This week we’re talking about NFTs — that’s right, non-fungible tokens and we’re joined by Mikeal Rogers, who’s leading all things InterPlanetary Linked Data at Protocol Labs. We go down the NFT rabbit hole on a very technical level and we come out the other side with clarity and a compelling use of NFTs.
The NFT Canon is a go-to resource for artists and creators, developers, corporations and institutions, communities and other organizations seeking to understand or do more with non-fungible tokens.
It’s a curated list of readings and resources on all things NFTs (inspired by the a16z Crypto Canon), and is organized from the big picture of what NFTs are and why they matter, to how to mint, collect, and do more with them — including various applications such as art, music, gaming, social tokens, and others.
We will continue to update this as more people try out new things, share their work, or publish resources for learning about NFTs. If you have suggestions for quality pieces to add, let us know @a16z.
A good resource and primer for our upcoming NFT episode of The Changelog with Mikeal Rogers.
A new cryptojacking worm, named Graboid, has been spread into more than 2,000 Docker hosts, according to the Unit 42 researchers from Palo Alto Networks. This is the first time such a piece of malware has spread via containers within the Docker Engine (specifically docker-ce).
Scary stuff, and (at the moment) difficult to detect & prevent:
We’ve reached a point with containers where security must be constantly on the front burner. Antivirus and anti-malware applications currently have no means of analyzing and cleaning containers and container images. That’s the heart of the issue.
Graboid may be the first malware to target containers, but it certainly won’t be the last.
Facebook, VISA, Uber, and A16Z (amongst others) have officially announced their cryptocurrency:
Reinvent money. Transform the global economy. So people everywhere can live better lives.
Color me skeptical. Not of the value of cryptocurrencies writ large, but in the actors and entities behind this particular coin. One thing I believe to be true, though: ten years from now our idea of (and interaction with) money will be dramatically different than it is today.
Another beautifully designed tech product with Pentagram steering the visual design (see my post from last week) – this time aimed at introducing kids to the world of Cryptocurrency. For some reason this feels Black Mirror-esque, but what doesn’t these days?
A collaboration with fintech start-up company Pigzbe, the new work wants to help “children and their families learn the principles of 21st century finance through cryptocurrency savings and hands-on play.” Sure beats settling down to all 704 pages of Thomas Piketty’s economic tome Capital.
The project is currently on Kickstarter. If you have kids, maybe consider backing it? (Just don’t put all of their college savings into it and expect that to pan out.)
The next big thing for Gitcoin might be coming out of their announcement of Gitcoin Labs. In their words, Gitcoin Labs is “R&D for Busy Developers.”
We are excited to expand upon Austin Griffith’s work in the ecosystem, and to formalize it into Gitcoin Labs, which will be a service that provides Research Reports and Toolkits for Busy Developers.
This week Adam and Jerod talk with Brian Bondy, Co-founder and CTO of Brave. They talked through the beginnings of Brave and how BAT (Basic Attention Token) could be driving the future of how we offer funding and tips to our favorite websites and content creators. Of course, they go deep into the historical and the technical details of the Brave browser and their march to Brave 1.0. The last segment of the show covers how BAT works, how it’s being used, and also their interesting spin on an ad model that respects the user’s privacy.
This news is a few weeks old now, but I’ve been tracking the ups and downs of the crypto markets for a while now — especially after we had those crazy highs in Q4 2017. Everyone was rushing to get theirs and loose it — after-all, it’s so simple to get in, right?!
Of course, putting some effort into mining Bitcoin or Ethereum isn’t a bad thing, but c’mon, dropping all of your savings into the Bitcoin bucket is not a smart move. Tread carefully.
Bloomberg is citing a sell-off of Bitcoin, Ether, and dozens of smaller digital tokens. The “crypto exodus” is happening due to a “sense of panic” hitting crypto investors. It’s been a brutal August for Bitcoin and Ether, with Bitcoin touching below $6,000.
“The big story in the market today is the huge weakness in Ethereum,” Timothy Tam, chief executive officer of CoinFi said in a phone interview — “Bitcoin has held up relatively well versus Ethereum. It’s still quite weak versus the U.S. dollar.”
While cryptocurrencies rallied in July on hopes that a Bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund would attract new investors, U.S. regulators have yet to sign off on multiple proposals for such a product. The letdown has coincided with growing concern that entrepreneurs who raised crypto-denominated funds via initial coin offerings (ICO) are now cashing out of holdings such as Ether, the token for the Ethereum blockchain that is a popular platform for crypto projects.
What do you think? Are you selling, buying, or holding?
Eric Holthaus writes for Grist:
Bitcoin’s energy footprint has more than doubled since Grist first wrote about it six months ago. It’s expected to double again by the end of the year… And if that happens, Bitcoin would be gobbling up 0.5 percent of the world’s electricity, about as much as the Netherlands.
I can’t be the only one paying attention to Bitcoin’s rise in energy usage…
That’s a troubling trajectory, especially for a world that should be working overtime to root out energy waste and fight climate change. By late next year, Bitcoin could be consuming more electricity than all the world’s solar panels currently produce — about 1.8 percent of global electricity… That would effectively erase decades of progress on renewable energy.
Scam shouldn’t be used as a label for Bitcoin at large, but the hype machine and pump-and-dump schemes around Bitcoin are most certainly teetering on the lines of being a scam.
Bill Harris, former CEO of Intuit and founding CEO of PayPal and Personal Capital, writes:
Promoters claim cryptocurrency is valuable as (1) a means of payment, (2) a store of value and/or (3) a thing in itself. None of these claims are true.
- Means of Payment. Bitcoins are accepted almost nowhere, and some cryptocurrencies nowhere at all. Even where accepted, a currency whose value can swing 10 percent or more in a single day is useless as a means of payment.
- Store of Value. Extreme price volatility also makes bitcoin undesirable as a store of value. And the storehouses — the cryptocurrency trading exchanges — are far less reliable and trustworthy than ordinary banks and brokers.
- Thing in Itself. A bitcoin has no intrinsic value. It only has value if people think other people will buy it for a higher price — the Greater Fool theory.
Betteridge’s law of headlines would say “No”, but this isn’t a headline. It’s a tool that analyzes how truly decentralized cryptocurrency networks are. And yet, the answer still appears to be “No”.
Which network is the least centralized? Check the results and let us know what you think.
a fast command-line interface application for viewing cryptocurrency stats and information in your terminal.
This repository is essentially for compiling information about Cypherpunks, the history of the movement, and the people/events of note.
This is quite the compilation, including everything from mailing list archives to notable actors cryptography primers.
We’re joined by Kevin Owocki, the founder of Gitcoin. Gitcoin is a platform to monetize or incentivize work in open source software. We talked about how Gitcoin sits at the intersection of sustaining open source and cryptocurrencies, their history and roadmap, their decision to leverage the brand name of Git, bug bounties, funded issues, web3, MetaMask, and the future of Gitcoin and how open source benefits.
For Stripe, Bitcoin isn’t scaling well to make it “useful for payments,” and it’s expensive in both time and money to process transactions. However, Tom Karlo said “Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited as an asset rather than a means of exchange.”
A line in the sand has been drawn for Bitcoin as a useful payment currency.
Therefore, starting today, we are winding down support for Bitcoin payments. Over the next three months we will work with affected Stripe users to ensure a smooth transition before we stop processing Bitcoin transactions on April 23, 2018.
Clearly the value of Bitcoin is still there as an asset. It’s just not working out (for Stripe) as a means of exchange for payments. Though they remain optimistic.
Despite this, we remain very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall.
Tom also provided some insights to where things are heading for crypto and payments.
We may add support for Stellar (to which we provided seed funding) if substantive use continues to grow. It’s possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low.
a command-line cryptocurrency trading bot using Node.js and MongoDB.
This is on version 4, so a boat load of effort has been invested in this tool. In light of that, I find this statement from their README funny and somewhat sad:
Zenbot 4 is functional, but is having trouble reliably making profit. At this point, I would recommend against trading with large amounts …
Curated collection of blockchain and cryptocurrency resources.
Not too many awesome podcasts in this list…
Crypto markets are still in their infancy and analysis tooling is limited. This seems like a cause that is ripe for the open source community to help solve. Until then, here’s a Google Sheets hack to get you 80% of the way there.
Old dogs really can learn new tricks:
a smart contract language that compiles to Bitcoin Script
Give Ivy a test drive in the Ivy Playground for Bitcoin.
an open-source network that allows anyone to allocate spare computing resources to make the internet a free and fair place for the entire world.
Cool idea. Get paid via cryptocurrency for serving web content for others on the network.
This is a deep-dive in to Crypto Kitties’ smart contracts to learn (and try to change) how the kitties’ genes are determined. Utterly fascinating stuff.
If you’re like me…
…you’ve probably been ignoring the bitcoin phenomenon for years — because it seemed too complex, far-fetched, or maybe even too libertarian. But if you have any interest in a future where the world moves beyond fossil fuels, you and I should both start paying attention now.
We should be paying attention because the energy usage behind Bitcoin is astounding.
What they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become. Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. What’s more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and it’s getting worse.
Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. The aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined. The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge — an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year.