Integrity
Write
Loading...
Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian

2 years ago

What is Terra? Your guide to the hot cryptocurrency

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

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

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

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

What is Terra?

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

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

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

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

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

Who leads Terra?

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

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

What are Terra’s plans?

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

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

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

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

What do critics say?

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

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

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

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

More on Web3 & Crypto

Jayden Levitt

Jayden Levitt

1 year ago

The country of El Salvador's Bitcoin-obsessed president lost $61.6 million.

It’s only a loss if you sell, right?

Created by Author — Using Toonme

Nayib Bukele proclaimed himself “the world’s coolest dictator”.

His jokes aren't clear.

El Salvador's 43rd president self-proclaimed “CEO of El Salvador” couldn't be less presidential.

His thin jeans, aviator sunglasses, and baseball caps like a cartel lord.

He's popular, though.

Bukele won 53% of the vote by fighting violent crime and opposition party corruption.

El Salvador's 6.4 million inhabitants are riding the cryptocurrency volatility wave.

They were powerless.

Their autocratic leader, a former Yamaha Motors salesperson and Bitcoin believer, wants to help 70% unbanked locals.

He intended to give the citizens a way to save money and cut the country's $200 million remittance cost.

Transfer and deposit costs.

This makes logical sense when the president’s theatrics don’t blind you.

El Salvador's Bukele revealed plans to make bitcoin legal tender.

Remittances total $5.9 billion (23%) of the country's expenses.

Anything that reduces costs could boost the economy.

The country’s unbanked population is staggering. Here’s the data by % of people who either have a bank account (Blue) or a mobile money account (Black).

Source — statista.com

According to Bukele, 46% of the population has downloaded the Chivo Bitcoin Wallet.

In 2021, 36% of El Salvadorans had bank accounts.


Large rural countries like Kenya seem to have resolved their unbanked dilemma.

An economy surfaced where village locals would sell, trade and store network minutes and data as a store of value.

Kenyan phone networks realized unbanked people needed a safe way to accumulate wealth and have an emergency fund.

96% of Kenyans utilize M-PESA, which doesn't require a bank account.

The software involves human agents who hang out with cash and a phone.

These people are like ATMs.

You offer them cash to deposit money in your mobile money account or withdraw cash.

In a country with a faulty banking system, cash availability and a safe place to deposit it are important.

William Jack and Tavneet Suri found that M-PESA brought 194,000 Kenyan households out of poverty by making transactions cheaper and creating a safe store of value.

2016 Science paper

Mobile money, a service that allows monetary value to be stored on a mobile phone and sent to other users via text messages, has been adopted by most Kenyan households. We estimate that access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty.

The impacts, which are more pronounced for female-headed households, appear to be driven by changes in financial behaviour — in particular, increased financial resilience and saving. Mobile money has therefore increased the efficiency of the allocation of consumption over time while allowing a more efficient allocation of labour, resulting in a meaningful reduction of poverty in Kenya.


Currently, El Salvador has 2,301 Bitcoin.

At publication, it's worth $44 million. That remains 41% of Bukele's original $105.6 million.

Unknown if the country has sold Bitcoin, but Bukeles keeps purchasing the dip.

It's still falling.

Source — Nayib Bukele — Twitter

This might be a fantastic move for the impoverished country over the next five years, if they can live economically till Bitcoin's price recovers.

The evidence demonstrates that a store of value pulls individuals out of poverty, but others say Bitcoin is premature.

You may regard it as an aggressive endeavor to front run the next wave of adoption, offering El Salvador a financial upside.

Ryan Weeks

Ryan Weeks

1 year ago

Terra fiasco raises TRON's stablecoin backstop

After Terra's algorithmic stablecoin collapsed in May, TRON announced a plan to increase the capital backing its own stablecoin.

USDD, a near-carbon copy of Terra's UST, arrived on the TRON blockchain on May 5. TRON founder Justin Sun says USDD will be overcollateralized after initially being pegged algorithmically to the US dollar.

A reserve of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins will be kept at 130 percent of total USDD issuance, he said. TRON described the collateral ratio as "guaranteed" and said it would begin publishing real-time updates on June 5.

Currently, the reserve contains 14,040 bitcoin (around $418 million), 140 million USDT, 1.9 billion TRX, and 8.29 billion TRX in a burning contract.

Sun: "We want to hybridize USDD." We have an algorithmic stablecoin and TRON DAO Reserve.

algorithmic failure

USDD was designed to incentivize arbitrageurs to keep its price pegged to the US dollar by trading TRX, TRON's token, and USDD. Like Terra, TRON signaled its intent to establish a bitcoin and cryptocurrency reserve to support USDD in extreme market conditions.

Still, Terra's UST failed despite these safeguards. The stablecoin veered sharply away from its dollar peg in mid-May, bringing down Terra's LUNA and wiping out $40 billion in value in days. In a frantic attempt to restore the peg, billions of dollars in bitcoin were sold and unprecedented volumes of LUNA were issued.

Sun believes USDD, which has a total circulating supply of $667 million, can be backed up.

"Our reserve backing is diversified." Bitcoin and stablecoins are included. USDC will be a small part of Circle's reserve, he said.

TRON's news release lists the reserve's assets as bitcoin, TRX, USDC, USDT, TUSD, and USDJ.

All Bitcoin addresses will be signed so everyone knows they belong to us, Sun said.

Not giving in

Sun told that the crypto industry needs "decentralized" stablecoins that regulators can't touch.

Sun said the Luna Foundation Guard, a Singapore-based non-profit that raised billions in cryptocurrency to buttress UST, mismanaged the situation by trying to sell to panicked investors.

He said, "We must be ahead of the market." We want to stabilize the market and reduce volatility.

Currently, TRON finances most of its reserve directly, but Sun says the company hopes to add external capital soon.

Before its demise, UST holders could park the stablecoin in Terra's lending platform Anchor Protocol to earn 20% interest, which many deemed unsustainable. TRON's JustLend is similar. Sun hopes to raise annual interest rates from 17.67% to "around 30%."


This post is a summary. Read full article here

Henrique Centieiro

Henrique Centieiro

2 years ago

DAO 101: Everything you need to know

Maybe you'll work for a DAO next! Over $1 Billion in NFTs in the Flamingo DAO Another DAO tried to buy the NFL team Denver Broncos. The UkraineDAO raised over $7 Million for Ukraine. The PleasrDAO paid $4m for a Wu-Tang Clan album that belonged to the “pharma bro.”
DAOs move billions and employ thousands. So learn what a DAO is, how it works, and how to create one!

DAO? So, what? Why is it better?

A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). Some people like to also refer to it as Digital Autonomous Organization, but I prefer the former.
They are virtual organizations. In the real world, you have organizations or companies right? These firms have shareholders and a board. Usually, anyone with authority makes decisions. It could be the CEO, the Board, or the HIPPO. If you own stock in that company, you may also be able to influence decisions. It's now possible to do something similar but much better and more equitable in the cryptocurrency world.

This article informs you:

DAOs- What are the most common DAOs, their advantages and disadvantages over traditional companies? What are they if any?
Is a DAO legally recognized?
How secure is a DAO?
I’m ready whenever you are!

A DAO is a type of company that is operated by smart contracts on the blockchain. Smart contracts are computer code that self-executes our commands. Those contracts can be any. Most second-generation blockchains support smart contracts. Examples are Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, EOS, etc. I think I've gone off topic. Back on track.   Now let's go!
Unlike traditional corporations, DAOs are governed by smart contracts. Unlike traditional company governance, DAO governance is fully transparent and auditable. That's one of the things that sets it apart. The clarity!
A DAO, like a traditional company, has one major difference. In other words, it is decentralized. DAOs are more ‘democratic' than traditional companies because anyone can vote on decisions. Anyone! In a DAO, we (you and I) make the decisions, not the top-shots. We are the CEO and investors. A DAO gives its community members power. We get to decide.
As long as you are a stakeholder, i.e. own a portion of the DAO tokens, you can participate in the DAO. Tokens are open to all. It's just a matter of exchanging it. Ownership of DAO tokens entitles you to exclusive benefits such as governance, voting, and so on. You can vote for a move, a plan, or the DAO's next investment. You can even pitch for funding. Any ‘big' decision in a DAO requires a vote from all stakeholders. In this case, ‘token-holders'! In other words, they function like stock.

What are the 5 DAO types?

Different DAOs exist. We will categorize decentralized autonomous organizations based on their mode of operation, structure, and even technology. Here are a few. You've probably heard of them:

1. DeFi DAO

These DAOs offer DeFi (decentralized financial) services via smart contract protocols. They use tokens to vote protocol and financial changes. Uniswap, Aave, Maker DAO, and Olympus DAO are some examples. Most DAOs manage billions.

Maker DAO was one of the first protocols ever created. It is a decentralized organization on the Ethereum blockchain that allows cryptocurrency lending and borrowing without a middleman.
Maker DAO issues DAI, a stable coin. DAI is a top-rated USD-pegged stable coin.
Maker DAO has an MKR token. These token holders are in charge of adjusting the Dai stable coin policy. Simply put, MKR tokens represent DAO “shares”.

2. Investment DAO

Investors pool their funds and make investment decisions. Investing in new businesses or art is one example. Investment DAOs help DeFi operations pool capital. The Meta Cartel DAO is a community of people who want to invest in new projects built on the Ethereum blockchain. Instead of investing one by one, they want to pool their resources and share ideas on how to make better financial decisions.

Other investment DAOs include the LAO and Friends with Benefits.

3. DAO Grant/Launchpad

In a grant DAO, community members contribute funds to a grant pool and vote on how to allocate and distribute them. These DAOs fund new DeFi projects. Those in need only need to apply. The Moloch DAO is a great Grant DAO. The tokens are used to allocate capital. Also see Gitcoin and Seedify.

4. DAO Collector

I debated whether to put it under ‘Investment DAO' or leave it alone. It's a subset of investment DAOs. This group buys non-fungible tokens, artwork, and collectibles. The market for NFTs has recently exploded, and it's time to investigate. The Pleasr DAO is a collector DAO. One copy of Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" cost the Pleasr DAO $4 million. Pleasr DAO is known for buying Doge meme NFT. Collector DAOs include the Flamingo, Mutant Cats DAO, and Constitution DAOs. Don't underestimate their websites' "childish" style. They have millions.

5. Social DAO

These are social networking and interaction platforms. For example, Decentraland DAO and Friends With Benefits DAO.

What are the DAO Benefits?

Here are some of the benefits of a decentralized autonomous organization:

  • They are trustless. You don’t need to trust a CEO or management team
  • It can’t be shut down unless a majority of the token holders agree. The government can't shut - It down because it isn't centralized.
  • It's fully democratic
  • It is open-source and fully transparent.

What about DAO drawbacks?

We've been saying DAOs are the bomb? But are they really the shit? What could go wrong with DAO?
DAOs may contain bugs. If they are hacked, the results can be catastrophic.
No trade secrets exist. Because the smart contract is transparent and coded on the blockchain, it can be copied. It may be used by another organization without credit. Maybe DAOs should use Secret, Oasis, or Horizen blockchain networks.

Are DAOs legally recognized??

In most counties, DAO regulation is inexistent. It's unclear. Most DAOs don’t have a legal personality. The Howey Test and the Securities Act of 1933 determine whether DAO tokens are securities. Although most countries follow the US, this is only considered for the US. Wyoming became the first state to recognize DAOs as legal entities in July 2021 after passing a DAO bill. DAOs registered in Wyoming are thus legally recognized as business entities in the US and thus receive the same legal protections as a Limited Liability Company.

In terms of cyber-security, how secure is a DAO?

Blockchains are secure. However, smart contracts may have security flaws or bugs. This can be avoided by third-party smart contract reviews, testing, and auditing

Finally, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are timeless. Let us examine the current situation: Ukraine's invasion. A DAO was formed to help Ukrainian troops fighting the Russians. It was named Ukraine DAO. Pleasr DAO, NFT studio Trippy Labs, and Russian art collective Pussy Riot organized this fundraiser. Coindesk reports that over $3 million has been raised in Ethereum-based tokens. AidForUkraine, a DAO aimed at supporting Ukraine's defense efforts, has launched. Accepting Solana token donations. They are fully transparent, uncensorable, and can’t be shut down or sanctioned.
DAOs are undeniably the future of blockchain. Everyone is paying attention. Personally, I believe traditional companies will soon have to choose between adapting or being left behind.

Long version of this post: https://medium.datadriveninvestor.com/dao-101-all-you-need-to-know-about-daos-275060016663

You might also like

Pat Vieljeux

Pat Vieljeux

1 year ago

Your entrepreneurial experience can either be a beautiful adventure or a living hell with just one decision.

Choose.

Bakhrom Tursunov — Unsplash

DNA makes us distinct.

We act alike. Most people follow the same road, ignoring differences. We remain quiet about our uniqueness for fear of exclusion (family, social background, religion). We live a more or less imposed life.

Off the beaten path, we stand out from the others. We obey without realizing we're sewing a shroud. We're told to do as everyone else and spend 40 years dreaming of a golden retirement and regretting not living.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” - Shannon L. Alder

Others dare. Again, few are creative; most follow the example of those who establish a business for the sake of entrepreneurship. To live.

They pick a potential market and model their MVP on an existing solution. Most mimic others, alter a few things, appear to be original, and end up with bland products, adding to an already crowded market.

SaaS, PaaS, etc. followed suit. It's reduced pricing, profitability, and product lifespan.

As competitors become more aggressive, their profitability diminishes, making life horrible for them and their employees. They fail to innovate, cut costs, and close their company.

Few of them look happy and fulfilled.

How did they do it?

The answer is unsettlingly simple.

They are themselves.

  • They start their company, propelled at first by a passion or maybe a calling.

  • Then, at their own pace, they create it with the intention of resolving a dilemma.

  • They assess what others are doing and consider how they might improve it.

  • In contrast to them, they respond to it in their own way by adding a unique personal touch. Therefore, it is obvious.

Originals, like their DNA, can't be copied. Or if they are, they're poorly printed. Originals are unmatched. Artist-like. True collectors only buy Picasso paintings by the master, not forgeries, no matter how good.

Imaginative people are constantly ahead. Copycats fall behind unless they innovate. They watch their competition continuously. Their solution or product isn't sexy. They hope to cash in on their copied product by flooding the market.

They're mostly pirates. They're short-sighted, unlike creators.

Creators see further ahead and have no rivals. They use copiers to confirm a necessity. To maintain their individuality, creators avoid copying others. They find copying boring. It's boring. They oppose plagiarism.

It's thrilling and inspiring.

It will also make them more able to withstand their opponents' tension. Not to mention roadblocks. For creators, impediments are games.

Others fear it. They race against the clock and fear threats that could interrupt their momentum since they lack inventiveness and their product has a short life cycle.

Creators have time on their side. They're dedicated. Clearly. Passionate booksellers will have their own bookstore. Their passion shows in their book choices. Only the ones they love.

The copier wants to display as many as possible, including mediocre authors, and will cut costs. All this to dominate the market. They're digging their own grave.

The bookseller is just one example. I could give you tons of them.

Closing remarks

Entrepreneurs might follow others or be themselves. They risk exhaustion trying to predict what their followers will do.

It's true.

Life offers choices.

Being oneself or doing as others do, with the possibility of regretting not expressing our uniqueness and not having lived.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. Oscar Wilde

The choice is yours.

Nikhil Vemu

Nikhil Vemu

1 year ago

7 Mac Tips You Never Knew You Needed

Unleash the power of the Option key ⌥

Photo by Michał Kubalczyk on Unsplash

#1 Open a link in the Private tab first.

Previously, if I needed to open a Safari link in a private window, I would:

  • copied the URL with the right click command,

  • choose File > New Private Window to open a private window, and

  • clicked return after pasting the URL.

I've found a more straightforward way.

Right-clicking a link shows this, right?

This, and all the images below are by the author

Hold option (⌥) for:

‘Open Link in New Private Window’ in Mac Safari

Click Open Link in New Private Window while holding.

Finished!

#2. Instead of searching for specific characters, try this

You may use unicode for business or school. Most people Google them when they need them.

That is lengthy!

You can type some special characters just by pressing ⌥ and a key.

For instance

• ⌥+2 -> ™ (Trademark)
• ⌥+0 -> ° (Degree)
• ⌥+G -> © (Copyright)
• ⌥+= -> ≠ (Not equal to)
• ⌥+< -> ≤ (Less than or equal to)
• ⌥+> -> ≥ (Greater then or equal to)
• ⌥+/ -> ÷ (Different symbol for division)

#3 Activate Do Not Disturb silently.

Do Not Disturb when sharing my screen is awkward for me (because people may think Im trying to hide some secret notifications).

Here's another method.

Hold ⌥ and click on Time (at the extreme right on the menu-bar).

Menubar in Mac

Now, DND is activated (secretly!). To turn it off, do it again.

Note: This works only for DND focus.

#4. Resize a window starting from its center

Although this is rarely useful, it is still a hidden trick.

When you resize a window, the opposite edge or corner is used as the pivot, right?

However, if you want to resize it with its center as the pivot, hold while doing so.

#5. Yes, Cut-Paste is available on Macs as well (though it is slightly different).

I call it copy-move rather than cut-paste. This is how it works.

Carry it out.

Choose a file (by clicking on it), then copy it (+C).

Go to a new location on your Mac. Do you use +V to paste it? However, to move it, press ⌘+⌥+V.

This removes the file from its original location and copies it here. And it works exactly like cut-and-paste on Windows.

#6. Instantly expand all folders

Set your Mac's folders to List view.

Assume you have one folder with multiple subfolders, each of which contains multiple files. And you wanted to look at every single file that was over there.

How would you do?

You're used to clicking the ⌄ glyph near the folder and each subfolder to expand them all, right? Instead, hold down ⌥ while clicking ⌄ on the parent folder.

This is what happens next.

Everything expands.

View/Copy a file's path as an added bonus

If you want to see the path of a file in Finder, select it and hold ⌥, and you'll see it at the bottom for a moment.

To copy its path, right-click on the folder and hold down ⌥ to see this

Click on Copy <"folder name"> as Pathname to do it.

#7 "Save As"

I was irritated by the lack of "Save As" in Pages when I first got a Mac (after 15 years of being a Windows guy).

It was necessary for me to save the file as a new file, in a different location, with a different name, or both.

Unfortunately, I couldn't do it on a Mac.

However, I recently discovered that it appears when you hold ⌥ when in the File menu.

Yay!

Sara_Mednick

Sara_Mednick

1 year ago

Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking

Understanding your own energy depletion and restoration is how to truly optimize

Photo: Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Hack has meant many bad things for centuries. In the 1800s, a hack was a meager horse used to transport goods.

Modern usage describes a butcher or ax murderer's cleaver chop. The 1980s programming boom distinguished elegant code from "hacks". Both got you to your goal, but the latter made any programmer cringe and mutter about changing the code. From this emerged the hacker trope, the friendless anti-villain living in a murky hovel lit by the computer monitor, eating junk food and breaking into databases to highlight security system failures or steal hotdog money.

Remember the 1995 movie, Hackers, in which a bunch of super cool programmers (said no one ever) get caught up in a plot to destroy the world and only teenybopper Angelina Jolie and her punk rock gang of nerd-bots can use their lightening quick typing skills to save the world? Remember public phones?

Now, start-a-billion-dollar-business-from-your-garage types have shifted their sights from app development to DIY biology, coining the term "bio-hack". This is a required keyword and meta tag for every fitness-related podcast, book, conference, app, or device.

Bio-hacking involves bypassing your body and mind's security systems to achieve a goal. Many biohackers' initial goals were reasonable, like lowering blood pressure and weight. Encouraged by their own progress, self-determination, and seemingly exquisite control of their biology, they aimed to outsmart aging and death to live 180 to 1000 years (summarized well in this vox.com article).

With this grandiose north star, the hunt for novel supplements and genetic engineering began.

Companies selling do-it-yourself biological manipulations cite lab studies in mice as proof of their safety and success in reversing age-related diseases or promoting longevity in humans (the goal changes depending on whether a company is talking to the federal government or private donors).

The FDA is slower than science, they say. Why not alter your biochemistry by buying pills online, editing your DNA with a CRISPR kit, or using a sauna delivered to your home? How about a microchip or electrical stimulator?

What could go wrong?


I'm not the neo-police, making citizen's arrests every time someone introduces a new plumbing gadget or extrapolates from animal research on resveratrol or catechins that we should drink more red wine or eat more chocolate. As a scientist who's spent her career asking, "Can we get better?" I've come to view bio-hacking as misguided, profit-driven, and counterproductive to its followers' goals.

We're creatures of nature. Despite all the new gadgets and bio-hacks, we still use Roman plumbing technology, and the best way to stay fit, sharp, and happy is to follow a recipe passed down since the beginning of time. Bacteria, plants, and all natural beings are rhythmic, with alternating periods of high activity and dormancy, whether measured in seconds, hours, days, or seasons. Nature repeats successful patterns.

During the Upstate, every cell in your body is naturally primed and pumped full of glycogen and ATP (your cells' energy currencies), as well as cortisol, which supports your muscles, heart, metabolism, cognitive prowess, emotional regulation, and general "get 'er done" attitude. This big energy release depletes your batteries and requires the Downstate, when your subsystems recharge at the cellular level.

Downstates are when you give your heart a break from pumping nutrient-rich blood through your body; when you give your metabolism a break from inflammation, oxidative stress, and sympathetic arousal caused by eating fast food — or just eating too fast; or when you give your mind a chance to wander, think bigger thoughts, and come up with new creative solutions. When you're responding to notifications, emails, and fires, you can't relax.

Every biological plant and animal is regulated by rhythms of energy-depleting Upstate and energy-restoring Downstates.

Downstates aren't just for consistently recharging your battery. By spending time in the Downstate, your body and brain get extra energy and nutrients, allowing you to grow smarter, faster, stronger, and more self-regulated. This state supports half-marathon training, exam prep, and mediation. As we age, spending more time in the Downstate is key to mental and physical health, well-being, and longevity.

When you prioritize energy-demanding activities during Upstate periods and energy-replenishing activities during Downstate periods, all your subsystems, including cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, cognitive, and emotional, hum along at their optimal settings. When you synchronize the Upstates and Downstates of these individual rhythms, their functioning improves. A hard workout causes autonomic stress, which triggers Downstate recovery.

This zig-zag trajectory of performance improvement illustrates that getting better at anything in life isn’t a straight shot. The close-up box shows how prioritizing Downstate recovery after an Upstate exertion (e.g., hard workout) leads to RECOVERYPLUS. Image from The Power of the Downstate by Sara C. Mednick PhD.

By choosing the right timing and type of exercise during the day, you can ensure a deeper recovery and greater readiness for the next workout by working with your natural rhythms and strengthening your autonomic and sleep Downstates.

Morning cardio workouts increase deep sleep compared to afternoon workouts. Timing and type of meals determine when your sleep hormone melatonin is released, ushering in sleep.

Rhythm isn't a hack. It's not a way to cheat the system or the boss. Nature has honed its optimization wisdom over trillions of days and nights. Stop looking for quick fixes. You're a whole system made of smaller subsystems that must work together to function well. No one pill or subsystem will make it all work. Understanding and coordinating your rhythms is free, easy, and only benefits you.

Dr. Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate (HachetteGO)