Book club: The Technological Singularity

In recent years the breakneck speed of exponential technological development has let many to believe that the realms of science fictions and human-like robots might become reality sooner than many think. I have been fascinated by these developments. Keen and curious to learn more about it delving down an exponentially expanding rabbit hole. Or a black hole so to speak. In this edition of the Book Club, we are going to explore the meaning behind the Singularity and its representation in “The Technological Singularity” by Murray Shanahan.

The Singularity in the context of the book and what most people refer to in recent years is the period in time in the future where a computer running software-based artificial intelligence reaches and surpasses that of humans. What this really means is that such technology and superintelligent agent can have an enormous impact on humanity and trigger time of recursive exponential development unfathomable to comprehend by a human being. A time that the mode of life and human existence change unrecognizably affected and dictated by superintelligence that will end life as we know it. The speed of this development has been speculatively measured by Ray Kurzweil who by implementing Moore’s Law, the law of accelerating returns and other mathematical and statistical methods came up with an approximation of this period falling around 2050. While this may be the predicted time period, how do we actually know when the AI software program has reached human intelligence. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) or “strong AI” is the one capable of performing intelligent actions attributed to humans. This can be tested by passing the Turing test – “A machine and a human both converse sight unseen with a second human, who must evaluate which of the two is the machine, which passes the test if it can fool the evaluator a significant fraction of the time.” The foremost requirements for an AGI are common sense and creativity. The ability to reason and judge under uncertain circumstances. The ability to learn, plan and communicate on an ongoing basis in various different situations.

The book is written as an investigative piece of work without the timescale or prediction commitment. The aim of the book is not to make an exact prediction on when and where this might happen nor is it a piece of science fiction painting a futuristic story of a technological future ran by machines. Rather it gives a great overview of the subject matter and the possibility of its development. The book explores this development through 7 chapters. The first one, Routes to Artificial Intelligence discusses the different ways we can actually get to this point in the future, the technology required, its feasibility and possibility. The possibilities of technological singularity pose both existential risk and an existential opportunity and its initial development can set the tone for this. The second chapter explores one of those possibilities through a whole brain emulation of a human by mapping it then uploading it as a piece of software. The biological brain is a master of adaptation. Whole-brain emulation is a key to understanding the engineering behind human intelligence. Unlike the biological brain, a digitally realized brain emulation can be copied arbitrarily many times. And unlike a biological brain, a digital brain can be speeded up presenting unfathomable opportunities towards the path to developing superintelligence. The third chapter explores the creation of such super intelligence from scratch by trying to replicate and build the human brain on a piece of a software program then let it recursively improve itself. This seems hypothetically possible through a deep understanding of Neurology and Advanced Computer Science in the realm of Deep Learning, Neural Networks, Reinforcement Learning among other sub-Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning methods implemented. Although there are certain concerns that we may reach the hardware limits of computing power and storage before this is actually is achieved. In the fourth chapter, a distinction is put between achieving human-level intelligence and surpassing it towards the development of superintelligence. Human intelligence is generalist first and adaptive then specialized. What is really hard for a machine is the exact opposite – being good at many different things rather than an expert in one single field. The fifth chapter of the book goes even further past the superintelligence exploring the notions of what makes us human and our consciousness how can this be

The last two chapters discuss the impact of the different levels of Artificial intelligence and how this can impact the lives of humans as they become obsolete in their daily life. Problems of higher purpose, drive and the meaning of life start surfacing as humans get pushed out of their vocations. Heaven or hell. Whatever happens, is completely unknown as much as is the motivation and actions of a superintelligent AGI. The Technological Singularity poses not only questions of physical capabilities of machines and their development but also philosophical questions on the essence of humanity and its fundamental value drivers. The author sees how the development of AGI can be achieved through continuous exponential improvement and expansion of knowledge in Big Data and AI. The most potent factor of the artificial intelligence development that is either based on whole brain emulation or reverse engineered from scratch would be its recursive self-improvement.

Intellectual prowess is what sets human beings apart from animals. Can we teach machines the same prowess to distinguish and elevate them above humans? That is yet to be discovered.

What then am I? In the end, all we have is simply what we find, and what we can usefully say to each other about what we find is all that needs to be said. And perhaps, in the end, it’s best just to sit quietly and let go of that thought too.
― Murray Shanahan

Reference:

Short Essay: Trader

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin

He wakes up early, around five thirty in the morning. Immediately he puts his training clothes on and goes to the gym. The morning workout is as important as the previous night’s sleep. The mind has to be rested and energized, alert so that opportunities can be spotted. Quick breakfast and the morning coffee at the desk as the work day has begun. He’s prepared the day before, he knows what he’s looking for and where a quick win may be on the screens. Time to make some money, lose the ego and learn. He is a trader.


Romanticized by many people, depicted as the ultimate job by trading gurus and educators, becoming a trader and being a trader is a path that many attempt but only a few get through. Trading is a vocation that requires no degree, recognizes no gender, nor color. There are no barriers to entry and everybody can become one if he has the grit to develop the skills and knowledge for the job. Trading is a business, the trader is the business owner taking full responsibility for the ups and downs of the business. Solid foundations in business practice are required. Hard work focused in the appropriate direction where systems are put in place and setups can be recognized. Patiently waiting for opportunities yet constantly studying and researching to find them. Managing the high points of big wins and the low points of maximum drawdowns is inevitable challenging the trader mentally. Like life, up then down… then back up, maybe.

Trading is a one-man business operation. A person with a laptop, internet connection and a chunk of capital. Anywhere in the world. Capital that represents his monthly expenses, a house, a holiday, an inheritance or somebody’s life savings. Full responsibility and weight upon his shoulders, only the matter between his ears to control it. Unlikely other businesses, he doesn’t get paid for the hours put in trading.  The trader gets paid for the output based on performance no matter the hours put in.  He gets paid for the hours it takes to find the right opportunity, at the right time, deploying capital, managing the risks and winning. Or losing. It’s between his ears however it comes.

Trading is not like gambling. Gambling is playing a game of chance, taking risky actions without proper rationale. No risk management, no strategy, no plan, no documentation of individual behavior, performance and emotions. Maybe emotion, just emotion. Black or White. Win or Lose.

Trading is more like fishing. One has to prepare the ship and gear, study fishing grounds, brave the deep seas and the unpredictable weather. Then one can catch fish, or not. Sometimes fishing is great other times one can’t catch anything even if the weather is good. The seas and the markets are unpredictable yet generous and abundant. Factors out of ones control to influence the seas and the markets. The boat might have a mechanical failure, a storm may hit, or one can catch loads of fish, but the prices will slump due to lack of demand. The markets may experience economic turmoil, liquidity and volatility may dry out, or the internet may cut off. Being a trader means being able to keep composure at the highs and hold on through the lows. Learning to be ok with outcomes exactly as they come.

Fishermen and Traders don’t have fixed working hours or monthly schedules. Although, they are always preparing and following a plan of action. Preparing and planning in life, in fishing, and in trading are key factors to success. Putting together proper trading and business plan prevents overtrading, defines clear strategies, setups, frameworks, decision-making, risk management, psychological management and avoidance of common pitfalls. Developing a daily routine according to a trading plan and having the discipline to follow it day in and day out would distinguish winners from the losers. If the market allows. Mastering a trading plan means mastering yourself. One can never fully master the markets, but one can master himself, in and outside the markets. Following a plan can strengthen discipline and help develop patience. Through perseverance and persistence, the trader can build up experience, knowledge and have a very high probability of catching some fish.

Despite an abundance of knowledge, trade setups and capital to trade, if the psychological management and emotional intelligence are not up to par, the trader may be set for failure. The ability to control emotions when winning as well as losing. Self-awareness in regard to strengths, weaknesses, and personality. Everybody is unique and acts differently in equal situations. There are many ways to make money from the markets as there are many different personalities that can employ different strategies with different instruments. To get an edge as a trader, he needs to discover who he really is and what type of markets and strategies will work individually.

Know thyself and knowledge of the stock market will soon follow. Ego and emotions determine far more of investor’s stock market decisions than most would be willing to admit. Traders who manage to act opposite to the mood of the crowd and against their own emotions are best positioned to earn money in the financial markets. Financial risk and emotional risk correlate inversely.

Independent and critical thinking that can withstand peer pressure and external noise would define decision making. The results one gets will depend on one’s actions and the amount of work put in the markets. A trader that tries to play the markets, will get caught sooner rather than later. The player got played. He pays with risk capital for the lack of work and preparation. Patience, discipline, and work are pillars in trading. Being patient timing setups, entries, and exits make or break the bank. Learning when to act is as important as learning when to do nothing and simply sitting on one’s hands. Trading teaches patience and self-awareness. It’s about learning a craft and getting better at it.

The one who succeeds does so after numerous years of trial and error. Putting money at risk and winning can lead to benefits. From having the limitless freedom to spend one’s days and earn ones income as he pleases. The trader exerts his personality in the strategy that is successful and brings in rewards. Through self-expression and creative thinking, a trader can earn their income under their own rules. The fascination for the markets and independent daily practice and learning leads that way. He has made it. Or not. It doesn’t matter. He has developed emotional intelligence. Through introspection and self-study, the trader has discovered his strengths and weaknesses building a profitable strategy and plan around it. The trader has taken responsibility for his losses without blaming others or judging on the basis of outside factors. He is not motivated only by money but also by becoming a better person developing self-confidence, self-reliance, decisiveness and growing a thick skin. Money itself is a fringe benefit. One of the greatest motivators for traders comes from the ability to leverage money for time. The trader can leverage a certain amount of capital that can bring much more benefits than swapping time for money. Wealth is a key to freedom. More wealth buys more time. Time is precious as one never knows how much he’s have got left while everybody gets the same amount each day.

In this new technological world, everybody has to take ownership of their finances and assets as the tools for this are already out there. Blaming one’s country, investment fund or financial advisor for financial losses rather than taking extreme ownership and responsibility for the personal capital is what’s prevalent. Taking control over one’s money is taking control of one’s living. Most times people delegate their savings, pension plans, and investment to other people that don’t necessarily have their best interest at heart. Becoming a trader can help one to take control of finances and investments. Moreover, one can learn to let go of the ego and constantly be curious, open to change and never stop learning. Markets change by the second, as life does.

There is no magic formula. The trader stays committed. Trading isn’t something that can be picked up overnight or even over a year. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not the fastest, but the one who has the grit to persistently endure that reaches the finish line. Trading is an activity without a beginning and an end. There is always more to learn and absorb no matter the expertise, credentials, capital, and knowledge. The markets are one of the biggest puzzles there is.

Be humble and always be learning.

What is the current situation with Crypto Tax in the UK?

Key Points:

  • Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not to be considered as currency or money
  • Full records of your transactions in cryptocurrencies have to be kept
  • Profit gains on cryptocurrencies are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
  • Businesses and individuals should take additional pre-caution on security and management of their crypto reserves and use of custodial solutions

Cryptocurrencies are a new type of asset that has become prevalent in recent years. Many people find confusing the way cryptocurrencies are transacted, stored and traded electronically. More so that some people are unclear about what cryptocurrencies really are and the particular tax treatment that should be applied in transacting them. The general view of the UK government on these assets is that they are subject to particular types of tax treatment depending on a number of situations. These situations are a set of different taxable events that occur depending on the type of transaction. Examples of such events are selling cryptocurrency,  trading cryptocurrency,  mining cryptocurrency, paying for goods and services, and receiving airdrops, forks or other compensation. HMRC defines cryptocurrencies as ‘cryptographically secured digital representations of value‘ with the assistance of the Cryptoassets Task Force their taxonomy has been established. The Task Force has issued a report that lays out the policy and regulatory treatment of the crypto assets dividing them into exchange tokens, utility tokens and security tokens.

  • Exchange tokens are to be used as methods of payments such as Bitcoin and other cryptos meant for transacting value.
  • Utility Tokens provide the holder with access to particular goods or services that are based upon the particular DLT architecture platform.
  • Security tokens would provide an equity share, debt or economic interest in a DLT based business.

HMRC does not consider cryptoassets to be currency or money.

bank-bitcoin-business-844124

Use Case I: Buying/Selling Crypto

The first point of transacting with cryptocurrencies for users would be buying and selling them. Every individual would have a different exit strategy upon buying cryptos. For many, it is prevalent holding them a certain time period then reselling them for profit/loss. Buying and selling crypto assets by an individual will normally amount to investment activity. Every time you sell your crypto this triggers a taxable event which can result from either a crypto-crypto or crypto-fiat transaction. For the purpose of the calculation of your tax basis, both “ends of the stick” fiat-crypto-fiat are required. This taxable event is the most important in your cryptocurrency transactions history. This also sets the foundational baseline for your crypto tax and bookkeeping as the fiat-crypto value and the particular time period would be set for future calculations of other taxable events. These transactions would also be the representation of your cost basis that determines future capital gains or loss on the exchange of crypto assets. Individuals will be subject to Capital Gains Tax based on your income and an annual allowance. If a tax is due it is only on the gain that you have made, not the entire amount you receive from the sale. You can also include transaction costs such as transfer fees when calculating your gain.

The annual tax-free allowance for an individual’s asset gains is £11,700 for 2018/19. If the profit from selling your cryptocurrency, in addition to any other asset gains, is less than this, you won’t have to report or pay tax on it.

Therefore, if cryptocurrency is bought and subsequently sold, any gain realised following conversion of the purchase and sale prices into the Sterling exchange rate (on the relevant dates of sale and purchase) is subject to CGT at the appropriate rates. It has to be noted though that the HMRC is not clear on the exchange of crypto to crypto either with a gain or loss as a non-taxable event. Henceforth, from my understanding, if you are not converting your crypto to fiat you won’t be due to pay any taxes up until the point of conversion back to fiat.

Charitable Donations:

Donating cryptocurrency to a tax-exempt organisation can prove to be a great way to donate to a good cause and reduce your tax bill by charitable deduction. There are a couple of main points here. The organisation has to explicitly state the direct acceptance of the particular currency as a donation. Secondly, you can’t cash in on your gains then donate afterwards as these are two separate events. The tax-exempt organization would receive your donation at full value then you can claim a charitable deduction to reduce your taxes afterwards.

Use Case II: Trading Crypto

In this use case, we are going to consider active investing in a short time period with numerous transactions or in other words trading. Speculation on the price of different cryptocurrencies has made millionaires of many while many times more people have gone broke. No matter, millionaire or broke the taxman is always there looking over waiting for its share. Thinking that you can dodge a bullet and let it pass a few years or liquidate back into fiat, later on, may backfire. On the flipside, those that lost a lot may be able to offset any losses to other types of income or tax for the particular period.

So how do you know if you are an investor buying/selling or a trader? HMRC apply a series of tests known as ‘The Badges of Trade’ to determine whether a trading activity has taken place. Different criteria are applied such as the volume of transactional activity, intention, the speed of transactions, organisations, debt, among others. Once you establish your standing then you would have to get in the appropriate entity subject to different tax treatments. For example, as an investor, you would be subject to Capital Gains Tax. On the other hand, if you are fully dedicated to trading cryptocurrencies full-time and registered as a business you will be subject to corporate tax on your business activities.  All transactions from fiat to crypto and back to fiat would be included in the cost basis for your tax calculation which ultimately would lead to the capital gain/loss amount that the Taxes will apply upon. The cost basis includes all transactions from crypto to crypto, fees, exchange transfers and it is calculated on the total fiat value. If you are trading part-time on the side as a sole trader this could be considered as subject to Income Tax that will take priority over Capital Gains Tax. An individual who is trading may be able to reduce their Income Tax or CGT liability by offsetting any losses from their trade against future profits or other income. More on this can be found on HMRC’s Losses: HS227 Self Assessment helpsheet

Trading in cryptocurrencies is exempt supplies for VAT purposes.

Crypto Gifts:

A philanthropic way to reduce your tax bill is by ”gifting” cryptocurrency. By making a P2P wallet transfer that is directly attributable to yourself or another person, not an exchange or a different entity, you can claim the ‘inheritance’ of this gift up to the allowable annual gift exclusion. Make a note of the value of the gift on the date of the gift in case you sell it in the future.

Wallet-Wallet & Exchange-Exchange transfers are not taxable events.

clear hour glass on brown sand

Use Case III: Mining & Staking

The final use case we are going to consider is mining, staking, airdrops and other miscellaneous crypto activities. Cryptocurrencies mining is a process in which transactions from various forms of cryptocurrency are verified and added to the blockchain digital ledger. This process involves expensive computing hardware, free mining software and electricity consumption as a constant expense for the activity. The taxation of mining would depend on the degree of activity, the type of your organisation, commerciality and risks involved. In terms of mining, the size of your operation is critical for determining your tax liability. Whether your crypto mining activity gains should be considered as taxable events would depend on the commercial size. Are you running a business or ‘hobby mining‘? Mining as a business activity will be subject to corporation tax. Hence if you have a significant mining operation you would have to register as an LLC. Income received from Bitcoin mining activities will generally be outside of the scope of VAT.

Staking cryptocurrencies and receiving “interest” on your crypto staked could be seen as savings income. Airdrop is when a large number of cryptocurrency is distributed evenly into wallets within a set of given parameters. Tax treatment consideration is also given for this activity on a case by case basis, but free money invites taxes, you can ask any lottery winner.

Gambling Income Loophole

In the new policy paper, HMRC closed the loophole where an individual would be allowed to classify their investment in the cryptocurrency as “gambling”, winnings from which are tax-free.


To wrap up, I hope that this article has proven useful for understanding the different ways you can account for your annual tax liability coming from crypto activities. Remember that it is crucially important to keep records of your transactions. You can download trading history from your exchanges, though it will be good to keep an excel sheet or a folder with all the different transactions and receipts. Record keeping has to include the type of crypto asset, date of the transaction if they were bought or sold and the number of units. The value in pounds sterling, cumulative totals as well as bank statements and wallet addresses are very important. Keeping it simple is crucial to getting everything right especially if you are dealing with massive amounts of transactions and capital. Great tool to help you with filing your crypto taxes is https://tokentax.co/ . I am not affiliated with them nor is this a sponsored post, but they offer a good tool. Keeping it simple is crucial to getting everything right especially if you are dealing with massive amounts of transactions and capital. Whether sold for fiat, sold for another cryptocurrency or even sold to pay for a good/service. It is this selling of your cryptocurrency that triggers a ‘taxable event‘. This leads to a common strategy of many crypto-players to JUST HODL.

 

References:

 

Disclaimer: The article above is the result of personal research and conclusions of the current tax treatments in the UK based on assumptions. This should be not taken as professional advice and no liability is taken on my behalf for individual applications of this research. 

Crypto Analysis: VeChain (VET)

 

Summary

  • Project name: VeChain
  • Token name: VET
  • Ticker symbol: VET
  • Token Type: ERC20
  • Consensus: Proof of Authority
  • Exchanges: 12+
  • Market Cap: $220,700,932 USD as of 10/02
  • Circulating Supply: 55,454,734,800 VET
  • Total Supply: 86,712,634,466 VET

vechain

Overview

VeChain is a B2B focused blockchain enterprise that seeks to improve and revolutionize supply chain management, comprehensive governance and IoT integrations. The project seeks to enable the identification, tracking and monitoring of different products manufactured across the globe. Assigning unique identifiers to products and putting them on their blockchain will allow for the identification of the participant in the supply chain of the product from manufacturing to the hands of the customer as well as the real provenance of where this product has come from. For example, VeChain is looking to help fashion and luxury consumer goods brands fight counterfeit which constitute almost 10% of annual sales in Europe. By tagging products and goods from their supply chains and tracking them on their blockchain platform, the real provenance of goods can be tracked in real time. The company’s original vision is to build a “trust-free and distributed business ecosystem platform that enables transparent information flow, efficient collaboration and high-speed value transfers.“* In the creation of the platform, the VeChain team seeks to deal with major enterprise adoption hurdles in the space. These include the governance & economic model as well as the use of different technologies and regulatory flexibility.

Product

The product the VeChain team is building is the VeChain Thor Blockchain platform which will serve to facilitate all interactions and transactions in the ecosystem of the supply-chain management ecosystem by massively reducing costs and bringing end-to-end transparency. The company is planning to revolutionize the industry and realise substantial social benefits from tracking products and services. Trust is the biggest cost of doing business and through the use of a blockchain platform that is cryptographically secured, businesses can focus on improving their products and services rather than their transaction. Systems integrations and business collaboration within the supply chain in its current state are inefficient, complex and error-prone. Issues associated with the current systems such as those pertaining to data security, business confidentiality, privacy and legal liability between the brands, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, consumers and service providers. The VeChain Foundation is a nonprofit entity that has a unique governance model in which the Board of Steering Committee that is selected by token holders decides on critical strategies and the different operational units. In terms of the economic model, VeChain has isolated the transaction fees from the volatility of the VET  tokens. This offers price stability and transaction predictability between the stakeholders. On the figure below, we can see the difference between the current centralised permission system of data sharing compared with a tamper-proof one that is easily accessible by all stakeholders and immutable on the blockchain.

platform

Key features:

  • VeChain Thor Platform stakeholders – business owners, application service providers, smart contract providers, infrastructure providers, VeChain foundation & the VeChain community
  • VeChain Token (VET) & VeChainThor Energy (VTHO) – tokens of the network carrying value and programmable in smart contracts
  • Consensus mechanism – Proof of Authority (PoA) that offers low computational power requirements, no requirement for communication between nodes to reach consensus, and is optimized for system continuity
  • State-of-the-art IoT Solutions
  • High Scalability & Sidechain Capability

Management

The team members of VeChain come from different industries and countries where solid educational background, expertise and decades of combined experience work on solving the businesses goals and mission statement. Jianliang Gu, CTO is an ex-Technical Director in TCL and graduate from Shanghai University. Sunny Lu is the CEO and co-founder also graduate from Shanghai University ex-CIO of LV China. Other senior management and c-suite executives coming from PwC, HP, Deloitte. Investors featured on the website include – Fenbushi Capital, Draper Dragon & Brever Capital. These are some very serious funds that have done extensive research and vetting on anything they put money in. Fenbushi Capital is one of the biggest blockchain focus VC funds with Vitalik Buterin on his advisory board. In addition, the project has secured many tier 1 partnerships that include PwC, DNV.GL, AWS, China Unicom, DB Shenker, BMW, Renault.

Development

The technical development of the blockchain project is led by Jianliang Gu and his team of in-house and remote developers. Bin Qian is the chief blockchain developer who works closely with Peter Zhou as a Chief Scientist. The main public Github repository for VeChain has 4 main developers working on with 26 different repos. The main VeChain Thor repo written in Go has more than 2500+ commits, 11 contributors and 300+ stars.

A Gitter channel is available with developers and enthusiast alike willing to offer a helping hand to open source contributors or curious enthusiasts.

Community

VeChain actively shares public announcements and project developments on a number of social channels including Facebook, Wechat and Weibo. Despite being headquartered in Asia. The community team maintains a strong relationship and project following in the West. VeChain releases regular blog posts communicating developments with its followers on Medium. The page has more than 9,000 followers and monthly posts with the latest covering new partnerships with AWS and expansion of the company into North America and Europe. (as of 18/02/19) Moreover, the foundation also communicates the yearly financial report with its community through medium giving a clear understanding of the financial position, tokenomics and expenditure of the group. There is also regular video correspondence on YouTube with 6.1k followers where the team presents tech deep dives and project updates. The twitter account has 104k followers with over 500 tweets while the reddit channel has more than 54k subscribers. Finally, Telegram – 26,073  & Discord – 5,516 prove to be another great way to connect with the project ask any questions or just monitor the interactions and developments of VeChain.

Strengths

  • Unique governance model with detailed explanation and description within the whitepaper.
  • The economic model that seeks to isolate the transaction fees from token price volatility.
  • Industry-wide use cases in logistics, automobile, transport and luxury goods industries

Weaknesses

  • Concerns that the Proof of Authority consensus mechanism lacks incentivisation

Opportunities

  • VeChain is connected to the largest infrastructure project in human history, China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
  • Special focus on IoT development within the Blockchain

Threats

  • Ambrosus & Waltonchain are proving to be a serious competition coming out with their own competitive product in the supply-chain industry.

Conclusion

VeChain proves to be a solid project, with a great management team and strong community relationships. The team consistently delivered through 2018 signing new partnerships and reaching key development milestones detailed in their roadmap. Clear detailed use cases in many different industries are being implemented and are backed by solid partners within the international business space. The motivation for building this platform is driven by social good and fixing many issues related to the human errors that exist within the supply-chain industry. The foundation serves as a non-profit seeking efficient and sustainable development that is open source. This puts a clear mark on its intentions as well as an example of a blockchain project for social good.

 

External Resources:

VeChain Website: https://www.vechain.org/

*VeChain Whitepaper: https://cdn.vechain.com/vechainthor_development_plan_and_whitepaper_en_v1.0.pdf

Github: https://github.com/vechain/thor

Blockchain Explorer: https://explore.veforge.com/

Coinmarketcap:  https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/vechain/

 

Disclaimer: This document is for information and illustrative purposes only. It is not, and should not be regarded as “investment advice” or as a “recommendation” regarding a course of action, including without limitation as those terms are used in any applicable law or regulation

5 Most Useful Blockchain Videos: A Beginner’s Guide

A new year and a new guest post in partnership with YouTube to MP3 Shark . The guest post below cater for the beginners in the blockchain space looking at the different angles to explain this technology, how it works and its implementation in real life. Please enjoy:

 

You might be somewhat familiar with the idea of blockchains, or you might have only heard of the phrase in passing (or you might not have any idea what a blockchain is but thought the article title sounded more interesting than the topic currently being discussed in the meeting your supervisor is making you sit through…). Either way, there are still a lot of questions that you probably have.

What is blockchain?

How does a blockchain actually work?

Are blockchains really as secure as they claim to be?

Can you invest in blockchain itself?

What is the advantage of blockchain?

Maybe you’re getting more involved and want to delve deeper into the exciting and fascinating world of blockchains. In that case, your questions might be more advanced like:

What programming language is used for blockchains?

Is blockchain open source?

Is blockchain hackable?

Are there other use cases for blockchain beyond bitcoin storage?

Will blockchain change the world?

No matter what your string of queries, the best place to find the answers is always the internet. There are thousands and thousands of videos out there explaining the definition, uses, and inner workings of the blockchain.

I know what you’re thinking. Great! Let’s sift through thousands of videos to find the ones that actually make sense, answer your questions, and give over the information you want in an appealing manner. If that doesn’t sound as much fun as a barrel of monkeys (why would a barrel of monkeys be fun anyway?!), then you’re in luck.

Since we know how interested our readers are on the topic, we’ve aggregated the best videos from across the web that talks about blockchains. From the straight-up definition to the more advanced jargon that most of us will never really understand, check out the 5 most useful blockchain videos out there to help you get started down the path of blockchain wisdom.

Great Blockchain Video #1: What is blockchain? CNBC Explains by Tom Chitty

And here’s why: It gives you all the important information you want to know, starts from the beginning, and explains the entire concept well

There is a lot of blockchain for beginners videos. You’ll recognize them by the names like, what is a blockchain, blockchain explained, or blockchain for beginners. The truth is, though, that most of these videos take a lot for granted, assume you know more than you actually do about the topic, or don’t really explain the concept in a practical way.

And that’s why this CNBC exclusive done by Tom Chitty is our first recommendation for anyone who is just starting out on the learning journey to blockchain technology. If you can understand the accent and overlook the poor wardrobe choices, then you can actually learn a ton from this explanation video. Chitty goes through the ABCs of blockchains, showing the negatives alongside the positive uses for blockchains. He also shows you exactly how it works, why it is so secure, and what future applications might be possible for this technology.

The CNBC video also takes you through the benefits and possible financial ramifications that are involved in embracing this technology. All in all, Chitty does a great job of explaining a complex topic and gives you a lot of food for thought.

Great Blockchain Video #2: New Kids on the Blockchain by Lorne Lantz

And here’s why: Practical ways people are currently putting blockchain to good use and how they will even more so in the future

Aside from the fact that this is a TED talk, which automatically makes it amazing, Lorne Lantz explains exactly how blockchain works quickly and eloquently. He then moves on to break down how blockchain works within the bitcoin universe, something that most people are curious about. Finally, Lantz illustrates how blockchain can be used in other instances. This is not only fascinating, but it is a great way to educate the public about how this brilliant technology can be utilized in the future and within our day-to-day interactions.

Great Blockchain Video #3: Understand the blockchain in two minutes by the Institute for the Future (IFTF)

And here’s why: It’s fast and easy to watch but surprisingly thorough for a two-minute video

We all want to know more about various topics like cybersecurity, the effect of drug and alcohol combinations, or depression and prevention. But let’s face it, we’re lazy! And what’s more, our attention spans are shorter than Michael Jordan’s laughable attempt at becoming a baseball star. For this reason, I am highlighting this video from IFTF.

The Institute for the Future does snapshots of interesting topics, trending concepts, and technological advancements that they deem worthy of a closer look. This video on blockchain is just two minutes long, but somehow it manages to explain everything you really need for a cursory understanding of the topic (and even a little more). So, if you’re already antsy just from reading this intro, check out the IFTF blockchain video (you can watch it double speed if you’re that strapped for time!).

Great Blockchain Video #4: How the blockchain will radically transform the economy by Bettina Warburg

And here’s why: Food for thought on a more advanced technology that is offering a safer and more reliable forum for value exchange

Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist, a budding financial mogul, or just someone who thinks it’s really cool to see entire empires brought to their knees by the unlikely underdog (think David and Goliath or Spartans against the Persians), this is a must watch video. Bettina Warburg explains briefly how throughout history we have used various methods to exchange values within our societies. From protection to fish and coins and now to the more advanced banks and digital currencies, the world has always had its way of trading valuables for desired goods.

In this video (yep, another TED talk), Warburg takes us through the process of how blockchain is the next chain in the evolution of value exchange. She expertly breaks it down, so you can see how this makes sense on a sociological, economic, and technological level. What’s more, she demonstrates how blockchain is the safest, easiest, and most reliable method we have come up with yet.

So basically, Warburg’s video shows viewers how blockchain is like a solid, unbreakable safe, which makes it more trustworthy and evergreen than any other transaction method that came before it. I don’t want to spoil the video for you, so just watch it for yourself.

Great Blockchain Video #5: Blockchain: Massively Simplified Richie Etwaru

And here’s why: A fabulous twist

This video starts off seemingly like all other beginner’s guides to blockchain. It talks about the early days of the internet (those dark times of dial-up modems and even earlier ARPAnet packet switching technologies) and quickly fast forwards to show you how kickass technology has become (as if we needed a video to tell us that).

All very interesting stuff, but nothing new. And then Etwaru does something that nobody else we’ve seen so far attempt. He takes blockchain and explains how it can bridge a gap that no other technology has been able to traverse, a gap that is so fundamental to human interactions and our society as a whole that it’s truly a marvel that we’ve gotten this far in history without having a more reliable failsafe for it.

In this video, Etwaru explains that inventions are all about bridging gaps in our society, world, and lives. He then continues on illustrating how blockchain bridges the gap of trust, one of the most core and necessary element of our society, one that holds trillions of dollars on its wobbly shoulders. With his mesmerizing voice, witty personality, and mind-blowing revelation, Etwaru really blows the top off of this simplified concept. And that’s what makes his video on blockchain really stand out.

Blockchain Explained, Expanded, and Explored

So, there you have it. Sure, you could sit there for hours and hours watching video after video, sifting through the crap and suffering through the clunky terminology, but why bother? We’ve rounded up the cream of the crop, the best videos out there, the ones that’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, if you just watch these five videos, you’ll:

• Know all the basic information about what blockchain is, how it works, and what it’s used for
• Be able to hold your own in a conversation that is arguing the different sides of blockchain
• Have some interesting ideas to help stir up controversy when everyone’s talking about this technology at the office water cooler, at your next family barbecue, or this Thursday night at the bar
• Just generally sound like a smartass because you know more about an interesting topic than almost anyone else in the room

Of course, if you are a real newbie to the blockchain concept, then here’s some quick information to warm you up to the subject and to ensure you don’t sound like a complete idiot the next time the subject comes up.

• The blockchain is an online database that can be accessed by anyone and from anywhere in the world (provided you have an internet connection)
• The blockchain is decentralized, which means its ledger is shared on every computer around the world, so it has no single central location
• Blockchain can be added to by anyone, but once a record (or block of information) is created, it cannot be tampered with, changed, or deleted
• Bitcoin is NOT the only use case for blockchain technology. In fact, it’s just the beginning baby! From banking to cybersecurity, crowdfunding, Internet of Things, and healthcare, blockchain has so many real-life applications.

Now that you’ve got all this information in your head, knowledge is power. So, get out there and do the best thing anyone can do with a boatload of interesting information; flaunt it in front of your friends.

 

*This article is a guest post and it was originally published on YouTube to MP3 Shark  and written by Sarah Pritzker.