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“Gradually, then suddenly.” — Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

For many years, people have been skeptical about AI. So much so that the term “AI” has been derided variously as misleading, vague, or fantasy. I have been disappointed by AI chatbots since I first got interested in natural language processing as a child, but after chatting frequently with a GPT-3 over the course of many months, I’m convinced: It’s time to drop our polite euphemisms for AI. It’s time to admit that machines can be intelligent.

We’re OK saying “Machine Learning”. We can admit that machines can learn how…


Ultima IV artwork from Origin

Apple customers spent $1.8 billion on digital items and services between Christmas and New Year’s leading into 2021. The digital economy is taking over quickly. Blockchains and NFTs will soon be at the center of the transformation. Due to a looming convergence of technologies, this trend is going to accelerate over the next decade. Welcome to the metaverse.

In this article, we’ll discuss what the metaverse is, why it’s important, some of the current trends, and what we might expect for metaverse development in 2021. …


Which Cryptocurrency Will Win?

BTC vs ETH — Price in USD (source: Coinmetrics.io)

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor and I’m not telling you where to put your money. Either or both BTC and ETH values could drop to zero.

This is a bait and switch title, but only because a lot of people are asking a question that doesn’t make sense.

The question, “which will win, Bitcoin or Ethereum?” implies some misconceptions which do not reflect reality.

  1. Misconception: Bitcoin and Ethereum are Currencies, and should be judged by how good they are at being money. Reality: Bitcoin and Ethereum are cryptonetworks, and should be judged by the value each network is…

Image: Price of ETH Relative to BTC (Source: CoinMarketCap)

Caution: This article is intended to inform you of technical developments in the market, and should not be read as a guarantee of future price movements.

Ethereum has been a major driver of the recent crypto recovery, outpacing Bitcoin by a wide margin.

TL;DR Quick Facts:

  • ETH ☝️ 61% month over month.
  • BTC ☝14% month over month. Why the difference?
  • ETH price has been depressed by fears.
  • Those fears are dissipating as solutions to problems are found.
  • Layer 2 scaling is live.
  • Usability and onboarding issues are being solved.
  • DeFi has crossed the $1 billion locked milestone.
  • Million+ user dapps…

Bastian Hoppe - SF GoldenGate Low Fog (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A Decade of Crypto

Almost exactly 10 years ago, the first Bitcoin transactions were made, kicking off a whole new industry, and launching a new technology ecosystem as significant as the printing press, industrial age, internet, and smart phone revolutions that came before. For most of the decade, basic infrastructure, plumbing, and exchanges were built to support it.

The crypto world was busy building bridges and paving roads for app developers to drive on, as in the early days of the internet. Developers were busy building email clients, Netscape and Internet Explorer, the JavaScript language, CSS, and HTML, before we could have web applications.


Photo: David Stewart — Action Beach Fun (CC-BY-2.0)

Three Big Waves that Crushed Whole Industries

When the iPhone was released, Nokia knew they were in trouble. They did not have a touch screen product, yet. They didn’t have an OS capable of competing with iOS or Android. Instead of riding the momentum of dominating the cell phone industry for the last several years, they were crippled by the inertia of a company unwilling and unable to disrupt itself.

They didn’t see the wave coming, and it crushed them. In just 6 years, Nokia’s market cap fell 90% until they were gobbled up by Microsoft.

Digital photography was pioneered by Steven Sasson in 1975 while working…


Will New Projects Capture All the Value?

Photo: Modes Rodríguez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The cryptocurrency investment world has little in the way of historical reference, and most projects are too young to look at stock valuation metrics like Price/Earnings ratios. Most cryptocurrency investments are in the pre-growth or early growth phase. Most of the associated projects are still looking for product/market fit.

Lacking real valuation metrics, cryptocurrency projects tend to be valued relative to each other, rather than relative to each project’s individual merits. That leads to an unusually high degree of correlation in market valuations, based more on observed cryptocurrency market cycles than worthiness of any particular asset.

One of those observed…


Image by Matt Britt (cropped) (CC BY 2.5)

Yes.

In the beginning of the personal computing revolution, there were dozens of different brands of computers, each with their own competing architecture or OS. Your Apple //e apps did not run on your IBM XT or Commodore Amiga or ColecoVision or TI-99/4A. (Computers had such catchy names, didn’t they?)

The app ecosystem was fractured. Popular applications had to be ported to different platforms. Then, in the late 90s, the web took off as an application platform. By 2010, 80% of American households were using the web.

Today, we’re busy reinventing the web platform. The web is ubiquitous. Almost every…


And How We Can Build a Better Future

Image by Matt Britt (cropped) (CC BY 2.5)

When we talking about decentralization in the context of computing, it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What is it that is being decentralized? In the crypto industry, when somebody says “decentralized” they may mean that any of these things are decentralized:

  • Access
  • Organizational governance
  • Computation
  • Financial Instruments
  • Wealth

We’re going to look at decentralization from the perspective of computing resources, and who has access to them. User rights, privacy, and security are important themes.

First, what is decentralized computing? To understand that, let’s get a grip on what centralized computing means:

Computing…


Image: Sunova Surfboards (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

On April 10, 2019 I wrote an article titled “Inside the Crypto Recovery” which laid out a theory of the November crash and predicted recovery of Bitcoin’s value from its 2018 low of about $3,200 up to $6,500. I laid out the case and the growing pattern among the alt coins, and then confidently predicted:

“With all this supporting data, I’m making a prediction: BTC to $6,500 USD soon.” — Published April 10, 2019.

The events described in it have since played out as predicted.

When I wrote it, the value of Bitcoin was struggling to overcome resistance at $5,300…

The Challenge

Our goal is to build a world that democratizes opportunity…

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