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Chemical Messiah – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Cointelegraph Magazine is a new publication that goes beyond the daily news and delves much more deeply into the stories, trends, and personalities that inspire cryptocurrency and blockchain conversations around the world.

We are people-centric, delving into *why* the true believers of blockchain feel they can change the world (and why they think it needs to be changed).

Through long-form features, thoughtful analysis, and a little humor and satire, we illustrate how the implementation of this technology is affecting the lives of countless people — today, right now, not at some distant point in the future.

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Creaticles – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Cointelegraph Magazine is a new publication that goes beyond the daily news and delves much more deeply into the stories, trends, and personalities that inspire cryptocurrency and blockchain conversations around the world.

We are people-centric, delving into *why* the true believers of blockchain feel they can change the world (and why they think it needs to be changed).

Through long-form features, thoughtful analysis, and a little humor and satire, we illustrate how the implementation of this technology is affecting the lives of countless people — today, right now, not at some distant point in the future.

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British artist Damien Hirst uses NFTs to blur the boundaries between art and money – Cointelegraph Magazine

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“I used to give a lot of art away to people,” reflects Damien Hirst at one of his sprawling West London studios. “And they’d always sell it after a lot less time than I thought they would. You know, they wouldn’t sell it for leukaemia treatment for their children or mother or something; they’d sell it to buy handbags. And I’d be like, ‘Damn, I hate that!’”

Hirst is not on a quest to make a few bucks from a collectible nonfungible token (NFT). He’s not particularly interested in celebrating career highlights, or even attracting a younger, richer, snazzier audience.

He wants to know where the line between art and money is drawn — and if it can be drawn at all.

“And I suppose this whole project is like a test of that sort of area, right? I came to terms with it — it’s like, you know, when you walk downstairs in your house if you got a painting, and it’s not long before the spots represent dollar signs. I’ve been thinking about that for a long time.”

Instead of allowing it to lurk in the background, his latest work brings the tension between money and art to the fore. “The Currency” is the name for his drop of 10,000 NFTs, each tied to a physical painting created in 2016. After the $2,000 purchase of a “Tender,” as Hirst calls them, collectors will have to choose whether to keep the NFT, which will be a high-resolution photo of the painting, or turn the NFT in for the physical painting.

 

Source: HENI

 

“The Currency” blurs the line between fungibility and non-fungibility, between money and art, and the project’s core choice will force each collector to make a value judgement between paintings in meatspace and NFTs. By nature, “The Currency” raises a number of philosophical questions: For starters, what is the value of the art versus the dollar value of selling it on the secondary market? What is the value of displaying it on the wall versus on a monitor? What is the value of portability versus permanence?

These complex, perhaps unanswerable, queries may be obscuring a more intimate one he’s ultimately posing to his audience, however: What am I worth to you?

First lessons

It’s like Isaac Newton getting bopped on the head with an apple: As Hirst was first learning about art, he was simultaneously learning about the art market. 

Hirst often cites an early art teacher as a foundational influence — a “really great guy, a theatrical guy” who recruited him as Bottom in a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; who fought valiantly to secure him a spot in the sixth form; and perhaps most importantly, who kept the classroom stocked with art auction catalogs. 

“From very early on, I was looking at all the items on auction, which is a good way in, […] and I’d look at the prices, and I remember you could do like 10 grand, 20 grand for a Picasso or something,” Hirst tells Cointelegraph. “It wasn’t a lot of money, but to me, it was a lot of money at the time. Just seeing art and money in that catalog was good.”

In much the same way a happy accident helped Newton apprehend a fundamental law of physics, Hirst grasped early on that the attainment of fame in his field meant accepting and adapting to the reality that fine art and money are inextricably linked. 

Today, his remunerative wizardry is widely renowned — even occasionally taking the spotlight from his work. He’s a master and a trailblazer when it comes to what crypto aficionados might call “pumpanomics” — the slurry of marketing, conceptual or visionary heft, and simple supply/demand mechanics inherent in scarcity that can make a project’s value soar to stratospheric heights. 

Highlights include the 2008 sale of “Always Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” — a complete exhibition of 223 works that, in an unprecedented move, bypassed galleries to sell directly at auction for a staggering $200 million — and “For the Love of God,” a diamond-encrusted platinum cast of a skull that sold for $100 million to a consortium of owners that included himself. At multiple points in his career, he’s held the record for the most expensive work of art sold by a living artist; he currently sits in second place — adjusted for inflation, anyway. 

 

Source: HENI

 

“I mean, I worked out a long time ago that, you know, if there are two people with a lot of money, and there’s not a lot of something, it’s going to sell for a lot,” he observes. Where some artists accidentally ride Veblen curves to fortunes, Hirst constructs, aligns and launches himself from them like Evel Knievel. 

Hirst and NFTs may be a perfect match for this experiment. NFTs, by simple virtue of existence, often set critics apoplectic — digital goods, they argue, don’t have “real” value. Or, by contrast, there’s an emerging faction of pearl-clutchers who say NFTs paradoxically have too much value — that they represent a perfect tool for the commodification and/or securitization of art. 

And here’s Hirst, an artist who has faced similar criticism at both ends of the value spectrum, taking these liminal notions often floating at the fringes of contemporary fine art and concocting an experiment to force collectors and critics alike to choose. 

“People get upset if I say, ‘My art is connected in a biological way to money.’ I just love it that people hate it. It just inspires me to do it. I want to look at it and see what happens. Will it do this? Can you push it this far without it breaking? Or will it break? I’ve done that in everything, in individual art and in this project.”

The “master of exponential growth”

In part, “The Currency” can be viewed as a response to a hypocrisy Hirst has been battling throughout his career — that art has always been “associated with lots of money” but “people weren’t really allowed to talk about it.”

“There’s the Van Gogh thing where you’re supposed to be a starving artist and you don’t make any money, never sell a painting. And everybody wants that. It’s a complicated thing. I mean, the thing about art is, it’s magic. You know, the whole thing is magic. You’re taking really cheap ingredients, and you put them together in a way that they become worth beyond their wildest ingredients. […] Alchemy. That’s what art really is.”

Viewers and collectors only selectively believing in the “alchemy” of art have long frustrated him — no one “looks at the ‘Mona Lisa’ and says, ‘That’s just 20 quid in canvas and paint’” — but by contrast, throughout his career, he’s often been asked about the prices of his sculptures relative to the cost of materials used to create them. It’s a false dichotomy that artists minting NFTs and dealing in digital scarcity are likely familiar with — and perhaps why Hirst was quick to embrace them as a medium. 

“I don’t really know why, but I didn’t have that massive resistance that a lot of people I respect have got. I saw it as a really amazing thing. I saw it like the invention of paper. It’s like, you’re arguing about paper, like, ‘I’m not going to stop using papyrus!’ You’re already living in a world where you can have artworks, prints and editions, and it seems like now you can have artwork, prints, editions and NFTs.”

Part of the immediate comfort could be that Hirst intuitively understands digital ownership. He recounted a story about one of his sons purchasing $10,000 worth of digital goods in Clash of Clans, but even grown-up collectors are increasingly drawn to virtual expressions of ownership as well.

“In the world I was living in, where increasingly, I’ve noticed all art collectors are coming up to me, going, ‘I’ve just bought this, I’ve just bought this’ on [their phones], and you’re looking at Picassos and Jackson Pollocks, crazy stuff that they’ve got that’s worth huge amounts of money. And they’re sitting in bars, going, ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got this.’”

As a result, he’s now pondering whether digital or physical ownership is a more powerful psychological draw — and he’s eager to force people to make the determination:

“Looking at the NFTs and the actual artwork, I look at it and I think, ‘I don’t know, I’m excited by both, I don’t know which is most important.’ But then when I think about it, when I go, ‘What will people do?’ it sort of tells me where I lie, which is that most people will keep the [physical] art.” 

An ironic element to the experiment is that Hirst freely admits that he’d be relieved if the project’s technical and market elements flopped. He tells a story about a collector who approached him once, griping that he was unable to sell a painting; Hirst thought to himself: Well, put it on the wall!

There is a universe where “The Currency Tenders,” instead of being fractionalized and digitized and widely traded and living forever on the blockchain, are simply framed and hung and enjoyed — as an artist, Hirst thinks that would be a comfortable place for the experiment to end. The risk for him is in “letting go,” in knowing that collectors may take, break, sell or even destroy his work. 

Letting go also means that the project becomes something that is “alive” — trading, moving throughout the world in marketplaces, changing hands, reaching new audiences. This effort involves the brilliance of Joe Hage, who Hirst calls “the master of exponential growth.” 

 

Source: HENI

 

Hage, who was once described by ARTnews as a “significant but rarely discussed force behind the scenes,” is Hirst’s equivalent of a chief technology officer. Commanding a small army of data scientists, lawyers and smart contract developers, Hage — one of the partners of Palm, the ConsenSys-backed NFT-centric sidechain where “The Currency” will drop — tinkered with the specifications of the project to create what may turn out to be a generous drop strategy. 

His team likely could have charged thousands more per “Tender” (Meebits, a project from NFT maestros Larva Labs, recently brought in over $70 million compared to “The Currency’s” $20-million sale), but for the thing to take flight, you need to offset some of that potential gain to collectors, who are then tested by thriving secondary markets. If prices do soar, it will tempt the greed of collectors, who will have to weigh potential profits — another key element in “The Currency’s” broader experiment.

Cults, gods and creators

Forty years after a child aimlessly flipped through a stack of auctions catalogs, in an innocuous former car park in West London, there is a temple being built to Damien Hirst. Palatial vaulted ceilings capped with translucent golden windows bathe the top floor with almost cathedral lighting (“‘An Almost Cathedral Light!’ Hirst bellows at this reporter from across the park, “I like that! I’m going to use that!”). 

One day, it’ll be an excellent museum, perhaps Hirst’s equivalent of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; for now, it’s one of the best private galleries in the world. When Cointelegraph visited, dozens of his cherry blossom paintings decorated the walls; French gallerist Hervé Chandès reportedly took one look and offered Hirst an exhibition on the spot. Hage notes that “less than 100 people in the world know this is here” — many of them, no doubt, took in all that beauty and ended up eager buyers of Hirst’s wares. 

Religions need gods, cults need cult leaders, and often, cryptocurrencies need founders. The founders attend conferences — yearly ritual gatherings in the major capitals of the world — where they nourish the souls of their followers with announcements, announcements of announcements, roadmap updates, new white papers, and even, ever-so-rarely, genuine technical improvements that (even more rarely) might offer functional utility to crypto hodlers. 

 

 

In short, until the advent of decentralized finance and the birth of “productive” cryptoassets, buying a cryptocurrency meant speculators were buying a vision — a story about a possible future, often from a charismatic leader. 

Set aside the artistic implications and take Hirst at his word, however ironic: He’s creating a currency. This is another powerful form of magic, one which even just a few centuries ago was the exclusive provenance of god-kings and emperors. As an artist and a modern icon, however, Hirst might be perfectly suited to launch his own.

For starters, when he talks about money, he talks like a crypto founder, eagerly citing David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years.

“It’s just amazing when you realize [money] is just trust. The debts get too big, then they wipe it out, and they start again, and the whole cycle goes over and over again, and people are getting ripped off continuously as well.” 

He has a keen understanding of what Charles Eisenstein would call “Sacred Economies” — the knowledge that all money is ultimately backed by nothing more than a story — that “the proclamation that money is backed is little different from any other ritual incantation and that it derives its power from collective human belief.” While critics like to call Bitcoin an elaborate Ponzi scheme, in that respect, it’s not much different than the United States dollar.

Me, you and value

But what does this mean for “The Currency?” Which of the two forms of magic at play — money and art — is more powerful? Unlike a traditional crypto founder, Hirst readily admits his doubts. Since he first sold a piece for over 1 million British pounds, he told Cointelegraph, he’s wondered about the tenuous relationship between the two and claims that if he ever discovers the money is more important than the art, he’d “stop making it.” 

“I guess I had a fear very early on that money was more important. And then, through that, I’ve always tried to challenge it. But when I sold a piece for 1 million pounds, I got total fear. I just thought, ‘It’s not worth it.’”

In a project that seeks to raise questions about the nature of value, about art and money, about the physical and the digital, this is the most important question Hirst is now asking his audience: What am I worth

“Really, it’s like a test, isn’t it? You know, about that belief. It’s like, ‘Can you believe in me? Can you believe in this? Can you really believe in this? How long can you believe in me? Does it last; does it stack up; does it spread out?’ […] I mean, I don’t know where the art ends and the money starts or ends. The whole thing’s crossed over.”



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DeFi can be halal but not DOGE? Decentralizing Islamic finance – Cointelegraph Magazine

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While Islamic scholars have long wrestled with the question of whether cryptocurrency is halal, what if it’s really fiat that isn’t permissible?

Islam has strict rules around finance, and it historically defines currency as commodities with intrinsic value — gold, silver, or salt, among others. Waseem Mamlouk, from the DeFi platform Nimbus, argues that government-issued fiat currencies do not have any intrinsic value and may be incompatible with a careful interpretation of Sharia law. This would pose a problem for the burgeoning Islamic finance industry, which aims to produce financial returns in compliance with religious law.

“Mined cryptocurrencies have intrinsic value because it costs a certain amount to produce them — but fiat currencies that are printed digitally onto a balance sheet have no intrinsic value whatsoever.”

Mamlouk sees cryptocurrencies as a viable alternative. As the vice president of Capital Markets for Nimbus, Mamlouk is working to have portions of the business certified as Sharia-compliant in order to dip into the growing pool of investors who want their investments to fit with their religious beliefs. While this would certainly bring profits, Mamlouk also sees Islamic finance as a way to promote responsible long-term investing.

Mamlouk’s contention that fiat money has no intrinsic value is certainly a controversial one and would carry huge ramifications for the Islamic finance industry if his evaluation took on a wider acceptance. In effect, he is saying that fiat is not halal. He is not the first person to question fiat’s potential incompatibility with Islamic finance, as there has long been an academic discussion regarding a desire to return to a gold standard — like in the times of classical Byzantium.

“So, immediately, if we’re going to talk about someone doing dollar-denominated Sharia-compliant funds, it doesn’t really make sense from the get-go. However, with mined crypto’s, it actually does make sense.”

 

 

Islamic Finance

Mamlouk believes that cryptocurrencies hold the key to a better implementation of Islamic banking. In short, this refers to financial and banking practices in line with Islamic religious teachings. Of these religious teachings, the central one is a prohibition on riba, generally equated to usury — or charging interest.

With interest being a major part of the current DeFi landscape, Islamic DeFi, which must not involve interest, will require custom solutions. In the Islamic banking industry, Mamlouk explains that bank fees sometimes replace earnings that would otherwise come from interest, but he is not a fan.

“Banks like to play on people with different words and terms. ‘We’re going to charge you fees but we’re not going to charge you interest’ — we know what that is.”

Islamic economics includes a broad idea that money must be earned through fair and legitimate work instead of unfair exploitation, often compared to the labor theory of value. For that same reason, the money received for work must have real and intrinsic value.

Though there are no exact numbers, The Economist has estimated that Islamic Finance accounts for $2 trillion a year and is poised to “reach $3.69 trillion in 2024” according to Gulf Business. Considering that the global population of Muslims is “expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060” according to Pew Research Center, financial services geared towards Islamic sensibilities are certain to continue attracting capital.

Though Islamic finance has been around much longer, it is an unlikely brother of the cryptocurrency industry. They are both fast-growing financial industries — each controlling roughly 1% of global assets — and hopes for a much larger share in the years to come.

What are the rules?

Much of the rules of Islamic banking center around the concept of riba, generally understood to mean usury. This makes paying or earning interest haraam, meaning forbidden. “You’re not getting interest on a certain amount of money that you’re depositing,” Mamlouk says.

There is a prohibition on selling what you do not own, according to him, meaning that short selling, derivatives, and potentially even day-trading of stocks are off the table, as stocks do not normally get settled until the end of each business day, and one may end up re-selling shares before they have even “received” them. At least as far as the issue of custody goes, the immediate settlement of swaps on the cryptocurrency market may well be an answer.

While many crypto traders would be horrified at the prospect of limiting themselves to multi-day spot trades instead of high-margin day trading, Mamlouk does not feel that he is missing out. “I’ve never done any of them personally, and you know, here I am, still alive and well — it’s not that difficult to follow the rules,” he says with a friendly laugh.

 

 

Gambling, known as maisir, is also prohibited. This is in part because it implies gaining money by chance instead of through legitimate effort. A comparable concept, bay’ al-gharar, includes any trade that involves excessive, unreasonable risk — that, too, is haraam.

Unreasonable risk sounds a lot like cryptocurrency, especially in the early days. Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency based on speculation and memes, seems to fit the description of gambling or excessive risk. Is Dogecoin haraam? Mamlouk figures it would be, cautiously reasoning that it has “no project,” and “that’s pure speculation.” That’s a no on Doge from Mamlouk (but the jury’s still out).

Another important aspect of Islamic finance, according to Mamlouk, is ensuring that Sharia-compliant funds do not mix with non-compliant funds. He goes on to say that this is a very difficult ask for the modern financial system, as banks contain money from many different sources.

“That could be blood money — that could be an arms dealer’s money sitting in some foreign bank,” with the banking officials having no way to know where their clients’ money truly came from, and thus no ability to tell other clients that the money held in the bank comes from legitimate and permissible sources.

Cryptocurrencies hold the key to fix many of these problems, Mamlouk believes. Chief among these is the inherent traceability of many cryptocurrencies, and that one can mine or acquire newly mined or minted coins with a verifiable pedigree — and thus a moral purity — that can absolutely be ascertained.

The strict approach of Islamic finance might just offer the counterweight that opens the doors for a billion Muslims around the world to participate in the blockchain revolution.

Early passions

Mamlouk was born in DC, USA but grew up in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where his father worked for the government-owned Saudi Aramco oil company. He describes the environment he grew up in — and still lives in today — as a highly “intellectual, international community.” When he was young, he remembers being taken to see a supercomputer, one of only three in the world at that time. The experience stuck with him and led to his interest in technology, crypto and financial solutions.

He returned to his native DC to study commercial law at American University, where he graduated in 1994 and embarked on a career in finance IT advisery (early fintech) and IT security — staying out of the courtroom in favor of lending his advice to financial, tech and telecom corporations in the Middle East and globally.

Back in the day, he says, investment banking did not really exist in the Middle East. Mamlouk took part in founding Atlas Investment Group in Amman, Jordan, later selling to Arab Bank, which he calls the “largest bank in the Middle East.” As he advanced in his career, he saw the growing dominance of computers and the internet, which inspired him to return to the US to study IT at the University of Virginia and graduated in 1999, the year leading up to the infamous Y2K bug.

Nimbus

Mamlouk’s next goal is to get some of Nimbus’ solutions certified as Sharia-compliant in order to reach a wider pool of users. Currently based in Malta, Nimbus is a DAO-governed platform giving users access to a number of DApps that opens the door to various potential revenue streams, including things like crypto staking, trading and lending, among others.

So how does a financial venture get certified as Sharia-compliant?

Neither the process nor requirements are standardized, as Islam is not a centralized religion in the way of Catholicism, for example. Instead, each country — Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, for example — will have their own systems and procedures in place.

These systems can differ, as evidenced by Malaysia’s Shariah Advisory Council praising crypto’s “great potential.” Whereas others, including the Grand Mufti of Egypt and Fatwa Center of Palestine, previously declared cryptocurrencies haraam.

Mamlouk has his sights on either Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, which he says have largely interchangeable regulations. Bahrain, whose central bank recently licensed Sharia-compliant crypto exchange, appears somewhat more nimble when it comes to innovation. The plan is to submit a proposal to a local Sharia council.

“That council has to look at various aspects — basically an audit,” Mamlouk explains. Then, they may make a decision or “give you certain pointers” about what to change in order to be approved. After a successful audit by a Sharia council that examines the proposed practices, a project can be declared Sharia-compliant.

“We are looking forward to having it blessed but we’re not looking forward to having a Sharia council because it’s a burden… for us, it’s more about social responsibility.”

From Mamlouk’s perspective, the guidelines around Islamic finance can be thought of as more than the rules of a specific religion. This is because he sees them as generally promoting responsible practices that discourage undue risk while emphasizing transparency and honesty.

“It’s a responsible investment, and it’s realistic,” he says about the method.

Future views

The idea of Sharia Councils giving approvals to business practices and investment vehicles is fascinating and could encourage a captivating co-creation between fintech innovators and religious scholars.

This could point to a future where Sharia Councils audit all types of cryptocurrency projects, tokens and smart contracts before issuing opinions on their appropriateness for Muslim investors. Mamlouk agrees, saying that there is a huge opportunity for all types of rating and ranking services because “we don’t have any of that.”

As for the DeFi industry as a whole, Mamlouk is mega-bullish. He sees adoption skyrocketing around the world in the years to come.

“There’s no way that DeFi grows less than 100%, on average, for the next five years — very year — and it’s going to compound. People are going to look at it after those five years and they’re gonna say ‘wow, how did I not see this coming’.”

 

 



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Dearest Haley – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Cointelegraph Magazine is a new publication that goes beyond the daily news and delves much more deeply into the stories, trends, and personalities that inspire cryptocurrency and blockchain conversations around the world.

We are people-centric, delving into *why* the true believers of blockchain feel they can change the world (and why they think it needs to be changed).

Through long-form features, thoughtful analysis, and a little humor and satire, we illustrate how the implementation of this technology is affecting the lives of countless people — today, right now, not at some distant point in the future.

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Chainlink hackathon, OKExChain nets $2B TVL, and Tencent unveils ‘magic’ NFT platform – Cointelegraph Magazine

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This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.  

Much like last week, China’s minor COVID flareups dominated the headlines as the country seeks to avoid more serious lockdowns. Cryptocurrency managed to stay out of the news, which considering the regulation recently, can only be viewed as a good thing. 

Much love for the layer-twos

On August 3, IOSG Ventures and Chainlink hosted the Demo Day of the Layer-Two Hackathon in Shanghai. The event aimed to support developers working on scaling solutions for Ethereum and was backed by major projects such as Polygon, Near, The Graph, and Matter Labs. The winning team, which won bounties and mentorship, was a Synthetix-based asset management project. The winners called themselves ObjK and used querying technology from The Graph to pull data from Synthetix, achieving an automated cross-pool portfolio rebalance.

 

A number of layer two protocols attended the hackathon. China’s development community maintains a very cohesive and collaborative attitude. (Source: IOSG Ventures)

 

Layer-twos have always been popular in China, particularly as users feel less concerned about custodial risks and decentralization. Last week, OKEx officially launched OKExChain, which is an EVM-compatible layer-two network similar to what other large exchanges have released.

This is of interest due to OKEx’s large userbase, which ranks second only to Binance when sorted by volume. Layer-two networks released by exchanges often lack some of the technical strengths of the dedicated layer-two networks but have a massive advantage in access to users, assets, projects and communities.

OKExChain was evidence of this as it amassed over $2 billion in assets in the first week. About $350 million of that is on AMM CherrySwap, which appears to be quite liberally based on BSC’s PancakeSwap. That TVL would rank around the 30th biggest DeFi app on all networks, around the size of OlympusDAO on Ethereum and BakerySwap on BSC. KSwap, another AMM platform on OKExChain, racked up over $684 million in 24-hour trade volume on Thursday, which puts it second behind Uniswap V3 for the busiest dApp in the industry. Of course, the challenge will be on the applications and network to maintain these early numbers after the generous APYs have been reduced to more sustainable numbers.

Tracking adoption elsewhere

Despite declining DEX trading volume on both BSC and Huobi Eco Chain, BSC recently saw an explosion in activity around CryptoBlades, an NFT game that accounted for more than three times the transaction volume of the entire Huobi Eco Chain on Thursday.

Ultimately, for chains like Huobi ECO or OKExChain to compete with other layer-two networks, they must find a way to recruit unique app developers to their ecosystems, rather than relying on ports or forks from other networks. As Axie Infinity has shown, any blockchain network can become loaded full of transactions and users if the right application is deployed on it.

 

Source: Bscscan.com

 

China’s own shadowy super-coders

According to a Chainanalysis report, more than $2.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency had been sent from Chinese wallets to addresses associated with illicit activity in the two-year period between April of 2019 and this summer.

The bulk of this is related to the infamous PlusToken ponzi scam that took place in late 2019. Since then, the number of addresses engaging in scams and illegal activity has shrunk dramatically, indicating that Chinese clampdowns are having some impact on consumer protections.

Regulators seem to be taking satisfaction in their victories, as evidenced by an article from a People’s Bank of China working conference last week, where the digital currency crackdown was mentioned in a list of 2021 efforts to date.

Tech giants eyeing up the NFT space

Crypto companies aren’t the only ones feeling the wrath of Chinese regulators these days. Over the past week, hundreds of billions of dollars have been wiped from Chinese tech stocks including online education, delivery, and video gaming.

Tencent, which invests in a number of major game publishers, suffered a more than 17% drop in stock price this month alone. Still, that didn’t stop it from announcing this week that it would release an NFT trading platform that roughly translates as “Magic Core”. Third parties can reportedly release NFT artwork on the platform, and it’s designed by just one of several teams within Tencent that are developing NFT related services. Due to China’s strict regulatory policies, most of the NFTs launched by the major internet companies are built on private chains or consortium chain technology. Alibaba also launched an NFT platform in late June. 

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Tracking sperm on Bitcoin with Eggschain — Wei Escala – Cointelegraph Magazine

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What if sperm were uploaded — or perhaps, erm, unloaded — onto the Bitcoin network, and those seeking to become pregnant could turn the emotional, complex task into something more approachable, where they choose the right swimmers on the blockchain according to attributes like education level, hobbies and physical attributes? 

Wei Escala is the founder and CEO of Eggschain, an Austin-based startup building a supply chain solution for the assisted reproduction industry. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process of implanting a fertilized egg into a woman’s ovaries in order to induce pregnancy. This requires sperm, which is sometimes contributed by a partner and sometimes by a donor.

It’s part of a new breed of projects built on Stacks, a blockchain that shares a native connection with Bitcoin through proof-of-transfer, which “enables decentralized apps, smart contracts, and digital assets” to be settled and verified on Bitcoin blocks. Eggschain is one of these new decentralized apps, or DApps.

But why do sperm donations and embryo implantations need to be registered on a blockchain, to begin with? The answers lie in scalability for a seamless sperm selection process across various jurisdictions, not to mention high-level patient-data protection, guarding against loss or misfiling of data, and making the system more transparent overall.

If things go well, Eggshain’s blockchain-based matching solution may soon bear fruit around the world. It’s not here yet, but the revolution is coming.

Eggschain

Eggschain’s blockchain is secured by Bitcoin via Stacks, a Y Combinator-incubated startup “building a user-owned Internet secured by Bitcoin.” In practice, this means that Stacks operationalizes smart contracts and DApps, such as Eggschain, by synching up with Bitcoin on every 10-minute block to embed an indelible, permanent record.

 

 

The Eggschain solution has not yet been released. “I don’t want to commit to a timeline,” Escala says, in part because, “We are among the first developers building on the Stacks blockchain.” This seems to be a reasonable answer, as it is common for blockchain projects to hit delays — whether caused by technical, legal or budgetary challenges.

While lower transaction fees influenced the choice to build on a Bitcoin sidechain instead of other chains like Ethereum, Bitcoin’s reputation as an incorruptible ledger was decisive. Bitcoin “will be around for hundreds or thousands or millions of years,” Escala says, as if stating a basic scientific fact. While speaking of millions of years can be written off as overzealous marketing, choosing a chain to track reproduction means backing the one most likely to survive far into the future.

“Bitcoin is the oldest blockchain in the world and very established, and the gas fees are low compared to some of the other leading blockchains by a huge magnitude.”

Escala explains that “When your sperm is donated, that is a transaction that gets hashed onto the blockchain,” complete with an indelible time stamp. Further transactions take place “when the sperm is implanted into a woman or into an egg.” The time between egg fertilization and implantation can stretch for years, and sperm has been kept frozen for as long as 22 years and still been used successfully.

In practice, this means that a donor will be able to see how many times their sperm has been used, giving them a rough idea of how many children they might have and in what general areas. This may even serve to gamify the sperm donation experience, even if the donor is not willing to ever be contacted by their offspring.

 

 

 

 

Though Bitcoin itself is a transparent blockchain that allows transactions to be traced back, Escala explains that Eggschain, as it functions with Stacks, cannot be “backtracked” in such a way that the “family tree” can be tracked up and down. This is by design, as “Just because someone received your donated sperm, it doesn’t give them the authority to read through your life — it is almost an invasion of your privacy,” according to Escala.

“Patient identifiable information cannot be on the blockchain.”

Freezing desire

In India and much of Africa, it is normal for women to have their first baby by the age of 20. At 25, the United States represents the lowest mean age in the Western world, with the average first-time mother in countries like Germany, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia flirting with or even surpassing 30 — the age at which fertility begins to decline.

Though access to contraceptives and changed values contribute to the higher ages in the West, careers and finances often play a role. The pressure to delay pregnancy is all the more increased with the modern reality that career growth often requires frequent moving between offices and countries — though perhaps the work-from-home era will bring change.

Heath issues like cancer, which is rising worldwide, is another driver for the treatment, as woman seek to preserve their eggs before they are potentially damaged through chemotherapy treatment. All things considered, it is easy to see why many women are choosing to freeze their eggs — just in case they decline in quality or run out before they want to use them.

 

 

Eqq quality begins to reduce at 30 and drops fast from 35. Source: SheCares

 

 

When her best friend chose to freeze her eggs in 2018, Escala “was a witness every step of the way — I felt like I almost lived through the entire experience.” In addition to a friend, however, she is a businesswoman, and she sensed an opportunity to improve the IVF process.

In June 2018, Escala founded Eggschain.

Breeding process

Provided there is no preselected partner, the process of choosing sperm — or more accurately, a sperm donor — is an intimate and difficult one. For one, donors need to be checked at “an established lab for STDs, HIV and any hereditary diseases,” with their sperm held in quarantine for often up to six months.

Depending on the sperm bank and the laws of the donor’s country, there is often extensive information available about the prospective donor, such as education level, hobbies and physical attributes — all of these attributes attached to the given sperm sample by way of Eggschain.

 

 

 

 

“I can say I want a sperm donor who has curly hair, and maybe a college degree — and ideally, this sperm donor plays violin,” Escala explains, listing attributes that can often be selected for. She also suggests that someone who likes basketball might choose a donor who is “of a certain height” and plays basketball.

All of these anonymous attributes can be added to the blockchain, effectively becoming the “stats” of the specific sperm, making selecting a sperm a smoother experience. While not remotely comparable to a serious medical procedure, the chain’s function has a metaphorical similarity to certain NFT-based games, where characters’ “DNA” is tracked on the blockchain as it get passed on to “descendants.” The ethical implications of choosing designer babies are presumably left to the users to wrestle with.

 

 

Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity is a game where “Axies” pass on their genetics. Source: Axie Infinity

 

Corporate travels

Escala does not fill the stereotype of a shoot-from-the-hip cowboy blockchain entrepreneur. Despite spending a career in marketing “and a lot of supply chain,” she presents as a meticulous scientist who is careful with definitions and technicalities — a nerd, even.

She was born in Austin, Texas and moved to Singapore at the age of 15. There, she attended Temasek Junior College where she studied physics, math and organic chemistry before heading back to Austin “to be closer to my good friends and join the bustling startup scene there.” She enrolled in a computer science program at The University of Texas at Austin, where she became interested in cryptography and machine-human interaction.

“I graduated right after 9/11, so a few of my offers were rescinded,” she recalls. Despite the turbulence, by March 2002 she was working as a stockbroker and financial adviser with American Express in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also worked as a branch manager for SunTrust Bank in Hampton, Virginia.

 

 

 

 

Not quite satisfied with her career in finance, Escala completed an MBA in marketing, strategy and general management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta. This was followed by 15 years of corporate career growth, which saw Escala bounce between cities across the continental United States, staying on most jobs for a year or two.

Ohio. New York. Texas. Ohio. Kentucky.

And back to Austin, Texas in 2017. There, she worked as CEO of Powerista, which could help anyone to “build a website in under 2 minutes!” It didn’t last but is still being marketed by someone with obvious marketing chops.

Great sales pitch!

It was in Austin that Escala encountered blockchain at a South by Southwest conference in 2018, and she immediately saw an application in using it to track biospecimens for personalized medicine.

Coming revolution

Under Escala’s vision, sperm banks all around the world — effectively the front end or user interface of sperm donation — could plug into the Eggschain back end. This could, in theory, allow patients a much broader pool of sperm to select from. The laws of various jurisdictions could be programmed into the chain as well, effectively minimizing the legal red tape of international inseminations.

Due to the scalability potential once the system is implemented, Eggschain has set its targets high. “We hope, provide a universal tracking system for all the patients in the world,” Escala says, speaking of everyone involved in the IVF process.

Since Eggschain’s “patented solution covers the matching and tracking of genetic material using the blockchain,” that means that sperm and embryos are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential applications of Eggschain in the future.

“Organs, tissues and other bio-specimens can absolutely use the system in the future,” Escala says with optimism.

 

 

 



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Litecoin

Guide to Melbourne – Cointelegraph Magazine

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This “Crypto City” guide looks at Melbourne’s crypto culture, the city’s most notable projects and people, its financial infrastructure, which retailers accept crypto and where you can find blockchain education courses — and there’s even a short history with all the juicy details of famous controversies and collapses.

 

Fast facts

City: Melbourne
Country: Australia
Population: 5.15M
Established: 1835
Language: English

 

Australia’s second-largest city may lack Sydney’s amazing harbor views, but it makes up for it with a focus on art, sports and culture. There are more live music venues here per capita than any other city in the world, and the city has produced heaps of notable acts, including Nick Cave, Men at Work, The Avalanches and Kylie Minogue.

Located on the southern coast of Australia, Melbourne wasn’t founded until almost 50 years after Sydney, but it quickly became the wealthiest place in the world during the Gold Rush, from the 1850s to 1880s. It’s a very multicultural city, with the 10th-largest immigrant population globally. The city also ranks at number 27 on the Global Financial Centers Index and is home to the Australian Rules football code, the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open. It was the filming location for the first Mad Max film alongside Chopper and Animal Kingdom. Politically, Melbourne is more left-wing than any other city in the country and is home to the union movement.

 

Melbourne
The Yarra River in Melbourne. Source: Pexels

 

Crypto culture

Melbourne embraced cryptocurrencies early on, and a thriving community was built up through regular meetups including Blockchain Melbourne, Women in Blockchain, Web3 Melbourne and futureAUS. Karen Cohen, deputy chairperson of Blockchain Australia, recalls there being a huge influx of newcomers during the ICO boom in 2017.

“The meetup culture was really exciting. We couldn’t get enough space, so people were watching our meetups on Facebook Live because they couldn’t get into the room because it was so busy.”

Talk & Trade meetups were held every Wednesday from 2015 to 2019 at the Blockchain Centre. Located at the Victorian Innovation Hub in the docklands, the Blockchain Centre was the heart of the community in real life, at least until the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Melbourne has been home to numerous crypto exchanges since 2013, and a plethora of ICOs were also founded in the city in 2017 and 2018, including CanYa, which operates freelancer platform CanWork, and blockchain voting company Horizon State.

While the pandemic has moved most things online for the past 18 months, Blockchain Australia hosted a series of events at YBF Ventures in the Melbourne central business district (CBD) for the national Blockchain Week earlier this year, and Talk & Trade is now held at RMIT, in between lockdowns.

With live events beginning to reemerge as vaccine rates slowly grind up, YBF Ventures will relaunch its blockchain community meetups, supported by Cohen as the expert in residence for blockchain. “2020, sadly, has been hard with COVID, so it’s had to move online,” she says. “But I think if we were able to meet in real life, it would still have very much a meetup culture.”

 

Melbourne Trams
Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world. Source: Pexels

Projects and companies

Melbournites appear very interested in solving the problem of interblockchain communication, with at least three major cross-chain projects having strong ties to the city. CanYa founder JP Thor helped found the cross-chain decentralized liquidity protocol THORChain, and some of the anonymous local devs from THORChain went on to work on a similar project called Sifchain. Melbourne’s Simon Harman founded another cross-chain automated market maker, Chainflip, along with the privacy project Loki, which is now known as Oxen.

Web 3.0 developer studios Flex Dapps and TypeHuman are located here, as is the white-label blockchain services provider Pellar, whose infrastructure processes 10 million requests a day from around the world. Researchers from the government-run Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Monash University invented the MatRiCT technology (licensed to Hcash), which protects crypto from being cracked by quantum computers. NFT digital racehorse game Zed Run just raised $20 million from investors including TCG and Andreessen Horowitz. Algorand also has a noticeable presence in Melbourne, including through the Meld gold platform and Algomint.

 

 

Crypto exchanges headquartered in Melbourne include BTC Markets, Cointree, CoinSpot, CoinJar, noncustodial exchange Elbaite and OTC service Caleb and Brown. Major global fiat-to-crypto on-ramp Banxa is also based in the city.

Up-and-coming projects include insurance platform Day By Day, onboarding and fraud protection platform FrankieOne and accounting software AEM. DeFi-focused crypto fund Apollo Capital — which is a big investor in Synthetix and Internet Computer, among others — is also based in Melbourne. Apollo’s chief investment officer, Henrik Andersson, co-founded the decentralized pool trading platform dHEDGE and yield platform mStable (and helped out with a few ideas for this guide).

 

Bitcoin ATM
Melbourne only has a dozen or so Bitcoin ATMs. Source: Pexels

Financial infrastructure

The first Bitcoin ATM was installed at the Emporium in 2014, but there are only 13 Bitcoin ATMs dotted around Melbourne, mostly in big shopping centers. Australian banks have a slightly wary approach to crypto — while many banks are happy to allow users to send funds to exchanges, plenty of users have reported being suddenly debanked, especially those running crypto-related businesses. “They close accounts at will based on crypto use, and we’ve seen that happen, so they’re still not supportive as an industry,” says Cohen.

The New Payments Platform in Australia is something of a competitor to crypto (at least in terms of payments), allowing instant, 24/7 bank transfers using a phone number or email address. Often referred to as PayID, it was cited by the Reserve Bank of Australia as a reason that a central bank digital currency is not needed in Australia just yet. There are hundreds of retailers here in the Blueshyft network (Synthetix founder Kain Warwick’s other project) that accept cash payments over the counter for crypto exchanges.

Where can I spend crypto?

According to Coinmap, you’ll struggle to spend cryptocurrency directly in Melbourne at present, with fewer than 40 retail outlets accepting Bitcoin. (By way of comparison, Ljubljana in Slovenia has half the population but 554 crypto-accepting merchants.) It wasn’t always like this, with swathes of Melbourne cafes and businesses accepting crypto a few years ago, but then removing the option after it failed to take off.

Many retailers used the crypto payment service from TravelbyBit; however, it was dropped after the company merged with Travala in mid-2020. Australia’s oldest, biggest board game retailer in the CBD, Mind Games, gladly accepts Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. You can also learn rock climbing at Melbourne Climbing School, get fit at the women’s-only Fernwood Gym in Bulleen, get your computer fixed at Another World Computer Centre in Coburg or grab some raver gear from Ministry of Style in Collingwood.

If you’re relying on Coinmap’s data, note that some retailers featured have since gone out of business (most likely due to the pandemic), including cult book store Polyester Books, gift shop Vera Chan and various cafes.

Approximately 20 small businesses accept Bitcoin Cash, according to Bitcoin.com, including Japanese wellness clinic Sensu Spa and ties and cufflinks merchant Jay Kirby Ties in the CBD.

Despite the lack of merchants accepting direct crypto payments, you can pay for pretty much everything in Melbourne using crypto via intermediary services that transform it into cash. Living Room of Satoshi lets you pay any Bpay biller or bank account using 18 different cryptocurrencies.

 

RMIT boasts the Blockchain Innovation Hub. Source: Pexels

 

Education

RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub studies the social and business implications of blockchain, while Monash University’s Blockchain Technology Centre provides training and conducts research. There’s a Blockchain Innovation Lab at Swinburne University and Deakin University, both of which conduct research.

Controversies and collapses

Auscoin was perhaps the most controversial project to emerge from the city. Founded by Lambo-driving souvlaki chain-store owner Sam Karagiozis, the token was created to fund the rollout of 1,200 Bitcoin ATMs. The Aussie version of 60 Minutes dubbed it an “$80 million scam” that was built on nothing more than “grandiose promises,” although the ICO only raised $2 million. Auscoin was ordered by AUSTRAC to cease operations after Karagiozis was charged with trafficking 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of drugs via the dark web.

Elsewhere, up to 200 investors lost about $10 million between them when Melbourne-based crypto exchange ACX mysteriously collapsed at the end of 2019. It was operated by Blockchain Global, whose founder Sam Lee was instrumental in setting up the Blockchain Centre.

Another local exchange that mysteriously folded was MyCryptoWallet. Founded in 2017, National Australia Bank froze its accounts in early 2019. The exchange found alternate banking services and recovered temporarily, but later that year, users found they had lost access to their funds. As of April, they had yet to recover their funds, and Australia’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, was said to be looking into it. Huobi Australia launched in Melbourne in 2018 but quickly shuttered due to a lack of business during crypto winter. Horizon State, a promising blockchain-based voting platform, launched in Melbourne and then moved to New Zealand where it was on the verge of doing great things when a mysterious court case back in Melbourne scuppered the entire project. In a happy ending, the community is resurrecting it from the ashes with a crowd equity raise.

 

Notable figures

Ethereum influencer Anthony Sassano; BTC Markets CEO Caroline Bowler; Apollo Capital chief investment officer Henrik AnderssonA. J. Milne of Meld Ventures and Algomint; Blockchain Australia CEO Steve VallasTom Nash and Alex Ramsey of Flex Dapps; Women in Blockchain International manager Akasha Indream; Algorand Foundation chief operating officer Jason Lee; CanYa and THORChain founder JP Thor; “Satoshi’s sister” Lisa Edwards; Blockchain Centre founder Sam Lee (also of the now-defunct ACX); RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub professor Jason Potts; Joseph Liu, director of the Monash Blockchain Technology Centre and inventor of the tech behind Monero; Oxen chief technology officer Kee Jefferys; Emerging Tech Talent founder Karen Cohen; Ethitech head of education Anouk Pinchetti; TypeHuman director Nick Byrne; Auscoin founder Sam Karagiozis; and blockchain law specialists Joni Pirovich of Mills Oakley and John Bassilios of Hall & Wilcox. Cointelegraph team members and contributors based in Melbourne: Andrew Fenton, Brian Quarmby, Kelsie Nabben.

 

Suggestions for additions to this guide are welcome. Please email: andrewfenton@cointelegraph.com

 



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Market & Analysis

Here’s why that’s a good thing – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Blockchains provide a trust-free anonymous intermediary for objective transactional actions, putting wealth transfer back in the hands of the individual and out of the hands of centralized control. 

This, unsurprisingly, has stepped on the toes of a number of governments. To make matters worse, supporting this technology can be misconstrued as taking a stance against your home nation and can pose a massive risk to someone’s reputation. So, what can we do about it? 

One exciting phenomenon that has surfaced over the years in blockchain culture is the choice to use an alias or pseudonym while using the internet — a digital profile with no ties to your real-world identity, often further hidden behind a VPN. This has resulted in a strange phenomenon where the most credible information is now coming from various animal avatars or obscure anime references. 

To an outsider, or “normie,” it would seem entirely irrational to seek information from individuals who do not have some form of real-world verification. However, there is a growing number of people who believe the days of your real-world or “meatbag” identity are numbered. 

Here is why that could be a very good thing. 

Giving a voice to the voiceless

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say” – Edward Snowden

It should be understood that these online personas seen on Twitter are not anonymous, and instead, as Balaji Srinivasan observed, these aliases are pseudonymous. Entirely anonymous users seen on websites such as 4chan have less concern over building a reputation. This is where pseudonymous profiles have strong utility surrounding the instances where they can build a reputation around their online alias, independent of their real-world reputation. The clear benefits of independent reputational personas may not be as pertinent in western societies compared with more speech restrictive nations such as China or the more obvious and severe example of North Korea. 

 

 

 

 

Ukrainian-American comedian Yakov Smirnoff brilliantly sums it up: “in Soviet Russia, it’s freedom of speech. In America, it’s freedom after speech.” In an age of political correctness and hypersensitivity, saying the wrong thing may end up with you losing your job and permanently damaging your reputation, and in more totalitarian countries, the consequences of stepping over the line can be far worse. To exacerbate this risk, social media interactions are immortalized and can come back to punish individuals years down the line. 

Balaji also makes a great point about the “cost” of your reputation: “Your bank account is stored wealth. Your real name is stored reputation. Only you can debit your bank account. Anyone can debit your reputation.” Blockchain has now not only provided a safe place to store value, but the allowance of anonymity is also now a safe haven for your speech and ideas detached from real-world reputation vulnerability.

The end of the social normality prison

Social media used to be about everyone knowing you as someone you’re not, but using an alias on social media is being you without anyone knowing.

The majority of research on social media that doesn’t have questionable credibility (i.e., institutionally-run research projects) would suggest that social media has been, on the whole, anathema to our wellbeing — observed correlations include loneliness, depressive symptoms, suicide, lethargy and social anxiety, to name a few. However, it should be noted that when individuals are asked whether they would give up social media, the question is often met with “only for large amounts of money.” Why does something that fulfills such a strong unconscious desire to be connected have such devastating effects on our mental wellbeing?

 

 

 

 

Part of this reason is due to the nature of social media and the type of behavior it promotes. Social media is far less of a social media than it is a social comparison platform. A peculiar phenomenon of ghost users, individuals who frequent these various platforms but never post or engage with content, is easily observed and common on social media. 

Acting like a ghost, always there but out of sight to everyone else. This behavior could be argued as an individual’s unconscious response to understand what the present social norms are, with the intention to better facilitate your actions to be more in line with what is normal.

If we are likely to primarily behave online in ways that individuals deem to be the most accepted, we are living with an opposing philosophy to being mindful. This is why the crypto culture of aliases is so exciting. It empowers a new form of social media, one that actually promotes being social by removing the obstacle of social comparison. 

Rise of the autists

“What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.” – Temple Grandin

One interesting and telling observation found in crypto culture is the use of the term autist. This colloquial usage is a revised definition from the traditional understanding of autism. In crypto, to call someone an autist is typically meant with positive connotations — yet another reflection of the new social structure blockchain culture provides. This new definition of autist generally refers to objective thinking with little regard to social normality.

Online personas provide a layer of anonymity that can remove repeatedly observed intimidation and prejudice in real-world social interactions. With no one specific person to judge or compare yourself to, all you are left with is the content of the message being communicated. This makes it harder, especially more than ever, to slander an individual due to some irrelevant characteristic about their physicality or even their past. 

One avenue for research into online culture might be to investigate the parallels between the behavior of individuals who spend a significant time using objective coding language and reliance on what is meant by left (logic and rationality) or right (creativity and abstraction) brain thinking. 

The last line of defense

One unique and revolutionary aspect of blockchain technology comes from its ability to allow complete anonymity. As I am sure readers are aware, actions on the blockchain are encrypted and stored on multiple devices or nodes around the planet, standing behind a fairly sophisticated private key function. Although these interactions are public, it is nearly impossible to single out the individual behind the interaction. 

 

 

 

 

The multitude of data leaks over the past few years on centralized platforms demonstrate that technology used to be the weak link in data security. Blockchain provides a promise of security that has never been previously available. However, now that technology is not the weakest link, bad actors must target the next weakest link in the chain: the user. 

Technology can be as secure as it wants, but the individual who has access to that technology will always be vulnerable to being hacked via the $5 wrench method — a term popularized by the comic XKCD for hitting someone over the head with a wrench until they give up their private key. A number of exchanges currently require Know Your Customer, or KYC, verification. As a result, it is especially important to protect your real-world identity associated with your exchange account.

 

 

 

 

However, alias culture may provide some solace from this, as the barrier between user and persona prevents would-be attackers from easily identifying and tracking down victims. 

Freedom from the self

“The beginning of a great day begins a night before” – Sukant Ratnakar

In aggregate, online personas can bring freedom back to the notion of free speech. Speech is a freedom that has long been under fire since the rise of government-regulated political correctness. An online persona removes the shackles of social normality. With no identifiable human user, the risk of being dubbed as an outcast becomes inconsequential. This security allows autists, once ostracized, to demonstrate their unrealized potential on a mass scale. Online personas have paved the road for objective conversations by removing the outdated potholes of antiquated socio-psychological tendencies. Additionally, using an online persona puts yet another layer of security between a user’s interactions with the world and the value they have stored within blockchains. 

Blockchain cultures have never really cared for traditional norms; they never needed to. One incredible thing about math is that it’s the language of the universe. One cannot introduce social prejudice to prove math to be incorrect. If it’s right, it just simply is, and it does not matter whether someone agrees with it or not. I would argue this has been an unspoken ethos of blockchain technology since day one. 

Once we boil away erroneous bad actors and influences such as social conditioning, the cream rises to the top. Users who can provide the most value matter — regardless of their meatspace social position. The blockchain movement has always been about liberation — a digital revolution that cannot be stopped. Freedom from systemic control of your wealth, freedom from systemic regulation of your speech and finally, freedom from your physical identity.

 

 

 

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Litecoin

Boysterous – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Brothers Nicholas and Brendan Overstreet of the luxury fashion and accessories brand, Boysterous, join DKleine to talk about the recent launch of Boysterous NFTs on WAX. They discuss the ongoing NFT-blending event that gives participants the opportunity to hold, trade, and even redeem unique tokens in exchange for one-of-a-kind hand-made physical fashion products. 

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