In 1554, the ambassador to the holy roman emperor Ferdinand, the first returned from turkey, and he brought with him something that would soon spread all across Europe like the plague, not the plague at this time anyway, but like the plague, it Was it was a thing? It was a thing that everybody had to have people were obsessed with it addicted, even and no it wasn’t opium this time, the thing that caused a mania and took over an entire continent and almost crashed the economy.
The tulip the tulip the tulip was just new and unique to Europe. They’d, never seen anything like it. The softness of its petals, the saturation of its color and the word of its beauty, spread around a lot faster than the actual flower.
Did this was the 1500s things just moved slower back then, but that just caused the anticipation to get their hands on a tulip to rise even further, and when you have something that’s, rare that a lot of people want the value of that Thing will go up and that’s.
What happened with the tulip enter the Dutch East India Company, which was basically the Amazon of its day. They spread the tulip to every single corner of Europe and made boatloads of money while they were doing it, but the 1600s, the entire continent was wrapped up in tulip mania and its height, one bulb of the semper.
Augustus tulip went for ten thousand guilders and just for context, a skilled craftsman of the day could make about 300 guilders per year, but people justify spending this kind of money on a tulip because they plan to cultivate it, and so the seeds later on it was An investment just like a home and as prices continue to rise, they could sell the seeds and just make it rain guilders.
They were speculating that their investment would pay off later on and that’s. Why some people call tulip mania the world’s first speculative bubble, but just like the speculative bubbles that we’re so used to today.
The tulip bubble did eventually burst. The market fell out and investors lost most, if not all, of their money, but on the subject of speculative bubbles, what’s up with crypto currencies these days? Well, a year ago, I did a article about blockchain and Bitcoin and I covered all the basics of how it works and how it kind of came about and everything.
So if you’re still not really familiar with blockchain it, but still new to you. I’m gon na just point you over to that article, so that I don’t have to explain it all again. It’s, it’s all right there, just just go check it out and get the basics down cuz.
I hate repeating myself. I do I hate hate, repeating myself hate it repeating myself, but maybe you’re. One of those people have been following Bitcoin for years: traveling those phrases from the rooftops regaling your family on Thanksgiving, a 20-17 about the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto and this currency, that’s.
Gon na overthrow the entire economic system that we know today, you watched as your black folio continued to rise and value. You start scoping out islands, you could buy and you scoffed at other people for their belief in the dollar and then January 2018.
Heaven you watch those numbers, go lower and lower and probably sing to do a little bit of a depression as Bitcoin went from the height of $ 20,000 per Bitcoin to around 3100 Bitcoin. Why do you hit me so the enthusiasm for Bitcoin and other altcoins kind of fell off the map a little bit and it didn’t help that in the big crypto frenzy that was going on, there were a lot of scams and ponzi schemes Happening that we’re promising at lambeau and every garage one notable one is big connect which launched in this very measured in quiet fashion.
I’ sign me up. The good news is that this and other more questionable altcoins have kind of fallen by the wayside over the years and in 2019, Bitcoin did have a little bit of a resurgence, though it was nowhere near a shadow of its former self, but you know advocates of Bitcoin continued to huddle and and wait for the moon that’s, crypto speak in the meantime, while the markets have inflated deflated and eventually stabilized there’s been a lot of interesting things going on behind the scenes in the blockchain space.
Here’s, just a few of them Before we jump in, I & # 39. Ve got two issue: the standard disclaimer here. This is in no way financial advice. I’m, not telling you to buy or not buy anything. If you’re interested, do your own research put whatever money you want to in there, but if you lose it don & # 39.
T blame me all right now that my a has been seed. Let’s. Talk about the basic attention token in the brave browser websites cost money, whether it’s, a whole team behind it that you’ve got to pay for or if it’s, just hosting fees.
Something has to pay for it to exist. Smaller websites blogs that kind of thing that can usually just be paid out of somebody’s pocket, but as a website gets bigger, the cost scale up as well and right now there’s.
Basically, three different ways of websites pay for themselves. The first is a paywall, a site that forces you to pay to view their content. Think of something like the New York Times are wired. The second is a site that’s free for you to view, but it’s, paid for with ads of bombard your eyeballs and even more valuable collect data on you and your browsing habits.
And the third is an optional donation for altruistic sites which provide content for free without ads, but then ask for a voluntary donation and return like say Wikipedia. All of these methods have their drawbacks.
Either you’re, losing control of your data. You’re, dealing with IDI Laden sites that are borderline unreadable or you’re dealing with sites that are constantly begging you for donations, which can get kind of annoying, and this is the problem that the brave browser aims to fix with Their basic attention, token or bad for short, the bat is a cryptocurrency that pays both the website and you for your attention.
So let’s say you go to your favorite website devoted to hairless cats. The brave browser would get a little bit of bat to the website, send a little bit of it to you and it does it anonymously. So your data is protected.
Where’s, this money coming from, you may ask well ads it’s, always ads, but the ads appear in a pop-up notification that are out of the way and unobtrusive. In fact, the brave there comes with an ad block so that you don’t have any ads actually on the page, and you get to pick how many ads that you see per hour the more ads you see, the more bet you earn and You can use that bat to pay off pay walls or set up a recurring donation to your favorite websites or just tip a website for a good article that you liked the idea is it’s kind of a different way of experiencing the Internet.
One that lets you reward content creators for the work that they do and the most seamless and unobtrusive way possible. This is, of course, just a basic overview. The brave browser, if you’re interested, I’ll, put a link down the description, so you can find out more about it.
Another interesting project keep your eye on is something called chain link and chain link is an altcoin that connects smart contracts talked a little bit about smart contracts in my last article, but a smart contract is basically a digital contract that’s, kept in A blockchain blockchain at its core is basically a validating technology, so this is kind of like a digitally notarized contract that can’t be changed once the two parties have signed on to it.
The beauty of smart contracts is that you, don’t, have to trust people and wouldn’t the world be better. If we didn’t have to trust people, I mean trusting. Other people, obviously is a good thing, but, as any contractor can tell you, when that trust gets violated, things can get ugly.
I’ve had to deal with some unscrupulous people. In my time you know people that wouldn & # 39. T pay me for the work that I had done and you know I’ve gotten lawyers involved and usually what winds up happening? Is you wind up just dropping the whole thing, because the cost of the hiring a lawyer and going to court and the time that it would take to get this money back is far more than the actual amount of money that you’re? Trying to get back so you eventually just walk away and take a loss.
I’m, not still bitter. I’m, not still bitter Steve, but with a smart contract. All the funds are put in right at the very beginning and then the deadlines the deliverables are set and when the contractor delivers the product to the client, then it automatically triggers the smart contract to pay that contractor and they go on their merry way.
If the contractor failed to deliver by the deadline, then the money reverted back to the client sounds great, but the problem with smart contracts is how to actually create them. It kind of requires downloading a third party app and learning how to code these things, and I don’t, know about you, but that sounds way outside my skill set.
But chain-linked aims to solve that problem by making it as simple as sending a PayPal payment with a smart contract plug-in and they’ve been pretty successful that so far partnering up with Google and Oracle.
Now one use case for chain lengths is actually kind of interesting is with autonomous cars. We know self-driving cars are coming and, of course the idea is that they’re gon na make the roads a lot safer, but you know what things go wrong and neva tably accidents are going to happen.
The self-driving cars running with insurance, smart contracts could interact with the sensors and decide right then, and there who is at fault and then the payment can actually be transferred over to the other person right there on the spot.
Smart contracts actually have a lot of really interesting use cases, including fully autonomous corporations where they actually use smart contracts in their supply chain to sort of go ahead and order and receive, and do all that without any human intervention whatsoever.
Ideas like chain-link, only accelerate the use of smart contracts and make starting and running a small business even easier for budding entrepreneurs. The last project worth mentioning brings us back to Bitcoin or, more specifically, a project is being built on the Bitcoin blockchain called the Lightning Network.
Bitcoin has a problem and it’s baked into its foundation. If you watch my earlier article on this, you know that Bitcoin relies on miners. That’s. Miners, not miners. Bitcoin doesn’t use child labor miners are people who contribute their computers or create entire server farms to validate the blocks on the blockchain, and in return they get a little bit of Bitcoin.
The problem is the more activity on the blockchain. The more miners are required to validate the different blocks, or the more blocks need to be validated per miner, either way that costs money. It got all the way up to $ 54 per transaction at the peak of activity in December of 2017, in other words using Bitcoin kind of breaks.
Bitcoin. The Lightning Network aims to fix this bottleneck by using hashed Imlach contracts, with bi-directional payment channels allowing for payments to be securely routed across multiple peer-to-peer payment channels.
You know that old chestnut guys, I’m gon na be honest with you. Some of this is about to sound like an instructional article for the retro and cab you later, and I am just about as lost as you are, but basically the Lightning Network makes it possible for anybody on the network to pay anybody else on the network.
Even if they don’t have a direct channel with each other. It’s, actually an off chain technology that allows you to trade, bitcoins back and forth and then validate them on the blockchain later on. When it’s.
Convenient, in other words, the money changes hands immediately instead of waiting 10 minutes or an hour for that transaction to be validated on the blockchain. Keeping in mind that 10 minutes or an hour is still faster than the 1 to 5 days that it can take for a payment to show up in a regular bank account.
But the real power is that you can send payments to somebody. Even if you’re not connected on the network, so let’s, say your person a and you’re only connected to person B, but person B is connected to person C and D and C and D are connected To mr.
e and mr. F on and on from there with the Lightning Network, you person a could send money to person Q without being personally connected to them right now, the Lightning network can only handle a little over a thousand bitcoins, so it’S still kind of small, although a year ago it could only handle a hundred bitcoins, so it is kind of proving itself to be scalable.
I think what gets crypto enthusiasts so excited about this technology. Is it kind of turns our entire concept of money upside down? Like what is currency, what is value, what’s gon na be valuable in the future? It may be that someday we’ll.
Look back on the idea of currency controlled by governments and banking institutions is just straight-up crazy town like. Why would you let somebody else, control your money and decide who has access to it? The economy of the future may be entirely decentralized, allowing people to make their own rules and basically be their own bank or a crypto.
Could wind up going the route of the semper Augustus bulb? You know wind up being a massive speculative bubble. That looks really good at first, but then you know it wilts out in the Sun and and you don’t water, it and bugs start eating its leaves.
This metaphors been stretched. The important part here is that the financial system is still changing and change usually occurs when the system isn’t benefiting the majority of the population, we’ve, seen one bubble after another banks, manipulating stocks and currencies through greed and speculation.
It’s, easy to see why some people are ready to just throw the whole thing out and start over with something brand new and egalitarian, but we’re still in the early days of crypto and blockchain, where we go from here, We can only guess.