Tag: nft

Sunflower Land Proposal: Allow Farm Switching

First, I love the game Sunflower Land.

In addition to being fun, the strategic aspect of the game makes players exercise their analytical brain muscles, and also helps those new to blockchain technology learn the fundamentals of crypto, NFTs, tokenomics, scarcity, and more.

I’m the one who wrote a blog post covering how the game developers are focusing on “people over profits”.

I speak for myself and almost the entire community when I say that we are on-board and in agreement with Sunflower Land’s mission to create an open-source decentralized game with anti-botting rules and no-multi accounting.

That being said, a few of the current rules should be improved.

The multi-accounting rule currently does not allow players to farm switch under any circumstances.

I believe that changing this rule will help preserve the intrinsic value and utility of the farms themselves, the official SL NFT tokens.

What is “Farm Switching” in Sunflower Land?

Farm switching is the process of a player switching from one farm to another, while only using one farm at a time.

In order to comply with the multi-accounting rule, when a user switches farms, they will have to cease all productive processes in the former farm.

According to the rules, players may only have 1 IN-USE farm at any time.

Let’s be clear: we are not talking about playing in more than 1 farm at a time. That is multi-accounting, which we can all agree is not good for the game.

However, at present, any type of farm switching, even while preserving only 1 IN-USE farm at a time, will be flagged as multi-accounting and will result in a ban.

Farm switching is not allowed today.

Based on the community’s interpretation of the rules during a few discussions in the Farmer’s Chat on 4/25/22, it seems there is consensus among the community that farm switching would be considered multi-accounting and break the rules.

sunflower land farm switching
source: SFL discord server, Farmers Chat

No one wants to break the rules.

What is a players “IN-USE” farm?

A player’s “IN-USE” farm is the SINGLE farm in which that player is making progress at any given point in time.

“Progressing” in a farm is defined as having crops planted waiting to be harvested, or ores or wood waiting to be ready.

For example, in the screenshot below, the farm is “Progressing” because it has a few minutes left on potatoes before they are ready to be harvested.

sunflower land in progress farm

Today, the rules allow players to purchase as many farms on secondary markets as they so choose – while it is completely within the rules to own other farms, once you purchase a farm, it is illegal to ever use that farm, given the current multi-accounting rules.

The game should be able to keep tabs on all players and ensure everyone only has no more than 1 IN-USE farm at a time, and that no player ever making progress in multiple farms simultaneously.

The goal of multi-accounting rules in the first place is to ensure that no subset of players are able to artificially accumulate and amass tons of resources and gain an unfair advantage over other players.

This ensures that the game remains fun for everyone and is not over-controlled by whales with large holdings.

Of course we agree with this.

However, we do believe users should be able to switch their IN-USE farm to another farm, as long as their account is not progressing in more than 1 farm at a time.

Why should Farm Switching be allowed and implemented?

Utility is so important in Play-to-Own games. We need a process enabling users to switch legally, as long as the player has no more than one IN-USE farm.

Presently, the only utility that a farm on secondary markets will have is for someone that has NEVER played sunflower land and NEVER minted a farm.

For anyone that has ever played the game, it is illegal to ever switch farms (its illegal to forever stop using original mint farm and use only that new farm).

If there is no switching process currently defined within the rulebook / docs, then how will farms purchased on secondary ever have utility?

All farms are not equal.

A farm that has all 22 squares unlocked and the goblins freed is going to be more productive than a brand new farm with less farmable land.

This farm is more desirable and would thus be more valuable on a secondary market, if a player decided to sell their farm.

The principles of play-to-own games would suggest that users should be able to buy, sell, and trade, and USE these different types of farms at their own will.

Example scenario: where Farm Switching makes sense

Let’s say I purchase a farm on secondary and then sell the original farm that I minted.

Now I only have 1 farm in my wallet (SL token)

However, if I start using this new farm, this is technically “multi-accounting” based on community consensus in the Discord.

Farms purchased on secondary are un-useable by current players. Because of this, those farms have 0 utility.

This is a problem if the Sunflower Land game seeks to create a real market and economy for NFTs and tokens in the SFL ecosystem.

Can Sunflower Land allow Farm Switching and still avoid multi-accounting?

Yes.

Players will only be able to use one farm at a time. (defined as an “IN-USE” farm, below).

Players will only legally allowed to make progress in 1 single IN USE farm at a time.

Players must finish all in-progress tasks and actions before switching to another farm.

Players SHOULD be allowed to Farm Switch as long as there are no in-progress processes in the current IN-USE farm.

Sunflower Land should encourage both in-game and out-of-game economies

Most of us were attracted to Play-to-Own because we want to find a game that is actually awesome and fun to play, where we also have autonomy and ownership over all of the in-game items that we acquire.

Sunflower Land team, as I’ve written about before, is doing a great job of this overall.

Perhaps a user starts playing the game, and after realizing how much they love the game, they are willing to purchase some items and stuff to make the game experience more fun for them.

However, a few statements made by the team were surprising, given the seemingly evangelistic vision to create a decentralized, open sourced, play-to-earn game.

According to the FAQ on the Sunflower Land Discord, buying farms and other resources on third party markets is discouraged.

sunflower land faq about secondary sales
via SFL discord

What’s the likely explanation for the Team making this statement?

Don’t forget, the game is still in Open Beta: the team is still testing the software and contracts. There are issues and bugs that need to be worked out.

Hopefully, once all the contracts and the game officially leaves beta and is 100% live, the game developers will encourage this economy to emerge from the Sunflower Land ecosystem.

When that happens, enabling farm switching as well a NFT trading on 3rd party platforms is crucial to ensure the the NFTs maintain their utility.

Encouraging 3rd party purchases and sales is the nature of play-to-own games.

Yes, the game is created to be focused on people over profits and is more than simply earning tokens. But the whole point of Play-to-Own is having the freedom and autonomy to trade in-game items.

It should be up to the user to buy or sell any in-game item on secondary.

If the game devs truly want to foster a free-market economy that the game strives to create, this is critical to implement.

When should Farm Switching processes be implemented?

The game should enable farm switching as well as encourage 3rd party sales / purchases after the Open Beta version of the game has been thoroughly tested and finalized.

As stated above, it is 100% understandable and OK for the development team to discourage the trading and 3rd party commerce while the game is in Open Beta version still.

The most important thing for the game at this point is making sure the contracts are safe, secure, and that

Farm switching should be allowed after the contracts are live and ready to go.

Top 4 Best Crypto and NFT Wallets in 2022 (and which one you should use)

When you purchase crypto for the first time, you will probably use an exchange.

While centralized exchanges have a number of benefits, you often do not have direct control over your digital assets when keeping them there.

Establishing your own self-custodial crypto wallet enables you to access dapps, transact in crypto, trade NFTs, as well as attain greater control and sovereignty over your money.

For this reason, its a good idea to move some of your crypto off the centralized exchange and into your own non-custodial wallet.

The next step is actually getting your first real crypto wallet setup. The good news is you can access the blockchain from any wallet provider. Think of the wallet as your portal to the world of web3. Yes, some portals are better than others, but at the end of the day they should all take you to the same place.

There are 4 wallets that stand out from the rest of the market as being the best:

The Winners for the Best NFT / Crypto Wallets:

Best All Around

Trust Wallet

  • Many assets hosted
  • Ultra secure
  • Large community
  • NFT Optimized
  • Free to use

Best for Beginners

Coinbase

  • Buy with $USD
  • Easiest on-ramp
  • Buy popular tokens
  • NFT optimized
  • Free to use

Most Secure

Ledger Nano X

  • Max security
  • Offline, cold storage of your cryptocurrencies.
  • No NFTs
  • Costs $149.00

Best for Ethereum

Metamask

  • Ethereum optimized
  • Compatible with ERC-721 and ERC-1155 NFTs
  • Most popular ecosystem
  • Explore layer 2 rollups and web3 dapps
  • Browser and Mobile compatible
  • Free to use

1. All-Around Best Crypto / NFT Wallet: Trust Wallet

Trust Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: Non-Custodial
  2. Hot or Cold? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Open Source
  4. Tokens Supported: Supports 53 blockchains and over 53 million different assets.
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use:
    • Easy to use compared to most crypto wallets.
    • As with any new system, it takes some getting used to but there are many instructional guides available.
    • Includes a Dapp browser which lets you connect to various web3 tools and dapps.
  7. Devices Supported: Mobile crypto wallet
  8. Popularity:
    • 168,000 reviews in the app store
    • has a very active user community with forums and comments where community members discuss topics and answer questions.
  9. NFTs Compatibility:
    • Displays images of your NFTs readily, as well as enables you to send and receive them.
    • Only displays NFTs from within the Ethereum Ecosystem. Not compatible with Solana NFTs, for example.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: you can buy crypto using your credit card.
    • Staking: you can earn 11% APR on quite a few different coins.
    • Multisig: No

Trust Wallet Overview:

For the general user, Trust wallet is great because it has a huge community, open forum discussion, and supports one of the largest number of different assets of any wallet on the market.

For the user looking to stake crypto, you can earn a sizable yield on your assets as well.

From owning some of the most well-known blue-chip assets, to buying and trading NFTs on the Ethereum Ecosystem, as well as browsing dapps within the web3 internet, the Trust wallet provides a well-rounded experience within crypto and NFTs for any user.

2. Best Beginner-Friendly Crypto / NFT Wallet: Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: Self-custodial aka Non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Open Source
  4. Tokens Supported: The Coinbase wallet supports popular tokens like BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, XRP, XLM, and DOGE, all EVM-compatible and ERC 20 tokens, as well as some stable-coins like DAI. (read more)
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use:
    • User friendly and easy to learn.
    • There are many instructional videos on YouTube to help new users learn the ropes.
    • Supports dark mode.
  7. Devices Supported: Browser and Mobile crypto wallet
  8. Popularity:
    • 103,000 app store reviews.
    • One of the most popular and well-known crypto exchanges has a large team behind the product.
    • Publicly traded company
  9. NFT Compatibility:
    • NFTs supported and displayed.
    • ERC-721 compatible.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: support credit / debit direct purchases for crypto. Easy cash on ramp
    • Staking: Earn interest via smart contracts.
    • Multisig: not supported
    • Anything else? view crypto price movements directly from the app.

Coinbase Wallet Overview:

One of the largest publicly traded crypto exchanges in the world has a non-custodial wallet available for download.

The Coinbase wallet is best for beginners because it enables you to link your existing account on Coinbase.com to your self-custody wallet in order to move some of your funds off exchange.

Having the big tokens supported like Ethereum and Bitcoin as well as Polygon is key. Although it doesn’t have as many coins available as other wallets, it is great for getting started.

As staking is supported, this is a good opportunity for beginners to learn a bit more about DeFi and experience earning some yield on their assets, if that is within your risk tolerance.

One of the downsides to Coinbase is that you can’t use it in some jurisdictions, like Hawaii.

3. Best Crypto Wallets for Security: Hardware Wallets (Ledger Nano X)

Ledger Nano X Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold Storage? Cold
  3. Security:
    • Most secure hardware / cold storage. Open Source. Keeping your coins and NFTs offline and protected.
  4. Tokens Supported: over 5,500 tokens supported
  5. Price: $149.00
  6. Ease of use: Setting up the Nano Ledger X takes less than 30 minutes.
  7. Devices Supported:
    • Mobile friendly via bluetooth connection. Bluetooth enabled, access your wallet via your phone.
    • Install up to 100 dapps at a time.
    • You also have access to the Ledger Live, a browser and mobile wallet that enables you to access your funds on the go, if you don’t want to bring your physical hardware wallet with you.
  8. Popularity:
    • Ledger wallets have thousands of reviews on Amazon.
    • There is a community on Reddit with over 86,000 members.
    • Ledger Academy provides intro information for people to learn about crypto, such as how to keep their assets safe.
  9. NFT Compatibility: does not display your NFTs
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: no
    • Staking: no
    • Multisig: no

Ledger Nano X Wallet Overview

Ledger, a French company, has a number of hardware products designed to store crypto and NFTs in the most secure way possible.

The only real difference among the Ledger line of products is the number of features like which assets are supported. From a security perspective, all hardware wallets are equally secure because they keep your assets offline, aka in “cold storage”.

Ledger Nano X is the most advanced, and robust wallet from the Ledger line of products.

Granted security is of top priority here, the Nano X supports the most tokens and has the best screen display for usability.

4. Best Crypto Wallets for Ethereum Ecosystem: Metamask

Metamask Wallet Specs:

  1. Custodial / Non-Custodial: non-custodial
  2. Hot or Cold Storage? Hot
  3. Security:
    • Most popular wallet to use in the Ethereum ecosystem, enabling you to connect to web3 dapps as well as EVM powered networks such as Polygon and Optimism. Open Source. Your coins and NFTs are easily accessible.
  4. Tokens Supported: all ERC-20 tokens and EVM compatible NFTs (ERC-721 and ERC-1155)
  5. Price: Free
  6. Ease of use: Quick setup, many tutorials online as well as instructional how-to’s in the Metamask support site. As with all self-custodial wallets, make sure you store your private key in a safe, secure location.
  7. Devices Supported:
    • Browser and Mobile enabled. Access your wallet via computer or your phone.
  8. Popularity:
    • Most popular web3 wallet to date with more than 21 million active users.
    • Large Metamask community with forums and more.
  9. NFT Compatibility:
    • Displays your NFTs on mobile, but the functionality could be improved.
    • As the NFT display system is not optimized, Metamask users often find themselves going to OpenSea or Quixotic to view their NFT portfolios as opposed to the wallet display.
  10. Additional Features:
    • Direct Deposit: yes, via credit card, however transaction fees can be high.
    • Staking: no
    • Multisig: no

Metamask Wallet Overview

Metamask, an open-source software wallet built by Consensys, is by far the most popular wallet by user count in web3 as of 2022.

The wallet is focused on crypto and NFTs that leverage the Ethereum protocols, ERC-20, ERC-721, and ERC-1155. Additionally, the ability to add Ethereum Virtual Machine networks to your wallet makes bridging to layer 2 rollups easy and user-friendly.

For people that want to explore the emerging world of web3 decentralized applications (dapps), using a Metamask wallet is the way to go.

5 NFT Projects Worth Holding Long-Term

One of the hottest trending topics on the internet over the last few months has been NFTs.

not investment / not financial advice. do ur own research.

NFTs are digital collectibles that usually give the owner some sort of exclusive access – whether to artwork, discord groups, or even in-person events. Anyone can create and launch an NFT, in the same way that anyone can start a business and sell a product or service, but with NFTs, the underlying value of the asset is based on rarity, utility, and social hype. Those who want to be a part of a niche community are able to prove their ownership by having the NFT.

While any industry experiencing exponential growth will attract questionable (i.e. scam) projects, those of us who are long-term bullish on NFTs and crypto focus on the fundamentals and maintain ownership in NFT projects with competent teams and strong communities.

But market optimism may fade in the future; as the hype-cycle predicts, the peaking highs are often followed by steep cliffs.

My involvement with NFTs over the last few months has been complicated. I’ve been largely focused on my day job and, when the waves are good, sneaking out to surf while trying not to forget about my responsibilities. Investing has always been a long-term play and something I don’t feel the need to make changes to very often. Besides, everyone in the Ethereum community is patiently waiting for the Merge.

My NFT Plays:

As always, NONE of this is advice, guidance, or suggestions. Please don’t take anything here as investment advice and always do your own research.

The seven NFTs cost me $5,766.92 – and, according to estimates based on floor price, I’ve lost about $505.98 on paper when you include transaction fees.

Despite losing money in some areas, the projects below are the ones I’ve chosen to hold for the long term. Whether that means during a bear market or bull, I believe in these projects for the reasons I’ll share below.

That being said, its time to shill some NFTs:

1. Surf Punks NFT

After hearing about an NFT that gives holders access to surf sessions at wave pools around the world, I was interested. Seeing Koa Smith post something about it on Instagram as well as involvement from YouTubers like Nathan Florence made me realize there was a significant amount of hype behind the project.

Given that this would be my first NFT and mint was happening the following day, figuring out how to move funds to Metamask was a challenge of its own.

My initiation to the NFT game became hard-won when the exchange wouldn’t let me move funds. Familiarizing myself with the intricacies of web3 wallets via trial and error, I finally secured the 0.15 ETH for mint plus extra for transactions fees.

After minting surf punk 246 for 0.15 eth pre-reveal, I later purchased my second Surf Punk, number 273, for 0.69 ETH. The advantage of owning two Surf Punks is that you can bring a friend to events.

Months later and @TheSurfPunks community has been growing at a pace that feels organic. I’ve met and surfed with other holders in Hawaii, hosted Twitter spaces and spoken with the founder Andre, and the Surf Punks treasury has reserved the entire Waco, Texas wave pool for a private holder-only event in March.

surf punks nft

2. Ranchy Rednecks

Twitter Spaces definitely become a source of edu-tainment about NFTs for hundreds of people every day including myself. One evening in December, during the Late Night Degens Twitter space, 3LAU, Steve Aoki, and like 500 other people helped 13 year old Nick sell out his NFT project in 2 hours.

The excitement that everyone had during that Twitter space was too much to not want to be part of it. So I decided to get in at mint price. Unlike my Surf Punks mint, I elected to mint two of these from the beginning.

I believe that purchasing two or three of an NFT in which you have conviction is a better move than buying just one because if it pops, you’re going to want to sell one to take profits and still be a part of the community. Owning more than one allows you to do that.

ranchy rednecks nft

3. Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Names

After I learned that the .eth extensions would serve as your web3 username and wallet address, I immediately needed one.

As someone who builds websites and is a proponent of owning your own domain name / internet identity, the vision of ENS really makes sense, similar to the .com top level domain names of the traditional internet.

I purchased two ENS:

  • Epigenome.eth – after doing cancer research in college and majoring in chem, I believe in epigenetics as one of the key industries to help cure diseases and even extend human life one day.
  • LNR.eth – means love n respect; 3-letter ENS names are quite rare. With only 17,576 combinations, there’s a good chance that the 3-letter ENS names become more valuable as more people are onboarded to web3.

The way it works is that users pay to register and extend registration of the ENS name. Prices are currently set at $5/year for names 5 characters or longer, $160/year for names 4 characters in length, and $640/year for names 3 characters in length.

I do believe that ENS names will become much more valuable as web3 gains traction and becomes more ubiquitous – like many areas of web3, we’re still so early.

Additionally, ENS Domains were launched April 2017 – before Curio Cards and even CryptoPunks. Historical NFTs – that is, those first few NFT projects between 2015 and 2019 – are more valuable to some people because they were first and are thus are more original, more authentic, and more rare.

ENS is undoubtedly an OG NFT and depending which one you own, may become super valuable some day.

The floor price of various ENS names on OpenSea is around 0.006 eth as of 3/13/22, with sales in the last day of as much as 1 ETH.

Purposefully under-estimating the floor price as 0 in my Spending History Table at the bottom provides a realistic viewpoint and helps ensure I don’t over-inflate my own expectations of the portfolio.

4. Kooks NFT (number 69)

This NFT is unique in that it was a whitelist gift, and there was no cost or transaction fees associated with acquiring it. Additionally, it is the only NFT on the Polygon Network that I own

@KooksNft is a smaller project right now, but I was able to meet the founder during a Twitter Spaces event that I hosted and he growth of the NFT space means Kooks could serve a valuable position as helping educate people on surf etiquette and respecting the ocean.

5. Full Send Metacard

The Nelk Boys prank videos have been going viral across social media for years. Kyle’s candidness and ability to go off-script is a skill that few creators have.

Boasting 7.27M subscribers on YouTube, watching the Nelk Boys brand grow, improve the quality of the content, form partnerships with the UFC, and finally launch an NFT has been truly incredible. After bringing UFC owner Dana White onto the podcast, Dana is now a Metacard holder which is honestly so sick.

I’ve been following these guys on Instagram and YouTube but once I heard about their NFT launching, I knew that I had to jump on board.

Since I was not on the white list, my initial plan was to purchase one on secondary between the time of whitelist and the time of public sale.

I needed to think strategically.

With over 200,000 Discord members, the project was bound to sell out immediately and so the chances were almost zero that I would be able to get a Metacard during public sale.

During the Metacard minting event, with so much hype and website traffic, OpenSea CRASHED which made it impossible to purchase on secondary there.

At this point, the only way to get a Metacard was to venture into the web3 alternative exchanges – basically the real wild wild west of the internet, where you really have to watch out to protect yourself from getting scammed or having your assets stolen.

The risk of doing this is that you could easily end up buying a fraudulent NFT if you don’t verify that the smart contract and addresses are legit. After digging into Etherscan block explorers, downloading CSV files, and matching addresses, I made sure that I wasn’t about to pay for something fake.

I found a legit Metacard on secondary BEFORE the public sale started and successfully paid for and transferred it to my wallet.

With Full Send gyms on the horizon and new hilarious videos dropping every week, I couldn’t be more stoked for the future of Metacard community.

If you haven’t seen @KyleForgeard and the Nelk Boys’ YouTube videos, look them up immediately. Pranks and comedy is valuable for everyone, because we all need to laugh.

I’m still diamond-handing all of these to the moon.

Did I spend too much money on NFTs, or is this simply a healthy diversification of funds into a risky yet potentially exponential asset class?

You can analyze my spending history table below for yourself.

I’d also be curious to hear how you think NFTs will play a role in peoples’ lives over the next 3-5 years. Share a comment at the bottom and let me know what you thought.

Spending History Table (via estimates)

The 8 Greatest Podcasts on Crypto, NFTs, and Web3 for 2022

Podcasts are one of the easiest ways you can learn more about crypto, NFTs, and blockchain because you can listen passively while doing something else.

Here are the best crypto podcasts that you will find:

The Daily Gwei

the daily gwei ethereum podcast about crypto

Anthony Sassano’s consistency in publishing this podcast about the Ethereum Ecosystem is unmatched – I don’t believe there’s another show that happens as regularly as the Daily Gwei. With episodes coming out at least every weekday, I’m thankful to be able to rely on this podcast for my daily dose of alpha. Additionally, Anthony Sassano does an excellent job of articulating the value proposition for Ethereum in a way that non-technical users can understand.

Where to start: start with the most recently published episode. This show is another daily-update style show, covering what’s happened in the last day in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Bankless

bankless podcast icon about crypto, focused on ethereum ecosystem

David Hoffman and Ryan Sean Adams cover everything crypto, with a focus on the Ethereum ecosystem. The “Bankless” movement suggests the narrative that humans should have custody over their private keys, without 3rd party centralized intermediaries. The show also has YouTube videos for people who enjoy that format more.

Where to start: There are so many incredible episodes that you could honestly just pick one and dig in. Having hosted Vitalik on the show on multiple occasions, you could always start there. I also highly recommend the episode with Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Lastly the “Ultra Scalable Ethereum – Modular vs. Monolithic Blockchains” episode was particularly enlightening. This is one episode you absolute must hear if you care about the future of blockchain scalability.

Modern Finance

modern finance is a podcast that focuses on crypto's impact on finance

Internet legend Kevin Rose focuses on crypto and how it relates to the future of finance broadly.

Where to start: The episode with the Bankless guys was top-notch. Unfortunately the episodes are not published too regularly on the show, but when something is published, it is worth a listen. I’m looking forward to going back and listening to the episode with the Brave Software CEO, Brendan Eich, as well as the episode with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Into the Ether

into the ether ethereum crypto podcast

Eric Conner and Anthony Sassano cover updates from Ethereum overall.

Where to start: given that the episode covers current events and timely updates, I would just listen to the most recent episode!

The Defiant – Defi Podcast

defiant podcast focusing on defi, crypto, and blockchain broadly.

Camila Russo brings builders and users within blockchain technology and DeFi onto the podcast and does a really good job of asking the tough questions.

Where to start: the episode with Vitalik Buterin was particularly interesting, Camila did a great job of asking devil’s advocate style questions and we get to see how Vitalik responds.

DeCent People

decent people, a podcast covering decentralized applications featuring many crypto experts.

Matthew Leising does a great job of bringing Ethereum experts onto the show and digging into not only the projects they’re working on, but also a contextual background of their lives and how they got started.

Where to start: The conversation with Meltdem Demirrors was the first episode I heard, and it was really interesting hearing about her background in bitcoin, and her story about testifying in front of congress.

Up Only: Chats with Crypto Experts

up only, a podcast featuring crypto experts and whales

Cobie and Ledger host a show every so often where they get together and ramble on all things crypto. Both Cobie and Ledger do a great job of keeping the conversation candid and unscripted, and don’t hold back. It would be great if podcast episodes were released episodes more often, but regardless, the content is always solid.

Where to start: Anytime the founder of Ethereum appears on a podcast to share his ideas, its worth a listen. In addition to having a wide-ranging discussion about the internet and future of crypto developments, Vitalik shares his thoughts on anti-aging and life extension.

Proof

proof, a podcast covering NFT projects

Kevin Rose focuses specifically on NFTs and artwork on the blockchain, bringing artists, collectors, and curators on the show to talk about all things non-fungible.

Where to start: I enjoyed the Particle Collection episode and hearing about the Banksy painting being fractionalized and sold as 10,000 individual pieces. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to get access to mint a Banksy Particle. Still a great show, though.

Should You Hold More NFTs or Crypto Long Term? Which is more likely to go up?

not investment advice, do your own research, etc.

While it’s difficult not to roll your eyes the idea of a million $$$ dollar jpeg, there is a special shift happening that will fundamentally change the way that humans behave on the internet.

Crypto vs. NFTs as investments – some context:

At their best, cryptocurrencies like Ethereum have gained notoriety and traction as development platforms for blockchain applications (aka dapps).

At their worst, the ICO mania has seen many cryptos pump to extremely high valuations, to later crash back to pennies after early investors dump their holdings (aka pump and dump schemes).

NFTs, on the other hand, haven’t been around as long as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Even an NFT from as recent as 2018 is considered historical and hence more OG by groups of self-proclaimed “NFT Archaeologists”. Still, we haven’t yet seen a true bear market in the space just yet, and only time will tell if these hypothesis will remain plausible.

Regardless, the steady value accretion among communities like CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club provides evidence that NFTs are in fact more than just overpriced .pngs.

Wherever a person chooses to invest, one thing is for sure: NFTs and crypto are risky, and you can lose the money you put in.

Whether you should allocate more of your investments towards crypto or NFTs is dependent upon your own situation and investment goals.

That being said: NFTs and crypto have both had huge price swings in recent months. So, which might be a better investment – crypto or NFTs?

Why might a cryptocurrency like Ethereum be a better long term investment than an NFT?

As cool as NFTs are, there is a high chance they will not outperform a cryptocurrency such as ETH.

Most NFTs are built and hosted on top of the cryptocurrency protocols within the Ethereum ecosystem. Although there are NFTs built on other chains like Solana or Tezos, the largest market share by far sits on Ethereum.

Because that Ethereum powers the majority of the NFT market as a development platform and smart contract programming language (Solidity), owning ETH could feel safer than owning any one individual NFT.

After all, platforms tend to be accrue more value than the sum of all the individual items they support.

Developers are actually building new products and applications on top of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, which inherit the security and decentralization protocols of Ethereum itself.

Another property that makes Ethereum unique is that the asset is burned during each transaction, via gas fees. This reduces supply making ETH progressively more scarce as a result. This decrease in supply is one of the key tenets surrounding the ultrasound money movement.

Ethereum also has a strong development community.

The most significant upcoming item on the dev roadmap is the Merge, in which the Ethereum consensus mechanism will transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This means that new blocks are validated by nodes that have staked their ETH, instead of by doing energy-intensive computations.

Once Ethereum transitions to proof of stake, owners will be able to earn interest on their staked ETH, which could further drive the charts up and to the right.

The downside of purchasing NFTs

Given the large amount of questionable NFT projects he risk / reward ratio may not be there for NFTs. Extremely high fees mean your ETH stack is dwindling every time you make a purchase.

NFT markets are unpredictable, yet there are few sound and known fundamentals that back them up as an investment. They’re largely focused around hype, which whales are involved etc.

There is a lot that goes into deciding how to invest and which project to put your eggs into, finding high-ROI investments is an art as well as a science.

An investment portfolio is like a bar of soap. The more you handle it, the smaller it gets.

Does it make sense to own NFTs as a part of your crypto portfolio?

In my view, NFTs should not be held as investments, but for FUN and for the community.

Although NFT value increases can be quite unpredictable, a strong community is a good sign.

If you choose to hold an NFT, take your time, do your research, and find an NFT project with real world utility.

NFTs give you the opportunity to become part of a group that is focused around any specific thing.

One sign of legitimate community within an NFT project is the willingness for the founder as well as active holders to be doxxed and in the public eye, as well as seeking to build community for the long haul.

One thing that I always look for is whether or not there are in-person events or meetups happening within the community and among members from different regions around the globe.

Do the NFT holders know each other in real life?

That being said, being a member of an NFT community can be valuable because it is just fun.

Its like joining a fraternity or sorority in college, playing competitive club soccer, or joining the varsity wrestling team.

NFTs create groups of like minded individuals with stake in the focus area.

Diminishing returns: Once you purchase a few NFTs and join a few different communities, any future NFT purchases may only slightly (if at all) increase the amount of value you get from being part of the community.

Because of this, owning more than 1 NFT isn’t necessarily valuable unless you plan to flip it for profit.

Spreading yourself too thin: Being in a community means investing time and energy hanging out in discords, going on trips / attending events, and building relationships in that community.

A single person can only spend so much time. I feel that it is more impactful to be a dedicated member of a small number of communities rather than loosely tied to many different ones.

Sure, the NFT markets are fun to watch. Perhaps they’re worth keeping an eye on in case something truly special comes around that you’re dying to be a part of.

When I get the drive and conviction to own a specific NFT, I do so while making sure to maintain as much ETH ownership as possible.

Number going up is simply a by-product of being part of the group.

Looking ahead

Most of us aren’t building the future of the internet – that’s the job of software engineers and designers. But we are the ones that will be more affected by crypto and NFTs potential use cases – we are the ones who will actually use it.

From the content we consume, to how we communicate… from how we spend money, to the career paths we choose… if blockchain technology and its applications continue to advance, the world and our relationship with the internet will be extremely different in the years to come.

Regardless if you’re allocating more capital towards NFTs, crypto, or neither, when we take a step back and look at the larger impact of this technology on our society, we should feel lucky to be around during such an exciting time.

8 Reasons Your NFT Project Should Host Meetups In Real Life — this is how the Bored Apes did it.

NFT communities benefit from in person events

November, 2021- in the center of Manhattan, NYC – a huge NFT conference changed the crypto and NFT industry forever.

NFT.NYC is a yearly an in-person NFT conference.

It’s a big deal for a number of reasons, but in many ways, NFT.NYC 2021 was a catalyst that brought blockchain, crypto, and NFTs to a much larger percentage of the population.

The Crypto Punks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and other NFT projects were brought into the spotlight and became known to the mainstream individuals.

Many people were motivated to invest in crypto, setup their first non-custodial crypto wallet, and mint or purchase NFTs because of all the action and excitement surrounding the conference.

bored ape party during NFT.NYC
BAYC party at NFT NYC source: twitter

The BAYC community stood out during NFT.NYC and has since grown exponentially.

We believe that the key reason for BAYC’s exponential growth and success was that the team hosted multiple parties, meetups, and events throughout the week of November 2-4, 2021.

In the months that have passed since the conference, the Bored Ape Yacht Club has gone nowhere but up and to the right, creating immense value for its NFT owners and community overall.

Since the conference, Bored Ape Yacht Club community and organization Yuga Labs have been hard at work.

A few of the big news headlines recently includes the recent launch of the $APE token airdrop, as well as Yuga Labs acquiring the Crypto Punks and Meebits from Larva Labs.

Did in-person meetups influence the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s immense success?

As of today, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is the number 1 NFT project.

While there were likely a few contributing factors, we cannot overstate the significance of in person meetups which catalyzed this growth.

We believe that in-person connections and networking among the BAYC community during and after the conference was a key reason that the sales prices have more than doubled recently.

In addition, there have been standout sales of millions of dollars for specific BAYC numbers.

bored ape NFT sales data april 2021 to january 2022
Figure 2: NFT.NYC was the catalyst in early November that resulted in a gradual increase in the value of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. Source: OpenSea sales data.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club community is now a global network.

With 10,000 NFTs in the collection, the members of Bored Ape Yacht Club have the opportunity to meet up with local owners in their geographic location.

There have been in-person Meetups in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Amsterdam, and elsewhere.

Why do people join NFT communities?

Owning an NFT is not only a financial investment. Yes, you typically mint or purchase an NFT, and spend money in order to own it, yet owning an NFT is so much more.

Purchasing an NFT means you are joining a community of real people, a group of people larger than yourself.

When humans form groups, they create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Group, tribe, club, and team formation is a key fundamental behind all human behavior.

BAYC party at NFT.NYC
Figure 3: Notice the Bored Ape posters displayed on the wall. source: https://www.inputmag.com/culture/bored-ape-yacht-club-nft-nyc-ape-fest

Being a member of a community is an investment of our time, effort, and energy.

Buying into a credible NFT project means you are deciding to become an active contributor to the community in some way.

When an NFT community has members / owners that are dedicated and genuinely want to build the community and contribute positive things, the community becomes more fun, better networked, and more inviting to new members.

Why should NFT communities connect in real life?

People crave genuine connection and interaction.

Having a big event on the a community schedule, even if it is just a few times a year, brings people together, gives them a reason to stay in touch, and creates purposeful interaction and networks.

We believe that the NFT communities which host in-person events create exponential increases in community value.

It helps on-ramp new users into the blockchain technology space, providing newbies a safe place to learn about crypto, NFTs, DeFi, wallets, and more.

Experienced members of the community can share wisdom and insights with those that are new to the arena.

And having that in-person connection helps people feel closer to those in the NFT community. Once you meet up with someone from your network in real life, that person becomes a friend, a part of your social circle, and you think about the entire project in a new, more realistic energetic light.

In-person NFT events help eliminate flippers and short-term holders from the community.

Internet hype from influencers with large following will pump up NFTs and get more people to buy them, but this type of increase only has short-term impacts.

Instead of making the community stronger, this type of hype only invites flippers and profit seekers into the Discords and Twitter spaces.

These short-term thinkers might even negatively impact the experiences of long-term dedicated community members.

I am all about long-term thinking.

Network value cannot simply be one-to-many, where a single influencer with millions of followers encourages many people to buy into a project.

Hype pumping does not benefit the community long-term, it benefits flippers.

What will sustain long term is when all members of the community can seamlessly access, and easily connect with all of the other members. Whether this is thru communication channels, Twitter DMs, Discord servers, or meeting up locally for coffee, beer, dinner parties, or business opportunities.

Which type of NFT community do you want to be a part of? What type of network sounds like the most fun and intriguing?

17 Free Tools to Analyze NFTs and Crypto Before Ape-ing in

This is never investment advice. Let me know what I missed, and what tools you enjoy using.

Etherscan https://etherscan.io/

Gas Tracker https://etherscan.io/gastracker

Gas Cost Estimator https://etherchain.org/tools/gasnow

Etherchain https://etherchain.org/

Icy tools https://icy.tools/

OpenSea https://opensea.io/

LooksRare https://looksrare.org/ – for when OpenSea servers are overwhelmed.

Token Trove: https://tokentrove.com/ another NFT marketplace

Rarible https://rarible.com/

NFT Stats https://www.nft-stats.com/

NFT Scoring https://nftscoring.com/trending Y-Combinator startup

Rarity Tools https://rarity.tools/

Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) https://poap.xyz/

Super Rare https://superrare.com/ – NFT marketplace focused on authentic art

Nifty Hype https://www.niftyhype.com/ – news and insights for NFT industry

Dapp Radar: https://dappradar.com/ – dapp rankings among various ecosystems on different chains.

Getting Started

Coinbase https://www.coinbase.com/

Metamask https://metamask.io/

General stuff

Coinmarketcap https://coinmarketcap.com/

Twitter / Spaces https://twitter.com/home

Discord https://discord.com/

PSA – grading services for trading cards IRL https://www.psacard.com/

Go bankless and get a self-custodial crypto wallet:

How Crypto Follows the Hype Cycle

Between 2013 and 2021, Cryptocurrency has followed the Hype Cycle exactly as expected. Let me explain.

What is the Hype Cycle?

The Hype Cycle, coined by Gartner, is a law that describes how humans accept new and emerging technologies and adopt them into our everyday lives

Its a generalized way of estimating and predicting the rise and fall of a new technology and the way people react to it.

Figure 1: Phases of the Hype Cycle Curve. Source: Wikipedia; Olga Tarkovskiy – Own work

The curve above is a graph of TIME on the x-axis, and EXPECTATIONS on the y-axis.

In cryptocurrency, expectations is quantified by looking at the price or market cap of cryptocurrencies. For years, the price of cryptocurrency was not interesting. Price was flat.

Hype Cycle Phase: Technology Trigger Pre-R&D

Crypto wasn’t being discussed all over Twitter. It was a nerdy, boring conversation.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin were only being used by a few small groups of people, and was nowhere near mainstream discussion or adoption.

Just look at the market cap of Bitcoin between 2013 and 2017 below. Relative to where it is now, this is extremely insignificant

Figure 2: The market cap of bitcoin between 2013 and 2017. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin’s price and adoption wasn’t even relevant at this point. Compared to the Hype Cycle phases in Figure 1, cryptocurrency wouldn’t have even been on the charts.

But while the public vernacular and mainstream media ignored cryptocurrency, engineers and enthusiasts were quietly building. On the Figure 1 Hype Curve, at this point crypto is leading up to the R&D phase; it still early.

This is why venture capitalists like Marc Andreessen are famously interested in “what the nerds do at night“. By recognizing emerging tech trends before everyone else, you have the opportunity to invest in them at a favorable discount… when the technology principles have been proven, but the applications have not quite been built, they are not user friendly yet, and the mass majority of people aren’t even aware of the technology.

Vitalik Buterin was funded by Peter Thiel in 2015 to found Ethereum. As the potential applications of Ethereum started coming into light, a buzz started happening within tech circles.

Hype Cycle Phase: Early Adopters Investigate

People started to understand the power of this thing called blockchain, and could envision the possible smart contracts and more.

While Bitcoin was built to serve as digital gold, Ethereum was built as a platform from which blockchain applications would grow.

Coinbase.com became the de-facto place to purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum. It was easy to use and wasn’t that different from purchasing stocks at a place like Fidelity or Charles Schwab.

Working a desk job at a cubicle during this time, it felt like colleagues in the office were all starting to think about crypto and were considering buying it on Coinbase.

A few viral memes and Twitter conversations happened and before you know it, the prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two big flagship cryptocurrencies, were pushing all time highs almost every day.

I hate to include a disclaimer here, but as you can tell, I’m going to be generalizing a lot in this post about the crypto community. I mean no disrespect. I love blockchain technology and the projects it has enabled… I want nothing more than what’s best for crypto as a whole. As an owner of bitcoin, ethereum, and other coins, I’ve seen the emotions of early adopters around me have experienced when the prices rise extremely fast (and inevitably fall just as quickly).

Hype Cycle Phase: Inflated Expectations

Towards the end of 2016 and into 2017, everyone started buying crypto. If you took a 10 minute uber ride across town, you would almost undoubtedly hear your driver mention something about the price of bitcoin.

Crypto millionaires were created. A friend of mine even managed to pay off his student loans from selling his stake in Ethereum, which he had acquired just months earlier.

At some point, it felt like people didn’t necessarily care about the applications of blockchain technology. Your average person was interested in trading, buying and selling, getting rich quick and only focused on the price rather than the underlying technology.

At the peak of inflated expectations, a few things can happen:

Engineering and developer teams tend to over-build. More crypto’s launched between the end of 2016 and early 2017 than anyone could keep track of. But the projects being built were not being used by anyone. The projects had no customers…

What the projects DID have, however, were investors. There was an abundance of over-eager individuals looking to throw $100 bucks into any coin with a slim chance of making it in hopes of returning 1000X on their investment.

The problem with this is that there are more people in the crypto community who are focused on making money from the technology than there are users and customers who are actually using the technology for the value it brings into their lives.

This fixation on price is a problem with the crypto community and it still exists to a large extent today.

Hype Cycle Phase: Trough of Disillusionment

As more cryptos were launched than there were users or customers, the over-inflated expectations started to become apparent.

The thing is, no one knows just how HIGH the peak of inflated expectations might go.

Peak of Inflated Expectations leads into the Trough of Disillusionment. Source: CoinMarketCap

In order to capitalize on investments in crypto, the smart ones on Twitter and Reddit communities preached the importance of holding onto the investments, not selling, and riding out the wave.

The thing is, this is a tricky thing to do. It is easy to decide to sell at the top, and even easier to decide to call it quits as an investment tanks and you lost 80-90% of your the value of your portfolio.

In some cases, those that sell at the top end up exiting while they’re ahead. In other cases, people with intentions to sell at the top end up waiting too long, and end up making an emotionally drastic decision to exit their crypto position at the worst possible time, during the trough of disillusionment.

Because the trough can last for years. In the case of Bitcoin and Ethereum, it lasted from the beginning of 2018 through late 2020.

The thing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology (at least so far) is that the rise and fall of price of different cryptocurrencies are heavily correlated with each other.

As bitcoin rises, ethereum usually is rising also. As bitcoin enters the trough of disillusionment, ethereum was too. The same can be said for the other crypto’s that made it through the trough.

Bitcoin didn’t really start to enter the next phase until the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing mid to late 2020.

Hype Cycle Phase: Enlightenment to Productivity

Between late 2020 and today, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies has continued to push all time highs.

As of 2021, bitcoin has pushed all time highs. Source: CoinMarketCap

The reason for this may partly have been accelerated by the pandemic, but there’s more to it than that.

Within the crypto community, there is a large amount of funds going into projects that are receiving mainstream adoption.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are one example of an application that is seeing close to mass adoption.

Although it is still a fringe hobby, NFT collectibles have some resemblance to the enthusiasm around collectible sports cards and even Pokemon cards.

People are creating NFT masterpieces using artificial intelligence and listing them for sale as unique, one-of-a-kind tokens on websites like OpenSea.

For a fraction of an Ethereum, anyone can go on OpenSea and start collecting their own NFTs.

This is just one example. There are a number of other projects being built on top of Ethereum and discussed but we for many of these applications, it seems we still have a long way to go before mainstream adoption.

So as we’re pushing all time highs in almost every cryptocurrency, my question for the world is: are we entering another peak of inflated expectations? Or is this time for real? Are we truly in the Plateau of Productivity?

And this brings up a few follow up ideas and questions about the future… because at the end of the day, we can’t truly predict the future, we can only form hypothesis based on historic trends, proven laws, and observable principles.

Final Thoughts and Additional Questions

Could a technology go through the various phases of the Hype Cycle more than once?

Will cryptocurrency enter another trough of disillusionment?

How might other technologies follow the hype cycle?

Are there examples of technologies that do NOT follow the hype cycle?

As a technology follows the hype cycle, will the peak of inflated expectations ever over-extend the value of the technology as it reached the Plateau of Productivity?

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Buying and Selling NFT Artwork made by Artificial Intelligence

One of the most popular NFT categories in 2022 is artificial intelligence generated artwork.

For a small amount of of an Ethereum, you can purchase artwork that was created by combining two of the most exciting emerging technologies, both blockchain and artificial intelligence.

In order to buy and sell these unique AI-generated NFT pieces, you’ll first need to setup a crypto wallet and link it to the OpenSea website.

Among the NFT projects I’ve browsed through, AI-generated Project Argo is one collection that stood out.

ai generated nft artwork
by Project Argo – titled Fading

What’s interesting about Project Argo is that the artist has been able to use AI to develop artwork that seems to embody characters or entities within each piece.

As seen in Fading above, the NFT appears (to me at least) to feature a face.

Artworks become much more interesting when they appear to feature individual characters and facial expressions.

All types of art – whether painting or literature or music – seems to have a positive or negative connotation.

Some artists create more uplifting artwork (Norman Rockwell or Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel) while others create artwork that is mischievous or scandalous work, and other artists create powerfully dark and emotional works.

What emotional sentiment do AI-generated NFTs evoke?

Looking through the list of images made by AI, I can’t help but wonder about the baseline emotion evoked by artificial intelligence.

What connotation and sentiment does the neural network create when generating these graphics?

As the lay observer, every photo seems to evoke the same balance of emotion, somewhere between darkness and excitement.

If we had a way to measure emotional sentiment, where might each image fit on a scale that measure how optimistic or pessimistic each image looks?

To me, it feels as though each image is quite close to neutral.

Can art created by artificial intelligence create emotions?

The surprising thing is that, looking through all of these photos on Project Argo, I get the sense that each piece of artwork is depicting entities that are saying and feeling very similar representative emotions.

And yet its difficult to put it into words.

Its like trying to explain what is experienced under the influence of psychedelics – often impossible to do so in worldly terms.

The resemblance to faces in the photos are approximately accurate. Although there is no true face, the outline of eyes, nose, mouth, etc. evoke a baseline facial expression that a person might have when their face is at rest.

ai generated nft artwork via opensea
Zen by Project Argo

The entities depicted in these photos all have the same, neutral facial expression. Not a single smile, eyebrow raise, or wink. They all have the same, neutral look – one that you cannot quite figure out.

Yet the images don’t feel expressionless or emotionless.

They feel as if they are showing life at work. Life doing what life does – here to experience our world for the sake of its own existence.

Except that these entities are in a different place. They don’t exist in our world, but in an unknown realm – completely generated by AI.

What can humans learn from artificial intelligence by viewing its NFT artwork?

Each piece has a that resembles some sort of techno-futuristic Armageddon. “The last island party” and “robot revolution” for example.

Of the list, Dreamy City and Penguin one stood out. They’re all worth a look.

  • When artificial intelligence designs an image for humans to look at, what is it trying to say to us?
  • As artificial intelligence looks back at us in society, could the message be “you can do better”?

Perhaps we can gather a sense for what AI feels, by looking at the artwork it creates, and by interpreting the types of creations that arise.

How to buy AI-Generated NFT Artwork:

In order to get involved and actually own a few NFTs, you’re going to need a crypto wallet.

In the mean-time, get your crypto wallet setup and learn as much about blockchain as possible. Check out this Blockchain Simplified Explainer.

What is Blockchain? Simplified Explainer

With blockchain’s level of hype, its a good idea to understand how it will affect our lives.

But many people don’t know what blockchain even is.

Most blockchain explanations use complicated terms like decentralization and consensus.

Instead of throwing around confusing words, let’s make it easy.

“its easy man” 1-of-1 NFT

Blockchains behave like referees

Let’s use an analogy to describe blockchain in simple terms: referees at a football game.

Refs serve as unbiased, independent reviewers, making sure that both teams follow the rules and play fairly.

Depending how high the stakes are, such as during tournaments or professional games, refs can make a lot of money for performing this level supervision.

However, before instant-replays were invented, referees couldn’t possibly catch everything happening in real time.

Even if the refs didn’t want to make bad calls, it was inevitable… There was no way to truly review each play and reach conclusive decisions.

referees serve the game as an independent

Equipped with the ability to review instant-replays, high-definition camera footage, and consult with other referees or analysts, call accuracy has increased.

Referees can watch exactly what is happening in every play, and consult with peers to ensure they make the best possible decision.

At the end of each play and after a decision is made, the game goes on – there is no way to go back and change the call.

How do referees relate to blockchains? (combine with above)

Now, instead of having seven or eight referees, imagine if there were 1,000 refs that reviewed and voted on every single play.

Assuming each ref was able to think independently and abide by the official rules, this would improve the accuracy of the entire decision making process for play review.

Blockchain technology takes this same approach with something called a validator network.

Just like referees review every situation that happens on the field during a game, this validator network reviews and verifies every transaction that happens on the blockchain.

Likewise, once a transaction is validated and published to the blockchain, it cannot be changed.

Let’s cut the complicated stuff:

Blockchain simplified explainer, TL/DR:

When two people trade something, a network (validators) verifies transaction data (aka blocks) before they are added to the transaction record (aka the blockchain).

Blockchain Facilitates Trade

When you agree on a deal and shake someone’s hand, can you trust them?

If transactions happen on the blockchain, then the answer is yes.

Blockchain enables people to form agreements and exchange items of value.

Neither party participating in this virtual handshake can cheat the system because every transaction occurs under the observation of a network of validators — computer code behind the scenes establishing trust.

Everyone in the network runs this code which reviews transactions for errors or malicious intent.

Since transactions are transparent, any attempt at fraud is seen by the network, and will either be corrected or rejected. This ensures that everyone follows the rules and no one gets cheated.

After all the validators on the network approve a transaction, a new block is created and published to the blockchain.

blockchain transactions happen in front of a network of trusted validators.
Each transaction is a virtual handshake.

Blockchains are made of blocks

The transaction data, plus signature of approval from the network, makes up a single “block”.

Similar to an accounting or book keeping system, transaction data stored within a block includes who participated in the agreement, what goods were exchanged, and how much they paid (currency).

Once a block is published to the blockchain, it is there indefinitely. Data cannot be altered.

blocks being added to the blockchain
Blocks being added to the blockchain

Did you know? You can see every single transaction that ever happened on the blockchain.

Instead of happening in private or behind closed doors, blockchain transactions are publicly available.

As new blocks are added, identical copies of the blockchain are updated and distributed to everyone on the validator network.

Thousands of computers (aka nodes) make up the network, and anyone can see transaction data.

Transaction validation happens extremely quickly, and distribution of new versions of the blockchain happens almost instantaneously. [1]

We use new search engines in web3: Block Explorers

On the traditional internet, you look stuff up with a search engine like Google.

In web3, users can view blockchain transactions using block explorers like Etherscan or Polygonscan.

These early stage databases will become the go-to search engines for web3.

Etherscan, the Ethereum Blockchain Explorer

Blockchain validator networks replace middlemen

In the traditional internet, your data is maintained and controlled by individual companies.

Think about how much information you submit when joining Facebook, creating a LinkedIn profile, or even purchasing a flight online.

And how about online commerce?

Marketplaces like ebay.com help people conduct business, facilitating transactions via traditional financial institutions.

When buying or selling something in web2, companies like Ebay control our data and maintain the trust. Ebay verifies the buyer and seller’s identities, and typically charges sellers a fee around 20% of the sale price for these services.

When we pay through Paypal or with a credit card, these companies also take a percentage of every payment.

On web3, blockchain eliminates the need for a middle-man like Ebay, or banks, and Visa.

Blockchain enables trustworthy commerce from one person to another without using services and databases controlled by a single entity. No single organization that can own or control the market.

Blockchain hard-coded protocols serve as the autonomous middleman. The code facilitates the rules of engagement – no intermediaries are involved.

The money gathered from blockchain transaction fees goes to the network rather than a single company.

Blockchains provide cryptographic security

Even if it does use an innovative form of cryptography, security software isn’t sexy.

Instead of being forced to listen to someone ramble on about topics like VPNs, authentication, decentralization, password managers, or Captcha, most people would rather stuff their ears with broken glass.

Check out this EASY summary of cryptocurrency in under 200 words – READ NOW

Although important for the internet, these conversations are not going to help at dinner parties — especially if your goal is to win friends and influence hotties.

As the web3 internet progresses, blockchain interfaces will do their job managing the complicated stuff behind the scenes.

Tools like wallets, fees, blockchains, swaps and bridges will be abstracted away from the user entirely. [2]

While blockchain keeps the internet running as an intrinsic background technology, the way that users interact with web3 will feel seamless, and the complicated stuff will be done under-the-hood.

Users won’t even need to know the blockchain is there, much like the cryptography and anti-virus apps that run in the background on our computers today.

One level up from blockchain, cryptocurrency is reaching mainstream adoption.

Tokens like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon, or Doge may feel risky – there is always uncertainty. But, in some ways, there is just as much risk in not understanding these technologies as there is with being involved and owning just a little bit of crypto.

In 2022, blockchain may still feel like an obscure, fringe idea. My goal with this post was to highlight the essential elements of blockchain and make it easy to understand.

If you found this post helpful, please let me know on Twitter, at espressoinsight.

What to read next?

  • Intro to crypto in under 200 wordsread now
  • Why Ethereum matters – read now
  • Allocating funds between NFTs and ETH – read now
  • Best podcasts about crypto and NFTS – read now
  • 16 free tools to analyze NFTs – read now

Sources:

  1. https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/110079/how-do-nodes-agree-or-disagree-after-new-block-is-create
  2. https://polynya.medium.com/the-web3-stack-how-web3-will-offer-superior-ux-than-web2-6b8c82709163