From Digital Currency

Vetting ICOs

The world of Digital Currency has changed dramatically. I am unsure i should even be calling it 'The world of Digital Currency' anymore as it certainly doesn't resemble any currency i am familiar with – or world, It's more of an entire distributed finacial system now, a new digital economy even. Sure, there have been many out there calling it such for many many moons, hell! – i am certain i used the term a number of times on my own blog; but the fact is that it has never before felt so much like a real functioning economy as it does today. That's both concerning and exciting.

Entering the space today for many will be overwhelming, probably so overwhelming they will seek out professional help from those who they believe can help, that leaves an awful lot of potential for scam artists to enter the mix, not to say they haven't been here the entire time, Ive certainly had my fair share over the years, as have many of the innovators that i have
interviewed.

TEST FIRST

The scams persist, and likely always will however, once you as a digital currency speculator, user or investor/trader lose out to a scammer, you will quickly decide if this game is for you, and whether you want to keep playing. Those that stick around learn quickly the methods for avoiding loosing on a monumental scale by playing small initially, testing the waters, over time as confidence grows one can become susceptible to mistakes, not doing due diligence, not testing a large transfer first with a small pilot, to make sure all is well with the network, and in particular the addresses and wallets provided.

Not a week goes past with out hearing of another hack or scam where some newbie company throws up a site with an ICO in motion, collects Ether to their fund and then POOF! It's gone. Seems like a super easy way to raise a lot of money quickly then vanish with the proceeds claiming unforeseen simple user design miscalculations.

BAD ETHEREUM

All of this activity serves to give Ethereum a bad name in the long term (Untill the regulators catch up that is) Much like Bitcoin had, and still has to some extent, a reputation for money laundering and dark market activity Ethereums reputation could well end up going a similar way. Take the DAO hack of 2016, that ended in the actual Ethereum platform itself forking, resulting in two versions of the platform token Ether. One single contract on the platform resulted in the entire platform being unilaterally altered, at the time it seemed super bad, but it had to be done in order to return confidence to the growing market interest in Ethereum, no matter how much it pissed off the purists.

With all the recent ICOs emerging, (some 300 to date) a significant majority will end up in ruin, that's practically a given indeed many are designed only to raise as much Ether as possible to be cashed out and for the project to be abandoned, leaving the founders wealthy as fuck. So wealthy infact ,they can go on to do it all over again on an ever increasing scale.

So here's a simple three step solution to vetting an ICO, no need to invest in anything, but at least you can investigate as best as possible should you choose to invest anything at a later date.

  1. First do your homework on the people making the promises, are they even real people? These types of project call for a team of experienced, motivated and technically savvy founders. Learn as much as you can about them.
  2. Second, the ICO must solve a real-world problem in a way that cannot be done without the use of blockchain technology. Find out why they are using the Blockchain, is it just for the buzzword?
  3. Third, the solution should have a strong enough network effect so that its code can't be easily copied into a possible competitor. This is a tuff one as all code can be copied, can the ICO get out ahead of competition though?

So yeah! Investing in crypto and now ICOs is pretty dull, unless you find a project that stimulates your senses, something that your can get behind – and there is a lot of them to choose from, so read, read some more, then take a breath, go on holiday or something then read some more. Then figure out what you want to do.

DISCLAIMER

This post covers a token or element in the cryptosphere. The cryptosphere is new and exciting, but changes rapidly and often in ways that do not benefit users. By the time this article is published, changes may have already occurred. Most tokens in the cryptosphere are complete scams that are get-rich-quick-schemes for insiders. Often, we cannot know this beforehand and only later discover this. A person should only trade with money that they’re willing to lose because losses are guaranteed. If you choose to participate in purchasing a token in the cryptosphere, you should do so with the full expectation of a loss and you should also expect it to change in a manner that does not benefit you. There are however very few good ideas in the cryptosphere.

Discovering Ethereum. Part 1 – The World Computer

It was late in 2013 and being well and truly wrapped up in digital currency thanks to Bitcoin, i of course needed to subscribe some of my time and attention to another fantastic and wimsicla digital currency project. 

The project was called Ethereum and for the life of me i can not recal what attracted me to it, perhaps it was the fact i was mentally engrossed in the developing digital currency ecosphere, and had become well (thanks to my stint on the worlds first digital currency course) and truly enamoured with the potential of the new technology, almost blindly so. (Thinking back – i have a feeling the project found me) 

The Asset

The asset was called Ether and if i am perfectly honest with you i am not entirely sure what i was doing getting involved (likely speculating for fun and of course for a potential profit). What I did know at the time, was that they promised the possibility of something they (the developers) referred to as a “world computer”, they also promised many more features than bitcoin, the then standing king of “much more features” that one interested and infatuated with the digital currency space; could not bring themelf to ignore. The asset – Ether – would serve to power this super “world computer” and so those holding this asset would be able to power applications on the Ethereum network, sounds like something new i thought; the asset as an energy rather than a simple currency.

The Users

I am certain i was not the only one wrapped up in this fantastical enndevoaur, although I could not yet prove it. In fact, quite the opposite  – i was sure it was just me and a bunch of geeked out developers (that were clearly somewhat libertarian minded in their beliefs given the value propositions of the platform) however, at that time (and somewhat still today) i am not entirely sure what my beliefs are when it comes to the crypto-space, and maybe that’s ok.

Sign me up!

I tapped my email address in to the required fields on the website and waited for an automated email response. I was in! God knows how, why or who made this connection but it had been made and so my time and attention had become tied up for the following few years, an attention tied up in a new digital project entitled Ethereum, but what was Ethereum? And how on earth did i become the holder of the digital asset Ether? 

This post is not about Ethereum, for that information you can click here. This post is about my experience discovering Ethereum and so this post is my personal experience of discovery. That is all.

Clueless

I was part of something, something that often felt beyond my understanding but always felt like it might well be something awesome; something more awesome than i could fully comprehend sure, but something i was willing to watch and comprehend over time, and yes that was a fair bit of time, enough time infact to make me lose some of my faith in the founding developers vision. 

Vision?

Wait there was a vision? Yes! there of course was a vision, but that does not mean it was realisable, in fact quite the opposite, there was much work to be done, so much work to realise the vision that many lost their nerve, so much so that they let go of their Ether, myself include.

Blockchain Based Bowie Bonds (1 min read)

Being well and truly wrapped up in the madness that is digital currency, i am often coming across what appear to be rather interesting projects, indeed i have even in the past tried to help others understand some of these unique adaptations of Blockchain technology. Check out the video i made on how to get hold of DAO tokens back in May 2016.

Although its next to impossible to vet all these individual projects unless you can commit full time or manage some sort of team, this latest catch SingularDTV – striked me as quite interesting indeed. What hooked me about the project – is mostly due to my search for a sustainable revenue model for video content that i am in the middle of producing, i would really like to monetise the distribution in a new way, and a way in which all those persons contributing in the production are satisfied with their compensation.

Another reason i was attracted by SingularDTV was the fact Zach LeBeau
the CEO shows up in all their PR materials, and appears to come across very genuine and engaged. He also shares his back story – which for me is super important to understand quickly – why is this guy doing this? – whats the motivation? To be clear this post is not to serve as an endorsement for SingularDTV as so far they are yet to launch anything however, i understand that will happen very soon, do your own due diligence, do not rely on others to do it for you.

For me owning some SNGLS (price at writing: 0.00009879) means i feel like i am contributing to something that is being built with which i can align some of my values, i appreciate and respect the people trying to build this platform however, that does not mean it will succeed no matter how good their intentions.

So this brings me to the main reason why i am excited by the idea of Singular DTV, and why i think this model could be helpful to other startups in the future. Zach LeBeau clearly presents his back story and inspiration, and most importantly – it’s simple to understand.

The concept for SingularDTV is rooted in a spectacular but lest remembered moment in history where in 1997 along with David Pullman, the person responsible for “Bowie Bonds – David Bowie tokenize himself using an asset-backed security which uses the current and future revenue from albums recorded by the musician as collateral, he then put out these bonds on Wall Street raising some 55 million USD. Bowie bonds represented one of the first instances of a bond that used intellectual property as the underlying collateral. Billboard have a great post on the story of Bowie bonds here.

As i have understood the Singular DTV platform so far, Zach LeBeau now suggests that soon this type of operation of issuing asset-backed securities for your creative endeavours will be available in an easy to use format through the Singular DTV platform. Being a wannabe filmmaker – this platform model comes across as very attractive to me.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to reach out to me on twitter @richtella

 

What’s the format Rich?

ANSWER: Just like the Pizza Burger BBQ Chicken, the format is not any one thing in particular, but instead all things all at the same time.

Its common knowledge that one is typically recommended to blog about a single particular subject of interest, but why? One of the top reasons as i understand it, is so that you can align yourself as a blogger/authority on your chosen subject matter. Another is so that you may have a way to monetise your content as you develop your voice within your chosen space i.e “influencer marketing”.

But what are the potential drawbacks of such narrowing down of ones blog? what if you simply do not want to narrow down your online content offering to just one single topic or subject?

From my observations it seems the bloggers that get away without zooming in on a single subject, typically themselves become the subject matter – think youtube celebrity types such as Casey Neistat. Perhaps they started out with a niche subject but eventually they themselves became bigger than the subject they set out to cover, when this happens, the audience has indicated to the blogger – or in the case of Casey Neistat ‘vlogger’ – and likely due to their interpretation of their channels youtube or facebook analytics, that they (the blogger) should share more of their personal life.

Those who typically enter down that path become very much a celebrity, and begin to develop their personal brand within that space. In doing this they are able to branch out in to almost any sub-genre they like, as they themself are now the reason people watch – no longer are people watching because the blogger is an authority on a specific subject.

A problem i have had, and as you can tell; continue to have, is that i have many interests, and they all tend to overlap. My very first blog was the MMMDo blog, where i would simply make things (typically furniture) film or photograph what i made, then attempt to stitch some sort of useful blog post together, i was surprised recently when i checked up on my blogs associated youtube channel to find one of my videos has nearly 25K views.  to bad i had not monetised the video as i had used some third party content which i had forgotten to remove.

My second blog was bitjoin.me where i took what i had learned about video production on the MMMDo blog and attempted to apply it to the subject of digital currency, i stuck mainly to interviews with people working in the space and also some ‘How To’ videos this blog helped me learn more about the technology used in digital currencies as well as improving my video production skills. From the very start my mind was on producing a documentary in this space, due to the unique and fascinating subject matter and the fact that those early days were so all over the place (thanks to the ongoing scaling debate, to some extent they still are)

As part of thebitjoin.me blog i also published video diary entries from the early days of starting a company, the video series originally entitled Starting Up loosely documented my progress as an entrepreneur just when i had begun doing entrepreneurial things, the concept went through several adaptations as i tried to find the best format, but eventually i put the concept to bed on a youtube channel called Start Up Slam.

I went on to start blogging for Qwids, a startup company i founded with a group of amazing people all working to develop a service that lives at the crossroads between (old world) loyalty points and (new world) digital currency. Blogging for a corporation proved rather demanding, and i know i know – one must blog regularly; but the research involved for this subject is very demanding, and although really fun as i learned a lot about the subject matter – in a startup there is only so much time to go around. The last post i made was in March, I do intend to pick this blog up again as soon as we have made the necessary changes to our UX and gotten the traction we need in the market; hopefully by August 2017 : )

This brings us to now, and here, this blog. What’s the format Rich? What’s the niche? Who’s your target Rich? Truth is, i don’t have any of those things. I am just writing about stuff i do, linking to past blog posts and sometimes writing about stuff i am interested in, but not so knowledgeable on. That’s all.

Sergej Kotliar clip 2017 (BitJoin Cross-Post)

In April 2017 i began following up with the 6 founders featured in my first documentary short – Founded. I started by catching up with Sergej Kotliar of BitRefill. In the past i have published the full interviews on the BitJoin youtube channel, however this time i intend on publishing these interviews solely on Popchest in order to help raise funds for the production of the follow up documentary to Founded. If you know of a better way to raise funds don’t hesitate to contact me at rich@bitjoin.me