The Disrupt Weekend

The Senate didn’t find the time yesterday to vote on two rival amendments that determine which crypto entities must provide customer information to help pay for Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

The Senate is considering dozens of amendments, and the unwillingness of some Senators to expedite a vote on final passage of the bill may push it “until Monday night into Tuesday morning.” But the crypto provision, and other amendments, are expected to be dealt with before the final passage.

One of the amendments, proposed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Pat Toomey (R-PA), and favored by the crypto industry, would exempt non-custodial entities, like Bitcoin miners and wallet operators, from handing over customer information to the tax authorities.

The other amendment, proposed by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), and favored by President Biden, has been significantly revised after the crypto industry threw cold water on it. Originally, it exempted proof-of-work entities, like Bitcoin miners, but didn’t remove tax reporting obligations for proof-of-stake entities like Ethereum 2.0 validators. The crypto industry said this was unworkable because non-custodial entities don’t collect information about the people that use them.

Senators Warner and Portman have since revised their amendment to exempt both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake entities, but not any other consensus mechanisms. The crypto industry doesn’t like the revision either, since it favors two consensus mechanisms for no clear reason.”

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“The metaverse that many futurists envision is similar to the ones portrayed in sci-fi stories like “Ready Player One.” While no one knows for sure what the metaverse will look like, its basic characteristics are established – it spans physical and virtual worlds, is centered around a fully functioning economy, and allows users to travel through its different “places” with relative ease, maintaining their purchased goods and avatars.

A collective virtual experience could bring new opportunities to creators, gamers and artists in the same way non-fungible tokens (NFT) have, not just reshaping the creator economy, but inventing it anew.

The virtual world of the metaverse could become its own trillion-dollar industry. A go-to for entertainment, commerce and, for some, even a place of work. The metaverse is not being described as an extension of the internet but a successor. And it’s being built using blockchains and decentralized applications.

Behind the scene of the metaverse will be a demand to deliver permissionless identity, financial services and high-speed exchange. Data will have to be stored and served to millions if not billions of people. Cryptocurrencies could become the sole legal tender used in the metaverse, with all virtual objects and intangible items being expressed as NFTs.

The metaverse will become the gateway to most digital experiences, a key component of all physical ones, and the next great labor platform.”

Highly Recommended Read from Futurist Daniel Jeffries.

When you embrace the future you can learn to work with it and you can make better decisions.

You can figure out where to invest and how to see your competition coming before they see you coming. You can look deeply at a technology you’re working on and understand where it has to go to really breakthrough to the next level of adoption. You learn to think better and more clearly and with greater insight.

And when you understand where everything is going, it makes it easier to understand what’s happening today.

It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. Get the future wrong and your empire crumbles in an instant before your very eyes.

Kodak shows the power of broken models of reality, aka broken or outmoded beliefs. They believed because their business worked for 100 years it was proof that it would last for a 100 more but new technology can smash an old business model like a lightning strike.

Too often people form a belief and then they actively look to destroy any information that challenges that belief or they twist and warp any incoming information to fit that belief. Don’t mistake your beliefs and opinions for reality.

Probability thinking is the first essential of future thinking. Never assign 0% or 100% because life is too uncertain to be 100% about almost anything. Absolutist thinking is for idiots, dictators and religious zealots. Always be willing to update your ideas. New information should take you in new directions. The mark of brilliant thinking is not rigidly clinging to what you already believe, but updating again and again.

The coronavirus is the single most society-warping event since World War II and if you want to see the future you simply can’t overlook it. It’s set in motion a number of powerful forces that will play out over the rest of our lives.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking that we’re at the tail end of the pandemic. Societies are opening back up and vaccines are rolling out across the world at record speed.

But I put it at a 65% probability that we’re really just at the beginning of something that will reshape our world for decades to come.

It’s also a catalyst to four titanic technological and societal changes:
-The genetics revolution
-A remaking of work
-The rapid ascent of AI
-The battle for privacy vs centralized control

The Evolution of Power and Money:

Over the last 200 years we’ve seen the inexorable rise of the nation state. Everyone today is used to living with a stable border, with a set flag and a patriotic song but that is an anomaly in history.

Now we’re seeing the centralized power of governments reach deeper and deeper into all our lives. During the pandemic, governments exercised tremendous control, shutting down entire economies and enforcing lock-downs and emergency border controls.

But a counterbalancing force is developing, a reaction to the rise of hard, central power.


The coming decades will be a near constant battle between the forces of control and openness, freedom and fear, centralization and decentralization. And no place is that war more prominently reflected than in the evolution of money.

A lot of crypto enthusiasts try to convince everyone that crypto isn’t a threat to the old way of life but that’s exactly what it is. It looks to replace centralization with decentralization, widespread surveillance with privacy, choke points with fluidity.

The power to print money is the power of the Gods. It’s the power of control and no government will let go of that control without a nasty fight. In the end though, they’re on the losing end of history.

Eventually, nothing will be able to stop the evolution of money from nation state money to global currencies and private currencies, but in the next twenty years it will be a war between central bank digital currencies that have surveillance baked into every step, and decentralized money bound to no nation state.

With those new CBDCs, countries will have full surveillance right in your pocket at all times at all times. Every transaction you ever make. Everywhere you ever go. All of it tied to your identity and history and geolocation data.
A decade after that you won’t file your taxes, they’ll get yanked out automatically every time you buy a second-hand toaster at a garage sale.

If Bitcoin was the cave man’s sling-shot of crypto, zero-knowledge proofs are the warp drive.

We’ll also see the rapid rise of zero knowledge architectures, where everything is peer-to-peer and everything is encrypted by design. We’ll have peer to peer encrypted, zero-knowledge forums, messaging and video that prove nearly unstoppable as they let people talk freely in even the most authoritarian regimes. That will spark new revolutions in thought and expose people to a richer diversity of information.

In the end, anyone who looks at crypto as nothing but a series of price swings on a little screen is missing forest for the trees. They’re fixated on the iteration and missing the category of massive disruption that decentralized trust will bring to the world and to the nature of power.

In the end, the power of the nation state has likely peaked and society will get more global, more distributed and more decentralized once more.”

“Some cryptocurrency traders are speculating on what might be the next hot market bet: digital assets associated with visions of a decentralized Internet, referred to colloquially as Web 3.0 tokens. While bitcoin remains the top cryptocurrency by market value, the recent underperformance relative to other coins suggests investors are diving deeper into digital-asset markets to find investments with faster growth potential.

There’s a clear shift away from bitcoin into other sub-sectors, Web 3.0 being one of them.

On a year-to-date basis, tokens associated with decentralized Internet applications have seen an average 244% rise, trailing the NFT sub-sector’s 2,726% gain but beating bitcoin’s 37% appreciation. Some of the most prominent Web 3.0 coins, such as livepeer (LPT), helium (HNT), and bittorrent (BTT), are up at least 800% this year, despite a slump in cryptocurrency markets since April.

Seeing the Web 3.0 ecosystem grow exponentially since the beginning of the year and keep the majority of their gains after the capitulation even in May is very positive for the crypto market. Higher prices are directly linked to increased demand and expansion of services in each layer, and because of this, the ecosystem is able to continue its growth.

Web 3 is not quite as easy as DeFi is to understand, and it’s probably 12 months behind DeFi in terms of mainstream awareness. We expect this to change as consumer-facing applications based on NFTs, social tokens and creator monetization grow over the next 12 months.”

“While software has been eating the world for the last several decades, it has done a relatively mediocre job disrupting financial services. This has given a nice UX facelift but the underlying value chain and cost structure are still largely based on systems developed in the 1970s.

Chime still relies on Visa (started in 1958), Robinhood still relies on the DTCC (started in 1973), and Transferwise has not displaced ACH (started in 1972) or SWIFT (started in 1973).

DeFi applications are rearchitecting financial services from the ground up by replacing humans with machines, paperwork with code, and legal enforcement with cryptographic enforcement. As a result, they can operate orders of magnitude cheaper than their analog counterparts.

Specifically, there are significant cost savings from siloed transaction processing and banking systems being replaced by a global blockchain and its associated smart contracts and node infrastructure. In addition, applications benefit from instant interoperability upon deployment and a single log-in (a user’s public/private key pair).

In 2020, Deutsche Bank had $8 billion worth of infrastructure, real estate, and operations related costs, which was 64% of its overall operating expenses. This cost structure is expected for such a large and structurally important organization with decades of technical debt. In 2020, likely over 50% of Lending Club’s operating expenses were due to headcount and hardware, software, and maintenance costs.

While most of MakerDAO’s operating expenses were due to headcount, it is a tiny portion of overall net income, resulting in a profit margin of 99% vs. -60% for Lending Club. The caveat is that these are not “fully-loaded” costs for MakerDAO and will increase as additional costs from the Foundation (e.g. oracle operations, token-based compensation) are transferred to the DAO.

Over the next decade, DeFi protocols will be used as “financial microservices” for both legacy financial institutions and traditional fintech companies. These organizations will use DeFi as their backend infrastructure and will effectively become distribution channels for various customer personas, demographics, and geographies.

While DeFi protocols will likely layer on additional costs to enable them to further integrate with the fiat economy, it will still be orders of magnitude more efficient than the current market structure and business models in place today.”

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