm the rumor. Is Apple about to become Google's biggest rival?
Here's a video:
People noted Apple's changes in 2020. AppleBot, a web crawler that downloads and caches Internet content, was more active than in the last five years.
Apple hired search engine developers, including ex-Googlers, such as John Giannandrea, Google's former search chief.
Apple also changed the way iPhones search. With iOS 14, Apple's search results arrived before Google's.
These facts fueled rumors that Apple was developing a search engine.
Apple and Google Have a Contract
Many skeptics said Apple couldn't compete with Google. This didn't affect the company's competitiveness.
Apple is the only business with the resources and scale to be a Google rival, with 1.8 billion active devices and a $2 trillion market cap.
Still, people doubted that due to a license deal. Google pays Apple $8 to $12 billion annually to be the default iPhone and iPad search engine.
Apple can't build an independent search product under this arrangement.
Why would Apple enter search if it's being paid to stay out?
Ironically, this partnership has many people believing Apple is getting into search.
A New Default Search Engine May Be Needed
Google was sued for antitrust in 2020. It is accused of anticompetitive and exclusionary behavior. Justice wants to end Google's monopoly.
Authorities could restrict Apple and Google's licensing deal due to its likely effect on market competitiveness. Hence Apple needs a new default search engine.
Apple Already Has a Search Engine
The company already has a search engine, Spotlight.
Since 2004, Spotlight has aired. It was developed to help users find photos, documents, apps, music, and system preferences.
Apple's search engine could do more than organize files, texts, and apps.
Spotlight Search was updated in 2014 with iOS 8. Web, App Store, and iTunes searches became available. You could find nearby places, movie showtimes, and news.
This search engine has subsequently been updated and improved. Spotlight added rich search results last year.
If you search for a TV show, movie, or song, photos and carousels will appear at the top of the page.
This resembles Google's rich search results.
When Will the Apple Search Engine Be Available?
When will Apple's search launch? Robert Scoble says it's near.
Scoble tweeted a number of hints before this year's Worldwide Developer Conference.
Scoble bases his prediction on insider information and deductive reasoning. January 2023 is expected.
Will you use Apple's search engine?
7 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.
3 months ago
This Is How Much Quora Paid Me For 23 Million Content Views
You’ll be surprised; I sure was
Blogging and writing online as a side income has now been around for a significant amount of time. Nowadays, it is a continuously rising moneymaker for prospective writers, with several writing platforms existing online. At the top of the list are Medium, Vocal Media, Newsbreak, and the biggest one of them, Quora, with 300 million active users.
Quora, unlike Medium, is a question-and-answer format platform. On Medium you are permitted to write what you want, while on Quora, you answer questions on topics that you have expertise about. Quora, like Medium, now compensates its authors for the answers they provide in comparison to the previous, in which you had to be admitted to the partner program and were paid to ask questions.
Quora just recently went live with this new partner program, Quora Plus, and the way it works is that it is a subscription for $5 a month which provides you access to metered/monetized stories, in turn compensating the writers for part of that subscription for their answers.
I too on Quora have found a lot of success on the platform, gaining 23 Million Content Views, and 300,000 followers for my space, which is kind of the Quora equivalent of a Medium article. The way in which I was able to do this was entirely thanks to a hack that I uncovered to the Quora algorithm.
In this article, I plan on discussing how much money I received from 23 million content views on Quora, and I bet you’ll be shocked; I know I was.
A Brief Explanation of How I Got 23 Million Views and How You Can Do It Too
On Quora, everything in terms of obtaining views is about finding the proper question, which I only understood quite late into the game. I published my first response in 2019 but never actually wrote on Quora until the summer of 2020, and about a month into posting consistently I found out how to find the perfect question. Here’s how:
Go to your Home Page and start scrolling… While browsing, check for the following things…
Answers from people you follow or your followers.
These two things are the two things you want to ignore, you don’t want to answer those questions or look at the ads. You should now be left with a couple of recommended answers. To discover which recommended answer is the best to answer as well, look at these three important aspects.
Date of the answer: Was it in the past few days, preferably 2–3 days, even better, past 24 hours?
Views: Are they in the ten thousands or hundred thousands?
Upvotes: Are they in the hundreds or thousands?
Now, choose an answer to a question which you think you could answer as well that satisfies the requirements above. Once you click on it, as all answers on Quora works, it will redirect you to the page for that question, in which you will have to select once again if you should answer the question.
Amount of answers: How many responses are there to the given question? This tells you how much competition you have. My rule is beyond 25 answers, you shouldn’t answer, but you can change it anyway you’d like.
Answerers: Who did the answering for the question? If the question includes a bunch of renowned, extremely well-known people on Quora, there’s a good possibility your essay is going to get drowned out.
Views: Check for a constant quantity of high views on each answer for the question; this is what will guarantee that your answer gets a lot of views!
The Income Reveal! How Much I Made From 23 Million Content Views
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!
8.97 USD. Yes, not even ten dollars, not even nine. Just eight dollars and ninety-seven cents.
Possible Reasons for My Low Earnings
Quora Plus and the answering partner program are newer than my Quora views.
Few people use Quora+, therefore revenues are low.
I haven't been writing much on Quora, so I'm only making money from old answers and a handful since Quora Plus launched.
Quora + pays poorly...
Should You Try Quora and Quora For Money?
My answer depends on your needs. I never got invited to Quora's question partner program due to my late start, but other writers have made hundreds. Due to Quora's new and competitive answering partner program, you may not make much money.
If you want a fun writing community, try Quora. Quora was fun when I only made money from my space. Quora +'s paywalls and new contributors eager to make money have made the platform less fun for me.
This article is a summary to save you time. You can read my full, more detailed article, here.