The reason Bitcoin & Ethereum are surging 💰📈

An explainer on tokens, including blockchain product recommendations from Naval Ravikant

The blockchain is arguably the most disruptive social idea since the internet itself. In the past few weeks, the price of digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum has started to reflect it. While this incredible run-up is partly caused by investor speculation, it’s only now that we may have found the killer use case for cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchains.

Tokens: Kickstarter on Steroids

Tokens or “appcoins” are scarce digital assets powered by the underlying technology that made Bitcoin possible. While they do not represent equity in a company, appcoins have transformed the traditional methods of financing technology companies today. For example, Product Hunt could launch “KittyCoins” to finance operations directly from the community. Another example is how the Brave Browser team just raised $30M for their Basic Attention Token ICO in 24 seconds (you read that correctly).

Balaji S. Srinivasan wrote a must-read article on the topic, explaining that while we’re in the early days today, tokens will transform the technology of tomorrow.

Both Balaji and Naval Ravikant took the time to answer some of the Product Hunt community’s blockchain related questions.

Q: Which non-financial blockchain project are you most excited about?

Naval recommended Blockstack, calling it a “Very ambitious project to decentralize identity and user data and to allow construction of fully decentralized applications.” See Naval’s full answer.

Blockstack recently launched a new decentralized internet browser.

Balaji said that it’s early for non-fintech/IT-based blockchain products, so he doesn’t have a particular favorite here, while adding:

Almost everything that comes out of the space over the next few years is going to be based on digital currency (for public blockchains) or bank-related application (for private blockchains). It took four years for Bitcoin to gain attention (2009–2013), and another four years for key infrastructure to get built out (2013–2017). We’ll see a huge surge in applications broadly related to finance & traditional CS areas from 2017–2021. Only after that point will the space be mature enough to extend tendrils into other verticals. The reason is that you need to win in your core audience before you can expand.

Q: What’s a good book to start learning about cryptocurrency?

Balaji recommended Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos. Here is his full answer:

I’ll sound like a broken record, but for the technical side of things, Andreas Antonopoulos’ Mastering Bitcoin is very good, as well as the upcoming Mastering Ethereum and the Bitcoin and Ethereum documentation. For the non-technical side of things, I like the Sovereign Individual and Seeing Like a State.
You can’t really understand why cryptocurrencies came about or where they’re going without being familiar with books like the Sovereign Individual and Seeing Like a State. More terms to Google: panarchy, catallaxy, polycentric law, public choice theory, the economic calculation problem, bearer instrument, seignorage. See also my answer here.

Naval recommended the original Bitcoin Whitepaper by Satoshi, saying it’s best to start at the source if you want to learn about cryptocurrency.

He also recommended: Blockchains in the Mainstream, these resources and experiment at MIT, Fat Protocols by USV, his own blog posts, including: Bitcoin — The Internet of Money (November 2013), The Bitcoin Model for Crowdfunding (March 2014), and The Fifth Protocol (April 2014).

Q: What is the best Coinbase alternative?

Naval said that Coinbase’s GDAX exchange and Kraken are his go-to exchanges (and warned not to leave currency at an exchange). See Naval’s full answer.

Community Product Recommendations

Q: What are people using to manage and trade their cryptocurrencies?

Coinbase, Lionshare, view 6 more recommendations.

Q: What is the best product to keep track of the upcoming ICOs?

View 3 product recommendations.

Q: What is the best app to track my Altcoins?

View 2 product recommendations.

Q: What’s the best cold wallet solution?

View 3 product recommendations.

Feel free to add your own recommendations. If you’d like to ask the Product Hunt community for a product recommendation, you can do so here: