You can "get" a PhD in eighty books. 5 books per semester, 4 years undergrad and 4 years grad. 2 * 5 * (4 + 4) = 80.— Dillon Chen (@dillchen) November 1, 2017
If you read "Confessions of a Sociopath", you will wear the sociopaths mask. For some, you may that it fits your face perfectly. You may gain answers to some pesky questions that you’ve always wondered about yourself. If not, you may be disgusted and off put, but you will certainly wonder more about the man on the train with a certain glint in his eye. What is he thinking? How does he feel—if anything?
- Music -> piracy (zero cost distribution) + lower production cost = free initially, but now SaaS model, litigious for sure.
- Movies -> high production costs, lower discovery/distribution cost = SaaS model (Netflix)
- Banking -> high production/integration cost = Now have an API for this. We have Stripe.
- Housing -> high production cost, high discovery cost = Marketplace Model (Airbnb)
Right now, we've only got people doing forks. Forks are important, they allow for experimentation on the rule sets, however, they potentially may reduce the overall network effect of any single token. Forks are really good because they align incentives between the people who have already done work on the master chain. In the example of ETH and ETC, we argue that it's a feature that the Ethereum Foundation automatically held ETH and ETC without their permission. They could gain in economic value of another development team. The new development team wins because they get an input customer set, the set of pub-priv key pairs that already holds ETH. This is a subtle shift in incentives, we'll write more about this later...
- Policy experimentation within a federal system of government. I.e. adoption of a precursor to the Affordable Care Act before it became national law.
- Startups as new entrants that can be acquired or grow to be large companies.
- Spin offs from large corporations. Standard Oil became several smaller companies and Rockefeller was richer for it.
- Mitochondria being swallowed to become the powerhouse of the cell.
In blockchain terms, you could conceive of merge mining as extended uncle resolution. In the GHOST Protocol, the individual uncle hash power is added to the winning block's score. Uncle miner still is incentivized, they get some proportion of the block reward. Likewise, people who contribute to the "losing token" are still incentivized. When you think of merging chains, you're still incentivizing a smaller chain's absorption into the larger chain. While protocols can directly implement the necessary hard/soft forks to include the rule set change of a fork, they won't have the now differentiated userbase etc.
There are two methods for potentially doing a merge for tokens (and probably more that we haven't thought of).
The first method is pegging a token A to token B.
- Agree on a price/exchange rate for A:B
- Oracle to determine price
- Hash power signaling/ratio
- Market pricing on exchanges
- Hard fork both protocols to have the same block + rule set
- Enforce a specific block height for the rule change, include the pegged price ratio
- Price converges
- Before the rule set is implemented, people are free to trade out of token B
- Allow for atomic cross chain swaps
- Using Decred or 0x → hard code this into the rule set change
- Agree on a price/exchange ratio for A:B
- Oracle to determine price
- Hash power signaling/ratio
- Market pricing on exchanges
- Acquire buy out funds for A to purchase B
- Post a public address where all B tokens can be sent to
- Before the rule set is implemented, people are free to trade out of token B
- Burn the B tokens, each B token holder, will get the amount of agreed upon amount of token A proportion to how much they sent to the specified address
Roadblocks to putting this in practice.
Also, as we see in centralized mergers and acquisitions, the larger company often has to purchase the shares of the smaller company at a price premium. We'll have to establish a better pricing mechanism beyond hash power and other matters. Ari Paul and Chris Buniske have been doing a lot of great work in fundamental valuations for this.
- Data to determine cash/token on hand
2/ One of the biggest weaknesses in my whole methodology right now is the discount rate for #cryptoassets. It's more-or-less arbitrary— Chris Burniske (@cburniske) June 17, 2017
- Fundamental Valuations
Real World Procotols That Could Benefit.
These wouldn't just have to be currency tokens, you could potentially also merge utility tokens as well. For example, looking at Sia and Filecoin. If Filecoin were to establish a dominant market cap and share position, it might behoove them to purchase the Sia network. An additional step would need to be taken. Individuals would need to, before they can acquire any of token A, transfer their files over to the new blockchain. Once this is performed, they can claim their Filecoin token.
- Small cap token mergers
- Prediction markets (Augur and Gnosis)
- File storage markets (Filecoin, Sia, and Storj)
- BTC variant mergers (BTC, LTC, BCC)
Look here as well
Hard-spoon: a new chain that takes into account state from an existing chain; not to compete, but to provide broad access @VitalikButerin— jae kwon (@jaekwon) September 15, 2017
How can a blockchain gracefully terminate? Can it just pass on its assets somehow to a succeeding blockchain?— Andrew Miller [YES2X (@socrates1024) August 23, 2017
- Storage -> Filecoin, Sia, Storj
- Computation -> Golem, Truebit, and other things?? vs something else
- Bandwidth -> Source, or some other wifi coin.
- Economic value (staking/tokens) -> Ethereum, you transform it to other tokens, lock it in RanDAO, or stake a Livepeer node.
- Purchasing new tokens -> NEO, DASH etc.
- Crypto Hedge Funds -> Prism
- Layer 2 Protocols -> Lightning Network, Raiden, Plasma, Polkadot.
Since crypto assets are extremely liquid and can be instantaneously changed into some other digital asset, it's tempting to do so. Unless you're a day trader in the top 1%, you'll probably lose money. With all the complexity in dealing with crypto assets, a person's best bet is usually to hold, or rather HODL. In this case, individuals are hoping that the base crypto asset that they purchase appreciates in the future. HODLing is basically stashing your coins under your mattress, which many of my friends have expressed as their dominant investment strategy.
However, if we compare this to a traditional asset like cash, that can earn interest by sitting in a bank, stashing your cryptos under a mattress doesn't seem too enticing. No one's really figured out a way to earn interest by HODLing for this, of course, we’re not the only ones to have this thought.
Lending Right Now
- Staked mining on Ethereum
- Things that let you earn money -> RanDAO, Swarm
- Staked level 2 (Raiden or other things)
- Delegated staking on protocols that share this design
- Exchanges to provide liquidity in general, and for margin trading.
- Operating a 0x node
- Augur/prediction markets
- Numeraire -> (if I really believe my model is superior), then I should go out and purchase token
- But what if I don’t have assets???
- NEO -> interest for holding token
- Node operators -> Lightning Network/Truebit/Coinjoin-as-a-service
- Polkadot/other scalability tokens
And that’s about it! Thanks for reading.
Here are a few things that we don't know. If you are working on any of them, I'd be curious to learn more.
- What consciousness is and feels like to other entities that are not ourselves
- How the components of our brains work together to remember, generalize, learn, and act
- How to safely augment our mental capabilities
- How to create machines that can remember, generalize, learn, and act
- How we can do this safely
- How to create robots that can generalize and can act in a home
- How to best help those suffering from mental illnesses
- How to safely create powerful electronics that can remain inside the body indefinitely
- How to reverse dementia, CBT, Alzheimer's, and more
- How to reverse cancer
- How to reverse heart disease
- Why we keep getting fat and how to stop it
- The best way to reverse diabetes (and other metabolic disorders)
- The root causes of aging
- How to measure biological age
- How to model the large-scale systems of biology
- How to cheaply mass produce DNA
- We don’t know how to rearrange biological components to do useful things in a safe manner
- We don’t know how what individual biological components do at various times
- A cheap, safe, precise way of delivering drugs or other biologics
- A safer, cheaper way of developing treatments
- The best way of keeping good monopolies (those that create lots of consumer surplus early in their lifetime) and turn into rent-seeking organizations later in their lifetime
- How to accurately model large-scale social systems
- We don’t know the best way to organize and make decision at a scale of 7+ billion people
- The best way of solving the tragedy of the commons
- Climate change
- Climate change
- How to organize large-scale groups of people, capital, and knowledge in systems to create value
- How to correctly allocate resources to those doing research
- The best method of learning, an inefficient and difficult process and sometime unenjoyable process even for the smart and self-motivated
- The best way to motivate people to stay happy, work on interesting problems, and to contribute to society
- How to scale-up self-sustaining fusion reactions
- How to scale up generalized quantum computation
- What lies beyond our universe
- What the fundamental nature of our reality, at the lowest levels
- If the universe, at the lowest levels is continuous or discrete
- How to get a lot of people off the planet onto another planet safely
- How to get minerals and other resources from off the planet onto the planet
Media when concentrated in a few individuals or the state has always been subject to censorship/influence whether by direct action or inaction. Western Union, China, and Napoleon are a few prominent examples. Now we have Facebook. The press lauded Facebook and Twitter when it influenced the Arab Spring, but is chafing at social media’s power now that it’s come to influence our politics in the States.
- Users proactively change feed, because people don’t shift from their default option.
- Tweaking the algorithm. We’ve seen with SEO and Google, this is just an arms race.
- We can use traditional anti-trust regulation.
- Iron rules of information economies, everything tends towards monopoly because of network effects and zero marginal cost of distribution
- Smaller groups of people might become more of an echo chamber
- We could turn Facebook (and Twitter) into public utilities/non-profit
- This returns to issue of who controls it. If it the government, this would always be at risk of turning into a propaganda machine.
- If it another rich billionaire, it runs the same issues as traditional media organizations (as well as Facebook).
|Blockchain Social Apps|
|Front End||One (Money made up here with ads)||One (Money made up here with ads)||Many|
|Token/access to data||None||None||Money made down here with increasing data/users|
|Data/Blockchain||Have to guard this||Free to share||Share freely/forkable|
College is a pretty stressful and uncertain time. And if you’ve heard anything about how cut-throat an environment Penn is, then you know how much people worry about their futures. Am I freaking out a bit? Are my friends freaking out a bit? Yea. But this essay isn’t about commiserating that experience directly. It’s about what we do when we face these uncertain times. Usually, we look for answers on Google, in churches, older peers, parents, and even fortune cookies. We look to anyone and anything that might have pertinent advice. Yet for all the so-called advice we get, why doesn’t much of it seem to stick?
Take advice from people whose shoes people want to be in. The future is indeterminate. In ten years, I could see myself as a startup entrepreneur, a VC, or even doing something in public policy. Therefore the cross-section of people that I'd seek advice career advice from is large. After asking and compiling advice from multiple sources, I try to discern the experience behind the advice, look for ways in which the advice breaks, make sure the incentives of people dispensing advice align with mine, and not ask for more advice before changing my own behavior. And in the case that their advice conflicts, as it often will, I will just go with my gut. I do this because I know that it probably either I'm asking for the wrong advice or that the decision point of the advice leads is inconsequential, or both. Not overanalyzing the situation can be tough when deciding whether or not to drop out of school. In the case that their own actions conflict with their own advice, it matters even less what course of action we take. Advice is just a data point as every situation is different. Being able to live with your decision is what's most important in the end (Thanks Demps).
Sometime during the summer, a friend of mine questioned if young founders (let's say younger than 26) would be able to develop the biggest startups of the future. The argument was that startups of the future will trend towards hard tech. Technologies like biotech, robotics, AI, and material science each take years to build domain expertise, not to mention capital intensive. Both those form barriers for young founders to get started. Contrast this with the recent history of companies centered in information technology/internet startups. We all have the image of genius hacker developing applications as a teenager. This was (and still is) an open industry, where the tools for development are literally on everyone's desktop. With all that said, it sounds like we have to say goodbye to the garage startup. So are there any reasons for us to be optimistic about the young founder of the future?
In the past 20 years, there have been many examples of student founders. Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Woz, and Steve Jobs all come to mind. Yet, it's hard to think of examples that stretch outside of this range, but we should fall prey to availability bias.
- Age of Steam and Railways: Éleuthère Irénée du Pont founded DuPont at 30, Rowland Hussey Macy founded Macy's at 21, Hebert Henry Dow founded Dow Chemical at 24
- Age of Electricity, Steel: Alexander Graham Bell founded Bell at 27, Fred C. Koch founded Koch Industries at 25, Cornelius Vanderbilt started in the railroad business at 19, Samuel Goldwyn founded Paramount at 24, William Fox founded 20th Century Fox at age 26
- Age of Oil, Automobile, and Highways: John D Rockefeller founded Standard Oil at age 23, J.C.Penney founded J.C.Penney at 27, Henry Ford founded his first of many car companies at 33, Howard Hughes started his motion picture and airline empire at 22
- Age of Finance and Mass Consumer Credit: Phil Knight founded Nike at age 26, Ray Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates at 26, Sam Walton (of Sam's Club and Walmart) took over his first retail store at 26
- And just for fun, this trend of young founders extends to that of the founding of the United States. James Monroe, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, and Betsy Ross all ranged from 18 to 21 years old.
"The first set comprises problems that are solved by an emotional state (poetry, painting), by loading a very difficult single framework into your head (math, physics, coding), and / or competition (driven by sex drive and time-sensitive). The latter set are more rational, are systems problems rather than point problems, and don’t have time-sensitive competition. " - Naval
"Modern entrepreneurship, especially web entrepreneurship, is extremely competitive / time sensitive, requires enormous amounts of iteration even withina single product life-cycle, and often requires solving many challenging technicaland business problems one after the other in a public view (with the opposite sex watching). So, it favors the young and single." - Naval
- CRISPR -> 10x easier to gene edit anything "“With CRISPR, literally overnight what had been the biggest frustration of my career turned into an undergraduate side project,” says Reed, of Cornell University. “It was incredible.”
- Desktop gene sequencing -> 10x cheaper and faster to analyze your genome
- Cloud experimentation platforms -> 10x faster/cheaper way to run and scale. I compiled some other bio related advancements here.
- AI applied to VR Content Dev -> 10x faster generation of scenery and characters
- Open Source CS -> 10x more stable and useful software... for free
- Physics/material science/chemistry/protein folding -> 10x faster experiments with computer simulation (just wait for quantum computers)
- Bitcoin/cryptocurrency -> 10x better way to incentivize open protocol adoption.
After a founder uses those basic tools of infrastructure to find an idea that looks like it could be impactful they leverage new funding mechanisms to can scale more quickly. The funding of innovative ideas has long been concentrated in the hands of a few. Governments once reigned supreme in funding things, as we became wealthier this trickled down to wealthy individuals, then to professional risk investors, and now to individuals in the form of crowd sales, Kickstarters, and most recently app-coin sales. If you accept the idea no one can judge innovation at the earliest of stages--that VCs and angels are using basic heuristics to cull bad startups as opposed to picking winners--then new funding mechanisms can. Free flow of capital through crowdfunding, more diversified risk at the seed stage benefits allows for more companies to get created.
- the nature of innovation in has always skewed young
- and will the composition of entrepreneurship stay the same change (more geared towards fluid and less towards crystallized)
- the inputs of entrepreneurship are increasingly getting easy for young entrepreneurs to access ie: knowledge.
- the tools of development and capital are easier for anyone to acquire
Before finals last year, I traveled to Belize to escape school. I felt the full force of the 100% humidity and the sun beating down on our backs at a scalding 97 degrees. Trouble began to brew as our car rental fell through. It wasn't turning out to be the relaxing getaway we thought it'd be. Luckily, we got a car from Pauncho's, a local car rental service, at double the normal insurance premium. We soon pulled away the airport, and set our sites on a long drive.
Belize is undeniably beautiful. Glancing up from the road, I caught glimpses of lush greenery and huge mountains in the distance. And later in the trip, we spent time in a rainforest tree house, surrounded by the all the coos and croaks from all sides. However, this beauty was juxtaposed by the conditions of the towns we visited. I saw weather-worn houses and one-room schools deprived of access to internet. On the trip, we paid a huge premium for this privilege: $70 for a hotspot and 2GB of data. This was a luxury that many of the people I was surrounded by wouldn't be able to acquire. While meditating on that, I caught up with the connected world.
I read about how solar energy was spreading around the developing world due to low-cost Chinese panels and about the new release of the 21 Bitcoin Computer. The "21" press release had a quote that stuck with me--"a miner in every chip and device". Sometime while reading this article, a flash of inspiration hit. I envisioned an integrated system to give access to the internet and electricity for free--a solar panel, embedded cryptocurrency miner, battery, and Wifi/3G access point. We would give the device and internet services away for free and earn money by mining cryptocurrency with free solar-generated electricity.
While we have 5 billion phones on the planet, developing nations around the world not only pay the highest costs per capita for smartphone usage but also for merely powering those phones. We know that the smartphone is everyone's gateway to the internet. However, the internet that you and I use at home is not what those in the developing world use. Phones are often unable to update their firmware because the cost of that download alone would eat up an entire month of data. Data plans can cost as much as 37% of a worker's salary per month in the developing world, and in rural areas, this is even more stark. These areas often don't have access to cellular service at all. I know this not only from months living in my ancestral farm town in China but also from this recent experience in Belize.
I recently ran a back of the envelope model to test the feasibility of this design. Thanks to increasing solar panel efficiency, decreasing hardware costs, cheap computing power, new 4G/LTE/Wifi satellites, and Bitcoin, the numbers seem to work. We could potentially give everyone in the world access to today's essential utilities--free internet, electricity, and access to a global financial system. Who knows if this idea will end up working, but the potential seems pretty great :) If anyone has any info to invalidate this idea, please do so; in the meantime, I'll be learning more about the crypto price dynamics, satellite internet, and reliability of hotspots. Then moving on to building a prototype!