The Sovereign Individual ~ by James Dale Davidson and William Rees MorgThe Sovereign Individual is one of those books that forever changes how you see the world. It was published in 1997 but the degree to which it anticipates the impact of blockchain technology will give you chills. We’re entering the fourth stage of human society, shifting from the industrial to an information age. You need to read this book to understand the scope and scale of how things are going to change.As it becomes easier to live comfortably and earn an income anywhere, we already know that those who truly thrive in the new information age will be workers who are not tethered to a single job or career and are location independent. The pull to choose where to live based on price savings is already more appealing, but this goes beyond digital nomadism and freelance gigs; the foundations of democracy, government and money are shifting.The authors predicted Black Tuesday and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and here they foresee that the rising power of individuals will coincide with decentralized technology nibbling away at the power of governments. The death toll for the nation states, they predicted with extraordinary prescience, will be private, digital cash. When that happens, the dynamic of governments as stationary bandits robbing hard-working citizens with taxation will change. If you’ve become someone who can solve problems for people anywhere in the world, then you’re about to enter the new cognitive elite. Don’t miss this one.Choice Quotation: “When technology is mobile, and transactions occur in cyberspace, as they increasingly will do, governments will no longer be able to charge more for their services than they are worth to the people who pay for them.”Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind ~ by Yuval Noah HarariWhenever I want to impress on someone how good this book is, I ask: “Do you want to know the fundamental difference between humans and monkeys? A monkey can jump up and down on a rock and wave a stick around and screech to his friends that he’s seen a threat coming their way. ‘Danger! Danger! Lion!’ A monkey can also lie. It can jump up and down on the rock and wave a stick around and screech about a lion when there is, in fact, no lion. He’s just fooling around. But what a monkey cannot do is jump up and down and wave a stick around and screech, ‘Danger! Danger! Dragon!’”Why is this? Because dragons aren’t real. As Harari explains, it is human imagination, our ability to believe in and talk about things we have never seen or touched that has elevated the species to cooperate in large numbers with strangers. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, no religions and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings. It is us that makes them so.All of which is a rather magnificent preamble to where we are today. After the Cognitive Revolution and the Agricultural Revolution, Harari guides you into The Scientific Revolution, which got underway only 500 years ago and which may start something completely different for humankind. Money, however, will remain. Read this book to understand that money is the greatest story ever told and that trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted.Choice Quotation: “Sapiens, in contrast, live in triple-layered reality. In addition to trees, rivers, fears and desires, the Sapiens world also contains stories about money, gods, nations and corporations.”The Internet of Money ~ by Andreas M. AntonopoulosIf the two books mentioned above help us to understand the historical context in which Bitcoin first appeared, then this book expands on the ‘why’ with infectious enthusiasm. Andreas Antonopolous is perhaps the most respected voice in the crypto space. He’s been traveling the world as a Bitcoin evangelist since 2010 and this book is a summary of talks he gave on the circuit between 2013 and 2016, all tightened up for publication.His first book, Mastering Bitcoin, is a technical deep-dive into the technology, aimed more specifically at developers, engineers, and software and systems architects. But this book uses some choice metaphors to explain why you can’t ban Bitcoin or turn it off, how the scaling debate doesn’t really matter and why Bitcoin needs the help of designers to lock in mass adoption.”When you first ride your brand new automobile in a city,” he writes, “you are riding on roads used by horses with infrastructures designed and used for horses. There are no light signals. There are no road rules. There are no paved roads. And what happened? The cars got stuck because they didn’t have balance and four feet.” But fast forward one hundred years and the cars that were once ridiculed are absolutely the norm. If you want to swim around in the philosophical, social and historical implications of Bitcoin, this is your starting point.Choice Quotation: “Bitcoin is not just money for the internet. Yes, it’s perfect money for the internet. It’s instant, it’s safe, it’s free. Yes, it is money for the internet, but it’s so much more. Bitcoin is the internet of money. Currency is only the first application. If you grasp that, you can look beyond the price, you can look beyond the volatility, you can look beyond the fad. At its core, Bitcoin is a revolutionary technology that will change the world forever. Join.”
The Best Books on Cryptocurrency
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What Cryptocurrencies Are Good to Invest in?
This year the value of Bitcoin has soared, even past one gold-ounce. There are also new cryptocurrencies on the market, which is even more surprising which brings cryptocoins’ worth up to more than one hundred billion. On the other hand, the longer term cryptocurrency-outlook is somewhat of a blur. There are squabbles of lack of progress among its core developers which make it less alluring as a long term investment and as a system of payment.BitcoinStill the most popular, Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that started all of it. It is currently the biggest market cap at around $41 billion and has been around for the past 8 years. Around the world, Bitcoin has been widely used and so far there is no easy to exploit weakness in the method it works. Both as a payment system and as a stored value, Bitcoin enables users to easily receive and send bitcoins. The concept of the blockchain is the basis in which Bitcoin is based. It is necessary to understand the blockchain concept to get a sense of what the cryptocurrencies are all about.To put it simply, blockchain is a database distribution that stores every network transaction as a data-chunk called a “block.” Each user has blockchain copies so when Alice sends 1 bitcoin to Mark, every person on the network knows it.LitecoinOne alternative to Bitcoin, Litecoin attempts to resolve many of the issues that hold Bitcoin down. It is not quite as resilient as Ethereum with its value derived mostly from adoption of solid users. It pays to note that Charlie Lee, ex-Googler leads Litecoin. He is also practicing transparency with what he is doing with Litecoin and is quite active on Twitter.Litecoin was Bitcoin’s second fiddle for quite some time but things started changing early in the year of 2017. First, Litecoin was adopted by Coinbase along with Ethereum and Bitcoin. Next, Litecoin fixed the Bitcoin issue by adopting the technology of Segregated Witness. This gave it the capacity to lower transaction fees and do more. The deciding factor, however, was when Charlie Lee decided to put his sole focus on Litecoin and even left Coinbase, where’re he was the Engineering Director, just for Litecoin. Due to this, the price of Litecoin rose in the last couple of months with its strongest factor being the fact that it could be a true alternative to Bitcoin.EthereumVitalik Buterin, superstar programmer thought up Ethereum, which can do everything Bitcoin is able to do. However its purpose, primarily, is to be a platform to build decentralized applications. The blockchains are where the differences between the two lie. Basically, the blockchain of Bitcoin records a contract-type, one that states whether funds have been moved from one digital address to another address. However, there is significant expansion with Ethereum as it has a more advanced language script and has a more complex, broader scope of applications.Projects began to sprout on top of Ethereum when developers began noticing its better qualities. Through token crowd sales, some have even raised dollars by the millions and this is still an ongoing trend even to this day. The fact that you can build wonderful things on the Ethereum platform makes it almost like the internet itself. This caused a skyrocketing in the price so if you purchased a hundred dollars’ worth of Ethereum early this year, it would not be valued at almost $3000.MoneroMonero aims to solve the issue of anonymous transactions. Even if this currency was perceived to be a method of laundering money, Monero aims to change this. Basically, the difference between Monero and Bitcoin is that Bitcoin features a transparent blockchain with every transaction public and recorded. With Bitcoin, anyone can see how and where the money was moved. There is some somewhat imperfect anonymity on Bitcoin, however. In contrast, Monero has an opaque rather than transparent transaction method. No one is quite sold on this method but since some folks love privacy for whatever purpose, Monero is here to stay.ZcashNot unlike Monero, Zcash also aims to solve the issues that Bitcoin has. The difference is that rather than being completely transparent, Monero is only partially public in its blockchain style. Zcash also aims to solve the problem of anonymous transactions. After all, no every person loves showing how much money they actually spent on memorabilia by Star Wars. Thus, the conclusion is that this type of cryptocoin really does have an audience and a demand, although it’s hard to point out which cryptocurrency that focuses on privacy will eventually come out on top of the pile.BancorAlso known as a “smart token,” Bancor is the new generation standard of cryptocurrencies which can hold more than one token on reserve. Basically, Bancor attempts to make it easy to trade, manage and create tokens by increasing their level of liquidity and letting them have a market price that is automated. At the moment, Bancor has a product on the front-end that includes a wallet and the creation of a smart token. There are also features in the community such as stats, profiles and discussions. In a nutshell, the protocol of Bancor enables the discovery of a price built-in as well as a mechanism for liquidity for smart contractual tokens through a mechanism of innovative reserve. Through smart contract, you can instantly liquidate or purchase any of the tokens within the reserve of Bancor. With Bancor, you can create new cryptocoins with ease. Now who wouldn’t want that?EOSAnother competitor of Ethereum, EOS promises to solve the scaling issue of Ethereum through the provision of a set of tools that are more robust to run and create apps on the platform.TezosAn alternative to Ethereum, Tezos can be consensually upgraded without too much effort. This new blockchain is decentralized in the sense that it is self-governing through the establishment of a digital true commonwealth. It facilitates the mathematical technique called formal verification and has security-boosting features of the most financially weighed, sensitive smart contract. Definitely a great investment in the months to come.VerdictIt is incredibly hard to predict which Bitcoin in the list will become the next superstar. However, user adoption has always be one key success factor when it came to cryptocurrencies. Both Ethereum and Bitcoin have this and even if there is a lot of support from early adopters of every cryptocurrency in the list, some have yet to prove their staying power. Nonetheless, these are the ones to invest in and watch out for in the coming months.
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International Regulations for Cryptocurrencies Will Create Win-Win Situations
The backdropInitial Coin Offering on blockchain platforms has painted the world red for tech-startups across the world. A decentralised network that can allocate tokens to the users supporting an idea with money is both revolutionizing and awarding.Profit-spinning Bitcoin turned out to be an ‘asset’ for early investors giving manifold returns in the year 2017. Investors and Cryptocurrency exchanges across the world capitalized on the opportunity spelling enormous returns for themselves leading to ascent of multiple online exchanges. Other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple and other ICOs promised even better results. (Ethereum grew by more than 88 times in 2017!)While the ICOs landed millions of dollars in the hands of startups within a matter of days, ruling governments initially chose to keep an eye on the fastest fintech development ever that had the potential to raise millions of dollars within a very short period of time.Countries all across the globe are mulling over to regulate cryptocurrenciesBut the regulators turned cautious as the technology and its underlying effects gained popularity as ICOs started mulling funds worth billions of dollarsâ-âthat too on proposed plans written on whitepapers.It was in late 2017 that the governments across the world seized the opportunity to intervene. While China banned cryptocurrencies altogether, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in the US, highlighted risks posed to vulnerable investors and has proposed to treat them as securities.A recent warning statement from SEC Chairman Jay Clayton released in December cautioned investors mentioning,
“Please also recognize that these markets span national borders and that significant trading may occur on systems and platforms outside the United States. Your invested funds may quickly travel overseas without your knowledge. As a result, risks can be amplified, including the risk that market regulators, such as the SEC, may not be able to effectively pursue bad actors or recover funds.”
This was followed by India’s concerns, wherein the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in February said that India does not recognize cryptocurrencies.A circular sent by Central Bank of India to other banks on April 6, 2018 asked the banks to sever ties with companies and exchanges involved in trading or transacting in cryptocurrencies.In Britain, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in March announced that it has formed a cryptocurrency task force and would take assistance from Bank of England to regulate the cryptocurrency sector.Different laws, tax structures across nationsCryptocurrencies majorly are coins or tokens launched on a cryptographic network and can be traded globally. While cryptocurrencies have more or less the same value across the globe, countries with different laws and regulations can render differential returns for investors who might be citizens of different countries.Different laws for investors from different countries would make calculation of returns a tiring and cumbersome exercise.This would involve investment of time, resources and strategies causing unnecessary elongation of processes.The SolutionInstead of many countries framing different laws for global cryptocurrencies, there should be constitution of a uniform global regulatory authority with laws that apply across the borders. Such a move would play an important part in enhancing legal cryptocurrency trades across the world.Organizations with global objective such as the UNO (United Nations Organisation), World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Economic Forum (WEF), International Trade Organisation (ITO) have already been playing an important part in uniting the world on different fronts.Cryptocurrencies were formed with the basic idea of transference of funds all across the world. They have more or less similar value across exchanges, except for negligible arbitrage.A global regulatory authority to regulate cryptocurrencies across the world is the need of the hour and might lay down global rules for regulating the newest mode of financing ideas. Right now, every country is trying to regulate virtual currencies through legislations, drafting of which are under process.If the economic super powers with other countries can build a consensus introducing a regulatory authority with laws that know no national boundaries, then this would be one of the biggest breakthroughs towards designing a crypto-friendly world and boost use of one of the most transparent fintech system everâ-âthe blockchain.A universal regulation consisting of subparts related to cryptocurrency trading, returns, taxes, penalties, KYC procedures, laws related to exchanges and punishments for illegal hacks can yield us with the following advantages.
It can make calculation of profits super easy for investors across the world, as there would be no difference in the net profits because of uniform tax structures
Countries all over the world may agree to share a certain part of the profits as taxes. Therefore the share of countries on the taxes collected would be uniform all across the world.
Time involved in constituting numerous committees, drafting bills followed by discussions in the legislative arena (Like the Parliament in India and the Senate in the US), could be saved.
One need not go through strenuous taxation laws of each and every country. Particularly those involved in multinational trading.
Even the companies offering tokens or ICOs would comply with the said ‘international law’. Therefore, calculation of post-taxation incomes would be a cake walk for companies
A global structure would call for more companies coming up with better ideas, thereby increasing employment opportunities across the world.
The law may be assisted by an international watchdog or regulatory for global currencies, which may have powers to blacklist an ICO offering that does not adhere to the norms.
It is not all advantages, when it comes to a law that would govern cryptocurrencies all over the world. There are certain disadvantages as well.Uniting world’s financial leaders to come together and draft a law might be time taking. Discussions and bringing them to consensus might be challenging
Countries or economies providing tax-free structures may not agree to accept the law that provides for a universal taxation policy
The global watchdog or the regulatory authority’s interference in monitoring ICO related regulatory developments might not go well with some countries
The universal law may result in the world being divided into factions. Countries which do not support cryptocurrency like China might not be a part of it.
The law may be the brainchild of economically strong nations who might design it to suit their best interests.
This law would be a centralized one with a global regulatory body unlike cryptocurrencies which are decentralised in nature.
ConclusionThe world has been together for better. Be it making of a peaceful world after the World War II, or coming together for better trade laws and treaties.The International Trade Organisation (ITO), the World Trade Organisation and the World Economic Forum have some of the best brains that define global economics.They can come together and be a part of a body that would define the economic prosperity of the world. They would help draft global cryptocurrency norms and may be a part of the regulatory body that would be the guide and lighthouse for thousands of ICOs across the world for better. Initially this may be time taking, but would make things easy for the times to come.
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