Until one understands the basics of this tech, they won’t be able to grasp or appreciate the impact it has on our digital bank, Genesis Block.submitted by mickhagen to genesisblockhq [link] [comments]
This is the second post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
Our previous post set the stage for this series. We discussed the state of consumer finance and how the success of today’s high-flying fintech unicorns will be short-lived as long as they’re building on legacy finance — a weak foundation that is ripe for massive disruption.
Instead, the future of consumer finance belongs to those who are deeply familiar with blockchain tech & decentralized protocols, build on it as the foundation, and know how to take it to the world. Like Genesis Block.
Today we begin our journey down the crypto rabbit hole. This post will be an important introduction for those still learning about Bitcoin, Ethereum, or DeFi (Decentralized Finance). This post (and the next few) will go into greater detail about how this technology gives Genesis Block an edge, a superpower, and an unfair advantage. Let’s dive in…
Bitcoin: The First CryptocurrencyThere are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up.
Cryptocurrency is the most popular use-case of blockchain technology today. And Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented.
Bitcoin is the most decentralized of all crypto assets today — no government, company, or third party can control or censor it.Bitcoin has two primary features (as do most other cryptocurrencies):
The fact that there are so few things one can do with Bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths.Its design is simple, elegant, and focused. It has been 10+ years since Satoshi’s white paper and no one has been able to crack or hack the Bitcoin network. With a market cap of $170B, there is plenty of incentive to try.
Public AwarenessA few negative moments in Bitcoin’s history include the collapse of Mt. Gox — which resulted in hundreds of millions of customer funds being stolen — as well as Bitcoin’s role in dark markets like Silk Road — where Bitcoin arguably found its initial userbase.
However, like most breakthrough technology, Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. People can use it for good or they can use it for evil. Thankfully, it’s being used less and less for illicit activity. Criminals are starting to understand that transactions on a blockchain are public and traceable — it’s exactly the type of system they usually try to avoid. And it’s true, at this point “a lot more” crimes are actually committed with fiat than crypto.
As a result, the perception of bitcoin and cryptocurrency has been changing over the years to a more positive light.
Bitcoin has even started to enter the world of media & entertainment. It’s been mentioned in Hollywood films like Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and in songs from major artists like Eminem. It’s been mentioned in countless TV shows like Billions, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Gray’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and more.
As covid19 has ravaged economies and central banks have been printing money, Bitcoin has caught the attention of many legendary Wall Street investors like Paul Tudor Jones, saying that Bitcoin is a great bet against inflation (reminding him of Gold in the 1970s).
Cash App already lets their 25M users buy Bitcoin. It’s rumored that PayPal and Venmo will soon let their 325M users start buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency and is showing no signs of slowing down. For more than a decade it has delivered on its core use-cases — being able to send or store value.
At this point, Bitcoin has very much entered the zeitgeist of modern pop culture — at least in the West.https://preview.redd.it/dnuwbw8mfu951.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=6f1f135e3effee4574b5167901b80ced2c972bda
Ethereum: Programmable MoneyWhen Ethereum launched in 2015, it opened up a world of new possibilities and use-cases for crypto. With Ethereum Smart Contracts (i.e. applications), this exciting new digital money (cryptocurrency) became a lot less dumb. Developers could now build applications that go beyond the simple use-cases of “send value” & “store value.” They could program cryptocurrency to have rules, behavior, and logic to respond to different inputs. And always enforced by code. Additional reading on Ethereum from Linda Xie or Vitalik Buterin.
Because these applications are built on blockchain technology (Ethereum), they preserve many of the same characteristics as Bitcoin: no one can stop, censor or shut down these apps because they are decentralized.One of the first major use-cases on Ethereum was the ability to mint and create your own token, your own cryptocurrency. Many companies used this as a way to fundraise from the public. This led to the 2017 ICO bubble (Initial Coin Offerings). Some tokens — and the apps/networks they powered — were fascinating and innovative. Most tokens were pointless. And many tokens were outright scams. Additional token reading from Fred Ehrsam, Balaji, and Naval.
Digital Gold RushJust as tokens grew in popularity in 2017–2018, so did online marketplaces where these tokens could be bought, sold, and traded. This was a fledgling asset class — the merchants selling picks, axes, and shovels were finally starting to emerge.
I had a front-row seat — both as an investor and token creator. This was the Wild West with all the frontier drama & scandal that you’d expect.Binance — now the world’s largest crypto exchange —was launched during this time. They along with many others (especially from Asia) made it really easy for speculators, traders, and degenerate gamblers to participate in these markets. Similar to other financial markets, the goal was straightforward: buy low and sell high.
That period left an embarrassing stain on our industry that we’ve still been trying to recover from. It was a period rampant with market manipulation, pump-and-dumps, and scams. To some extent, the crypto industry still suffers from that today, but it’s nothing compared to what it was then.
While the potential of getting filthy rich brought a lot of fly-by-nighters and charlatans into the industry, it also brought a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs, and builders.The launch and growth of Ethereum has been an incredible technological breakthrough. As with past tech breakthroughs, it has led to a wave of innovation, experimentation, and development. The creativity around tokens, smart contracts, and decentralized applications has been fascinating to witness. Now a few years later, the fruits of those labors are starting to be realized.
DeFi: Decentralized FinanceSo as a reminder, tokens are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies can carry value. And value is a lot like money. Because tokens are natively integrated with Ethereum, it’s been natural for developers to build applications related to financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance. In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of developer momentum building in this area of financial protocols. This segment of the industry is known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
In Q2 of 2020, 97% of all Ethereum activity was DeFi-related. Total DeFi transaction volume has reached $11.5B. The current value locked inside DeFi protocols is approaching $2 Billion (double from a month ago). DeFi’s meteoric growth cannot be ignored.
Most of that growth can be attributed to exciting protocols like Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Balancer, Aave, dYdX, and Uniswap. These DeFi protocols and the financial services they offer are quickly becoming some of the most popular use-cases for blockchain technology today.
This impressive growth in DeFi certainly hasn’t come without growing pains. Unlike with Bitcoin, there are near-infinite applications one can develop on Ethereum. Sometimes bugs (or typos) can slip through code reviews, testing, and audits — resulting in loss of funds.
Our next post will go much deeper on DeFi.
Wrap UpI know that for the hardcore crypto people, what we covered today is nothing new. But for those who are still getting up to speed, welcome! I hope this was helpful and that it fuels your interest to learn more.
Until you understand the basics of this technology, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the impact that it has on our new digital bank, Genesis Block. You won’t be able to understand the implications, how it relates, or how it helps.
After today’s post, some of you probably have a lot more questions. What are specific examples or use-cases of DeFi? Why does it need to be on a blockchain? What benefits does it bring to Genesis Block and our users?
In upcoming posts, we answer these questions. Today’s post was just Level 1. It set the foundation for where we’re headed next: even deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.
Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Have you already downloaded the app? We're Genesis Block, a new digital bank that's powered by crypto & decentralized protocols. The app is live in the App Store (iOS & Android). Get the link to download at https://genesisblock.com/download
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2017 was the golden era of token sales, with cryptocurrency projects routinely raising tens of millions of dollars as investors were frantically searching for “the next Bitcoin”. The market was clearly overheated, and ICOs saw a sharp decline in 2018, both in terms of the number of projects and the amount of money raised, as prices of top cryptocurrencies were subjected to harsh price corrections.
In 2019, we’ve seen the emergence of the IEO model, which has brought some life back to the token sale space. However, IEO projects generally stick to much more conservative funding targets than what we grew accustomed to in the 2017 ICO boom.
With that context in mind, let’s take a look at the 5 biggest token sales in history and briefly describe the situation of each project.
1. EOS (over $4 billion)EOS EOS, -1.71% was the mother of all ICOs, raising over $4 billion in its year-long token sale which lasted from June 26, 2017 to June 1, 2018. The EOS mainnet launched on June 9, 2018.
EOS is a blockchain platform for smart contracts and decentralized applications that is based on a delegated proof-of-stake (DpoS) model. EOS holders stake their tokens to vote for validators, which in turn take care of the network’s consensus process.
So far, gaming and gambling are the most popular use cases for EOS, dominating the list of the most popular EOS DApps maintained by DappRadar.com. We can also find decentralized exchanges and various other DApps such as apps for chatting or receiving compensation for participating surveys.
Block.one, the firm that created the EOS.IO protocol, is currently working on a social media platform called Voice, which will function on top of EOS. In June, Block.one CEO Brandon Blumer said the company invested $150 million into the project.
EOS is currently the 7th largest crypto asset on the market, with a market capitalization of $2.65 billion. The token is changing hands at $2.85, and lost 52% of its value in the last year.
2. Telegram Open Network ($1.7 billion)When rumors started circulating that Telegram was thinking about developing a blockchain network, the entire cryptocurrency space listend. After all, the messaging app is highly popular among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, with Telegram groups being at the core of many communities.
While there were many scammers claiming to give people the opportunity to participate in Telegram’s ICO, Telegram actually only offered the tokens to accredited investors on an invite-only basis. This hardly had an impact on the project’s ability to raise money, as investors poured in a whopping $1.7 billion.
The Telegram Open Network (TON) is not actually live yet, although the project is reportedly expected to go live with its mainnet before October 31. Telegram plans to integrate TON with its messaging application, which has over 200 million active users.
3. Unus Sed Leo ($1 billion)The stunning success of Binance and its Binance Coin BNB, -3.64% token enticed countless exchanges to offer their own tokens, bringing special benefits to traders. While Bitfinex has been in the game for much longer than Binance, the exchange found itself in trouble when it could no longer access funds held on its behalf by a payment processing company called Crypto Capital. According to the New York Attorney General’s office, Bitfinex lost access to $850 million.
In response, Bitfinex decided to launch a token called Unus Sed Leo, offering 1 billion tokens at a price of 1 USDT apiece. The token sale was not open to the public, although anyone can now trade the Bitfinex Leo Token LEO, -0.54% token on supported exchanges.
The ultimate goal for the LEO token is for all the tokens in circulation to be bought back by Bitfinex and burned. Bitfinex uses at least 27% of its monthly revenues for this purpose, and also says it will use a large portion of any funds recovered from Crypto Capital or from the 2016 Bitfinex hack for the same purpose.
LEO is currently the 11th largest cryptocurrency, and retains a market cap of $1.03 billion. The token is currently trading at $1.03, but reached an all-time high at $2 on June 26.
4. TaTaTu ($575 million)The strange name is not the only curious thing about the TaTaTu project. It was founded by Andrea Iervolino, an Italian film producer, and the company says that it raised $575 million in a 2018 sale of TTU tokens. The private sale reportedly included royalty and venture capital firms.
TaTaTu is perhaps best described as a variant of Netflix that uses the TTU token to incentivize both content producers and viewers. TTU tokens can be used to buy advertising or buy products in an online store.
However, it seems that TaTaTu does not have major plans connected to blockchain technology. As part of a CoinDesk report from June, the publication asked TaTaTu if it was a blockchain company. The firm responded:
“Not at all. We have one blockchain component in our system.”According to the report, the project’s pivot away from blockchain has caused conflicts with the project’s early backers and co-founders, who feel that TaTaTu’s current direction does not adhere to the project’s original vision.
5. Filecoin ($257 million)Filecoin raised $257 million through selling future rights to FIL tokens in 2017. The project is creating a decentralized network that allows users to rent out excess storage and receive tokens in return.
Despite the huge token sale, Filecoin is not live yet. However, the team has recently announced estimated dates for the launch of both the Filecoin testnet and mainnet. If everything goes according to plan, we can expect the Filecoin testnet in December of 2019 and the mainnet in March of 2020.
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