bitcoin New Economic Perspectives

Bitcoin-A Revolution of Political and Economic Perspectives or a Passing Fad? ⋆ Crypto New Media

Bitcoin-A Revolution of Political and Economic Perspectives or a Passing Fad? ⋆ Crypto New Media submitted by asmajda to CryptoStock [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to investing_discussion [link] [comments]

Eth 2.0 vs Polkadot and other musings by a fundamental investor

Spent about two hours on this post and I decided it would help the community if I made it more visible. Comment was made as a response to this
I’m trying to avoid falling into a maximalist mindset over time. This isn’t a 100% ETH question, but I’m trying to stay educated about emerging tech.
Can someone help me see the downsides of diversifying into DOTs?
I know Polkadot is more centralized, VC backed, and generally against our ethos here. On chain governance might introduce some unknown risks. What else am I missing?
I see a bunch of posts about how Ethereum and Polkadot can thrive together, but are they not both L1 competitors?
Response:
What else am I missing?
The upsides.
Most of the guys responding to you here are full Eth maxis who drank the Parity is bad koolaid. They are married to their investment and basically emotional / tribal in an area where you should have a cool head. Sure, you might get more upvotes on Reddit if you do and say what the crowd wants, but do you want upvotes and fleeting validation or do you want returns on your investment? Do you want to be these guys or do you want to be the shareholder making bank off of those guys?
Disclaimer: I'm both an Eth whale and a Dot whale, and have been in crypto for close to a decade now. I originally bought ether sub $10 after researching it for at least a thousand hours. Rode to $1500 and down to $60. Iron hands - my intent has always been to reconsider my Eth position after proof of stake is out. I invested in the 2017 Dot public sale with the plan of flipping profits back to Eth but keeping Dots looks like the right short and long term play now. I am not a trader, I just take a deep tech dive every couple of years and invest in fundamentals.
Now as for your concerns:
I know Polkadot is more centralized
The sad truth is that the market doesn't really care about this. At all. There is no real statistic to show at what point a coin is "decentralized" or "too centralized". For example, bitcoin has been completely taken over by Chinese mining farms for about five years now. Last I checked, they control above 85% of the hashing power, they just spread it among different mining pools to make it look decentralized. They have had the ability to fake or block transactions for all this time but it has never been in their best interest to do so: messing with bitcoin in that way would crash its price, therefore their bitcoin holdings, their mining equipment, and their company stock (some of them worth billions) would evaporate. So they won't do it due to economics, but not because they can't.
That is the major point I want to get across; originally Bitcoin couldn't be messed with because it was decentralized, but now Bitcoin is centralized but it's still not messed with due to economics. It is basically ChinaCoin at this point, but the market doesn't care, and it still enjoys over 50% of the total crypto market cap.
So how does this relate to Polkadot? Well fortunately most chains - Ethereum included - are working towards proof of stake. This is obviously better for the environment, but it also has a massive benefit for token holders. If a hostile party wanted to take over a proof of stake chain they'd have to buy up a massive share of the network. The moment they force through a malicious transaction a proof of stake blockchain has the option to fork them off. It would be messy for a few days, but by the end of the week the hostile party would have a large amount of now worthless tokens, and the proof of stake community would have moved on to a version of the blockchain where the hostile party's tokens have been slashed to zero. So not only does the market not care about centralization (Bitcoin example), but proof of stake makes token holders even safer.
That being said, Polkadot's "centralization" is not that far off to Ethereum. The Web3 foundation kept 30% of the Dots while the Ethereum Foundation kept 17%. There are whales in Polkadot but Ethereum has them too - 40% of all genesis Ether went to 100 wallets, and many suspect that the original Ethereum ICO was sybiled to make it look more popular and decentralized than it really was. But you don't really care about that do you? Neither do I. Whales are a fact of life.
VC backed
VCs are part of the crypto game now. There is no way to get rid of them, and there is no real reason why you should want to get rid of them. They put their capital at risk (same as you and me) and seek returns on their investment (same as you and me). They are both in Polkadot and Ethereum, and have been for years now. I have no issue with them as long as they don't play around with insider information, but that is another topic. To be honest, I would be worried if VCs did not endorse chains I'm researching, but maybe that's because my investing style isn't chasing hype and buying SUSHI style tokens from anonymous (at the time) developers. That's just playing hot potato. But hey, some people are good at that.
As to the amount of wallets that participated in the Polkadot ICO: a little known fact is that more individual wallets participated in Polkadot's ICO than Ethereum's, even though Polkadot never marketed their ICO rounds due to regulatory reasons.
generally against our ethos here
Kool aid.
Some guy that works(ed?) at Parity (who employs what, 200+ people?) correctly said that Ethereum is losing its tech lead and that offended the Ethereum hivemind. Oh no. So controversial. I'm so personally hurt by that.
Some guy that has been working for free on Ethereum basically forever correctly said that Polkadot is taking the blockchain tech crown. Do we A) Reflect on why he said that? or B) Rally the mob to chase him off?
"I did not quit social media, I quit Ethereum. I did not go dark, I just left the community. I am no longer coordinating hard forks, building testnets, or contributing otherwise. I did not work on Polkadot, I never did, I worked on Ethereum. I did not hate Ethereum, I loved it."
Also Parity locked their funds (and about 500+ other wallets not owned by them) and proposed a solution to recover them. When the community voted no they backed off and did not fork the chain, even if they had the influence to do so. For some reason this subreddit hates them for that, even if Parity did the 100% moral thing to do. Remember, 500+ other teams or people had their funds locked, so Parity was morally bound to try its best to recover them.
Its just lame drama to be honest. Nothing to do with ethos, everything to do with emotional tribalism.
Now for the missing upsides (I'll also respond to random fragments scattered in the thread):
This isn’t a 100% ETH question, but I’m trying to stay educated about emerging tech.
A good quick intro to Eth's tech vs Polkadot's tech can be found on this thread, especially this reply. That thread is basically mandatory reading if you care about your investment.
Eth 2.0's features will not really kick in for end users until about 2023. That means every dapp (except DeFI, where the fees make sense due to returns and is leading the fee market) who built on Eth's layer 1 are dead for three years. Remember the trading card games... Gods Unchained? How many players do you think are going to buy and sell cards when the transaction fee is worth more than the cards? All that development is now practically worthless until it can migrate to its own shard. This story repeats for hundreds of other dapp teams who's projects are now priced out for three years. So now they either have to migrate to a one of the many unpopulated L2 options (which have their own list of problems and risks, but that's another topic) or they look for another platform, preferably one interoperable with Ethereum. Hence Polkadot's massive growth in developer activity. If you check out https://polkaproject.com/ you'll see 205 projects listed at the time of this post. About a week ago they had 202 listed. That means about one team migrated from another tech stack to build on Polkadot every two days, and trust me, many more will come in when parachains are finally activated, and it will be a complete no brainer when Polkadot 2.0 is released.
Another huge upside for Polkadot is the Initial Parachain Offerings. Polkadot's version of ICOs. The biggest difference is that you can vote for parachains using your Dots to bind them to the relay chain, and you get some of the parachain's tokens in exchange. After a certain amount of time you get your Dots back. The tokenomics here are impressive: Dots are locked (reduced supply) instead of sold (sell pressure) and you still earn your staking rewards. There's no risk of scammers running away with your Ether and the governance mechanism allows for the community to defund incompetent devs who did not deliver what was promised.
Wouldn’t an ETH shard on Polkadot gain a bunch of scaling benefits that we won’t see natively for a couple years?
Yes. That is correct. Both Edgeware and Moonbeam are EVM compatible. And if the original dapp teams don't migrate their projects someone else will fork them, exactly like SUSHI did to Uniswap, and how Acala is doing to MakerDao.
Although realistically Ethereum has a 5 yr headstart and devs haven't slowed down at all
Ethereum had a five year head start but it turns out that Polkadot has a three year tech lead.
Just because it's "EVM Compatible" doesn't mean you can just plug Ethereum into Polkadot or vica versa, it just means they both understand Ethereum bytecode and you can potentially copy/paste contracts from Ethereum to Polkadot, but you'd still need to add a "bridge" between the 2 chains, so it adds additional complexity and extra steps compared to using any of the existing L2 scaling solutions
That only applies of you are thinking from an Eth maximalist perspective. But if you think from Polkadot's side, why would you need to use the bridge back to Ethereum at all? Everything will be seamless, cheaper, and quicker once the ecosystem starts to flourish.
I see a bunch of posts about how Ethereum and Polkadot can thrive together, but are they not both L1 competitors?
They are competitors. Both have their strategies, and both have their strengths (tech vs time on the market) but they are clearly competing in my eyes. Which is a good thing, Apple and Samsung competing in the cell phone market just leads to more innovation for consumers. You can still invest in both if you like.
Edit - link to post and the rest of the conversation: https://www.reddit.com/ethfinance/comments/iooew6/daily_general_discussion_september_8_2020/g4h5yyq/
Edit 2 - one day later PolkaProject count is 210. Devs are getting the hint :)
submitted by redditsucks_goruqqus to polkadot_market [link] [comments]

I'm making a video targeting right-wingers - Please critique and give feedback ASAP before I commit to recording? "Axiomatic Warfare and the Fatal Flaws of Modern Fascism"

[Video Essay Script] - Links will be used in video as images and segments. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12OX9TTfLhgNEfdDaMWfsHYyAMzTx9G7bSwu_0Ke1Ksc/edit?usp=sharing

Introduction to Modern Fascism

“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”- Nazi Propagandists, Joseph Goebbels.

Axioms are our base assumptions about the world. They act as filters for new information coming into our consciousness.
In classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning.
We use these axiomatic assumptions to build our internal models of the world around us. They allow us to compare new information we receive from the outside with our internal narratives, which helps us to decide whether to reject or accept that new information. They are, for want of a better world, your "common sense" beliefs.
So how do you go about changing a relatively normal person's core beliefs and base assumptions to the point of rejecting their fellow citizens as traitors, committing acts of murderous terrorist or vigilante violence like Fascist white supremacists running down protesters in acts of terror, ISIS beheadings or mass genocide?

Shock Treatment and Slow Repetition

When I was a child I was subjected to regular mental and physical abuse from my dad. I would also see my mother repeatedly beaten up and then flee to a women's refuge where I would stay with her.
Each time my mom left, whenever I visited my dad at weekends, he would constantly try to pressure and manipulate me into convincing my mom to get back together with him.
This never worked of course. But what it did do, is make me highly sensitive to manipulation techniques.
I was fascinated by people like the magician Derren Brown and the economist Naomi Klein - who both reveal the tricks of the trade used in the advertising and marketing industries to convince people.
One way of changing people into killing machines or obedient sheep is through a big shock to the system, like how electroshock therapy allows for a clean slate to rebuild peoples intern mental models.
Psychedelics are another way, having a similar effect in the brain. Encouraged by the alt right and alt-light influencers like Jordan Peterson and Rebel Wisdom as they try to “Red Pill” people (an expression taken from the film The Matrix as a metaphor for revealing revealing the truth about the world).
They use this shock and disorientation as a way to prepare a “blank-slate” in order to rebuild peoples internal axiomatic models with different core beliefs.
Remaking people by shocking them into obedience and gas-lighting them about their existing internal models, making them seem irrational, silly or outdated. Reducing them to a mental state of a child and then rebuilding them with a new ideology and worldview, known as “shock therapy”.
As Naomi Klein explains in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, these techniques work on larger scales with use of trauma and shock to influence political outcomes has been used since at least Milton Friedman coined the term “Economic Shock Treatment”. He advised that politicians push through painful and unpopular policies all at once during a time of crisis, before people could regain their footing.
The technique is used in economic markets on the large scale, and also against individuals on a small scale with individuals too. Economics and politics is just human interaction on a larger scale, after all.
Regular repetition and gentle suggestions of ideas can also instil new axiomatic models and core beliefs into people's minds. As Derren Brown demonstrates how powerful subtly suggestions can be alone, without the need for hypnosis, shocks or drugs.
But used in combination, shock and repetition can shift people until they have moved their positions, perceptions and beliefs about the world, to a place they could never have imagined.
But luckily once you deconstruct the deception and understand how the trick works, the illusion falls apart.

Defining and Deconstructing Modern Fascism

Firstly, we must define Modern Fascism. Modern Fascism ticks every box of the traditional definitions in Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism, and not only does it fulfil every criteria, it reveals other motivational forces and has evolved to include new aspects, and has changed into something worse, while it’s main weakness remain the same - the fact that it is primarily motivated by weakness.
As General Franco said in a 1938 interview with Henri Massis: "Fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life… What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?"
This quote perfectly illustrates the transient nature of the ideology, but also the core motivations of Fascism. It is an ideology based on the assumption of weakness which yearns for restoration of a past greatness or to get revenge and recognition. But the way that it manifests itself is different in each place it takes hold.
Therefore the aim of this isn’t to make the case that any particular party or country has embraced out-right fascism (plenty of other people have made that case already), the aim is to reveal the underlying motivations, highlight threats and weaknesses and analyse the less obvious negative effects of Modern Fascism.

History Doesn’t Repeat, But It Rhymes

A false equivalence that is often used is that Liberal Imperialism is just the same as Fascism. And while it is true that imperialists use fascist dictators to extract cheap labour and resources and also dominate smaller counties in a similar way to how fascist empires aspire to rule, the key difference is that the populations of those countries are not gripped by the same fear based delusions.
And therefore more Liberal democracies are better equipped to hold their imperial position of power long term because they are better able to assess risks and react accordingly, rather than over-react based on paranoia and competing egos under excessive pressure.
This false equivalence was also used in 1930’s Germany, because far-left Communists had been co opted and infiltrated by Fascists. They would repeat the mantra that “the Social Democrats were the real racists”.
Contrary to the assumptions of most people, Fascism, as an ideology and political system of government is very distinct to white supremacy. It does of course include white supremecists, but In fact includes many other groups who have been co-opted by Fascist propaganda, or who implicitly support and enable their agenda.
Examples of modern opposition which has been repeatedly infiltrated or just simply made up by Fascists include innumerable conspiracy theories, police groups like Blue Lives Matter, militant Black nationalists, the Boogaloo movement who call for a race war, the “Proud Boys” and even sometimes supposed Anarchists, far-left Communists and Left Accelerationists.

Motivations of Fascism

Fascism distilled down to its core reason for existing is the suppression of opposition who represent workers rights and economic justice. So they patently DON’T look after their own people. They con them into submission of the state by generating jingoistic fear of “the other” - whoever is convenient on that day to blame for their problems.
Fascism is is an economic shock doctrine upon the inhabitants of the country. We don't spread fascist propaganda in tip-pot dictators because we care about the indiginous people there. We install Fascist dictators in order to remove workers rights and open up access to their natural resources.
Artificial moral panics can be engineered and real disasters used to allow corrupt oligarchs and financial predators to consolidate power further by buying up small innovative businesses who don’t have the excess capital to survive the turmoil on their own without external support. Or as a way to eradicate public services by sabotaging them and building mistrust.
They are used to erode faith in public services and institutions by rich people who simply want to pay less tax and don’t see why they should subsidise other human beings who haven’t had the same luck as them. So a major motivation of fascism is to suppress the opposition left-wing party who represent workers rights and egalitarian freedoms.
Populists claim to be against free trade and to some extent they are, but whatever they do will fail because they are interfering with the markets, so they will retreat to the power of market domination. They use their threats of trade barriers as more just more shock treatment for markets, rather than protecting actual jobs or industries.
This is a trick that has been played by Neoliberals too. But while Neoliberals use fascism as a tool for opening markets to Imperialism, they differ from Libertarians, not only because they embrace guns and weed, but they are starting from different positions to achieve the same goal;
Neoliberals seek to remove already existing public services and workers rights that lift bargaining power. But Libertarians want to STOP the government from ever providing those services and investments into the poor or enshrining workers rights.

Modern Fascist Ideology has TWO Core Reasons to Exist; Fear and Freed.

I have been researching and analysing how economic systems differ, using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads). For each economic system I tried to be as neutral, fair and balanced as possible - which included Fascism.
I might seem strange that someone who is anti-Fascist would want to explore the strenghts and opportunities of Fascist ideologies, but in doing so it reveals the real weaknesses and threats which are too important for us to ignore.
So what exactly IS Fascism? Is it just an economic doctrine or a personal philosophy about the world? The answer is both.
The ideology has TWO core reasons to exist, and TWO distinct audiences types - with one based primarily on fear and the other greed, with each having a malignant and symbiotic relationship with each other.
Fear - Authoritarian/Conservative Fascists
Greed - Libertarian Fascists
There are very few people who actually buy into full Fascist ideology, most believe a watered down version of which resembles Conservatism or right-wing populism or accelerationism, and most of them genuinely believe they aren’t fascist, even though they are being constantly fed subtle suggestions fascist ideology or that align with their plans.
But the most ironic thing is that these groups are mostly being used by the second group of rich Libertarians globalist elites pulling a confidence trick on the host nation. Often posing “anti-establishment” conspiracists who actually uphold the establishment through misinformation. See: Russia Today and Youtube Bitcoin and Gold shills who subtly suggest fascist talking points.
With those rich Libertarians at the top more than happy for those below them, who they deem less worthy, living in even more delusional ideologies with fake enemies to fear, often resembling traditional Christian but values wrapped in modern conspiracies with added elements of “satanic panic”.
Modern Fascism has clearly inspired the modern day equivalents of Brownshirts and Blackshirts, self-styled vigilantes like QAnon, The Proud Boys and “The Boogaloo” - white nationalist violent extremists who want to accelerate towards a full-on race war.
It has also infiltrated numerous alternative groups, such as hyper-evangelical “end times” cults, alternative health scenes, internet conspiracy scenes like flat earth and occult magic.

Lockdown Conspiracies

A commonly missing hallmark of fascism that is present in history during the rise of fascism is a controlled opposition and explicit suppression of opposition. This distorts a healthy society and has unforeseen consequences and blowback.
Fantasies and political thought bubbles are self delusional custom realities resembling an episode of Black Mirror. They act as coping and escape mechanisms. Especially during the Covid 19 lock-down, these tendencies have gone into overdrive with massive events entering the real world featuring David Ike leading protesters alongside fascists as people ignore rising Fascism, climate change destruction and Covid deaths tolls.
Using disasters like Covid or irrational scare tactics such as the "Satanic Panic" style Fascist propaganda from QAnon, can shock people using their fear and disgust response, while making them distrust the news - allowing the government to evade valid criticism from experts while suggesting to people that government public services are inherently evil or Communist.
This type of propaganda is a Libertarians wet dream - making a population not only give up on tax funded public services, but actively fear them. An example is Trump trying to discredit and defund the US Postal Service and other public institutions and regulatory bodies.
Anti Semitism has been used throughout history by those in power to provoke an “us vs. them” mentality, leading to today's establishment still sanctioning and allowing Qanon on major media platforms, provoking and agitating terrorist attackers from the far-left and the far-right.
Those in power in fascist regimes allow and encourage mistrust in the mainstream media, while the long-tail niche political and interest groups keep people separated from each other, who each live in their own custom realities while the real elites continue to dominate and increase their power.
With each bubble framing realities based of identity, race, class, nationality, or even subculture special interests like alternative medicine and “gamer bro” culture, so that when they interact in real life or online, they are speaking past each other because they don’t even agree on the basic principles of how they view society.

The Fatal Flaws of Living in a Fantasy

While the main flaws and weaknesses of Fascism remain the same, they are in-fact exacerbated by this new hybrid model. It’s main weakness is the very fact that it is motivated by weaknesses, fear and greed - rather than true strength, self-confidence or heroic benevolent power, as their adherents like to believe.
A misconception of fascists themselves that it is based on strength, when it is actually based on weakness - even when the driving force is greed rather than fear. Libertarian fascists want to extract labour and materials at cheaper prices, while inflating their own asset values.
In other words; international financiers with little allegiance to any country. Ironically the very type of people who Conservative fascists claim to be opposed to.
Fascism claims to make society more successful, but it actually accelerates the destruction of the culture, country or people, rather than preserving and conserving it, because it betrays a fundamental weakness of insecurity. Competitors and rivals can easily see through the charade of and take advantage.
If anything does the exact opposite. Russian and China are clearly goading Western nations into becoming more divided and totalitarian, as they themselves benefit from becoming more Liberal and open and reap the competitive advantages that brings. See Kraut’s excellent video about Trump on China as an example.
Keynesian investment in the country and people, giving workers more rights, opportunities and a more bargaining power is what makes a country successful and innovative, rather than the faux Keynesian policy of giving kickbacks to corrupt officials for government contracts and widening inequality by supporting the already rich, rather than the ordinary people.

Who Benefits in This Memetic War?

Who is going to war with who? Who is winning? A modern adage is that tankies are just fascists because of their support of authoritarian proto-fascist leaders and regimes who often claim to be Communist.
But from my experience talking to actual fascists, they crave a more multi-polar world where other strong leaders rise up as competition and form alliances with dictators.
So to me, it looks like Fascists are the real Tankies; wishing our enemies be stronger and wanting to accelerate towards race war or civil war that weakens the society.
Not only did Donald Trump have knowledge of Russia allowing ISIS bounties on US troops and withhold that from the public while courting Putin, I have personally heard white supremacists backing extremists Islamists in Discord servers.
Trump jumped to the defense of the people who put a 17 year old with a gun against civil rights protesters and assumed the intent before saying that the outcome should be decided by the legal system.
They share common values and beliefs like Anti Semitism, accelerationist end-times fantasies, patriarchal traditional values and a fear of outside progressive cultures. In fact modern extremists white supremecist groups share recruitment and terrorist strategies and tactics with militant islamists.
You could argue that it was inflicted by Russian or Imperialist propagandists onto the German people in order to take control of larger areas of Europe after the destabilisation of war.
Hitler and Stalin came to a non agression truce called The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which as was a secret non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them.
The pact, signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov was officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
They divided Poland under the banner of fighting “Polish Fascism” nearly a century ago with both sides ultimately lying to their own people about spreading freedom while being authoritarian to their core and being able to blame “the other” as being the cause of all their problems.
But these days fascism seems to be a rogue meme that no longer serves any particular group. It is pathologically damaging to any society that it happens to grip.
Even the aforementioned Libertarians and accelerationists who think they are benefiting are only temporarily gaining by market price volatility. They ultimately lose through the blowback effect of the whirlpool they create.

Psychopathy, Alienation Nihilism and Insecurity

It is well established that Fascist dictators are driven by psychopathic characters and tendencies. They either don’t care about the truth, or disregard it if it’s not convenient to their narrative.
In totalitarian despotic societies facts are reversed. As George Orwell proclaimed throughout his writings; “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”.
Similar to how authoritarian Starlinist Communists harnessed people’s alienation and tricked them into thinking that it’s possible for the state to fully decommodify everything without having markets, money to account for things, domination or hierarchy or try to convince people that a revolution is just around the corner.
But of course, a council representative is still the head of an organisation, for all intents and purposes, because they wield executive power over others, even if the name has changed. Markets are emergent properties when groups of humans want or need a certain commodity when it becomes available.
But while both Communist and Fascist ideologies are based on lies that harness peoples alienation, fear and envy, Fascism is also especially to the weak. It is attractive to those who want to be strong again (or were never to begin with), or those who want to have a strong leader to help them.
Fascism betrays to others the inherent weakness. Like the insecure kid in school who lashes out - others around can see that it is because of their own insecurity which makes them appear even weaker. Fascism is a psychopathy driven by insecurity.
When people become so absorbed in an ideology there is a phenomena of people to self identify as an actual ideology? This produces a phenomena called Identity Protective Cognition, where people's self worth becomes attached to a belief system or ideology. So that when new information contradicts their worldview it is seen as an attack on the person themselves.
Therefore irrational, emotional quick fix thinking is the default when there is too much pressure and they feel attacked. They no longer use their slow effortful reflective thinking. (See Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow)
This approach has parallels in evolutionary biology, in which a central issue is the ability to adapt to changing environments. Competency - over-competitiveness in management causes chaos which STOPS hierarchies of competence. (Insert video clips of Sapolsky on Chaos vs Reductionism etc. timestamps linked).
Fascists try to reduce variability in culture and outcomes - causes weakness of less adaptability - because as Sapolsky explains, the variability is not just noise in that type of system CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) - the variability IS the system. It is fractal and scale free. The noise and variability is an intrinsic part of the system.
But the system doesn’t function properly when the agreed-upon parameters that individuals believe to be true aren’t universal enough to have any form of group coherence.
Birds and swarms of animals can produce amazing complex phenomena, which are greater than the sum of their individual parts. There is a “network effect” once a certain threshold and certain conditions and rules are met.
These rules can be very simple, like repulsion or attraction, or staying a certain distance apart while traveling in a similar direction, but collectively they create patterns that emerge with complexity and I dear say, a certain amount of beauty.
So what happens when millions of people are being brainwashed and misled by cults that are leaving them with a reduced ability to make decisions?
Giving them shit-for-brains just so that some rich people at the top can pay a few percentage less tax? That is the sign of a deeply sick system that cannot continue to function effectively. It is sick on so many levels.

Emergence, Complexity and Human Evolution - A Social-Biological Analysis

The problem with viewing the world through only one lens of analysis (or bucket of knowledge) is that you can fall into unnecessarily reductive thinking. (Sapolsky clips)
I describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. Which does NOT mean I want total chaos and disorder - it means I want the optimal solution to emerge - including the influences and experiences from the bottom-up.
I also think that a bottom-up (or anarchist) lens of analysis is necessary for society to run cohesively in an optimal state. If it is repressed it distorts the overall picture of reality for everyone - similar to a CEO that doesn’t listen to employees and workers on the ground.
I interpret as constantly holding authority to account - to justify its existence and reason for dominating others. I also believe it is every citizen's responsibility to hold authority to account. This would be necessary under ANY economic system or society.
Anarchists also believe in stigmenric, rhizomatic action to make the world better, organically, not from a top-down authority, which fascism seeks to instill on society.
Human beings are collectively parts of a bigger chaotic but stable system known as a CAS (Complex Adaptive System). CAS’s are chaotic systems that can reach periodic steady states of equilibrium.
As Professor Sapolsky explains, humans uniquely exist with a mixture of both communal and individualistic tendencies; known in the scientific world as Tournament vs. pair bonding.
All the evidence suggests that this tendency has greatly improved our success as a species. But those tendencies distorted too far one way or another lead to pathologies and the worst collective misdeeds and wars.
Because as Professor Sapolsky also explains in his brilliant lecture series (which I have condensed the pertinent parts of into a 4 part YouTube video) about CAS; the signals coming from the randomness is being suppressed or repressed, it interferes with the functioning of the system.
Pressure in the system makes the patterns more complex but at a certain point of increasing pressure in the complex system, it stops being linear and the doubling of patterns and periodicity totally stops. Order completely begins to break down because of the butterfly effect.
Fascist regimes fettishise order and rigidity but in a complex adaptive system, the noise IS the phenomena, not a byproduct to be discarded, ignored or repressed.
The majority of people on the right genuinely want to help society by bringing order, using top-down draconian measures if necessary. Whereas the left generally wants to help society by proactively building from the bottom up.
I think both of these approaches are necessary to be balanced properly for a healthy functioning society to emerge.
It seems our tendency to harness both traits and to focus intently on one or the other is our greatest collective strength, while also being our greatest weakness.
And similarly, on an individual level I believe our greatest strengths and weakness are the fact that our brains work efficiently by categorising information to filter out the unimportant bits that slow us down.
As the book by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow, brilliantly explains, slow deliberate, consideration thinking takes energy and time, so our brains developed filters which come out as biases. This is an inherent weakness of the human brain.
Now imagine the butterfly effect on the life of just one person who is influenced by the brainworms of QAnon cults or conspiracies which distorts their internal models of the world which they use to filter information about the world
The sad and shocking stories on forums like QanonCasualties show the devastating effects on their close friends, family and work life - amplified by their ever increasingly disconnected lives. (insert Flat earther clip - zoom in on idiot rolling head)
Now scale that up to the level of a whole of a society, a country, or the world? This is a collective madness to cope with and avoid the reality facing us as a species.
Only collective action with agreed basic facts to work from will do to avoid the total descent into actual chaos and destruction.

TLDR; Conclusion and Final Thoughts

In this essay I will have put forward the case for the following four key arguments being true and I have present supporting evidence to explain the logical reasoning for why our current definitions need updating and the threat levels reassed, from a non-hysterical but critical perspective. The overall claims I made are:
  1. Modern Fascism has taken over right-wing populism and bears all the hallmarks of early 20th Century Fascist ideologies.
  2. The ideology has two main reasons to exist, and two distinct audiences which both have a symbiotic, pathological relationship with each other.
  3. The main flaws and weaknesses of fascist ideology remain the same as ever - that fascism is motivated by irrational fears, greed and self deception.
  4. Modern Fascism has major unforeseen damaging consequences for individuals, governments, organisational dynamics, and society at large.
This reality is something I think a lot of fascists, ultra-nationalists and people who have been influenced by the propaganda know deep down on some level already - that they are avoiding the realities of pandemics and ecological harms of ignoring science and reality as it is.
They ignore it because fantasies are simpler to understand. And a narrative based on fear of the other is a simpler way to to process a complex world.
It is also attractive to the part of us that is drawn to conflict and drama - that hunger for something genuinely interesting to happen.
But I would argue from my experience that the beautiful complexity of life in all it’s shades of grey is much more interesting, fun and genuinely fulfilling to understand and engage in, even if it might be harder to deal with and even harder to explain.
I believe doing so is also vital for the very survival of our species - we can no longer afford to live in a fantasy, we need to collectively take responsibility for the world as it exists in reality.
Thank you to my two Patrons:
Carmen Jongepier
E.V. Roske
Original Script on Patreon
submitted by Upper-Range to BreadTube [link] [comments]

Since they're calling for r/btc to be banned...

Maybe it's time to discuss bitcoin's history again. Credit to u/singularity87 for the original post over 3 years ago.

People should get the full story of bitcoin because it is probably one of the strangest of all reddit subs.
bitcoin, the main sub for the bitcoin community is held and run by a person who goes by the pseudonym u/theymos. Theymos not only controls bitcoin, but also bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.com. These are top three communication channels for the bitcoin community, all controlled by just one person.
For most of bitcoin's history this did not create a problem (at least not an obvious one anyway) until around mid 2015. This happened to be around the time a new player appeared on the scene, a for-profit company called Blockstream. Blockstream was made up of/hired many (but not all) of the main bitcoin developers. (To be clear, Blockstream was founded before mid 2015 but did not become publicly active until then). A lot of people, including myself, tried to point out there we're some very serious potential conflicts of interest that could arise when one single company controls most of the main developers for the biggest decentralised and distributed cryptocurrency. There were a lot of unknowns but people seemed to give them the benefit of the doubt because they were apparently about to release some new software called "sidechains" that could offer some benefits to the network.
Not long after Blockstream came on the scene the issue of bitcoin's scalability once again came to forefront of the community. This issue came within the community a number of times since bitcoins inception. Bitcoin, as dictated in the code, cannot handle any more than around 3 transactions per second at the moment. To put that in perspective Paypal handles around 15 transactions per second on average and VISA handles something like 2000 transactions per second. The discussion in the community has been around how best to allow bitcoin to scale to allow a higher number of transactions in a given amount of time. I suggest that if anyone is interested in learning more about this problem from a technical angle, they go to btc and do a search. It's a complex issue but for many who have followed bitcoin for many years, the possible solutions seem relatively obvious. Essentially, currently the limit is put in place in just a few lines of code. This was not originally present when bitcoin was first released. It was in fact put in place afterwards as a measure to stop a bloating attack on the network. Because all bitcoin transactions have to be stored forever on the bitcoin network, someone could theoretically simply transmit a large number of transactions which would have to be stored by the entire network forever. When bitcoin was released, transactions were actually for free as the only people running the network were enthusiasts. In fact a single bitcoin did not even have any specific value so it would be impossible set a fee value. This meant that a malicious person could make the size of the bitcoin ledger grow very rapidly without much/any cost which would stop people from wanting to join the network due to the resource requirements needed to store it, which at the time would have been for very little gain.
Towards the end of the summer last year, this bitcoin scaling debate surfaced again as it was becoming clear that the transaction limit for bitcoin was semi regularly being reached and that it would not be long until it would be regularly hit and the network would become congested. This was a very serious issue for a currency. Bitcoin had made progress over the years to the point of retailers starting to offer it as a payment option. Bitcoin companies like, Microsoft, Paypal, Steam and many more had began to adopt it. If the transaction limit would be constantly maxed out, the network would become unreliable and slow for users. Users and businesses would not be able to make a reliable estimate when their transaction would be confirmed by the network.
Users, developers and businesses (which at the time was pretty much the only real bitcoin subreddit) started to discuss how we should solve the problem bitcoin. There was significant support from the users and businesses behind a simple solution put forward by the developer Gavin Andreesen. Gavin was the lead developer after Satoshi Nakamoto left bitcoin and he left it in his hands. Gavin initially proposed a very simple solution of increasing the limit which was to change the few lines of code to increase the maximum number of transactions that are allowed. For most of bitcoin's history the transaction limit had been set far far higher than the number of transactions that could potentially happen on the network. The concept of increasing the limit one time was based on the fact that history had proven that no issue had been cause by this in the past.
A certain group of bitcoin developers decided that increasing the limit by this amount was too much and that it was dangerous. They said that the increased use of resources that the network would use would create centralisation pressures which could destroy the network. The theory was that a miner of the network with more resources could publish many more transactions than a competing small miner could handle and therefore the network would tend towards few large miners rather than many small miners. The group of developers who supported this theory were all developers who worked for the company Blockstream. The argument from people in support of increasing the transaction capacity by this amount was that there are always inherent centralisation pressure with bitcoin mining. For example miners who can access the cheapest electricity will tend to succeed and that bigger miners will be able to find this cheaper electricity easier. Miners who have access to the most efficient computer chips will tend to succeed and that larger miners are more likely to be able to afford the development of them. The argument from Gavin and other who supported increasing the transaction capacity by this method are essentially there are economies of scale in mining and that these economies have far bigger centralisation pressures than increased resource cost for a larger number of transactions (up to the new limit proposed). For example, at the time the total size of the blockchain was around 50GB. Even for the cost of a 500GB SSD is only $150 and would last a number of years. This is in-comparison to the $100,000's in revenue per day a miner would be making.
Various developers put forth various other proposals, including Gavin Andresen who put forth a more conservative increase that would then continue to increase over time inline with technological improvements. Some of the employees of blockstream also put forth some proposals, but all were so conservative, it would take bitcoin many decades before it could reach a scale of VISA. Even though there was significant support from the community behind Gavin's simple proposal of increasing the limit it was becoming clear certain members of the bitcoin community who were part of Blockstream were starting to become increasingly vitriolic and divisive. Gavin then teamed up with one of the other main bitcoin developers Mike Hearn and released a coded (i.e. working) version of the bitcoin software that would only activate if it was supported by a significant majority of the network. What happened next was where things really started to get weird.
After this free and open source software was released, Theymos, the person who controls all the main communication channels for the bitcoin community implemented a new moderation policy that disallowed any discussion of this new software. Specifically, if people were to discuss this software, their comments would be deleted and ultimately they would be banned temporarily or permanently. This caused chaos within the community as there was very clear support for this software at the time and it seemed our best hope for finally solving the problem and moving on. Instead a censorship campaign was started. At first it 'all' they were doing was banning and removing discussions but after a while it turned into actively manipulating the discussion. For example, if a thread was created where there was positive sentiment for increasing the transaction capacity or being negative about the moderation policies or negative about the actions of certain bitcoin developers, the mods of bitcoin would selectively change the sorting order of threads to 'controversial' so that the most support opinions would be sorted to the bottom of the thread and the most vitriolic would be sorted to the top of the thread. This was initially very transparent as it was possible to see that the most downvoted comments were at the top and some of the most upvoted were at the bottom. So they then implemented hiding the voting scores next to the users name. This made impossible to work out the sentiment of the community and when combined with selectively setting the sorting order to controversial it was possible control what information users were seeing. Also, due to the very very large number of removed comments and users it was becoming obvious the scale of censorship going on. To hide this they implemented code in their CSS for the sub that completely hid comments that they had removed so that the censorship itself was hidden. Anyone in support of scaling bitcoin were removed from the main communication channels. Theymos even proudly announced that he didn't care if he had to remove 90% of the users. He also later acknowledged that he knew he had the ability to block support of this software using the control he had over the communication channels.
While this was all going on, Blockstream and it's employees started lobbying the community by paying for conferences about scaling bitcoin, but with the very very strange rule that no decisions could be made and no complete solutions could be proposed. These conferences were likely strategically (and successfully) created to stunt support for the scaling software Gavin and Mike had released by forcing the community to take a "lets wait and see what comes from the conferences" kind of approach. Since no final solutions were allowed at these conferences, they only served to hinder and splinter the communities efforts to find a solution. As the software Gavin and Mike released called BitcoinXT gained support it started to be attacked. Users of the software were attack by DDOS. Employees of Blockstream were recommending attacks against the software, such as faking support for it, to only then drop support at the last moment to put the network in disarray. Blockstream employees were also publicly talking about suing Gavin and Mike from various different angles simply for releasing this open source software that no one was forced to run. In the end Mike Hearn decided to leave due to the way many members of the bitcoin community had treated him. This was due to the massive disinformation campaign against him on bitcoin. One of the many tactics that are used against anyone who does not support Blockstream and the bitcoin developers who work for them is that you will be targeted in a smear campaign. This has happened to a number of individuals and companies who showed support for scaling bitcoin. Theymos has threatened companies that he will ban any discussion of them on the communication channels he controls (i.e. all the main ones) for simply running software that he disagrees with (i.e. any software that scales bitcoin).
As time passed, more and more proposals were offered, all against the backdrop of ever increasing censorship in the main bitcoin communication channels. It finally come down the smallest and most conservative solution. This solution was much smaller than even the employees of Blockstream had proposed months earlier. As usual there was enormous attacks from all sides and the most vocal opponents were the employees of Blockstream. These attacks still are ongoing today. As this software started to gain support, Blockstream organised more meetings, especially with the biggest bitcoin miners and made a pact with them. They promised that they would release code that would offer an on-chain scaling solution hardfork within about 4 months, but if the miners wanted this they would have to commit to running their software and only their software. The miners agreed and the ended up not running the most conservative proposal possible. This was in February last year. There is no hardfork proposal in sight from the people who agreed to this pact and bitcoin is still stuck with the exact same transaction limit it has had since the limit was put in place about 6 years ago. Gavin has also been publicly smeared by the developers at Blockstream and a plot was made against him to have him removed from the development team. Gavin has now been, for all intents an purposes, expelled from bitcoin development. This has meant that all control of bitcoin development is in the hands of the developers working at Blockstream.
There is a new proposal that offers a market based approach to scaling bitcoin. This essentially lets the market decide. Of course, as usual there has been attacks against it, and verbal attacks from the employees of Blockstream. This has the biggest chance of gaining wide support and solving the problem for good.
To give you an idea of Blockstream; It has hired most of the main and active bitcoin developers and is now synonymous with the "Core" bitcoin development team. They AFAIK no products at all. They have received around $75m in funding. Every single thing they do is supported by theymos. They have started implementing an entirely new economic system for bitcoin against the will of it's users and have blocked any and all attempts to scaling the network in line with the original vision.
Although this comment is ridiculously long, it really only covers the tip of the iceberg. You could write a book on the last two years of bitcoin. The things that have been going on have been mind blowing. One last thing that I think is worth talking about is the u/bashco's claim of vote manipulation.
The users that the video talks about have very very large numbers of downvotes mostly due to them having a very very high chance of being astroturfers. Around about the same time last year when Blockstream came active on the scene every single bitcoin troll disappeared, and I mean literally every single one. In the years before that there were a large number of active anti-bitcoin trolls. They even have an active sub buttcoin. Up until last year you could go down to the bottom of pretty much any thread in bitcoin and see many of the usual trolls who were heavily downvoted for saying something along the lines of "bitcoin is shit", "You guys and your tulips" etc. But suddenly last year they all disappeared. Instead a new type of bitcoin user appeared. Someone who said they were fully in support of bitcoin but they just so happened to support every single thing Blockstream and its employees said and did. They had the exact same tone as the trolls who had disappeared. Their way to talking to people was aggressive, they'd call people names, they had a relatively poor understanding of how bitcoin fundamentally worked. They were extremely argumentative. These users are the majority of the list of that video. When the 10's of thousands of users were censored and expelled from bitcoin they ended up congregating in btc. The strange thing was that the users listed in that video also moved over to btc and spend all day everyday posting troll-like comments and misinformation. Naturally they get heavily downvoted by the real users in btc. They spend their time constantly causing as much drama as possible. At every opportunity they scream about "censorship" in btc while they are happy about the censorship in bitcoin. These people are astroturfers. What someone somewhere worked out, is that all you have to do to take down a community is say that you are on their side. It is an astoundingly effective form of psychological attack.
submitted by CuriousTitmouse to btc [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to InvestmentEducation [link] [comments]

A criticism of the article "Six monetarist errors: why emission won't feed inflation"

(be gentle, it's my first RI attempt, :P; I hope I can make justice to the subject, this is my layman understanding of many macro subjects which may be flawed...I hope you can illuminate me if I have fallen short of a good RI)
Introduction
So, today a heterodox leaning Argentinian newspaper, Ambito Financiero, published an article criticizing monetarism called "Six monetarist errors: why emission won't feed inflation". I find it doesn't properly address monetarism, confuses it with other "economic schools" for whatever the term is worth today and it may be misleading, so I was inspired to write a refutation and share it with all of you.
In some ways criticizing monetarism is more of a historical discussion given the mainstream has changed since then. Stuff like New Keynesian models are the bleeding edge, not Milton Friedman style monetarism. It's more of a symptom that Argentinian political culture is kind of stuck in the 70s on economics that this things keep being discussed.
Before getting to the meat of the argument, it's good to have in mind some common definitions about money supply measures (specifically, MB, M1 and M2). These definitions apply to US but one can find analogous stuff for other countries.
Argentina, for the lack of access to credit given its economic mismanagement and a government income decrease because of the recession, is monetizing deficits way more than before (like half of the budget, apparently, it's money financed) yet we have seen some disinflation (worth mentioning there are widespread price freezes since a few months ago). The author reasons that monetary phenomena cannot explain inflation properly and that other explanations are needed and condemns monetarism. Here are the six points he makes:
1.Is it a mechanical rule?
This way, we can ask by symmetry: if a certainty exists that when emission increases, inflation increases, the reverse should happen when emission becomes negative, obtaining negative inflation. Nonetheless, we know this happens: prices have an easier time increasing and a lot of rigidity decreasing. So the identity between emission and inflation is not like that, deflation almost never exists and the price movement rhythm cannot be controlled remotely only with money quantity. There is no mechanical relationship between one thing and the other.
First, the low hanging fruit: deflation is not that uncommon, for those of you that live in US and Europe it should be obvious given the difficulties central banks had to achieve their targets, but even Argentina has seen deflation during its depression 20 years ago.
Second, we have to be careful with what we mean by emission. A statement of quantity theory of money (extracted from "Money Growth and Inflation: How Long is the Long-Run?") would say:
Inflation occurs when the average level of prices increases. Individual price increases in and of themselves do not equal inflation, but an overall pattern of price increases does. The price level observed in the economy is that which leads the quantity of money supplied to equal the quantity of money demanded. The quantity of money supplied is largely controlled by the [central bank]. When the supply of money increases or decreases, the price level must adjust to equate the quantity of money demanded throughout the economy with the quantity of money supplied. The quantity of money demanded depends not only on the price level but also on the level of real income, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), and a variety of other factors including the level of interest rates and technological advances such as the invention of automated teller machines. Money demand is widely thought to increase roughly proportionally with the price level and with real income. That is, if prices go up by 10 percent, or if real income increases by 10 percent, empirical evidence suggests people want to hold 10 percent more money. When the money supply grows faster than the money demand associated with rising real incomes and other factors, the price level must rise to equate supply and demand. That is, inflation occurs. This situation is often referred to as too many dollars chasing too few goods. Note that this theory does not predict that any money-supply growth will lead to inflation—only that part of money supply growth that exceeds the increase in money demand associated with rising real GDP (holding the other factors constant).
So it's not mere emission, but money supply growing faster than money demand which we should consider. So negative emission is not necessary condition for deflation in this theory.
It's worth mentioning that the relationship with prices is observed for a broad measure of money (M2) and after a lag. From the same source of this excerpt one can observe in Fig. 3a the correlation between inflation and money growth for US becomes stronger the longer data is averaged. Price rigidities don't have to change this long term relationship per se.
But what about causality and Argentina? This neat paper shows regressions in two historical periods: 1976-1989 and 1991-2001. The same relationship between M2 and inflation is observed, stronger in the first, highly inflationary period and weaker in the second, more stable, period. The regressions a 1-1 relationship in the high inflation period but deviates a bit in the low inflation period (yet the relationship is still there). Granger causality, as interpreted in the paper, shows prices caused money growth in the high inflation period (arguably because spending was monetized) while the reverse was true for the more stable period.
So one can argue that there is a mechanical relationship, albeit one that is more complicated than simple QTOM theory. The relationship is complicated too for low inflation economies, it gets more relevant the higher inflation is.
Another point the author makes is that liquidity trap is often ignored. I'll ignore the fact that you need specific conditions for the liquidity trap to be relevant to Argentina and address the point. Worth noting that while market monetarists (not exactly old fashioned monetarists) prefer alternative explanations for monetary policy with very low interest rates, this phenomena has a good monetary basis, as explained by Krugman in his famous japanese liquidity trap paper and his NYT blog (See this and this for some relevant articles). The simplified version is that while inflation may follow M2 growth with all the qualifiers needed, central banks may find difficulties targeting inflation when interest rates are low and agents are used to credible inflation targets. Central banks can change MB, not M2 and in normal times is good enough, but at those times M2 is out of control and "credibly irresponsible" policies are needed to return to normal (a more detailed explanation can be found in that paper I just linked, go for it if you are still curious).
It's not like monetary policy is not good, it's that central banks have to do very unconventional stuff to achieve in a low interest rate environment. It's still an open problem but given symmetric inflation targeting policies are becoming more popular I'm optimistic.
2 - Has inflation one or many causes?
In Argentina we know that the main determinant of inflation is dollar price increases. On that, economic concentration of key markets, utility price adjustments, fuel prices, distributive struggles, external commodity values, expectatives, productive disequilibrium, world interest rates, the economic cycle, stationality and external sector restrictions act on it too.
Let's see a simple example: during Macri's government since mid 2017 to 2019 emission was practically null, but when in 2018 the dollar value doubled, inflation doubled too (it went from 24% to 48% in 2018) and it went up again a year later. We see here that the empirical validity of monetarist theory was absent.
For the first paragraph, one could try to run econometric tests for all those variables, at least from my layman perspective. But given that it doesn't pass the smell test (has any country used that in its favor ignoring monetary policy? Also, I have shown there is at least some evidence for the money-price relationship before), I'll try to address what happened in Macri's government and if monetarism (or at least some reasonable extension of it) cannot account for it.
For a complete description of macroeconomic policy on that period, Sturzenegger account is a good one (even if a bit unreliable given he was the central banker for that government and he is considered to have been a failure). The short version is that central banks uses bonds to manage monetary policy and absorb money; given the history of defaults for the country, the Argentinian Central Bank (BCRA) uses its own peso denominated bonds instead of using treasury bonds. At that time period, the BCRA still financed the treasury but the amount got reduced. Also, it emitted pesos to buy dollar reserves, then sterilized them, maybe risking credibility further.
Near the end of 2017 it was evident the government had limited appetite for budget cuts, it had kind of abandoned its inflation target regime and the classic problem of fiscal dominance emerged, as it's shown in the classic "Unpleasant monetarist arithmetic" paper by Wallace and Sargent. Monetary policy gets less effective when the real value of bonds falls, and raising interest rates may be counterproductive in that environment. Rational expectations are needed to complement QTOM.
So, given that Argentina promised to go nowhere with reform, it was expected that money financing would increase at some point in the future and BCRA bonds were dumped in 2018 and 2019 as their value was perceived to have decreased, and so peso demand decreased. It's not that the dollar value increased and inflation followed, but instead that peso demand fell suddenly!
The IMF deal asked for MB growth to be null or almost null but that doesn't say a lot about M2 (which it's the relevant variable here). Without credible policies, the peso demand keeps falling because bonds are dumped even more (see 2019 for a hilariously brutal example of that).
It's not emission per se, but rather that it doesn't adjust properly to peso demand (which is falling). That doesn't mean increasing interest rates is enough to achieve it, following Wallace and Sargent model.
This is less a strict proof that a monetary phenomenon is involved and more stating that the author hasn't shown any problem with that, there are reasonable models for this situation. It doesn't look like an clear empirical failure to me yet.
3 - Of what we are talking about when we talk about emission?
The author mentions many money measures (M0, M1, M2) but it doesn't address it meaningfully as I tried to do above. It feels more like a rhetorical device because there is no point here except "this stuff exists".
Also, it's worth pointing that there are actual criticisms to make to Friedman on those grounds. He failed to forecast US inflation at some points when he switched to M1 instead of using M2, although he later reverted that. Monetarism kind of "failed" there (it also "failed" in the sense that modern central banks don't use money, but instead interest rates as their main tool; "failed" because despite being outdated, it was influential to modern central banking). This is often brought to this kind of discussions like if economics hasn't moved beyond that. For an account of Friedman thoughts on monetary policies and his failures, see this.
4 - Why do many countries print and inflation doesn't increase there?
There is a mention about the japanese situation in the 90s (the liquidity trap) which I have addressed.
The author mentions that many countries "printed" like crazy during the pandemic, and he says:
Monetarism apologists answer, when confronted with those grave empirical problems that happen in "serious countries", that the population "trusts" their monetary authorities, even increasing the money demand in those place despite the emission. Curious, though, it's an appeal to "trust" implying that the relationship between emission and inflation is not objective, but subjective and cultural: an appreciation that abandons mechanicism and the basic certainty of monetarism, because evaluations and diagnostics, many times ideologic, contextual or historical intervene..
That's just a restatement of applying rational expectations to central bank operations. I don't see a problem with that. Rational expectations is not magic, it's an assessment of future earnings by economic actors. Humans may not 100% rational but central banking somehow works on many countries. You cannot just say that people are ideologues and let it at that. What's your model?
Worth noting the author shills for bitcoin a bit in this section, for more cringe.
5 - Are we talking of a physical science or a social science?
Again, a vague mention of rational expectations ("populists and pro market politicians could do the same policies with different results because of how agents respond ideologically and expectatives") without handling the subject meaningfully. It criticizes universal macroeconomic rules that apply everywhere (this is often used to dismiss evidence from other countries uncritically more than as a meaningful point).
6 - How limits work?
The last question to monetarism allows to recognize it something: effectively we can think on a type of vinculation between emission and inflation in extreme conditions. That means, with no monetary rule, no government has the need of taxes but instead can emit and spend all it needs without consequence. We know it's not like that: no government can print infinitely without undesirable effects.
Ok, good disclaimer, but given what he wrote before, what's the mechanism which causes money printing to be inflationary at some point? It was rejected before but now it seems that it exists. What was even the point of the article?
Now, the problem is thinking monetarism on its extremes: without emission we have inflation sometimes, on others we have no inflation with emission, we know that if we have negative emission that doesn't guarantees us negative inflation, but that if emission is radically uncontrolled there will economic effects.
As I wrote above, that's not what monetarism (even on it's simpler form) says, nor a consequence of it. You can see some deviations in low inflation environment but it's not really Argentina's current situation.
Let's add other problems: the elastic question between money and prices is not evident. Neither is time lags in which can work or be neutral. So the question is the limit cases for monetarism which has some reason but some difficulty in explaining them: by which and it what moments rules work and in which it doesn't.
I find the time lag thing to be a red herring. You can observe empirically and not having a proper short/middle run model doesn't invalidate QTOM in the long run. While it may be that increasing interest rates or freezing MB is not effective, that's less a problem of the theory and more a problem of policy implementation.
Conclusion:
I find that the article doesn't truly get monetarism to begin with (see the points it makes about emission and money demand), neither how it's implemented in practice, nor seems to be aware of more modern theories that, while put money on the background, don't necessarily invalidate it (rational expectation ideas, and eventually New Keynesian stuff which addresses stuff like liquidity traps properly).
There are proper criticisms to be made to Friedman old ideas but he still was a relevant man in his time and the economic community has moved on to new, better theories that have some debt to it. I feel most economic discussion about monetarism in Argentina is a strawman of mainstream economics or an attack on Austrians more than genuine points ("monetarism" is used as a shorthand for those who think inflation is a monetary phenomenon more than referring to Friedman and his disciples per se).
submitted by Neronoah to badeconomics [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to economy [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to Capitalism [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to Money [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

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SoK: Research Perspectives and Challenges for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

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