A man was honored for 50 years of loyal service to a Virginia bank. At the party celebrating his long service, he was asked what he thought had been 'the most important change that he had seen in banking in his half century of service?' The man paused for a few minutes, then went to the microphone and said: 'air conditioning'.
Martin Mayer, The Bankers.
Financial experts put enormous effort into making their work look like rocket science. It pays off by keeping their club closed. However, the basic financial concepts are simple enough to explain them in ten minutes. Understanding how banks work leads to understanding how alternatives to banks work, what their advantages and disadvantages are and if we can trust them.
Peer-to-Peer lending is one of such alternatives. The Internet provides people with an option to permanently abandon the large and cumbersome centralized mediator that makes decisions for issuing loans or sets interest for deposits. Now, the Internet allows people to lend money to each other. All they need is a suitable platform.
Smart Contracts are mentioned more and more frequently on the Internet. Banks issue investment advice and publish research, journalists write articles describing the hi-tech future, and opinion leaders share their forecasts about when Smart Contracts are going to turn the world around.
The forecasts, as it often happens, are too optimistic, and the possible effect that Smart Contracts will have on people's lives is exaggerated. Should we keep going deeper into this field and keep track of development and adoption of Smart Contracts?
Bytecoin Team's view: Yes, we certainly should. Despite the fact that Smart Contracts cannot reform our world as much as some activists believe, they will have a niche in the world economy: Increase reliability of the contracts, reduce the role of the State in economy and automate many routine processes.
In order to improve the world, Smart Contracts should be implemented smartly. To do this, we need to start with some non-utopic capabilities of Smart Contracts, but approaching them from their limitations.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those
who cannot read and write,
but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist.
Cryptocurrency frauds constitute a very sensitive issue. Though sensitive and unpleasant, we cannot evade it and act as if it does not exist. The Alpha and the Omega for fighting the frauds are knowledge and capability for reasonable thinking.
Cryptocurrencies stay out of the legislation of any country. Their very essence protests against interference and control executed by the government. Therefore, the options offered by the cryptocurrencies for the development of the business also open possibilities for development of fraudulent projects.
Negligible involvement of the states in the life of cryptocurrencies means only one thing: the quad has become a bicycle. In order to balance, we have to be responsible, reasonable and learned.
In 1886, Karl Benz presented the first car. This car could speed up to 10 mph and had less than 1 hp. However, despite such low parameters, this three wheeler was the first car to be mass-produced.
Only well fixed people could afford it, and it was not until twenty years later when Henry Ford started producing the famous Ford T, a car that was available for middle class. It became better, too: the car had 20 hp and could drive at 40-45 mph.
22 years passed since creation of a car until mass adoption. Today, such period seems half-eternal. Today, we are accustomed to the fact that new technologies appear almost every day, and the old ones die just as fast.
Evolution of the F1 Car: Steering Wheels by Rufus Blacklock
It took cars 62 years to become used by 50 000 000 people. Bank cards only required 28 years, the Internet reached this level in 7 and Twitter conquered this summit in 2 years.
However, some technologies develop slower, and their adoption requires even more time.
People often ask me questions, such as "what is the purpose of cryptocurrencies" or "how do I make my own cryptocurrency". However, I get less questions like that lately. Now, people are more interested in how they could build a business using cryptocurrencies. This trend exhilarates me, for it signifies a step from working on the technology itself to the point when it starts being profitable.
In this article, I would like to share my opinion on the relations between cryptocurrencies and business. I would also explain how to make your own cryptocurrency, if you think that you do need one.
About five years ago I was sitting in a cafe in Cambridge with an old friend. We had not met for a while, and were sharing our achievements: his in the field of biology of aging, mine in the field of business of innovations.
I asked him if I could, in theory, live 300 years (I can!), and he asked me how, in theory, he should make a 21st century company. I started my answer with stating that there were 12 attributes and... I noticed a mask of discontent on his face.
I started wrong. My friend did not tell me that there were 12 recorded factors influencing the lifetime. And, naturally, expected the same complete and clear answer. I took a time-out, drank my coffee and started again.
Oxygen level on our planet has dropped by 3% due to deforestation. A pity. Like. A child dying from leukaemia needs help. So sad. Like. Repost. Cruel experiments on kittens. Terrible. Retweet.
No problem can be solved by likes and reposts if one's enthusiasm stops at clicking a couple of buttons. It is hard for a slacktivist to get to his account, let alone taking direct action.
Apologists of slacktivism claim that drawing attention can solve the problem, while attackers argue that reposts in social networks create nothing but illusion of an action and imaginary support without affecting the reality. I do agree that slacktivism works, and I do agree that it is inefficient...
When I was a child, I was startled by the story "Flying Pan" by popular sci-fi author Robert F. Young. It tells about a girl who worked on an assembly line that produced pans. A pan moved to the girl on a conveyor, and she had to attach a handle to it with a steady move. Another pan followed right after, then another... Five days a week, from morning to evening, she had to stay at the conveyor and attach standard handles to standard pans.
People engaged in creative activities find it hard to imagine such a terrible situation. However, these jobs still exist in the world, although it seems wrong to use harassing human labor when robotics allow for cheaper and more efficient operating.
I agree that today people perform less standard operations and tend to solve creative tasks. Business itself has changed, it has moved away from production towards technologies, management, research, design, and development. Yet many people still think along the lines of the industrial revolution while new business principles already exist.
In this article, I present you the three main trends to be followed by a business that wants to be successful in the 21st century. These trends do not include using IT, respectful attitude towards clients, efficiency and many other terms, which, I believe, should be used by default.
In no way can we miss this event of great interest. It demonstrates the harmonization of classical and virtual economics.
Nasdaq Nordic was the first exchange that had officially started trading Bitcoin Tracker One (BTO), the first tracker certificate that uses Bitcoin as the underlying asset. This only happened a week ago, and evaluating if this try was a success is ahead of the game. But we can realize the meaning of this step.
BTO will be the tool that allows people to invest into Bitcoin without actually purchasing BTC. It is a giant leap towards integrating the two economies. The world of virtual economy is now communicating with investors in a language they comprehend.
The developer of the tool, XBT Provider company, was the first to take a step forward. This solution allows for presenting the offer of virtual economy in a way that is understandable for representatives of the classical economy.
On the other hand, Nasdaq Nordic took the risks as well when it introduced this innovative and therefore risky asset into trading.
It was as a result of such mutual progression towards each other that another adherent point appeared. Now it was an official and regulated level point...
Freedom is one of the basic concepts. Everyone wants to be free; however, if we take a few people and ask them, we will find out that their understanding of the Freedom differs. It will not show immediately. In the first place, people will not be able to provide clear definition of the Freedom.
When our distant ancestors decided to write their first words with a stylus on the clay tablet, they choose the word "Amargi". Of course, it looked like this 4500 years ago:
In ancient Sumerian, "Amargi" meant freeing from debts. Such event usually was a gift from a new ruler who took the throne. A kind of chance for each person to start with a clean state. A reload of financial system.
It boosted the economy: peasants could return to their fields, and debt-slaves could come back home. The ruler did not aim at preserving status quo when the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting even poorer. His goal was establishing the prosperity of the city, and all citizens should be free to achieve it.
Credit-card debts are not, naturally, as harsh as Sumerian debt-slavery. However, there are many kinds of Freedom beyond the freedom of expression and freedom of electing a ruler, and one of the most important is the economic freedom...
I think a lot about how my career as a scientist began. Was it really a moment in my childhood that destined my whole life, or was it but a starting point in the direction designed before I was born?
It was then, at school, when I asked a question, and I have not found the answer yet. We had a class in Physics, and our teacher was explaining us diffusion in liquids. In order to do it, she had drawn on a blackboard a few molecules of water interacting with molecule of color. A thread of connection started at water molecule and led to color molecule, so the latest appeared to be in a net that was pulling it in different directions.
But what seemed strange was that water molecules were interconnected with such threads, too. Simple water looked like a super-complex computer. Every molecule 'knew' intensity and way of interacting with nearby molecules. And I asked a question: "How those molecules know what to do?"...
Our planet will soon complete one more circle around the Sun. Traditionally, it is the time we recapped on the past year events.
Cryptocurrencies have grown up in the past year. They no longer should be considered as toys for programmers or the triumph of pure mathematics.
Next year they will enter the large world, become known to the masses and serve their true purpose. This is the area of the nearest development.
That is what we were bracing ourselves for during this autumn and winter. Early next year we'll showcase a new convenient interface that will make Bytecoin very simple to use in the daily life.
We hope that the past year had been as productive for you as it had been for us and wish you an even more successful next year. Thank you for your support. See you in 2015.
Science-fiction writers often predict the future on the whole and make huge mistakes in details. It's no big deal to predict space travel. It's far more difficult to predict Internet. That's why sci-fi space travelers of 60-70th can watch films from crystals and read books from microfilms. We are not traveling through space but can already watch films in the internet. It's more comfortable than crystals and microfilms.
It's easy to predict robots that will grow vegetables and drive cars. It's more difficult to guess how the financial system of the future will look like.
Money is an elusive essence which transpierces the world. Money is everywhere and it is so habitual that it is not noticed. Money is air. We need it to live but take it for granted.
We've come to the point where we can think "What is money?" And if we think about it the answer will come. Money is conventionality that helps to exchange goods and services.
This may seem a bit unusual for those who got used to think of money as of absolute essence which is backed with gold and supported by government. No. Money is conventional...
The goal of any marketing expert is to shut down rational part in a human being and make this being take decisions by lizard brain. It is amazing how many tricks and ruses are developed in order to control the relict part of human brain and force it to make impulsive decisions.
Such trifles as scent of fresh brewed coffee or baked goods can't amaze anyone - that's old-timey. Far more up-to-date methods are used by banks that offer people credit cards from which "one can't refuse". And owning a card one can't refuse from unnecessary purchases that can be done "as easy as ABC".
We have already reached the condition when manipulative control over people is too intense. Too often the rational part of brain is shut down. Too often people step hasty and then suffer from this.
A person suffers and suffers the state. Concrete people can suffer concrete obesity, but all in all the state suffers from the common problem of obesity.
We have reached the bottom and now can only push off from it. More and more people realize that from marketing discounts and bonuses gain only providers of services, not clients. An offer one can't refuse is an offer one should consider in every meticulous detail.
I welcome the intention to become more conscious. Become rational. The intention to deprive marketing specialists of the possibility to manipulate us. To that end it is firstly necessary to increase our financial literacy. And I am glad that financial management courses have become rather popular. More and more people want to know how they can manage their finances effectively.
As a result of golden age people were relieved of many responsibilities. Division of labor and its specific character have led to the situation where a person who cooks food doesn't know much about sewing clothes and one who builds houses is incompetent in production of cars. If all participants of the process are honest people, then there should be no problems.
And what if they are not? A cook will find food additive that makes meals exceedingly tasty. Should he use it even if it damages health of customers? But he will have a lot more clients and the health damage is not that extensive after all...
And if a car manufacturer will notice that people are not buying new cars because the old ones may not be that good, but still go. Is it worthwhile to produce cars that break down beyond repair in 10 years? Then people will stop using old cars and start buying new ones.
Instead of realizing that cook adds food additive that ruins health and stop eating his food or that dishonest manufacturer produces defective cars and stop buying his cars people just shift this responsibility. They invent state structures that are obliged to supervise how harmful on the average food is or how defective on the average a car is. They set boundaries which manufacturers are not allowed to strain. Manufacturers in turn are trying to legislatively wrest more freedoms and conceal information in order to meet regulations. Lawmakers start implementing regulations on execution of regulations and this process winds up on a higher level...
I think that modern historians would name the 20th century 'The Golden Age' even despite two world wars. On the one hand, science advancement level in 20th century provided the means to make human life more comfortable. On the other hand, different institutes took upon themselves care of duties for people, allowing them to 'just do their job'.
One could simply come to the office and do one's work without ever thinking of what the company does as a whole, and how it makes profit; one could simply be paid without ever thinking of where the salary comes from; one could simply spend money to buy a car without ever thinking of why these pieces of green paper are exchanged for a car; one could ride around the city all day without ever thinking of where the fuel for the car comes from...
Not many people ever think of what money is. Who is emitting it, by what right, what is the reason to emit this particular amount?.. I understand these people. When I want to watch football, I turn my TV on without thinking how nuclear power plant and transformer work, how current runs in the cables. It is not my specialty.
People are used to handling money just as easily as turning TV on/off. That is why the main task of our team is to stop talking almost exclusively of PoW, Mining, Peer-to-Peer and start doing something to make our cryptocurrency just as easy to handle as fiat for people.
Cryptographic principles of currency's operation should be our internal affair, and it is our job to make them so firm that discussing them would be unnecessary.
It so happened that I observed two different carpenters working on the same tasks: building an alcove.
First time happened when I was visiting my friends in France. The wanted to have an alcove for quite some time when I came, but choosing a carpenter for the job took them very long. Finally, they found a man who asked about 20% more than average price for the job. Nevertheless, he was working whole day with only one break for lunch. He did everything right from the word go. When I watched him working, it seemed to me that the carpenter had in his mind the complete image of the alcove from the foundation to the carved roof, and all he needed was to follow that image. By the end of the day, the alcove was complete.
Next time I decided to have an alcove...
When you are getting near the end of a big and complex job, there is always this cunning wish to jump over to the very end and enjoy observing the results. It is quite a challenge to make yourself slow down and check the code again and again. Because everything is all right, everything is running and we can compile and upload the code right away. What is the reason behind delaying this pleasant realization of completeness?
Neocortex is planning to build the 11th level of his castle on Sunday. I am sure that he already wants to put the last two cards of the 12th level, as it is very painful for such a perfectionist to see the castle without the last level with two cards lying at the side of it.
And I respect this man very much for his delaying the joy of completing his castle until the code passes double-check for efficiency and reliability. The only feeling that is more pleasant than awareness of completeness is that you have built a castle capable to withstand any hurricane.
People get different features in the course of career advancement. An acquaintance of mine celebrated each buy in by eating a chocolate cake. A friend of mine starts her business week with a 2-hour Yoga training, waking up for it at 6 a.m.
And I am building up my progress bar using a card-castle, utilizing triangular numbers for this. With their help, I can calculate the height of my castle so that final stage of work would correspond the top row.
Now I am leading the API development for Bytecoin, and I had 222 cards when I started. Yesterday I have built 10th row. Building the top is my favorite process. On the one hand is the pleasure arising from close completion of the project, and on the other is danger of all rows falling down if you make one wrong move; you have to act very carefully. My castles have never fallen apart.
I went to orrery today and admired the fineness of our Universe. I think Frederick Cook felt the same awe when he travelled to the North Pole. But Cook travelled himself and saw the snow-white wide with his own eyes. And I was watching a picture created by a handful of triodes and a lense.
When I joined this project I thought it would be easier. At that time, one and a half years ago, I was not a very experienced programmer and those concepts I had of solutions for those high-level problems I am solving today were quite naive. I thought it would be simpler. Necessity to earn for living with normal work and creating the next generation cryptocurrency in the spare time are quite exhausting. But I keep in mind that making such product will help to redistribute the resources. Take some part from the production of yachts with golden railings and means for murdering people and send them to research cancer and for space exploration. So yes, this goal is worth such exertion.
Greetings! Throughout this week me and Bytecoin have been staying in, preparing to join OpenBazaar, but today in this wonderful sunny Friday and we are planning to get out of the network and have a joyful journey in the Great World.
Today Bytecoin will accompany me in walk around Manhattan and I appreciate his willingness to join me. I'm going to introduce it to all of my friends that I might come across today. I will surely introduce Bytecoin to my favorite hotel that I stay in every time I get the chance to visit New York. It will get to know my favorite cafe where I relish the beautiful music and exceptional politeness of the servers and of servers and bussers. I am sure my friends will be surprised when they see us together, I've been through it before. They'll ask me what do we need new money for if we already have Bucks, Euro and Yen? I am sure that the idea that we need at least a few hundred of new currencies will astound them. I'll give my friends a few moments to regain composure and then introduce them to my good friend Bytecoin...
Hello dear friends!
We have decided to post this "hello mesage" from the team a day earlier, that is on Thursday.
The reason for us to break tradition which has only been created recently is that today is 800th day since Bytecoin was launched. Sure, programmers can object and point out that there is nothing special in the date, and we would rather celebrate, say, April 23th, when Bytecoin will be 1024 days old.
We want to say this: we have created Bytecoin and keep on making it better for all the users, not only the programmers. That is why we are working our fingers to the bone to make Bytecoin known to everyone as a cup of coffee in the morning, comfortable as Pullman car, reliable as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's battleship, yet fast and maneouverable as clipper with elite Chinese tea steered by noble but starving freebooters.
Today is august 29th, one of the last days of summer. Although the Gregorian calendar sets the New Year's start from January, we all know that it actually starts with September 1st. Summer moves on smooth and serene and every day is the same. Summer is the time of rest and is perfect for having a rundown on what has happened during the year. Autumn, on the other hand, is the time for rapid and explosive action. Autumn is when you set out on a new project, full of energy and enthusiasm.
This year is crucial for our team for many reasons. We've summarized what has been done for the last two years and drew a plan for the next year. The development strategy at last has been formalized with every member of the team keenly aware of his part in it. These last few days of summer is the time we summon the strength for an eventful autumn.
We'd like to express our gratitude to everyone who's been helping us build Bytecoin for the last two years. We equally appreciate the work of those who's been with us from the very beginning and who's joined the project when it was well under way. Because of your hard work Bytecoin is now a perfect financial instrument that will serve the world a good job. We can't be sure about the details but we are positive that Bytecoin will have an extremely interesting and dynamic future.