More on Web3 & Crypto
Jeff John Roberts
7 months ago
Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z Launch 'Bitcoin Academy' in Brooklyn rapper's home
The new Bitcoin Academy will teach Jay-Marcy Z's Houses neighbors "What is Cryptocurrency."
Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn's Marcy Houses. The rapper and Block CEO Jack Dorsey are giving back to his hometown by creating the Bitcoin Academy.
The Bitcoin Academy will offer online and in-person classes, including "What is Money?" and "What is Blockchain?"
The program will provide participants with a mobile hotspot and a small amount of Bitcoin for hands-on learning.
Students will receive dinner and two evenings of instruction until early September. The Shawn Carter Foundation will help with on-the-ground instruction.
Jay-Z and Dorsey announced the program Thursday morning. It will begin at Marcy Houses but may be expanded.
Jay-Z, Dorsey reunite
Jay-Z and Dorsey have previously worked together to promote a Bitcoin and crypto-based future.
In 2021, Dorsey's Block (then Square) acquired the rapper's streaming music service Tidal, which they propose using for NFT distribution.
Dorsey and Jay-Z launched an endowment in 2021 to fund Bitcoin development in Africa and India.
Dorsey is funding the new Bitcoin Academy out of his own pocket (as is Jay-Z), but he's also pushed crypto-related charitable endeavors at Block, including a $5 million fund backed by corporate Bitcoin interest.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
1 month ago
Why Cryptocurrency Is Not Dead Despite the FTX Scam
A fraud, free-market, antifragility tale
Crypto's only rival is public opinion.
In less than a week, mainstream media, bloggers, and TikTokers turned on FTX's founder.
While some were surprised, almost everyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account predicted the FTX collapse. These financial oracles should have warned the 1.2 million people Sam Bankman-Fried duped.
After happening, unexpected events seem obvious to our brains. It's a bug and a feature because it helps us cope with disasters and makes our reasoning suck.
Nobody predicted the FTX debacle. Bloomberg? Politicians. Non-famous. No cryptologists. Who?
When FTX imploded, taking billions of dollars with it, an outrage bomb went off, and the resulting shockwave threatens the crypto market's existence.
As someone who lost more than $78,000 in a crypto scam in 2020, I can only understand people’s reactions. When the dust settles and rationality returns, we'll realize this is a natural occurrence in every free market.
What specifically occurred with FTX? (Skip if you are aware.)
FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange where customers can trade with cash. It reached #3 in less than two years as the fastest-growing platform of its kind.
FTX's performance helped make SBF the crypto poster boy. Other reasons include his altruistic public image, his support for the Democrats, and his company Alameda Research.
Alameda Research made a fortune arbitraging Bitcoin.
Arbitrage trading uses small price differences between two markets to make money. Bitcoin costs $20k in Japan and $21k in the US. Alameda Research did that for months, making $1 million per day.
Later, as its capital grew, Alameda expanded its trading activities and began investing in other companies.
Let's now discuss FTX.
SBF's diabolic master plan began when he used FTX-created FTT coins to inflate his trading company's balance sheets. He used inflated Alameda numbers to secure bank loans.
SBF used money he printed himself as collateral to borrow billions for capital. Coindesk exposed him in a report.
One of FTX's early investors tweeted that he planned to sell his FTT coins over the next few months. This would be a minor event if the investor wasn't Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).
The crypto space saw a red WARNING sign when CZ cut ties with FTX. Everyone with an FTX account and a brain withdrew money. Two events followed. FTT fell from $20 to $4 in less than 72 hours, and FTX couldn't meet withdrawal requests, spreading panic.
SBF reassured FTX users on Twitter. Good assets.
SBF falsely claimed FTX had a liquidity crunch. At the time of his initial claims, FTX owed about $8 billion to its customers. Liquidity shortages are usually minor. To get cash, sell assets. In the case of FTX, the main asset was printed FTT coins.
Sam wouldn't get out of trouble even if he slashed the discount (from $20 to $4) and sold every FTT. He'd flood the crypto market with his homemade coins, causing the price to crash.
SBF was trapped. He approached Binance about a buyout, which seemed good until Binance looked at FTX's books.
Binance's tweet ended SBF, and he had to apologize, resign as CEO, and file for bankruptcy.
Bloomberg estimated Sam's net worth to be zero by the end of that week. 0!
But that's not all. Twitter investigations exposed fraud at FTX and Alameda Research. SBF used customer funds to trade and invest in other companies.
Thanks to the Twitter indie reporters who made the mainstream press look amateurish. Some Twitter detectives didn't sleep for 30 hours to find answers. Others added to existing threads. Memes were hilarious.
One question kept repeating in my bald head as I watched the Blue Bird. Sam, WTF?
Then I understood.
SBF wanted that FTX becomes a bank.
Think about this. FTX seems healthy a few weeks ago. You buy 2 bitcoins using FTX. You'd expect the platform to take your dollars and debit your wallet, right?
No. They give I-Owe-Yous.
FTX records owing you 2 bitcoins in its internal ledger but doesn't credit your account. Given SBF's tricks, I'd bet on nothing.
What happens if they don't credit my account with 2 bitcoins? Your money goes into FTX's capital, where SBF and his friends invest in marketing, political endorsements, and buying other companies.
Over its two-year existence, FTX invested in 130 companies. Once they make a profit on their purchases, they'll pay you and keep the rest.
One detail makes their strategy dumb. If all FTX customers withdraw at once, everything collapses.
Financially savvy people think FTX's collapse resembles a bank run, and they're right. SBF designed FTX to operate like a bank.
You expect your bank to open a drawer with your name and put $1,000 in it when you deposit $1,000. They deposit $100 in your drawer and create an I-Owe-You for $900. What happens to $900?
Let's sum it up: It's boring and headache-inducing.
When you deposit money in a bank, they can keep 10% and lend the rest. Fractional Reserve Banking is a popular method. Fractional reserves operate within and across banks.
Fractional reserve banking generates $10,000 for every $1,000 deposited. People will pay off their debt plus interest.
As long as banks work together and the economy grows, their model works well.
SBF tried to replicate the system but forgot two details. First, traditional banks need verifiable collateral like real estate, jewelry, art, stocks, and bonds, not digital coupons. Traditional banks developed a liquidity buffer. The Federal Reserve (or Central Bank) injects massive cash into troubled banks.
Massive cash injections come from taxpayers. You and I pay for bankers' mistakes and annual bonuses. Yes, you may think banking is rigged. It's rigged, but it's the best financial game in 150 years. We accept its flaws, including bailouts for too-big-to-fail companies.
SBF wanted Binance's bailout. Binance said no, which was good for the crypto market.
Free markets are resilient.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term antifragility.
“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”
The easiest way to understand how antifragile systems behave is to compare them with other types of systems.
Glass is like a fragile system. It snaps when shocked.
Similar to rubber, a resilient system. After a stressful episode, it bounces back.
A system that is antifragile is similar to a muscle. As it is torn in the gym, it gets stronger.
Time-changed things are antifragile. Culture, tech innovation, restaurants, revolutions, book sales, cuisine, economic success, and even muscle shape. These systems benefit from shocks and randomness in different ways, but they all pay a price for antifragility.
Same goes for the free market and financial institutions. Taleb's book uses restaurants as an example and ends with a reference to the 2008 crash.
“Restaurants are fragile. They compete with each other. But the collective of local restaurants is antifragile for that very reason. Had restaurants been individually robust, hence immortal, the overall business would be either stagnant or weak and would deliver nothing better than cafeteria food — and I mean Soviet-style cafeteria food. Further, it [the overall business] would be marred with systemic shortages, with once in a while a complete crisis and government bailout.”
Imagine the same thing with banks.
Independent banks would compete to offer the best services. If one of these banks fails, it will disappear. Customers and investors will suffer, but the market will recover from the dead banks' mistakes.
This idea underpins a free market. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies say this when criticizing traditional banking.
The traditional banking system's components never die. When a bank fails, the Federal Reserve steps in with a big taxpayer-funded check. This hinders bank evolution. If you don't let banking cells die and be replaced, your financial system won't be antifragile.
The interdependence of banks (centralization) means that one bank's mistake can sink the entire fleet, which brings us to SBF's ultimate travesty with FTX.
FTX has left the cryptocurrency gene pool.
FTX should be decentralized and independent. The super-star scammer invested in more than 130 crypto companies and linked them, creating a fragile banking-like structure. FTX seemed to say, "We exist because centralized banks are bad." But we'll be good, unlike the centralized banking system.
FTX saved several companies, including BlockFi and Voyager Digital.
FTX wanted to be a crypto bank conglomerate and Federal Reserve. SBF wanted to monopolize crypto markets. FTX wanted to be in bed with as many powerful people as possible, so SBF seduced politicians and celebrities.
Worst? People who saw SBF's plan flaws praised him. Experts, newspapers, and crypto fans praised FTX. When billions pour in, it's hard to realize FTX was acting against its nature.
Then, they act shocked when they realize FTX's fall triggered a domino effect. Some say the damage could wipe out the crypto market, but that's wrong.
Cell death is different from body death.
FTX is out of the game despite its size. Unfit, it fell victim to market natural selection.
The challengers keep coming. The crypto economy will improve with each failure.
Free markets are antifragile because their fragile parts compete, fostering evolution. With constructive feedback, evolution benefits customers and investors.
FTX shows that customers don't like being scammed, so the crypto market's health depends on them. Charlatans and con artists are eliminated quickly or slowly.
Crypto isn't immune to collapse. Cryptocurrencies can go extinct like biological species. Antifragility isn't immortality. A few more decades of evolution may be enough for humans to figure out how to best handle money, whether it's bitcoin, traditional banking, gold, or something else.
Keep your BS detector on. Start by being skeptical of this article's finance-related claims. Even if you think you understand finance, join the conversation.
We build a better future through dialogue. So listen, ask, and share. When you think you can't find common ground with the opposing view, remember:
Sam Bankman-Fried lied.
2 months ago
Crypto Inheritance's Catch-22
Security, privacy, and a strategy!
How to manage digital assets in worst-case scenarios is a perennial crypto concern. Since blockchain and bitcoin technology is very new, this hasn't been a major issue. Many early developers are still around, and many groups created around this technology are young and feel they have a lot of life remaining. This is why inheritance and estate planning in crypto should be handled promptly. As cryptocurrency's intrinsic worth rises, many people in the ecosystem are holding on to assets that might represent generational riches. With that much value, it's crucial to have a plan. Creating a solid plan entails several challenges.
the initial hesitation in coming up with a plan
The technical obstacles to ensuring the assets' security and privacy
the passing of assets from a deceased or incompetent person
Legal experts' lack of comprehension and/or understanding of how to handle and treat cryptocurrency.
This article highlights several challenges, a possible web3-native solution, and how to learn more.
The Challenge of Inheritance:
One of the biggest hurdles to inheritance planning is starting the conversation. As humans, we don't like to think about dying. Early adopters will experience crazy gains as cryptocurrencies become more popular. Creating a plan is crucial if you wish to pass on your riches to loved ones. Without a plan, the technical and legal issues I barely mentioned above would erode value by requiring costly legal fees and/or taxes, and you could lose everything if wallets and assets are not distributed appropriately (associated with the private keys). Raising awareness of the consequences of not having a plan should motivate people to make one.
Having an inheritance plan for your digital assets is crucial, but managing the guts and bolts poses a new set of difficulties. Privacy and security provided by maintaining your own wallet provide different issues than traditional finances and assets. Traditional finance is centralized (say a stock brokerage firm). You can assign another person to handle the transfer of your assets. In crypto, asset transfer is reimagined. One may suppose future transaction management is doable, but the user must consent, creating an impossible loop.
I passed away and must send a transaction to the person I intended to deliver it to.
I have to confirm or authorize the transaction, but I'm dead.
In crypto, scheduling a future transaction wouldn't function. To transfer the wallet and its contents, we'd need the private keys and/or seed phrase. Minimizing private key exposure is crucial to protecting your crypto from hackers, social engineering, and phishing. People have lost private keys after utilizing Life Hack-type tactics to secure them. People that break and hide their keys, lose them, or make them unreadable won't help with managing and/or transferring. This will require a derived solution.
Legal Challenges and Implications
Unlike routine cryptocurrency transfers and transactions, local laws may require special considerations. Even in the traditional world, estate/inheritance taxes, how assets will be split, and who executes the will must be considered. Many lawyers aren't crypto-savvy, which complicates the matter. There will be many hoops to jump through to safeguard your crypto and traditional assets and give them to loved ones.
Knowing RUFADAA/UFADAA, depending on your state, is vital for Americans. UFADAA offers executors and trustees access to online accounts (which crypto wallets would fall into). RUFADAA was changed to limit access to the executor to protect assets. RUFADAA outlines how digital assets are administered following death and incapacity in the US.
A Succession Solution
Having a will and talking about who would get what is the first step to having a solution, but using a Dad Mans Switch is a perfect tool for such unforeseen circumstances. As long as the switch's controller has control, nothing happens. Losing control of the switch initiates a state transition.
Subway or railway operations are examples. Modern control systems need the conductor to hold a switch to keep the train going. If they can't, the train stops.
Sarcophagus is a decentralized dead man's switch built on Ethereum and Arweave. Sarcophagus allows actors to maintain control of their possessions even while physically unable to do so. Using a programmable dead man's switch and dual encryption, anything can be kept and passed on. This covers assets, secrets, seed phrases, and other use cases to provide authority and control back to the user and release trustworthy services from this work. Sarcophagus is built on a decentralized, transparent open source codebase. Sarcophagus is there if you're unprepared.
You might also like
2 months ago
In his final days, Steve Jobs sent an email to himself. What It Said Was This
An email capturing Steve Jobs's philosophy.
Steve Jobs may have been the most inspired and driven entrepreneur.
He worked on projects because he wanted to leave a legacy.
Steve Jobs' final email to himself encapsulated his philosophy.
After his death from pancreatic cancer in October 2011, Laurene Powell Jobs released the email. He was 56.
Read: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (#BestSeller)
September 2010 Steve Jobs email:
“I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow, I do not breed or perfect the seeds.” “I do not make my own clothing. I speak a language I did not invent or refine,” he continued. “I did not discover the mathematics I use… I am moved by music I did not create myself.”
Jobs ended his email by reflecting on how others created everything he uses.
“When I needed medical attention, I was helpless to help myself survive.”
The Apple co-founder concluded by praising humanity.
“I did not invent the transistor, the microprocessor, object-oriented programming, or most of the technology I work with. I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well-being,” he concluded.
The email was made public as a part of the Steve Jobs Archive, a website that was launched in tribute to his legacy.
Steve Jobs' widow founded the internet archive. Apple CEO Tim Cook and former design leader Jony Ive were prominent guests.
Steve Jobs has always inspired because he shows how even the best can be improved.
High expectations were always there, and they were consistently met.
We miss him because he was one of the few with lifelong enthusiasm and persona.
1 month ago
Provide a product roadmap that can withstand startup velocities
This is how to build a car while driving.
Building a high-growth startup is compared to building a car while it's speeding down the highway.
How to plan without going crazy? Or, without losing team, board, and investor buy-in?
I just delivered our company's product roadmap for the rest of the year. Complete. Thorough. Page-long. I'm optimistic about its chances of surviving as everything around us changes, from internal priorities to the global economy.
It's tricky. This isn't the first time I've created a startup roadmap. I didn't invent a document. It took time to deliver a document that will be relevant for months.
Although they never change, goals are rarely understood.
This is the third in a series about a startup's unique roadmapping needs. Velocity is the intensity at which a startup must produce to survive.
A high-growth startup moves at breakneck speed, which I alluded to when I said priorities and economic factors can change daily or weekly.
At that speed, a startup's roadmap must be flexible, bend but not break, and be brief and to the point. I can't tell you how many startups and large companies develop a product roadmap every quarter and then tuck it away.
Big, wealthy companies can do this. It's suicide for a startup.
The drawer thing happens because startup product roadmaps are often valid for a short time. The roadmap is a random list of features prioritized by different company factions and unrelated to company goals.
It's not because the goals changed that a roadmap is shelved or ignored. Because the company's goals were never communicated or documented in the context of its product.
In the previous post, I discussed how to turn company goals into a product roadmap. In this post, I'll show you how to make a one-page startup roadmap.
In a future post, I'll show you how to follow this roadmap. This roadmap helps you track company goals, something a roadmap must do.
Be vague for growth, but direct for execution.
Here's my plan. The real one has more entries and more content in each.
Let's discuss smaller boxes.
Product developers and engineers know that the further out they predict, the more wrong they'll be. When developing the product roadmap, this rule is ignored. Then it bites us three, six, or nine months later when we haven't even started.
Why do we put everything in a product roadmap like a project plan?
Yes, I know. We use it when the product roadmap isn't goal-based.
A goal-based roadmap begins with a document that outlines each goal's idea, execution, growth, and refinement.
Once the goals are broken down into epics, initiatives, projects, and programs, only the idea and execution phases should be modeled. Any goal growth or refinement items should be vague and loosely mapped.
Why? First, any idea or execution-phase goal will result in growth initiatives that are unimaginable today. Second, internal priorities and external factors will change, but the goals won't. Locking items into calendar slots reduces flexibility and forces deviation from the single source of truth.
No soothsayers. Predicting the future is pointless; just prepare.
A map is useless if you don't know where you're going.
As we speed down the road, the car and the road will change. Goals define the destination.
This quarter and next quarter's roadmap should be set. After that, you should track destination milestones, not how to get there.
When you do that, even the most critical investors will understand the roadmap and buy in. When you track progress at the end of the quarter and revise your roadmap, the destination won't change.
10 months ago
Why I Love Azuki
Azuki Banner (www.azuki.com)
Disclaimer: This is my personal viewpoint. I'm not on the Azuki team. Please keep in mind that I am merely a fan, community member, and holder. Please do your own research and pardon my grammar. Thanks!
Azuki has changed my view of NFTs.
When I first entered the NFT world, I had no idea what to expect. I liked the idea. So I invested in some projects, fought for whitelists, and discovered some cool NFTs projects (shout-out to CATC). I lost more money than I earned at one point, but I hadn't invested excessively (only put in what you can afford to lose). Despite my losses, I kept looking. I almost waited for the “ah-ha” moment. A NFT project that changed my perspective on NFTs. What makes an NFT project more than a work of art?
The Azuki art drew me in as an anime fan. It looked like something out of an anime, and I'd never seen it before in NFT.
The project was still new. The first two animated teasers were released with little fanfare, but I was impressed with their quality. You can find them on Instagram or in their earlier Tweets.
The teasers hinted that this project could be big and that the team could deliver. It was amazing to see Shao cut the Azuki posters with her katana. Especially at the end when she sheaths her sword and the music cues. Then the live action video of the young boy arranging the Azuki posters seemed movie-like. I felt like I was entering the Azuki story, brand, and dope theme.
The team did not disappoint with the Azuki NFTs. The level of detail in the art is stunning. There were Azukis of all genders, skin and hair types, and more. These 10,000 Azukis have so much representation that almost anyone can find something that resonates. Rather than me rambling on, I suggest you visit the Azuki gallery
If the art is meant to draw you in and be the project's face, the team makes it more. The NFT would be a JPEG without a good team leader. Not that community isn't important, but no community would rally around a bad team.
Because I've been rugged before, I'm very focused on the team when considering a project. While many project teams are anonymous, I try to find ones that are doxxed (public) or at least appear to be established. Unlike Azuki, where most of the Azuki team is anonymous, Steamboy is public. He is (or was) Overwatch's character art director and co-creator of Azuki. I felt reassured and could trust the project after seeing someone from a major game series on the team.
Then I tried to learn as much as I could about the team. Following everyone on Twitter, reading their tweets, and listening to recorded AMAs. I was impressed by the team's professionalism and dedication to their vision for Azuki, led by ZZZAGABOND.
I believe the phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to Azuki. I can think of a few examples of what the Azuki team has done, but my favorite is ERC721A.
With ERC721A, Azuki has created a new algorithm that allows minting multiple NFTs for essentially the same cost as minting one NFT.
I was ecstatic when the dev team announced it. This fascinates me as a self-taught developer. Azuki released a product that saves people money, improves the NFT space, and is open source. It showed their love for Azuki and the NFT community.
Community, community, community. It's almost a chant in the NFT space now. A community, like a team, can make or break a project. We are the project's consumers, shareholders, core, and lifeblood. The team builds the house, and we fill it. We stay for the community.
When I first entered the Azuki Discord, I was surprised by the calm atmosphere. There was no news about the project. No release date, no whitelisting requirements. No grinding or spamming either. People just wanted to hangout, get to know each other, and talk. It was nice. So the team could pick genuine people for their mintlist (aka whitelist).
But nothing fundamental has changed since the release. It has remained an authentic, fun, and helpful community. I'm constantly logging into Discord to chat with others or follow conversations. I see the community's openness to newcomers. Everyone respects each other (barring a few bad apples) and the variety of people passing through is fascinating. This human connection and interaction is what I enjoy about this place. Being a part of a group that supports a cause.
Finally, I want to thank the amazing Azuki mod team and the kissaten channel for their contributions.
So, what sets Azuki apart from other projects? They are shaping a brand or identity. The Azuki website, I believe, best captures their vision. (This is me gushing over the site.)
If you go to the website, turn on the dope playlist in the bottom left. The playlist features a mix of Asian and non-Asian hip-hop and rap artists, with some lo-fi thrown in. The songs on the playlist change, but I think you get the vibe Azuki embodies just by turning on the music.
The Garden is our next stop where we are introduced to Azuki.
We're creating a new brand together.
A metaverse brand. By the people.
A collection of 10,000 avatars that grant Garden membership. It starts with exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and more. Azuki allows for a new media genre that the world has yet to discover. Let's build together an Azuki, your metaverse identity.
The Garden is a magical internet corner where art, community, and culture collide. The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring.
Try a Red Bean.
The text begins with Azuki's intention in the space. It's a community-made metaverse brand. Then it goes into more detail about Azuki's plans. Initiation of a story or journey. "Would you like to take the red bean and jump down the rabbit hole with us?" I love the Matrix red pill or blue pill play they used. (Azuki in Japanese means red bean.)
Morpheus, the rebel leader, offers Neo the choice of a red or blue pill in The Matrix. “You take the blue pill... After the story, you go back to bed and believe whatever you want. Your red pill... Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Aware that the red pill will free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, he takes it. However, living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult.
It's intriguing and draws you in. Taking the red bean causes what? Where am I going? I think they did well in piqueing a newcomer's interest.
Not convinced by the Garden? Read the Manifesto. It reinforces Azuki's role.
Here comes a new wave…
And surfing here is different.
Breaking down barriers.
Building open communities.
Creating magic internet money with our friends.
To those who don’t get it, we tell them: gm.
They’ll come around eventually.
Here’s to the ones with the courage to jump down a peculiar rabbit hole.
One that pulls you away from a world that’s created by many and owned by few…
To a world that’s created by more and owned by all.
From The Garden come the human beans that sprout into your family.
We rise together.
We build together.
We grow together.
Ready to take the red bean?
Not to mention the Mindmap, it sets Azuki apart from other projects and overused Roadmaps. I like how the team recognizes that the NFT space is not linear. So many of us are still trying to figure it out. It is Azuki's vision to adapt to changing environments while maintaining their values. I admire their commitment to long-term growth.
To be honest, I have no idea what the future holds. Azuki is still new and could fail. But I'm a long-term Azuki fan. I don't care about quick gains. The future looks bright for Azuki. I believe in the team's output. I love being an Azuki.
Thank you! IKUZO!
Full post here