Bits and stuff: cathedrals and more… December 10, 2017

If any of you have ever taken a mooc (massive open online course), you’ll know the compelling power of having good quality teaching of a vast range of subjects at just a couple of clicks away. Access to that kind of wealth is intoxicating, and can be the black hole of time management. A couple of years ago I was a total addict, at one point enrolled in about 15, from institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, University of Edinburgh…

Needless to say, I didn’t complete them all, but I did get through a fair number. Most of my choices were in programming, economics and finance, but, surprisingly, the ones I enjoyed the most (and most remember) were the ones from “left field”, nothing to do with my training or profession. I especially recommend “How to Change the World” from Wesleyan, and “Digital Education” from the University of Edinburgh, if they ever put them on again.

I bring this up because today I started a new one, the first mooc I’ve felt brave enough to sign up for since I started work at CoinDesk. By “brave”, I mean willing to struggle with the time management issues – there are only so many hours in the day, and many things take priority over scratching a curiosity itch, however enlightening it may be. In so doing, I realized how much I missed scratching that curiosity itch, and how much more interesting the world is when we have the luxury of doing so. Also, how intertwined different disciplines are, and how big pictures emerge through seemingly unrelated connections.

The course I’ve started is “Cathedrals”, from Yale University, available on Coursera. I’m not religious, I’ve never been particularly fascinated with cathedrals before, but I’m married to someone who is and I’ve wandered around more than I can count.

So why did I sign up? I didn’t know at the time – it just felt like something that I needed to do. But now that I’ve started, I realize why: it’s the desire for context. Just two chapters in, it’s already about engineering, history, religion and philosophy. And already it’s tying in to reading I’ve been doing about economic development and how money evolved.

I’ve also realized that it’s one thing to gape in awe at the beauty and splendour of gothic structures. It’s another to understand how they came to be, what purpose they served and why so many are still standing today, centuries later.

So, while a course on cathedrals may sound fusty, it’s not. It’s modern and eye-opening, and I’m loving it.

notre dame

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The course also taught me a new word: cephalophore. It means “saint carrying his own head”. I challenge you to use that in a sentence.

— x —

Angela Walch (@angela_walch) is serialising an update of The Christmas Carol, faithful to the original style but with modern characters and a moral that is disconcertingly not too different from the original.

Parts 1 & 2 here.

— x —

Sticking with the cathedrals theme, take a look at this installation of stained glass “ribbons” in a San Francisco cathedral… Magical.

stained glass ribbons

(Installation by Anne Patterson, image by Fiestaban Photography, via MyModernMet)

 

Bits and stuff: panels, politics and pastry – December 4, 2017

And so a whirlwind November draws to a close. As predicted, Web Summit was intense – the best part for me was catching up with some great people, making new friends and having many memorable conversations. I thoroughly enjoyed the panels I was on, and hats off to the organizers for coordinating such a massive event.

websummit

Last week I was on a panel (there are soooo many blockchain conferences these days) at The Blockchain Summit in London. Although I lived in London for a few years, I’d never been to the Olympia center before. Big. Packed. I especially enjoyed the round tables, and recommend to all conference organizers that you set some up – small, intimate groups discussing predetermined topics.

blockchain summit panel

As I mentioned before, I no longer do the newsletters for CoinDesk – the Daily has been taken over by editor Pete Rizzo, and the weekly is in the capable hands of managing editor Marc Hochstein. He’s doing a brilliant job, and the takeaway essay in yesterday’s email is excellent – if you don’t get the weekly newsletters (what????), look out for it on the CoinDesk website.

I’m embarking on a month-long sabbatical to finish a research project, focus on reading and catch up on some learning. Already the month is going by too quickly.

In January I re-join CoinDesk to work on new products. It’ll be interesting…

— x —

The Financial Times is upping its blockchain coverage, both in quantity and quality. It used to be just the Alphaville team (specifically Izabella Kaminska) that produced insightful and original comment – but now a slew of sections are casting their gaze on the concept. Unsurprisingly, the focus is on bitcoin, the ingenuous darling of the investment market. And while they lack Izabella’s caustic aspersions on the blockchain hype, they are (in general) doing a fairly good job of conveying the surreal protagonism of cryptoassets.

Gary Silverman, Hannah Murphy and John Authers gave a good overview of bitcoin as an investment, conveying that even professionals don’t seem to understand it.

And capital markets editor Miles Johnson attempted to extract some political meaning from the tea leaves of bitcoin mania.

“Financial professionals who fail to comprehend why someone would risk their wealth investing in bitcoin when it appears to them so obviously to be a bubble can be compared with the political analysts who believed it was impossible the UK would vote to leave the EU.”

— x —

The South China Morning Post, however, misses the point completely by contrasting bitcoin’s “lack of residual value” with the utility inherent in copper, silver and gold.

True, metals can be used for things. But so can bitcoin: it’s a secure means of transferring information without relying on a central authority. That is useful, arguably more so than pretty jewellery (and most industrial uses are being innovated away by new synthetic materials).

— x —

When I head outside for some exercise these days, I’m listening to the audiobook of “Sapiens”, by Yuvah Noah Harari. It’s surprising how different the listening experience is from reading – I’m noticing totally different points. That could, however, just be down to my erratic attention span…

Anyway, last night the following jumped out at me – the conquistadors have just invaded Mexico, and the Aztec natives are perplexed as to why they keep jabbering on about a certain yellow metal:

“What was so important about a metal that could not be eaten, drunk or woven, and was too soft to use for tools or weapons? When the natives questioned Cortés as to why the Spaniards had such a passion for gold, the conquistador answered, ‘Because I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart which can be cured only with gold.’”

This ties in with my previous point about intrinsic value. Metals have some utility, yes. But most of their market value comes from the fiction (by that I mean “invented reality”) that they’re pretty.

I think gold is pretty. But I think clear water is prettier. A sunset, a butterfly, an orange maple leaf… they’re prettier, also – in my opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no?

It could be argued that metals are more durable, therefore they are a much better store of “prettiness”. And that’s a fair point, assuming that durability of “prettiness” warrants such a premium over utility.

But it’s not much different from the rationale that bitcoin’s premium is due to perceived value, not residual usefulness. So, why is one totally rational but the other is “market madness”?

As Harari explains, the Aztecs – who did not see gold as scarce – were puzzled by the aliens’ lust for it. So, while I don’t pretend to be able to justify bitcoin’s current market value, I would like us to stop holding gold up as an asset/safe haven/store of value that “makes sense”.

— x —

Bloomberg is also upping their crypto game, and that’s from an already high level.

As well as an argument for central bank cryptocurrencies and a summary of the positions of the warring bitcoin factions, the Gadfly column gave a good explanation of why the emergence of liquid bitcoin futures markets could explain the price buoyancy.

— x —

From the stratospheric to the sublime, Bloomberg also shows us how a renowned Parisian pastry chef is creating sweet delicacies that look like apples, and taste like apples, too.

image by Céline Clane for Bloomberg (click for link)
image by Céline Clane for Bloomberg (click for link)

I’m all for culinary experimentation, but I can’t help but wonder why, if what we want is something that looks and tastes like an apple, we don’t just eat an apple.

That said, they are gorgeous. I do love the spectacle. And I wouldn’t say no to trying one.

Bits and stuff: talks, takes and transparency – November 1, 2017

You’ll have noticed that there hasn’t been much activity here in October – too much overwhelm from other areas. Priorities are being juggled.

I chaired The Blockchain Summit in London yesterday. The organizers Marketforce did a great job – an excellent event, stimulating and knowledgeable speakers from a wide range of experiences. We had executives, technologists and entrepreneurs talking both big picture and small applications.

blockchain summit

There were a lot of fresh faces up on stage, too, people who know a lot but who I hadn’t heard speak before. I confess that I wasn’t paying full attention to the talks, since the next panel’s questions needed formulating, but there are some presentations that I will be going over again. Vinay Gupta’s opening keynote did not disappoint, and the LSE Group’s David Harris revealed a lot of stuff I didn’t know (and am particularly interested in) – he’s a fun speaker, too. Peter Stephens from UBS gave a thought-provoking talk on identity – I would have like to pay more attention to that. There were many other highlights, too many to mention them all.

The audience seemed to be knowledgeable and focused, and I met some fascinating people from several countries. That’s one of the aspects I most love about these gatherings – meeting smart individuals with smart questions, everyone coming at this from a different angle.

Claudia Coppenolle gave an eye-opening talk on diversity
Claudia Coppenolle gave an eye-opening talk on diversity

— x —

Now I’m off Stockholm for a brief break, then Lisbon for WebSummit (which should be intense).

There’ll be lots to talk about when I get back, that’s for sure. Assuming my brain still works.

— x —

My article on CoinDesk this week, on why banks don’t want to give accounts to cryptocurrency startups:

It’s my last weekly opinion column. And Sunday’s newsletter was my last for CoinDesk. I handed over the daily newsletters to our Editor in Chief Pete Rizzo a while ago. Next week our Managing Editor Marc Hochstein takes over the weekly. It’s in good hands.

My last day at CoinDesk is the end of November. As for what I’m going to do afterwards, I’m not sure yet – plenty of ideas, some interesting options, but no firm decisions yet. I’ve always believed that the big decisions sort of make themselves, so we’ll see where inspiration strikes.

— x —

An interesting take on bitcoin and ethereum from investor Albert Wenger.

“In summary then: for the time being I am cautiously bullish on Bitcoin and at best neutral on Ethereum.”

Obviously, Albert knows much, much more than I do about investments – but why hold on to something when you are “at best” neutral? It doesn’t sound like optimal allocation – even if neutral, shouldn’t the funds be put to better use in an investment with more conviction?

Perhaps ideology is in play…

— x —

… perhaps something along these lines:

“People who are angry and cynical about venture capitalists and the Silicon Valley ecosystem — and I know many — often don’t appreciate the extent to which VCs genuinely believe, in good faith, that what they do makes the world an enormously better place, by nurturing green shoots of innovation into a mighty forest of progress, and are genuinely baffled by the counter-narrative that they reinforce pre-existing social stratification while mostly just helping the rich get richer.”

This is from Jon Evans’ brilliant article “Ether fever dreams” on TechCrunch, about hype and winnowing.

— x —

Venture capitalist Fred Wilson also poked the hype:

“If you read Carlota Perez, you will understand that most important technological revolutions have been fueled by rampant speculation that almost always comes undone right as the sector is moving from the installation phase to the deployment phase.”

Although he takes a more emotional tone:

“So this ugly speculative phase comes with the territory and always has. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I hate it.”

So, it seems that the hype-bashing is increasing in volume. Relief, bring it on. And I agree that when we get through to the other side, we’ll realize that some valuable work has been going on amongst the razzle-dazzle.

The next phase is going to be the most interesting.

— x —

This just doesn’t seem right:

photo by Grant Achatz
photo by Grant Achatz, via MyModernMet

A transparent pumpkin pie???? Very pretty, but… Although I work in a sector based on innovation, so of course I would try it. But… (I need to reexamine my open-mindedness.)

By chef Simon Davies, via MyModernMet.

Bits and stuff: incumbents, matching and satire – Oct 16, 2017

Quartz’s John Detrixhe interviewed ex-Barclays CEO Anthony Jenkins, and the result makes for compelling reading. Since he jumped across the chasm from big bank to startup (his company sells cloud services to banks), his take on the balance between disruptors and incumbents is worth listening to.

For instance:

“I think the biggest trend that we’re going to see if the next five years is the fight back of the incumbents. The incumbents are going to wake up, and are waking up, and saying, we’ve got to get in this game.”

We’re seeing this in blockchain technology, with big banks experimenting like crazy. As I mentioned the other day, there’s so much more going on “under the hood” with enterprise financial applications than we realise.

— x —

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BBVA and BBVA Bancomer (majority-owned by BBVA, no surprise) are testing a blockchain platform for FX trade matching. As usual with capital markets, this terminology needs some unpacking.

“Trade matching” is the process of 1) verifying the validity of a trade request (is the trade actionable, is the client registered, etc.), and 2) checking that it can be executed at the requested price.

This is more complicated than it sounds, as there are a lot of details that need contrasting, confirming and comparing. Plus, there is often some uncertainty – what if the bid/ask prices don’t match? How much leeway do the institutions have? Which trades have priority?

Notice that it does not sound like the settlement takes place on the platform. Just the trade set-up.

One aspect I find perplexing is that the press release claims that the current system of matching produces a lot of errors, because different systems struggle to communicate with each other. It’s possible that their definition of “matching” is not the same as mine – isn’t it carried out on the same platform? So, no communication problems? And, wasn’t matching introduced to reduce the number of errors vs. the more labour-intensive “affirmation” system?

Further questions: Will the matching be random, or first in first out? How will order “leftovers” (the parts of an order that don’t match – the buy/sell amounts are rarely the same) be handled?

I’d be interested to see more information on this, because there may be a lot about matching that I don’t know. Or, it may be press-release hype. I hope not.

— x —

These miniature scenes are, um, strange, to say the least… But since I have yet to come across a small world I don’t find fascinating, I’m sharing them with you. You might find them as disquieting as I do.

By Frank Kunert, via Colossal.

kunert-7

kunert-2

Bits and stuff: clarity, overviews and deeper questions – Oct 15, 2017

I’m sure that Jamie Dimon is a very smart man… for last decade’s banking.

According to Vanity Fair, he told an audience on Friday:

“The blockchain is a technology which is a good technology. We actually use it… Gold bless the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, I think are also fine.”

The term “cryptocurrencies”, however, apparently does not include bitcoin. It’s not clear why. Dimon’s explanation:

“I don’t personally understand the value of something that has no actual value.”

Without even going into the intrinsic value of fiat currencies (and, for that matter, gold – it’s nice and shiny, but so are sequins – it can be argued that it has value because we’re used to thinking it has value), I’m confused as to why other cryptocurrencies are ok but bitcoin not.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that JP Morgan’s CFO Marianne Lake said on a conference call earlier this week that the bank was “open minded” about the potential uses of cryptocurrencies.

Including bitcoin?

It’s getting annoying hearing a big bank CEO talk publicly about a subject he does not seem to truly understand. It’s ok to not understand. Just stop talking about it publicly.

Surely it’s the mark of a good leader to recognize what he does not know, and lean on those in his team who do?

— x —

Check out Josh Nussbaum’s market map – hours of painstaking work to give us a visual overview of what sort of work is going on in various sectors. Plus, he offers his top-down comment on what to look out for.

Josh Nussbaum market map
click to go to original article, with more detail and insightful comment

— x —

This article on Quartz about moral philosophy makes compelling reading.

“Why bother with moral philosophy when common sense serves most of us perfectly well? The simple answer is that, as history shows, commonsensical beliefs are very often wrong.”

It’s also disturbing – is it productive to question your values? How much ethical discomfort should we encourage? When is tradition helpful, and when does it slow us down?

“Though our intuitions are very often wrong, they’re nevertheless necessary to give morality its meaning. If we have no emotive response, if no one cares at all when an act of evil is committed, then morality does not exist… And so rational thinking and moral instinct are in a constant state of slippery conflict.”

This would make a great subject for teenagers to think about. If we learn to question our parents’ beliefs more thoroughly (rather than just rejecting them because they’re old fashioned), we might end up with a generation more open to change, and more willing to look for solutions to tough problems rather than assume (hope) they’ll go away.

The main problem will be deciding what the problems are. Perhaps they’re not what we assume. (And like most of you, what I have is not so much answers as more questions, which lead to more questions – how many layers down should the questions go?)

— x —

I used to love doll houses when I was little. There was a time I even dreamed of becoming a curator for museum dioramas. So of course I am mesmerized by these little scenes of gloom and portent. Gazing at them, I feel drawn into a hypnotic story that won’t have a happy ending but from which I can’t tear myself away. And, I find them utterly beautiful.

Give me this over VR any day.

By Andy Acres, founder of Chimerical Reveries. Via MyModernMet.

shadow-box-chimerical-reveries-8

shadow-box-chimerical-reveries-5

shadow-box-chimerical-reveries-6

Bits and stuff: illumination, finance and Eminem – Oct 12, 2017

The silence of the past couple of weeks was an unexpected but needed break – some big issues got thrust to the fore, both personal (my mother had a stroke) and professional (a big decision that was once clear is now decidedly less so).

My mother pulled through (what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in force of personality). The part of the NHS deck that we got dealt was impressive – lovely doctors and nurses, and an incongruously pleasant hospital. We were so lucky, and are deeply grateful.

I had no idea that relief could be so exhausting.

And, as for the professional decisions, some news coming up (although I still don’t know what it will be).

I’ve heard this said before, and I can confirm that it’s true: the worst weeks of your life can also be the most illuminating.

— x —

A good friend suggested that, to cope with the anxiety, I follow Hillary Clinton’s example. She swears by alternate nasal breathing. I’m pretty sure I could do the swearing part.

— x —

the mountain version of "the floor is lava"? - photo by Eivor Kuchta, via MyModernMet
the mountain version of “the floor is lava”? – photo by Eivor Kuchta, via MyModernMet

— x —

Keeping with the personal tone of this post (don’t get used to it), Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me #1: I like Eminem’s music.

Notice how I don’t say that I’m a fan of Eminem, because I don’t know him personally. But his music? One of my favourite Spotify playlists. Top fave this week: Beautiful.

So, his Trump rap blew me away. While entertainers appear to be getting increasingly politicized across the spectrum (with uneven distribution), this is Eminem, people, the entertainer that to my over-educated, liberal-elite eye most represents the demographic that voted for the current president.

But, he yet again showed me that I was wrong, with guts:

“Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his / I’m drawing in the sand a line.”

Hats off.

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic puts it beautifully:

“If Eminem feels a need to object, if Eminem can easily seize the moral high ground from the president of the United States, and if it now falls to Eminem of all people to defend core civic values, what does that say about us?”

— x —

Anyway, stuff has been careening along in blockchain in my absence. I was at a conference in Dublin last week: the very well-organized Blockchain for Finance. I’m often reminded of the saying “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”, and there I was definitely in the right room. Great people, too-short conversations and some interesting anecdotes.

The main takeaway for me is that there is more going on “under the hood” than we realise. I’ll elaborate more another time, but we should brace ourselves for a flurry of real-world applications early 2018.

It’s getting exciting, and my head spins when I start thinking about what the next steps will be. I would have written screenfuls more on this, but see Section 1 of this post.

Bits and stuff: blogs, banks and bookstores – Sept 27, 2017

 

Tim Swanson’s looooooong article pointing out the lack of oversight, due diligence and inquisitiveness in the cryptocurrency sector has many good points. The space could use more scrutiny.

I don’t agree with the insinuation, though, that CoinDesk’s reporting on ICOs infringes securities laws. Not even in a physically challenging stretch of the imagination can informing readers of how much has been raised be interpreted as solicitation, any more than reporting on bitcoin’s price can be taken to mean a recommendation to buy. Also, any reader of CoinDesk would know that the journalists report the news, they don’t give opinions (except for me, but that’s my job, and I’ve never “promoted” anything – occasionally I’ll opine on end uses for tokens, but no market recommendations are given). And our opinion pieces from industry experts are labelled as such.

Tim is right, though, in that all of us who work in blockchain media need to be careful in our reporting, especially given the rampant hype. Some myth-busting is generally constructive. And it’s good to have thinkers out there who can call the sector to account.

— x —

A group of Japanese banks plans to introduce a new digital currency – J-coin, of course – in time for the 2020 Olympic Games.

It’s not based on the blockchain.

Japanese bank MUFG has been working on their own blockchain-based currency, but is reported to be considering joining the J-coin consortium.

Does this mean that blockchain lost?

No, of course not. Let’s see how the non-blockchain version works before we decide. It almost certainly won’t have the same privacy features.

It is curious that Japan, with its technologically-aware populace, is so reluctant to go digital with payments. 70% of transactions are still conducted with cash, vs around 30% for most western countries… This would be interesting to unpack some more, and could teach us much about the potential progress of digital coins in less developed countries.

— x —

Ben Thompson of Stratechery on the advantages of blogs vs books.

“It became increasingly apparent, to me anyways, that while books remained a fantastic medium for stories, both fiction and non, blogs were not only good enough, they were actually better for ideas closely tied to a world changing far more quickly than any book-related editorial process can keep up with.”

Like blockchain and business, maybe??

— x —

A bookshop-themed youth hostel? Almost enough to make me want to be young again… (via My Modern Met).

via My Modern Met
via My Modern Met

Bits and stuff: tokens, holes and turtles – Sept 20, 2017

One of the more plausible and clear-headed articles I’ve read on tokens, by Michael Casey (who has joined CoinDesk as chairman of the Advisory Board!):

“Under this new model, all who share the interests of a community should, in theory, be acting in those interests whenever they exchange tokens. And as more people do the same, the token’s value should rise in line with its network effect.”

— x —

This is very techie, but also quite moving, from someone who reviewed the bitcoin source code back in 2008 (it was officially uploaded in 2009).

One paragraph jumped out at me as being especially applicable to the token scene today:

“The road to progress, as Chuck Yeager observed, is marked by great smoking holes in the ground. The fact that you have probably never heard of any of those scores of launches [of digital cash systems] should tell you how successful they were. I saw no reason to expect a nonzero valuation.”

Great smoking holes in the ground… At first I dismissively thought “but in the digital token space, the disappeared ones are largely due to spectacular speculation”. Then I realised that’s untrue. The failures, for whatever reason, are part of the journey. And from each, we learn (just look at what The DAO implosion gave us).

I’m feeling more optimistic and less fed-up now.

— x —

From David Birch’s “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin” (highly recommendable):

“It is interesting to note that the fledgling United States, which had strongly resisted the notion of a central bank (the Federal Reserve was not created until 1913 – a direct consequence of the banking collapse of 1907), was the home of the first great monetary experiment of the industrializing world and ended up with the world’s reserve currency.”

So, basically, we don’t even know what we don’t know. And what we do know perhaps just ain’t so.

— x —

Terry Pratchett would like these. Maybe.

by Secret Wood, via Hyperallergic
by Secret Wood, via Hyperallergic

Tell me this doesn’t shift your perspective:

“The place where the story happened was a world on the back of four elephants perched on the shell of a giant turtle. That’s the advantage of space. It’s big enough to hold practically anything, and so, eventually, it does.

People think that it is strange to have a turtle ten thousand miles long and an elephant more than two thousand miles tall, which just shows that the human brain is ill-adapted for thinking and was probably originally designed for cooling the blood. It believes mere size is amazing.

There’s nothing amazing about size. Turtles are amazing, and elephants are quite astonishing. But the fact that there’s a big turtle is far less amazing than the fact that there is a turtle anywhere.”

(from The Last Hero)

— x —

It’s been a strange day…

Bits and stuff: tech giants, token graphs and toothpaste – Sept 19, 2017

CNBC reported on a research document that places IBM ahead of Microsoft in the blockchain battle (according to a survey).

It’s not comparing like with like, though. Here’s something I wrote for CoinDesk a while ago that contrasts the tech giants’ blockchain strategies. IBM may have a greater mindshare now. But further down the road, who will have the greater flexibility?

(Actually, I think it’s IBM – Microsoft appears to be overly reliant on Ethereum, which is still very young. IBM’s blockchain platforms are also young, but much more flexible and malleable according to IBM’s criteria and goals.)

But, Simon Taylor of 11:FS wondered on Twitter about the number of “IBM is great on blockchain” articles emerging this week.

… and makes this contentiously intriguing observation:

But, here’s a report from a couple of weeks ago on how IBM needs blockchain to pull it out of its legacy slump.

I’m not saying there’s a connection…

— x —

Outlier Ventures created a useful visual map of the token scene, grouping coins by sector. This will need more concentrated perusing, but at an initial glance, most of the action seems to be in “computing, verification and storage”, followed by “payments and banking”.

by Outlier Ventures - click to see full version
by Outlier Ventures – click to see full version

— x —

From the New York Times’ article on what Jamie Dimon got wrong last week about bitcoin (because writing about what he got right would take up absolutely no space at all), a much cuter way to say “the genie is out of the bottle”: “the toothpaste is out of the tube”.

I hadn’t heard it before. Am I totally out of it?

— x —

Mesmerising photos by Rune Guneriussen, via Colossal… I feel they should belong to a fairytale, only I can’t think of one that would be this interesting.

RuneGuneriussen17_06

RuneGuneriussen17_03

RuneGuneriussen17_12

Bits and stuff: flight delays, volatility and Dogecoin – Sept 18, 2017

My article on CoinDesk this week, on the potential impact of blockchain on insurance – starting with a small project adorably named “fizzy”.

— x —

One of the better cryptocurrency infographics I’ve seen, via Visual Capitalist:

via Visual Capitalist
via Visual Capitalist

— x —

I don’t agree – the volatility comes (for now) from the relatively low fixed supply. Strong inflows can move the price. Gold is (sort of) fixed, too – but it’s more abundant.

And, if the gold supply turns out not to be fixed (if price shoots up, it becomes more profitable to search for gold everywhere), then the price will come down (and a lot of mining will stop being profitable, so supply will stabilize).

Also, market jitters.

— x —

A good article in the New York Times on the charm of Dogecoin and the fragility of initial coin offerings (ICOs), with a delightful analogy:

“If you’re having trouble picturing it: Imagine that a friend is building a casino and asks you to invest. In exchange, you get chips that can be used at the casino’s tables once it’s finished. Now imagine that the value of the chips isn’t fixed, and will instead fluctuate depending on the popularity of the casino, the number of other gamblers and the regulatory environment for casinos. Oh, and instead of a friend, imagine it’s a stranger on the internet who might be using a fake name, who might not actually know how to build a casino, and whom you probably can’t sue for fraud if he steals your money and uses it to buy a Porsche instead. That’s an I.C.O.”

— x —

Jaw-dropping – a Banksy homage to Basquiat…

(via Hyperallergic)

(via Hyperallergic)
(via Hyperallergic)