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Coinbase acquires Earn.com (earn.com)
319 points by ammaristotle 70 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 157 comments



21.co, now named Earn.com raised 100M dollars, but the rumor is A16Z used that money to directly buy BTC for their VC fund without making too much noise.

Coinbase didn't buy them for 100M, but the VC's at A16Z might be sitting on a billion dollars if they invested in BTC when 21.co was started.

Anyone else hear about this rumor?


So you're saying that 21.co/Earn.com bought BTC with some of the invested capital, held it as BTC rose, and then distributed it to its shareholders? One of which is A16Z.

This seems possible, because, as we know, the price of BTC has fallen recently from ~$16k to ~$7k. So the gains could be large if they did indeed buy BTC with some of the capital they raised, but probably not $1 billion, or at least I would guess against that. The timing and distributions would have to have been quite right.

But, I will say that at 11-50 employees[0] there should have been quite a bit of capital left over from the ~$150 million they raised, even after a few years of burn.

[0] https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/21e6


I mean we can run through the math. In March of 2015, 21.co/Earn.com raised $115m from a16z.

In June of 2015, the price of BTC was about $240 each.

If we assume half the investment went into bitcoin, it means they acquired $115m/2/($240/BTC) = ~240,000 BTC

At today's price of $8000/BTC, assuming they never sold, those coins would be worth $1.9B. So it is plausible they hold more than $1B in bitcoin.


It seems like this would have leaked if Earn.com had earned this much, or if A16Z had earned a large distribution in one year (like last), it would have had to have been reported to their LPs in the net asset value update.

And perhaps it did leak, because we're talking about it. But then I would still guess there would be more discussion about this if an LP leaked it. There would be ample documentation of this.


also, why would a company that holds a billion dollars in capital sell for 100 mln ?


21.co / earn.com is a serial flop, pivoting markets and functionality multiple times. I wouldn't be surprised if the funding was simply a way to secretly do something. Nefarious or not.


I admire them for pivoting.

I didn't like their $400 CPU Bitcoin miner though.


The story behind this theory (which is quite plausible imho) would be much more interesting than the public remarks from earn and coinbase. The actual products released by the company have always seemed pretty trifling considering the massive amount of funding. Things never really added up.


Originally 21 produced hardware, which I imagine is a much more expensive industry to be in. That may have something to do with it.


Their hardware device was stupid though. A headless linux server combined with some shitty bitcoin mining hardware and software. It served no purpose.

It was 100% obvious that it was DOA. I can't even believe that the people at the company thought it was a good idea.


Compared to Theranos that is stellar performance for a fraction of the investment.


Okay. Doesn't mean it wasn't expensive to try


I can believe it. I think A16Z is also an investor in Coinbase.

Definitely seems like some insider dealing. Especially considering Earn.com seems like a very immature (bordering on useless) product.

Also another example of a startup having more money then they know what to do with and not returning it to shareholders.


We don't know how much they're paying at all though. If they're paying $10 million is that too much?

The domain is worth a chunk itself.


That's a good point. I'm assuming it's "too much" since 21 raised 100M previously but they're likely having a "down round".


Insider trading only applies to publicly traded companies.


I said insider dealing. I just meant that it's an indication of sketchiness.

And I'm not actually sure that's true (though I did before googling it just now):

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=e24dc4ab-2a77...

https://www.sec.gov/fast-answers/answersinsiderhtm.html


It's not technically insider trading but the managers of the companies (by way of the Board of Directors) have a fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Undertaking a bad merger to bail out a different company from one of your investors could be construed as a breach of that duty. Of course, it would take a long court case to determine fault / damages, so it's unlikely to happen, but there are some safeguards to prevent stuff like this (if that is what happened.. which who knows... ).


It is called soft landing/ aqui-hire in the VC world... that’s why you need to be part of incubators, etc...


It sounds like they indirectly acquired BTC via mining:

> And to make matters worse, all the BTC returned to shareholders by the mining operation was in danger of being completely clawed back if the company entered a messy bankruptcy.

https://medium.com/@balajis/the-turnaround-2d145589d814


This explainantion doesn't make sense. You're alledging a16z funded 21.co with $100M, then took it all back to buy Bitcoin?

If that's the case earn.com would own the BTC, which would mean Coinbase acquired all the BTC held by earn.com

Unless there is something I'm missing, this almost certainly did NOT happen


"21.co had been started as 21E6, a bitcoin mining company with a sizable data center footprint and a monthly bill to match. The company was set up to return mined bitcoin to its shareholders"

https://medium.com/@balajis/the-turnaround-2d145589d814


Uhh... wow. He's former A16Z so he would likely have devised 21 while he was working there. Seems totally plausible to put the invested cash into BTC.


Mind you the founder of 21.co was/is a partner at a16z.

Remember these people don't play by the normal rules as everyone else - so while there may not hard evidence, it is entirely plausible.


right, and if earn.com is sitting on a billion worth of bitcoin, why would they sell for 100mln and why would the founder take a CTO job? Doesn't sound plausible


Even if this was true, if there enough liquidity in the market to sell 100 million dollars worth of bitcoin without tanking the price?

According to blockchain.info the current daily transaction volume is around 870 million dollars.


I guess as a private fund, that’s between them and their LPs...


Unrelated to this - I've heard that many VC funds were going through their legal paperwork with a fine-tooth comb to see if they were allowed to invest LP money directly into crypto or ICOs. Some were not permitted, and it definitely demonstrated how some of these funds lack the flexibility to pursue opportunities that do not pattern-match classic VC investments of the last few decades.


As per their LP agreement, the fund itself might only have been allowed to invest in equities / companies, such as this one. The company itself could then perhaps invest directly into cryptocurrencies without restrictions.


While that may or may not be lucrative, it wouldnt help them in future rounds when they are showing their track record bc the track record cant include non-fee paying accounts.


What do you think - how much of these 100M did they invest into BTC?


No. 21.co was a company that built custom chips for bitcoin mining. The founders and A16Z have been pretty transparent about that throughout, as well as in the blog post.


Well, Balaji Srinivasan who just became the Coinbase CTO, was previously a candidate to run the FDA for Trump: https://www.recode.net/2017/1/14/14276530/balaji-srinivasan-...

Isn't it amazing how one day you're an expert in Drug and Med Device manufacturing and approvals, the next day you're building cryptocurrency miners?

Only in SV, what a town.


Balaji is a true renaissance man


I signed up for earn.com with the expectation that anyone wanting to message me would have to pay first. Then they sent me spam from ICOs without paying me. Worse than useless. Their previous hardware mining ASIC product was also poorly thought out and ultimately a colossal waste of money.

I'm thinking the people claiming that there are other motives behind this deal are probably right.


Looking at their home page, they say, "Paid email is already one of the first truly useful applications of the blockchain."

Does that make any sense? If I wanted to set up paid email, how does a blockchain help? It seems technically unnecessary.

And if I really wanted user adoption, why woulnd't I just pay people in their local currency instead of trying to get them to take part in something much less directly useful to them?


>>Does that make any sense? If I wanted to set up paid email, how does a blockchain help? It seems technically unnecessary.

By accepting cryptocurrency payments, you can accept email from anyone in the world. With the traditional finance system, there are legal obstacles to where a payment system can operate.

Also, using a traditional financial intermediary would mean that all the users of the winning paid-email service would be locked into using the same financial intermediary, which would then have significant power over its users owing to its network effect.


This is a solution in search of a problem. Most people barely want to accept email from people they are likely to do business with. What American is excited to get email from some stranger who literally doesn't have two nickels to rub together?

Also, you're just wrong about traditional financial intermediaries. It's easy enough to provide a few different ways to transfer funds. Or to do it over a relatively open network like e-check or wire transfer, where there's no lock-in possible.


>>What American is excited to get email from some stranger who literally doesn't have two nickels to rub together?

I don't know, but tying the expansion of the email system to the reach of the US financial system seems quite limiting and archaic, and totally contrary to the international and open nature of the internet.

>>Or to do it over a relatively open network like e-check or wire transfer, where there's no lock-in possible.

Making a wire transfer to use email? That'd be ridiculously expensive. You'd need a payment system built on top of the bank wire system, and it would need to be truly international in scope, and open, which no trusted third party based financial system is.


> tying the expansion of the email system to the reach of the US financial system seems quite limiting and archaic

The important word here being "seems". Seeming is a thing that happens in someone's head. So the fuller version is "seems to an anonymous person who has tied their identity to a particular technology and a specific political vision".

It does not seem like that to me. Or to 99.9% of companies, who start out tying their companies to the reach of a specific national or regional financial system and then move happily beyond it.

In practice, starting with the use of the US financial system provides much more reach than Bitcoin, which has a much smaller user-base, something more like Bolivia or Switzerland, and whose "residents" do much less of their economic activity through that financial system than those in developed nations do.


>>In practice, starting with the use of the US financial system provides much more reach than Bitcoin, which has a much smaller user-base, something more like Bolivia or Switzerland, and whose "residents" do much less of their economic activity through that financial system than those in developed nations do.

Of course but that's pretty disingenuous, because it ignores the obvious: that those pushing this track see cryptocurrency becoming mass adopted over the coming years.

Their point is that cryptocurrency's potential reach is far greater than any centralized legacy financial system's.

Their other point is that it's more consistent with the open and decentralized nature of the internet.

>>So the fuller version is "seems to an anonymous person who has tied their identity to a particular technology and a specific political vision".

Are you sure that's not you?


> I don't know, but tying the expansion of the email system to the reach of the US financial system seems quite limiting and archaic, and totally contrary to the international and open nature of the internet.

Email is already open and international and doesn't need bank accounts. This is paid for email solicitation, and nobody needs to do that without access to payment networks, unless perhaps they wish to conceal their true identity because they're spear-phishing.


But email solicitation is a major usage of email, and therefore any widely used protocol for managing solicitation needs to use wholly open and decentralized components to maintain email's qualities.

>>and nobody needs to do that without access to payment networks

Some people can't access a particular financial system, due to political reasons. The global financial system is not borderless.


I guess calling it "email" instead of a task makes it sound new, but they do have competitors, Mechanical Turk probably being the most prominent.

Mechanical Turk pays out using Amazon payments or Amazon gift cards.

Google Opinion Awards pays out as either Google Play credit on Android. It looks like you can convert this to a gift card, at least in the U.S. They use Paypal on iOS.


ahh, thats the trick isnt it -- blockchain provides universal currency. No need for local currency handing, banks, cc processors, forex transfer providers, and all the things associated with local payment processors. While i dont think this is the first or is it truely useful, but yes, blockchain (specifically bitcoin) is providing a decentralized universal currency for use in decentralized systems like email. Its a valid point.


In theory, perhaps. In practice, it provides a universally inconvenient currency. If somebody wants to send me money to read an email, then I want to be able to spend that money. If they send me bitcoin, I can't spend it directly: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/nyregion/new-york-today-l...

Ergo, I am right back in need some way to convert it into my local currency. Except far less conveniently than just letting my bank take care of the exchange, as they would with an international wire transfer.

Also, as I explain elsewhere, the forex thing is a solution looking for a problem: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16854526

The reason I'd pay somebody to read an email is so that I can do business with them, and for a fair bit more money than I pay for the email. That involves one of us paying the other. Which in practice will mean a real currency, not cryptotulips.


I might add, that exchanging these BTC into fiat is a taxable event.


> I signed up for earn.com with the expectation that anyone wanting to message me would have to pay first. Then they sent me spam from ICOs without paying me. Worse than useless.

What lead you to expect that people would want to pay to email you? The business model makes no sense; it's obvious that that wasn't going to happen.


I didn't really expect it, though I thought there was a chance that some ICOs with more money than sense might try it once or twice. I did expect, however, that they wouldn't spam me with non-paid messages. Obviously that was foolish.


Is it possible that spammers could spam their registration servers checking which emails had been already used? E.g. get a list of all the public emails off of github commits, then cross reference them with Earn.com registrations.


I been following 21.co since the early days, when they pivoted into Earn.com I lost trust in the whole company. Then they started spamming me about someone trying to pay me to read some message, which I never did lol. Honestly this has been one of the shadiest investment of the a16z group, to my knowledge, as a "spectator". Not sure exactly how they went from 21.co's mission to Coinbase, I must be living in a dream-world.


This is too bad. I remember learning about 21.co (later earn.com) and being excited about the idea of using a pricing mechanism to eliminate spam and increase the quality of my inbox. This core idea is a big part of what I'm working on right now [1].

One thing that 21.co never really figured out was a killer use case, or how to best connect buyers with highly-targeted sellers in this "attention" marketplace. It just seemed like a cool way for startup CEOs to get better quality emails and direct the money to the charity of their choice.

[1] https://www.fizbuz.com


Actually, the one-to-one emails were only a small part of their business model. Earn has become popular among crypto companies for doing paid mass email campaigns.

If you are on the site as a user it's obvious. You get a lot of paid messages if you sign up for the right lists. Not sure if it will scale, but interesting use of crypto.

This is kind of a silly site, but it's one of the few articles I can find on the topic. https://sludgefeed.com/earn-com-becoming-go-to-crypto-advert...


You're completely right, but what a waste.

Instead of solving the spam problem and giving marketing/sales/recruiting people better tools, they just incentivized people to sign-up for mailing lists that they probably didn't care about.


By coinbase now owning these lists, there have got to be some privacy concerns...


I don't know why they just didn't go into email-based cryptocurrency payments. If they can really change currencies easily using it, it seems the simplest and highest-impact business they can do.


Yeah disappointing but not the attempt at using tokens / blockchain to eliminate spam. We're going to be experimenting with a few spam elimination models at Sendy: https://www.sendy.network/


Check out veropost.com too :)


the email confirmation for signup is broken on that website


oh thanks I will fix it asap


I thought earn.com (formerly 21.co) was a clever idea and I signed up. Once or twice a quarter I would get an item incoming and I'd usually read and/or fill out a survey.

Lately it's frequent noise from ICOs (though perhaps I deserve it because I recall opting in to a cryptocoin interest group on earn.com).


There is nothing interesting coming out of cryptocurrency space other than ICO spam


How did this become religion on HN?

Interesting things in crypto-blockchain tech, today:

* Origin

* NuCypher (disclaimer: I'm on this team)

* Loki

* New version of web3.py / other python tooling becoming mature

* Trustless Quorums

* Distributed validation

I can go on and on. But I just don't see how anybody can think that these are uninteresting times for this tech.


Would you be so kind as to show a few of those technologies in some practical use where they're sufficiently better than existing technologies that they are displacing existing businesses?

> But I just don't see how anybody can think that these are uninteresting times for this tech.

Really? For me it's the almost-a-decade of hype but seeing very little in practical utility beyond speculation, ransomware, and some light crime. As an example a New York Times writer just tried to spend the weekend living on Bitcoin and failed egregiously: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/nyregion/new-york-today-l...

I'm happy to admit that there's more activity in the space than I could possibly keep track of, so there could definitely be a pony in there somewhere. [1] But it shouldn't be any surprise that after so much hype resulting in no apparent useful effect on the rest of the world many people are skeptical that the cryptocurrency world will ever produce anything more than dubious claims, Ponzi schemes, and million-dollar thefts.

[1] https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/12/13/pony-somewhere/


I'm head-down in writing NuCypher as we speak, but it's obvious to me how to do what we're doing without a distributed consensus mechanism, and I do think that the real world use cases will be pretty rad.

Our system allows an actor (Alice) to select any number of recipients (Bob) in a Policy. Alice can disappear from the network forever, and subsequently, any DataSource can encrypt data, using Alice's public key, which can then be decrypted by all of the Bobs.

That's pretty cool to me. I do think that medical devices / IoT are an obvious use case. I also hope that our tech is used to build selected consortiums of journalists, whom whistle-blowers can then encrypt for only by knowing the policy key.

Another interesting use case is for distributed ops: if you have a number of streams of operational data that you want to share only with a certain number of watchers, presently you need to trust a centralized service to do that.

I'll admit: I'm not really the use case guy. But I am waist-deep in the python over here, and I can tell you we have a good thing going.


So I'm sure you mean well this is an exact example of my problem with the cryptocurrency/blockchain space.

For years and years I've said, "Yes, that is a pretty cool technology, but what real-world value is it currently providing?" One common answer is, "But it's a really cool technology!" No argument, but that seems to miss the point. Another is, "I'm sure it will be amazing!" Which again, misses the point. A third is, "It might be great for X," but without any real proof that people doing X want the technology, without demonstration that the current alternatives are inadequate, and without apparent recognition that a future hypothetical does not in any way satisfy somebody looking for traction.

Plenty of technologists think they have a good thing going. Right up until the investor money runs out and customers have failed to show up.

As an example, look at 3D movies and TV. 3D has been about to change the way we see things since the 1950s. There is no denying the technology is very neat to technologists. Early adopters even get excited! And then it turns out once again that customers don't really care. This pattern goes at least as far back as the Brewster stereoscope in the 1850s.

So please, don't be shocked that people are tired of blockchain/cryptocurrency hype. That you find the technology interesting does not mean that anybody else will find the (lack of) actual deployed use interesting.


> A third is, "It might be great for X," but without any real proof that people doing X want the technology, [...]

It often seems to me that the mathematical purity of many crypto techs are a poor match for the fuzzy real world requirements. The result ends up being a big pile of abstractions with poor usability and major holes. After all this time, this still applies to basic payments for tangible goods.


100% agreed. Somebody elsewhere in this thread just did the "blame the user" thing again just now:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16854568

Blaming the user only works (for some value of "works") in a situation where a power relationship constrains the user. E.g., we've all seen customer service agents dealing with shitty in-house software. They can't easily quit, so they will just accept being told they're "doing it wrong".

But that doesn't fly when the user can easily make other choices. People who get blamed for "not doing enough research" when they have trouble using Bitcoin will probably not work harder. They'll just go back to using credit cards and Paypal and Venmo, which a) work much better, and b) have people who are trying hard to make that work well for them. People whose Bitcoins get stolen mostly aren't going to go and become security experts. They're going to use existing methods, which they generally understand how to secure, and which often have security and anti-theft measures built in.

Sure, they may pay a little more in transaction fees. (Although those fees are often hidden, so they may not notice.) But in effect, those fees are buying insurance. They're buying security teams. They're buying user interface designers who work hard to make things easy. For many people, that's worth it.


Hmm - it seems, though, that you haven't responded to the use cases I've outlined above. What say you?


They are hypothetical. I asked for "some practical use where they're sufficiently better than existing technologies that they are displacing existing businesses," which is pretty clearly not hypothetical.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain proponents always have hypothetical use cases. The original Bitcoin paper [1] gives a hypothetical use case, a "purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution." This still remains basically hypothetical; even prominent Bitcoin boosters have given up on that vision. [2]

I'm done taking hypotheticals seriously in this space; I've seen too much hype and approximately nothing in the way of results. Maybe someday you'll be proved right about your use case. Maybe you'll have customers who not only buy it but keep using it and come back to buy more. But until then, you should expect people to be skeptical. Previous blockchain/cryptocurrency promoters have, for me and many others, used up all the reasonable benefit of the doubt and more.

[1] https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

[2] https://avc.com/2017/08/store-of-value-vs-payment-system/


how is this better than pgp? what does it do that keybase can't already do?


With PGP (for that matter, PKE generally), you always need the original recipient to stay alive and use her private key to decrypt.

With proxy re-encryption, you don't. So any use cases that involve Alice disappearing while others continue to be able to encrypt for Bob (even without knowing who Bob is or what his public key is) are good ones for NuCypher.


I've been using my bitpay card for over a year to handle every type of payment that you would want to make using fiat money. I know this isn't viable as a total replacement for dollars yet, due to the sometimes wild fluctuations in the price, but that is stabilizing over time. It is reasonable to think that the price of btc will eventually reach a more stable base, as more money (including institutional money) enters the space and options for shorting become more accessible. The NY times writer just didn't do enough research to figure out how to spend bitcoin. It's not that hard. These are early days, and this is still experimental technology, but is becoming more practical by the minute.


The NYT writer did more research than most people would. If you're blaming the user for not teching correctly, you've already lost.

If the review I read is correct, that's an ordinary debit card that one refills by selling bitcoin. Which has approximately no value to most people, because they already have debit cards that work just fine.

It could be that bitcoin will eventually end up being useful as a currency, but its high volatility means that day hasn't come yet, and won't come soon. Prominent bitcoin advocates are happy to give up on it as a currency altogether. E.g.: http://avc.com/2017/08/store-of-value-vs-payment-system/


Claims that a previously-hyped technology is now uninteresting are pretty standard for this phase of the hype cycle.[1]

Of course, the fact that other technologies have gone through both a peak and trough before settling between them isn't confirmation that any particular technology will. (I bet Theranos won't rebound.) It should cause one to discount the sheer volume of disillusionment, where not accompanied by evidence, just as one should previously have discounted the volume of hype.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle


Cryptocurrencies right now are at the point where there has been lots of hype for years now but very little actual use (it's mostly just for speculation right now). I'm just burned out of the hype around it without it really delivering on a large scale.


Especially when you have things like this https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/

Buzz buzz.


The video on the IBM blockchain site is one of the most generic, non-descriptive product videos I think I ever saw! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRgWvJ6eTiY



I would frame it as lots of interesting theoritcal and PoC things but very little applications that provides value for end-users.


It's what's known as a mid-brow dismissal. The average HN commenter feels a gratifying sensation of intelligence when they point out that "a blockchain is just a database". They can feel that they are debunking a con with their razor-like intelligence, like Neo, escaping from the matrix.


The "blockchain is just a database" critique is an application of Conway's Law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_law). The basic critique is: the problem being solved with the overwhelming majority of blockchain tech seems to be a political, not a technical problem. It's a critique that says the issue with this thing you are fixing isn't actually that the data layer doesn't match the existing political structure, it's that the political structure doesn't actually seem to support a demand for this kind of data layer.

The reason this critique is so prevalent on HN is because a lot of us just watched the last 10 years of the internet go from "that thing that is going to democratize technology and knowledge" to "a centralized management system for privacy invasion." The reason for this seems to be, loosely stated: "no one wants to run their own mail server." Because no one wants to put the effort in to dealing with running an email service, we allow Google, Facebook etc. to run them for us. The reason for this is because our economy is based on specialization of labor: it's by design. I can choose to spend my time running a server, but allowing someone to do it for me is orders of magnitude cheaper due to economies of scale, so unless I have a really strong demand it's probably not going to happen.

The blockchain allows for us the same effect as "running our own email servers," and most of us really don't think it's likely that people are going to want to host their own nodes in the blockchain, because, referring back to Conway's law, there are fundamental political aspects to our culture that do not support this architecture.


> The blockchain allows for us the same effect as "running our own email servers," and most of us really don't think it's likely that people are going to want to host their own nodes in the blockchain

The way I see it, one of the big assumptions of the technologies in this space is that participants are only acting out of self-interest. Meaning, that there's a strong push towards designing systems where behaviours that are beneficial to the network are also economically rewarding.

Meaning that in theory, cryptoeconomics could be seen as an attempt at finding a solution to the problem you mention.


I'm saying the technology is derivative of the economics and politics of our culture, and it is unlikely that this relationship will invert itself. Tons of political science and economic thought has gone into designing systems where behaviors that are beneficial to the network are also economically rewarding, you're basically describing market economics. Nothing about cryptocurrency is novel from a political or economic theory standpoint.


It's precisely the application of market economics to fields of technology, communication and society that previously were mostly voluntaristic that is one of the main opportunities for blockchains (whether that's a good thing or not is an interesting discussion that I wish were had more often).

Think of the incentivization layer built into something like Filecoin vs the voluntaristic approach of Freenet.

Which leads us back to your point:

> Because no one wants to put the effort in to dealing with running an email service, we allow Google, Facebook etc. to run them for us.

Because until now, you'd have to do it for free.


> It's precisely the application of market economics to fields of technology, communication and society that previously were mostly voluntaristic that is one of the main opportunities for blockchains

We don't actually let markets make decisions for the big stuff. Take banking: in fact by a lot of measures it's the most highly regulated industry, and most of the fundamentals (like the interest rates) are not set via markets, but via elected (or sometimes not) officials. We don't actually want market economics to run the vast majority of our systems, which is why we've never built frameworks for it before, not because it's particularly complicated.

> Because until now, you'd have to do it for free.

Why wont specialization of labor take over again, and make it so crypto just turns into a different set of centralized players running the infrastructure with a ton of consumers? What happens when it turns out the vast majority of people don't actually want to be involved in running their own banking infrastructure?

> (whether that's a good thing or not is an interesting discussion that I wish were had more often).

Totally agree, upvoted :)


> We don't actually let markets make decisions for the big stuff

I agree with you on this point and it's what scares me the most about the whole blockchain "revolution".

If you look at the people who actually started it though, it was mostly anarcho-capitalists/rightwing libertarians, so that isn't surprising.

> Why wont specialization of labor take over again

That could happen. But what could also happen is that people start relying less exclusively on one relatively massive source of income, and instead start relying on several, parallel smaller ones.

I think that's already the case in non-Western parts of the world, and one of the reasons why it hasn't taken place (at least in Europe) is regulation - think of how you can't just sell food on the side of the road in Paris, which you can do in, e.g. Bangkok.


How is your comment not a mid-brow dismissal?

There are so many projects that promised the world and did not deliver, as well as so many projects that ended up being outright scams, that it's not surprising that when someone says "but what about Blockchain X, Blockchain Y and Blockchain Z projects?", we all roll our eyes and think "I'll believe it when I see it."

It's not as if any blockchain project has provided a long lasting use case beyond speculation, in which case you calling us all idiots would be warranted. After 10 years of flops, the burden to show how interesting these technologies are is on you now.


> It's not as if any blockchain project has provided a long lasting use case beyond speculation

I don't understand this assessment either. How do you square this with, for example, people who have been able to obtain psychoactive compounds and other medicines that were previously unavailable to them?


Once we all agree that you can't do anything useful with the blockchain except buy drugs, there will be little resistance when a bill gets proposed that bans the purchase and/or mining of bitcoin, "the payment currency for illegal drugs that uses more electricity than Ireland". And then that final use case is also gone, hence why I said "no long lasting use case".

And nice try with calling this contraband "medicines". The way to get legitimate medicinal drugs legalized is through careful analysis and discussions, and then you use democracy to make it happen. See California. What you DON'T do is invent some tech that wastes our planet's resources and invent some story about a decentralized future to fool regulators and then enable all kinds of illegal transactions, from human trafficking to terrorism, just so you can smoke a joint effortlessly.


> Once we all agree that you can't do anything useful with the blockchain except buy drugs

There are plenty of legal things that are difficult to purchase with conventional reversible electronic payments. Off the top of my head:

Gambling deposits (yes, these are legal in most of the world but plagued by chargebacks from losing punters)

porn/sex toys (legal, but people don't want it showing up on their CC statements and don't trust these sites with their CC number)

"Suspicious" purchases with too much chargeback risk (eg. someone wants to buy a Macbook online with a US credit card and a Nigerian shipping address)

"Cash-like purchases" like buying a gold bar or some foreign cash online and having it shipped to your house. The margins on these types of purchases are too small to cover the credit card fees and the chargeback risk is too high because it attracts carders.

I could probably go on, but if you don't think irreversible electronic cash has any legitimate applications, you're not thinking hard enough.


> if you don't think irreversible electronic cash has any legitimate applications, you're not thinking hard enough

I actually don't think blockchain-based ledgers are irreversible. The most exhaustive account for how these ledgers are reversible is captured in the Blockchain Folk Theorem paper [0]. We can brainstorm all kinds of fun use cases for irreversible digital cash, but given the growing evidence, I don't believe such digital cash exists.

[0] https://www.tse-fr.eu/sites/default/files/TSE/documents/doc/...


Well, needless to say, I see it a bit differently.

Drug prohibition is not the future of humankind.

If blockchain tech can more quickly undermine it, then I don't think it's reasonable to say that it has no role in making the world a better place.

Additionally, if blockchain tech can substantially undermine a policy entrenched with corruption and enforced by violence, I think it's reasonable to surmise that it has other, less controversial use-cases as well.

The current state of development in this field suggests that I'm right - again, see the technologies above; it's not obvious how they're possible without a distributed consensus mechanism.

I also think that the remark "smoke a joint effortlessly" is both a silly ad-hominen and a red herring. I have been effortlessly smoking joints in all sorts of jurisdictions for the past decade; the change in law really didn't do much to enable that any more than it was already trivial.

However, if I were a member of a less privileged class and wanted to retain some anonymity, or if I wanted access to a more esoteric plant or compound and didn't have the social connectivity to obtain it, then I think that I'd find a mechanism to subvert these prohibitions very helpful.

Not everyone has the same opportunities and protections as you. Your implicit suggestion that everyone simply live in California is very insensitive. Technologies that tend to smooth this disparity are reasonable to celebrate.


Jmyles, your reasoned and compassionate tone and plea to consider the benefits of blockchain which might effect those less fortunate is right on. How about the thousands of people who have already sent millions of dollars back home to developing nations where they previously had to rely on western union and their exorbitant commission fees. For the unbanked, blockchain provides significant savings in remittance costs. Even with the higher costs of sending bitcoin and ETH, with a little ingenuity, use of lightning, and buying into the book on GDAX, these fees can be significantly reduced to a point much lower then western union. On the opposite side of the spectrum, for the ultra-wealthy, cryptocurrencies offer the ability to place a portion of one's capital in accounts which are not seizable by any means. This is a significant feature of the technology, and coupled with the level of encryption, already represents a small, yet sizable place in the world banking system. It is expected that the many offshore banking havens like Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Mann, will continue to expand this feature in providing protection for people's assets.


> How about the thousands of people who have already sent millions of dollars back home to developing nations where they previously had to rely on western union and their exorbitant commission fees.

Sorry to be that guy but do you have a citation for this? I hear it all the time but it makes no sense to me. Can you explain what happens when people receive the bitcoin? For one thing there are frequently 20% spreads in countries that do not have good ways to export their fiat currency, like India, so bitcoin actually doesn't usually end up being cheaper when you consider conversion costs.

> On the opposite side of the spectrum, for the ultra-wealthy, cryptocurrencies offer the ability to place a portion of one's capital in accounts which are not seizable by any means. This is a significant feature of the technology, and coupled with the level of encryption, already represents a small, yet sizable place in the world banking system.

I don't have a dog in the fight of whether or not this is a Good ThingTM, but a lot of people would call this a bug not a feature.


I did not argue that everyone should live in California, I argued that to declare that we need the blockchain, as if free speech and democracy were foregone conclusions, is anti-social and destructive. And I used California as an example of how legalization can happen.

You're right that some nations will be more oppressive than others, but you're forgetting that those places will more easily ban public blockchains than in places you've hinted don't need it. See Pakistan, Bangladesh, or China as examples.

So you either live in a place where you can fight for your right at a political and social level, and don't need the blockchain (eg. USA), or you live in a place where you cannot easily affect policy, in which case your government has probably also decided you cannot use tools that would circumvent their enforcement... such as the blockchain.


> I did not argue that everyone should live in California

Fair enough. I still don't think that "see California" is a great argument to make to people who are suffering at the hands of the state throughout, for example, the rest of the USA. We have 2 million people in prison; nobody thinks that's OK.

> we need the blockchain, as if free speech and democracy were foregone conclusions

If you are sitting in a prison cell because you had a skin color which the state regards as the wrong one to use a particular plant or compound, then you might indeed feel forsaken by democracy.

> So you either live in a place where you can fight for your right at a political and social level, and don't need the blockchain (eg. USA), or you live in a place where you cannot easily affect policy

Do you think it's literally only those two possibilities? If that's true, then I understand and agree with your argument.

If instead, however, much of the world is in some gray area in the middle, then technologies which tend toward subversion of illegitimate state activity seem to me to be a welcome evolution for those who wish to help the political configuration in which they find themselves toward the former and away from the latter.


You've presented a binary choice, but the reality is actually much more nuanced and complex then this. It is not a zero sum game, we can have blockchain solutions that are part of a wider push toward Web3 technologies where data is decoupled from the application layer, and this delivers more control at the user level over their identity and the use of their data. Most people don't/won't care to manage their data permissions and will opt into 3rd party centralized schemes where someone or business does this for them. Blockchain technology is part of a larger shift toward building agency for us as humans within our cyberphysical systems. In order for AI to truly benefit humanity, we have to include all of humanity in the process of training models, and deciding what algorithms we wish to manage various decisions for us on a daily basis. This has been happening for a while (algorithms managing decisions that effect us) but without any meaningful transparency. Most people will only care about the outcome, a la Cambridge Analytica, but in order to solve these problems we need some type of framework to manage our identity and connect that identity to our apps, through a portal that isn't owned by a company. Open source software gives us a lot of the tools and protocols to make this happen, and Blockchain technology, specifically self-sovereign identity, and the ability to link our identity to data and smart contracts, these are essential pieces to building out the web for the next generation. Blockchain tech was overhyped beyond measure, most ICOs were scams or will fail anyway, but the dust is now settling, as regulation reigns in the bad actors. The end result will unfold not in a huge explosion of the one killer blockchain app, but rather slowly, over the next 5 years, as part of a larger shift toward Web3 decentralized architecture, in combination with the existing cloud services that don't need to sell user data to deliver their value.


Ethereum is still essentially in its "live demo" phase. The release of dApps and user-friendly-ish products in the blockchain space has had about 2 years of traction. Your application of skepticism is appropriate, the burden of proof is on the developers to show the value of these projects, but it typically takes a decade or so for disintermediating technology to reach the point of ready adoption. We are in the single prop plane phase not too far from kitty hawk.


What's the dApp equivalent of the space shuttle?


I’ve checked NuCypher’s homepage and I find a bit strange to have that much emphasis on the blockchain on your homepage and at the same time only 5 occurrences of the word "blockchain" in your 21-pages whitepaper. Am I missing something?


Two things:

1) The whitepaper describes the nature of our network and how Alice and Bob use it. It does not describe (and isn't meant to describe) node operation except as Alice and Bob need to understand it. We'll have an additional node operation whitepaper that describes the smart contracts in more detail. We - and I know this may sound strange - decided to build our cryptography and network first and foremost rather than race to build "something, anything, as long as it's blockchain."

2) Do you think that the whitepaper insufficiently describes how Alice and Bob use the blockchain? If so, do you have suggestions for how we can do this better? I think our whitepaper is pretty solid, FWIW. If you are Alice or Bob, I think this gives you exactly the understanding of the blockchain application that you need.


Thank you for the clarification. Re 2), I didn’t read the whitepaper in full but rather grep’d "blockchain" to understand how you used it.


VCs read pitch decks, not whitepapers


This strikes me as needlessly mean.

Our website is not designed to appeal to VCs per se; we are not raising money right now and, frankly, if we were, we don't need a website to do it. Our team and our repos speak for themselves, IMO.

As I explained in our other comment, our whitepaper mentions the blockchain integration in all the places that matter. I'm surprised to hear that 5 is not enough.


You're right, I was more curt and that came across pretty asshol-ish.

In general, whitepapers mention the blockchain in all the places that matter. Contrast websites and pitch decks mentioning it in all the places it can possibly be mentioned - as it's perceived to increase the odds of getting attention.


It basically looks like a smart contract-powered decentralized escrow service, but the impression I got from their main page is that there isn't a specific end user or market for this yet, although that didn't stop the VCs from funding it.


> smart contract-powered decentralized escrow service

That's actually not quite right. I'm one of the engineers here, but allow me to put my evangelism hat on a bit here. We're building a decentralized key management system similar to AWS KMS or Google Cloud KMS -- except decentralized.

We use proxy re-encryption to do this. You can read about how it works in our Umbral blog post[0].

Several large applications are within the healthcare world. This allows patients to be in control of their own medical data and to share/revoke their data at will with other doctors, hospitals, etc. This lets them retain their own encryption keys without trusting another party.

Its market/end user is specifically anyone who has a need for a KMS. I Would also like to point out that NuCypher can be used as a consumer grade KMS -- something that I am exceptionally excited about.

[0] - https://blog.nucypher.com/unveiling-umbral-3d9d4423cd71


I honestly think those are the two worst possible examples.

I would never trust my secret management to some random block chain. And for medical records? That is laughable at best with severe HIPPA compliance issues.


> I would never trust my secret management to some random block chain.

Me neither. ;)


You would not trust a cryptographic system to manage your cryptographic keys?

And you think regulations are set in stone with no room for innovation?

Empty, politically motivated arguments.


No I am simply pragmatic. Blockchain is an empty promise


No, there is a lot of original research on decentralized systems and consensus happening thanks to cryptocurrencies. It's just surprisingly hidden compared to ML research and other popular buzzword areas. Maybe the noise from scammy ICOs drowns it, I don't know, but if you're a researcher or developer interested in decentralized systems then you definitely can't complain about lack of innovation.


At first they were 21.co and they invited developers, startup CEOS and investors under the premise of much larger per-response rewards ($100 for investors, $20 for CEOs, etc). Since then, they've been sending mostly $1-$2 spam from Tokens and ICOs. The payment is in Bitcoin, so cashing out also takes a big chunk of the earnings. Coinbase sounds like a nice landing spot for a team that likely dreamt bigger than that.


Here is Balaji's own writeup of the company's trajectory: https://medium.com/@balajis/the-turnaround-2d145589d814


This is an incredibly well spun tale of reducing cost and restructuring a revenue producing, albeit a super cash burning, business into a more efficient one.

This post is a glorified PR humblebrag, and the truth of the matter is that if they really did complete a turn-around, it would be stand alone business worthy of the incredible cash infusion that the VC community injected in to it. Ultimately it's likely a loss (perhaps a very large one) on the books for the investors involved, and pieces like this are just lipstick on the pig.


Nothing to see here. Just another highly connected businessman making a ton of money on a startup exit.


This sounds like a acqui-hire, highly doubt that Coinbase would have paid 200-300M (representing a 2-3x investment multiplier) - BTC or otherwise?


Looks like Balaji (Earn CEO) is joining Coinbase as the CTO. So this is potentially a straight acqui-hire.


> Over the last several years, the primary way most people have obtained cryptocurrency is through buying it, with many of these transactions facilitated by Coinbase. With this acquisition, we allow users to also earn crypto by doing things they already know how to do — like replying to emails and filling out surveys.

Ick. Who'd have thought the future of technology would look like shitty direct marketing scams?


Everyone in adtech. Especially those that understand blockchain.


I get spammed by ICO offers every day almost from these people. Stopped logging in to claim my dollars since it is too much hassle to complete that captcha every time. Endless pictures of road signs and busses and roads...


Just curious about Earn and the use of Bitcoin (questions are not related to Coinbase nor the announcement):

What's the downside of just using fiat money? Why need to use Bitcoin (or any crypto)?


Fiat means giving the payment processor significant leverage over the paid email service.

Fiat also means the email service couldn't be global, because Trusted-Third-Party-based payment processors can't operate globally owing to the global regulatory patchwork.

Contrast that with Bitcoin(Cash)-based international remittance, or Ethereum-based token sales, which are accessible to people in every country in the world.

Email is an open and global protocol, so cryptocurrency is a good fit for it.


They were a blockchain startup, so it'd have been embarrassing for them to base their service around the sort of money the average person actually uses. Also gave them a natural audience for targeted ICO spam.


Off the top of head, one reason is that there is no need to support multiple currencies for international users, or to worry about currency conversion.

Secondly it cuts out the need for middlemen (banks/payment processors).


I signed up for this platform early on but never felt like it was anything more than a convoluted engine for getting me to transact with spurious ICOs.


And an aggressive spam producer.


So begins the conglomerate


Earn.com has become a glorified airdrop platform, but even so they've got a good team there that are good additions to Coinbase. Maybe the most expensive acqui-hire?

Either way it's a huge nod towards tokenized attention economy projects by one of the biggest players in the space.


The coolest part about Earn.com is you could send a message for $100 to VCs like Marc Andreessen, when I finally finish my app I will be using Earn.com to find testers that have blogs that can spread the word


Interesting how there is no keywords for 'security' and 'privacy'. Seems like a good acquisition to implement tracking of people's financial activity.


As someone with an formal education in Art despite a background in Tech, I'm growing more and more disillusioned with currencies beyond actual Legal Tender... I almost agree with the 1792 Mint Act's attachment of a death sentence to the devaluing of our coins (silver and gold in particular). Money is at best Artwork and even then it's only by devaluing it that it gets passed around like it's nothing. What is Bitcoin's value other than a secure means of Bank transfer again? It just seems like a means of reinforcing what from a religious context would be called Simony. Show me the Money.


There is probably a non-block chain way to replicate this


> Earn.com allows senders to pay users for replying to emails and completing tasks

There was quite few sites with same idea 15 years ago. Back then it took me some time to understand that no serious business wants to show ads to people paid for watching them, since only people without significant income sign up for such programs and the incentive for fraud is high.


I launched veropost.com a while before earn.com pivoted. Didn't get much love, I hope now people can see the value proposition.


yes that was the problem SV trolls downvoting


They started spamming me three days ago but I have no idea where they got my email from...


Wow, that was fast.


I am now seriously worried about Coinbase after this baseless acquisition.


It's not baseless -- they want to help perpetuate the ecosystem and use cases for people to get utility in acquiring any incentivized crypto-assets. The same utility described on Earn.com however is possible by paying people fiat currency, instead of paying someone something then making them have vested interest in it maintaining a certain value or increasing its value (at the cost of society).


"Joins" isn't in the thesaurus for "was bought by"


Separate but related events?


So I'm copying and pasting part of someone's comment I saw on mobile - which has since been flagged and removed for including their referral URL - because I wanted to reply to it.

They said: "I've earned around 0.0060 BTC so far (~$50), mostly through airdrop offers -- without taking into account the airdropped crypto itself."

What I wanted to reply was, no, you earned ~$50 if you sold it off immediately, however otherwise you earned "~$50" MINUS whatever "profit" earlier adopters earned, the wealth unreasonably/unnecessarily reallocated weighted toward the earlier adopters; e.g. that could be $50 minus $30 because you're paying for/legitimizing/realizing/covering the difference of their purchase price and their sale price. They know of course they can't dump it, however they don't care if the Pyramid-Ponzi scheme takes 10-20+ years to allow them to realize $100s of billions, or even potentially trillions of dollars, worth of "profit."


By this logic, it would be fair to say:

'When I get my paycheck, I earn my salary MINUS whatever "profit" my employer made from my work.'

This is disingenuous by ignoring risk and presupposing that (in this case) I have the same reach/clout/contacts/sales and marketing channels as my employer.


I don't think that's a fair comparison at all.

The profit your employer makes from your work isn't coming from an increase in demand [in the use of a transactional layer] causing the perceived value of a crypto-asset [USD] to go up, and therefore they also are profiting from that increased value -- that'd be "double-dipping" profit in a sense if that's the case, if they're also making money on the increase in demand of the currency.

Profit from what someone is willing to pay above actual cost vs. "profit" derived simply from an increase in perceived value because of demand are two different things; this is why I put profit in quotes to differentiate.

If you're paid in USD, USD being relatively stable and balanced with other fiat currencies, then you're not going to profit from fluctuations -- there are currency traders of course, however banks and governments try to limit this. It would be great to have a single global currency, where everyone is aligned, however

If you held onto your paycheck and didn't cash it for 5 years (assuming the check is still valid then), and the USD went up by 400% -- once you cashed it, that 300% difference in your buying power that you're depositing is getting covered by everyone else now (for no more work done by you). At the surface of it, does that sound fair? And that cash they were paid, it wasn't an investment.

If you're paid in USD, USD being relatively stable and balanced with other fiat currencies, then you're not going to profit from fluctuations -- there are currency traders of course, however banks and governments try to limit this, they decide how much the other currencies are worth in comparison (the exchange rates). It would be great to have a single global currency, where everyone is aligned, however not through reallocating wealth weighted to the earliest adopters -- you're taking advantage of the majority of society then.

The issue is whether reallocating resources/wealth unreasonably/unnecessarily is acceptable or not. I argue it's not. The incentivized structure is one way to get people working together, collaborating - at least to begin with - however at a certain "tipping point", let's say it's 50% -- everyone who adopts or must adopt the incentivized crypto-asset then is covering/realizing the cost of everyone who bought before. E.g. Their buying power is shifted weighted towards the earlier adopters, and if this is allowed then there will be a point where they will be forced to adopt it (and early bad actors are heavily incentivized to reach this goal).

One problem with incentivized crypto-assets is that USD isn't destroyed, instead it's being exchanged - given to someone in return for a digital crypto-asset. If USD was actually destroyed or rather transferred into a crypto-asset blockchain, that would be solving part of the problem.

If you see problems with what I'm writing, I would greatly appreciate hearing more of your thoughts - rarely do people engage with this line of thought on here, I seem to get enough downvotes though (to counter the upvotes I initially get).


It seems you have a problem with other people having large pieces of pie, rather than the more important point that all people that have pie have it grow.


Let's hear you say this next time you try to run a political campaign against someone who can outspend you a thousand times over.

You'll lose, and they'll have everything they need to take whatever scraps of pie you have on your plate.


Interestingly my comment here - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16867880 - ties into the concern you voiced.


What are you referring to?


I really don't see how you could make either of those assertions from what I wrote.

If I steal $100 from you, and now I have $100 and you have $0 - would you have a problem with that? That's a generally asinine accusation to make..

Isn't the most important part that something happens fairly - or is your argument that collaboration at all costs is okay?

All people having the pie and wanting it to grow (it's what we technically have now, except capitalistic for-profit structures suffocate distribution of and capture the majority of the value), that may be the case in the initial stages because of everyone "profiting" from the increase in value because of demand, however then that's totally forgetting or ignoring the long-term impact once you reach the "tipping point" - that everyone after "50%" now are subsidizing all of the previous "profits" that will want to be realized by the earlier adopters --- and the value can't keep going up unless you have unlimited people to scale it to, which there isn't. Late adopters won't be incentivized to collaborate, as they're not earning "profit" from the incentivized crypto-assets.

Also, your statement seems to be a straw man fallacy, whether you meant it to be or not.


I have no idea what you are talking about. People that buy crypto currencies are exchanging money for digital rights (which some believe are better forms of money). How that relates to you stealing $100 from me is beyond my comprehension.

People that hold USD have their pie diluted, and they are even lied to about it by using a CPI figured calculated from consumer goods and not a more rounded figure of all asset prices (or actual new money injected/ removed).


Sorry, that was a bad example, and that I didn't explain - making even less comprehensible. It was an attempt to counter your assertion that I "have a problem with other people having large pieces of pie" - which is as ridiculous, as if I stole $100 from you [which gives me more money than your $0], and asking if you're okay that I stole $100 from you. Your accusation was completely baseless/shallow, I should have just said that.

Re:"People that hold USD have their pie diluted"

Ah ha! I think we can get somewhere now. Early adopters, their pie piece gets bigger, and late adopters -- their pie gets diluted (because they're covering the cost of bigger pieces of pie of the earlier adopters).

If USD is bad because the pie gets diluted (because of monetary policy/governance etc), then why isn't it equally bad for the late adopters that their pie is diluted too? Or you only are thinking/care about the early adopters?

Does this make sense to you now? You understand how late adopters are covering the early adopters "profits"?


I understand what you are saying, but I don't think you understand the economics of what is happening with all due respect. If you mean that when an early adopter sells, this is diluting, then you are wrong. It just moves ownership, there is no dilution. In fact, this is something we should all want to happen, because it improves distribution. It is mostly of little consequence though. When money is created and injected into the money supply, real dilution happens, and the creator/ injector gets the benefit of that money first, not an early adopter that through holding helped everybody. These are vastly different concepts.


I appreciate and am grateful for the dialogue/conversation and that you're engaging.

"If you mean that when an early adopter sells, this is diluting, then you are wrong."

No, I'm essentially saying the opposite. When an early adopter sells "now" - the "profit" they realized is based off of the current perceived value, and so that's transferring future buying power weighted towards the early adopters (once they sell to realize the "profit"). Essentially the future adopters buying power is diluted in comparison to how much the early adopters would have under normal circumstances (outside of a Pyramid-Ponzi scheme) would achieve, where if someone was simply paid USD (where the volatility is already removed/plateaued and being managed by the government with other governments using fiat currency, where people are keeping track and deciding the exchange rates based on the complexity of a society; yes, I understand the issue with a government printing money (which is real dilution) in order to say, fund a war that no one wants.

E.g. If you're paid $100 for work today, in a year from now, does it make sense for that $100 to now be worth $1,000 -- so you have $900 more of buying power?

Buying power (for people's services and/or resources) aren't in unlimited, immediate supply, and therefore they are also competing with others, e.g. who can pay the most.

If it was just "moving ownership" then the person buying it wouldn't be burdened with the risk associated with the volatility that is inherent to the beginning-to-end point of incentivized crypto-asset structure.

This isn't a very strong point, however it helps paint the picture: If an early adopter tries to say sell $1B worth of a crypto-asset, the price would would crash, right? Why is that? Well, it's reenforcing the idea that current value is only perceived value, and it's because there aren't enough new late adopters coming in to cover the cost based on the higher perceived value.

being extracted, because it's the future adopters that cover the "current" value -- the current value only being a perception and not 100% liquid, like if you had or were using cash.

What about a crypto-asset that wasn't incentivized, have you thought through that as an exercise to contrast incentivized crypto-assets?

What I do agree with is that once literally everyone is on an incentivized crypto-asset structure, then the volatility should diminish completely -- the fluctuations then will happen based on buying power, based on price of products/services and who can afford to pay more: who can afford to pay more will be heavily weighted towards the early adopters who have had let's say 40%+ of society's wealth/buying power transferred to them. I haven't seen these modelled or calculations nor do I have the resources to do them however much I'd love to clearly show what the long-term looks like; I'm sure VCs and companies, like Union Square Ventures and Coinbase, have complex private spreadsheets determining how much "profit" they're targeting with the ecosystem they're trying to create, a walled garden of sorts where you must buy into these Pyramid-Ponzi scheme structured blockchain crypto-assets.

It's a completely unnecessary reallocation of wealth/buying power, and the only people that want it are those motivated because they're in early enough - before the "50%" tipping point. It's a very clever design, however it's unfair. If it is somehow necessary, no one has shown or explained why - and of course there isn't very much money/investment/time going towards an alternate to the popular incentivized crypto-assets.

It's completely the beginning-to-end period when these incentivized crypto-assets are being "distributed" that is the problem, the very end point is good, along with the immutable ledger - however the solution needs to meet/reach the end point without the unnecessary reallocation.

Most people would be happy (as is the system everyone in the world currently uses, except for bartering) being paid a salary of say $100k/year to work on blockchain-related technology, however greed and hype has really excited people to unsurprisingly join and perpetuate a Pyramid-Ponzi scheme structure that's been built into what should be a neutral, unprofitable transactional layer; a somewhat parallel comparison relating to transactional layers: people who adopted email early didn't make money from using email and especially not being reallocated more money/wealth/buying power because future people started using email.

The solution isn't creating a new currency, especially not that's incentivized, the solution is converting existing currencies into perhaps multiple immutable ledgers, or combining existing currencies into a single immutable ledger. This process would respect the sovereignty of governments around the world and allow them to join the system when they are ready, without force. Through diplomacy this is possible.

What do you think about the idea of converting fiat currencies into immutable blockchain ledgers, where the currency paid is removed from regular circulation and converted into a crypto-asset, where the currency isn't simply handed over to the other party selling it?

I hope my further thoughts helps you better see my view point. I look forward to your response.


Thanks for engaging and not immediately seeing my refutation as hostile as is often the cases when I speak with most people I disagree with despite trying my hardest to be diplomatic.

You raise many points that I think are mostly mistaken, but understandable from the viewpoint of our standard human psychology. These similar feelings were actually shared by people buying into Bitcoin early, thinking "oh, I rewarding these early people for doing nothing!". Now they look back and think "ha ha! I robbed those early people!". Those sellers may also feel it was a requirement to launch the currency as well. There were "faucets" giving our Bitcoin for free would you believe, just to increase distribution. The protocol works better when more people use it.

The fact that the supply is finite means that despite these wealth allocation drawbacks, there is a limit on how long that game plays out. Arguably it is infinite with constant growth, but if that is the case, this is hardly a problem for the community.

I think this is at the crux of the difference of our viewpoints. I see two systems. One you are in by default and is not transparent and is unconstrained. The other you can opt in, was vociferously prevented by the status quo (see centralised digital currencies), and is constrained. Those early people took a punt and deserve to be rewarded. Also, early is just relative term. Compared to the coming 9 billion, this is still early. However, investment now isn't at their expense, it is for their benefit. Everybody benefits from a common protocol for sound money.


[flagged]


Isn't this the type of comment that's frowned upon at HN Attempting to put me down, along with no sustenance in it?

And for reference sake, here's a breakdown of the votes my original comment had:

After 4 minutes: 3 points

At 5 minutes: 2 points (-1 downvote or more with equal new up votes)

At 8 minutes: 1 point (-2 downvotes or more with equal new up votes)

At 14 minutes: 0 points (-3 downvotes or more with equal new up votes)

At 51 minutes (I was writing my response): -1 points (-4 downvotes or more with equal new up votes)




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