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My parents, for some reason, got me and my wife a 55" 4k TV for Christmas even though we barely watch TV. Planet Earth II is awe inspiring. Not only is the way it looks higher quality than anything else I've seen, the show itself is so entertaining. I never thought I'd get so invested in the drama of a nature documentary. Highly recommended.

There are five possible use cases for crypto that I see.

1. A black market currency

2. A low-fee, decentralized international payment system

3. An investment

4. A general-purpose currency

5. A secure, trustless information ledger

As A Black Market Currency

For use in the black market, we're going to want a way to hold the currency anonymously, and a way to send private transactions.

- BTC wallet anonymity is possible with a few hoop jumps, but private transactions are impossible. If address X has a transaction with a known black market address, this is public knowledge, and address X is forever associated with this shady exchange.

- XRP has the same problems as BTC, with the added risk of validators simply rejecting transactions with known shady addresses.

- ETH is currently no better than BTC, but they plan to implement technology borrowed from ZCash to allow private transactions, so ETH will be more private in the future.

Best alternatives right now for this use case: Monero, ZCash

As An International Money Transfer System

For this, any low-fee system will work. The lower the fees, the better. Right now this means everything but BTC, but what would the fees look like in the future, assuming widespread adoption?

- BTC "on-chain" transactions will only get worse, but they are working to implement Lightning Network. This will end up sort of like a "real" BTC wallet that you treat like a savings account, and a Lightning BTC wallet that you treat like a checking account that has low fees and fast transactions. The catch is that you have to pay the on-chain tx fee to transfer from your BTC wallet to your Lightning wallet.

- Same story for ETH, really. Widespread adoption of ETH will result in high transaction fees. Not as high as BTC, but high. Ethereum is working on several scaling strategies in parallel, but realistically they're a year or two away.

- XRP was built for this use case. It will scale, be low fee, and in the future, it may even be possible to use it through your bank. It's not super decentralized, but it's fast and low fee.

As An Investment

At this point I have no idea. I don't understand why the market caps on these coins are so high. Let's be honest, they don't do anything cool yet. As a general rule I'd say don't put in anything you can't afford to lose 100% of.

In the long term, I think any cryptocurrency that has a capped supply and a plan for scaling is a decent choice. I personally like the smart contract ones: Ethereum, Zilliqa, Eos, Cardano, RChain. Raiblocks is cool too. There are also some interesting ERC20 tokens. But those are all just opinions.

As A General Purpose Currency

For this use, we want widespread adoption, stable value, low transaction fees, and transaction verifiability. For this space, my favorite is USD.

Seriously though, a deflationary general purpose currency makes a bad currency, and so does a volatile one. Imagine buying something on credit and owing waaay more than you thought you would, or buying something when you could have bought two of it a month later. Deflation and volatility decrease the money velocity of a given cryptocurrency to the point that any economy based on it is much smaller that it would be otherwise. It makes the currency hard to spend and discourages its use. We already see the effects of this: Very very few businesses accept BTC directly because its value is so unstable. And it's a vicious cycle; less businesses accept it, so its utility is less, so less businesses accept it.

In the long term, I think something like Dai or OmiseGO has a chance of being useful. But it's not ready yet.

As A Secure, Trustless Information Ledger

This is the space that I think has been explored the least, and which I think has the post potential. It could disrupt a lot of industries, including certificate authorities, DNS, and, maybe someday, thinks like deeds, titles, stock ownership, and land registries. But all of this is years off.

- BTC and XRP cannot be used well for this purpose.

- ETH was built for this use case. Maybe in a few decades we'll see corruption in some countries being combated by registering things in an Ethereum or Ethereum-style blockchain.

Coinbase/GDAX is also FDIC insured.

I think you're especially right in terms of special effects. I don't think anybody had seen a movie that looked or sounded like that up to that point. Except for 2001: A Space Odyssey, but that's like the greatest film ever made.

I sort of disagree.

You're right, the things you mentioned are stupid. They're cheesy and they make no sense. Now, and this will be hard if you're a big fanboy/girl, go watch the original trilogy like you have never seen them before and know nothing about it. Preferably the Despecialized Edition so you can see the unruined versions. I think you'll find them pretty bad also. (Aside: I am in no way implying the prequels were good, or on par with the original trilogy. I hate the prequels so much I can't even convey how much without writing several paragraphs). Here are some nitpickings of the original trilogy, without even taking into account the bad acting and overall cheesiness that we let slide because of nostalgia reasons.

Episode IV

- Why didn't the Imperials shoot the escape pod? Did they not consider there might be droids with the information on it, while on a ship full of droids?

- Why use droids at all instead of sending transmissions to the base like they do for some other things? Too much data maybe?

- Obi Wan spent decades in hiding and made it very clear he wanted to remain inconspicuous in Mos Eisley. Oh look he just drew a lightsaber in the middle of a crowded bar and identified himself. Then talks to Han Solo like Solo won't know exactly why Obi Wan the Obvious Jedi would want to avoid the Empire.

- Why didn't Tarkin just blow up Yavin to get in range of the rebel base faster? I guess this one makes sense because they felt no danger from the rebel fleet.

- Wait, did the TIE fighter to Vader's right during the trench run just crash into him for no reason?

- Who is Tarkin and why is he above Vader? Oh I guess it doesn't matter, he's dead.

Episode V

- That probe droid just sent a live feed over long distance. So why couldn't they transmit the Death Star Schematics again?

- Wait a minute, did Luke only spend like a day or two with Yoda before leaving? He got there when the Millennium Falcon was evading the Imperials and going into the asteroid field/space worm, and left soon after the Falcon arrived at Cloud City. Only a few days had passed.

- And how did the Falcon get to Cloud City in the first place? They didn't have a working warp drive at the time?

- Force users can absorb blasters with their hands?

- Force users can communicate with each other over long distances?

- Force users can see into the future???

Episode VI

- A lot of stuff. You get the point.

To be clear, I like all three of these movies. Especially Empire Strikes Back. But all three were full of pointless scenes, things that made no sense, and general cheesiness. It was part of the charm. I for one think Episode 8 fits in pretty well.

I assumed it was taking that line from the Matrix (which was itself an allusion to Alice in Wonderland) and applying it to deeply probing into the Trump presidency and seeing "how deep the rabbit hole goes". So in this case it would imply that shit explosions at the EPA are part of a pattern of changes caused by the Trump presidency. This particular occurrence probably would have occurred regardless of who was president, but it does seem to fit a general theme of environmental agencies being gutted to the point of working against what they used to work toward.

If you do end up getting the SNES mini, it's hackable to add any SNES games you want. I got one, and now it has Chrono Trigger and Earthworm Jim.

Ethereum is like Bitcoin, but the way it is mined allows the "transactions" to actually be arbitrarily complex programs that are run by the miners. And the output of those programs has the same reliability of correctness that all the transactions do. A nickname for Ethereum is the World Computer.

If you're technically minded, the Bitcoin whitepaper is a good starting point. Then you can read about how subsequent cryptocurrencies improve, or attempt to improve, on the original design. If that's too much, I'll give a quick overview.

You know BitTorrent, right? On BitTorrent, a bunch of people all have the same file and agree on its contents. When someone new comes along, they can download parts of the file from anyone/everyone and know it's trustworthy, because all the group can prove they have parts of a file with the same contents. And if anyone tries to lie about a part of the file, they can't, because the contents of the file are proven via cryptographic hash[1].

Bitcoin is a similar idea, except instead of a file, it's a transaction ledger. Each new transaction is "confirmed" by hashing it with the previous transaction in a way that's easy to verify but time-consuming to compute in the first place ("Miners" are the people that do the time-consuming computing). Then the next transaction is confirmed on top of that one, and so on. This chain of transactions is the "blockchain". "Block" comes from that in the real protocol, unconfirmed transactions are grouped into a big list, or "block", and hashed with the previous block, instead of one at a time.

The benefit of this is that you rapidly reach a trusted consensus on transactions across the globe that can't be faked or changed, without needing a trusted intermediary like Paypal or Visa, similar to BitTorrent not needing a trusted server to download a file. This gives you a mathematically verifiable "coin" that can't be counterfeited, relies on no central authority, and is guaranteed to behave a certain way.

[1]: Basically, treat some data as a very long number and enter it into an equation that produces a fixed-size result that is unlikely to occur for anything besides that exact number, and can't be "reversed" to see what the possible inputs are. Thus, you can verify the data that was entered into the equation. For example: take this post and assign each letter a number from 1 to 26. Then add up all the numbers. Then take the first letter of each sentence and do the same thing. Then append the two numbers. That sequence of numbers is unlikely to occur for any other post, and you can't take the numbers and figure out the contents of the post.

rthomas6  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Your grampaw on Bitcoin

I'm writing off BTC until I see some tangible progress with improving tx time and decreasing fees, i. e. fixing scaling issues. Back in 2013 when I was more into Bitcoin, people were talking about the utility over fiat as much or more than they were talking about the price. The rising price was seen as a secondary effect of the ability to send money to someone in another country quickly for a very low fee, the prospect of replacing online payment companies like Paypal, and its utility in the future for things like land registries and name services.

Now nobody says those things anymore, because Bitcoin's transaction times, fees, and volatility make those things impossible. Most people are buying Bitcoin because they want to sell it to someone else at a higher price. They don't believe in its original purpose. Most don't even seem to understand or care about the utility of the blockchain.

OTOH I'm excited about Ethereum, because the community cares about scaling and has several ideas they plan to implement, and even a rough timeline. I also appreciate the focus on utilizing its blockchain for things other than sending Ether, for things like land registries, name services, and domain/application-specific currencies, and that smart people have already built and are running these services on Ethereum as we speak (and also digital cats).

rthomas6  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Ethereum: A Visual Guide

Just wanted to say I like the web design aspect of this. I like the design of your site, how lightweight it is, how it's static, and how you use SVGs for images. What did you use to create the SVGs? What static generator, CMS, etc did you use?

I dabble with keto and intermittent fasting, but I'm not strict about it. Low carb is handy for losing weight because it decreases appetite. I find it gives me a more steady energy. No energetic highs, but no crashes either.

The important thing related to energy is that sugar (and high glycemic index foods that quickly turn into sugar) cause your blood glucose to go high, then low. This will make you feel more tired. Cognition also correlates with glucose levels, so eating a carb-heavy dinner before class is probably not optimal, due to the drop in blood glucose level.

L-theanine is a relaxant, but it creates a nice focus when in the right balance with caffeine. I like the way it makes me feel-- it's like I can calmly direct my attention where I want it, or just relax. Caffeine by itself is more energetic, but way more intense. I won't claim caffeine+theanine is a nootropic, but some people think it is.

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