Encryption has a lot of stuff, including bad explanations, and we’re here to clarify.
Until recently, if you lived anywhere outside of San Francisco, you probably hadn’t heard of cryptocurrencies for days or even weeks.
Now, all of a sudden you hear about cryptocurrencies, it’s inevitable. Looking aside, there are Matt Damon and Larry David advertising crypto startups. Turn your head – oh hey, this is the mayors of Miami and New York arguing over who prefers Bitcoin. With two NBA arenas now named after crypto companies, it seems like every corporate marketing team in the U.S. has jumped on the NFT — or non-fungible token — bandwagon. (Can I tell you about PepsiCo’s new “Mic Drop” Genesis NFT? Or the “Metverse Meals” from Applebee’s NFT line, inspired by the restaurant chain’s “iconic” menu item?)
Over the years, encryption has seemed like the kind of fleeting tech trend that most people can safely ignore, like hoverboards or Google Glass. But its economic and cultural power has become too great to ignore. A recent survey by Morning Consult showed that 20 percent of U.S. adults and 36 percent of millennials own cryptocurrencies. Crypto trading app Coinbase has topped the App Store at least twice in the past year. Today, the crypto market is worth about $1.75 trillion — roughly the size of Google. In Silicon Valley, engineers and executives are leaving their easy jobs in droves to join the crypto gold rush.
As encryption has gone mainstream, it has sparked an unusual polarization. Its biggest fans think it’s saving the world, while its biggest skeptics believe it’s all a hoax — an environmentally damaging speculative bubble orchestrated by fraudsters and sold to greedy fools, when it bursts is likely to lead to an economic collapse.
I’ve been writing about crypto for nearly a decade, during which time my own views have swung between extreme skepticism and cautious optimism. These days, I generally describe myself as a secretive moderate, although I admit that may be an escape.
I agree with the skeptics that a large portion of the crypto market is made up of overvalued, overhyped, potentially fraudulent assets, the most utopian sentiment I have for pro-crypto fanatics ( Such as former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s claim that Bitcoin will bring world peace) was indifferent.
But as I experimented more with crypto — including the accidental sale of an NFT last year for over $500,000 at a charity auction — I came to accept that it wasn’t all cynical money Looting, and there’s something really substantive under construction. In my career as a tech reporter, I’ve also learned that when so much money, energy, and talent goes to a new thing, it’s usually a good idea to pay attention to it, no matter how you feel about the thing itself. .
However, my strongest belief about encryption is that it is poorly explained. .
Recently, I spent a few months reading all about Crypto. But I’ve found that most beginner’s guides come in the form of tedious podcasts with little research into YouTube videos and blog posts written by hopelessly biased investors. On the other hand, many anti-encryption measures are undermined by inaccurate and outdated arguments, such as asserting that encryption is good for criminals, even though there is growing evidence that encrypted traceable ledger accounts make it less suitable for illicit activity.
I can’t find a cool explanation of what encryption is and how it works, who it’s for, what’s at stake, where the battle lines are drawn — and answers to some of the most common questions it asks .
This guide – really a huge FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) – is designed to address that. In this post, I’ll explain the basic concepts as clearly as possible, answering as best I can a question a curious but open-minded skeptic might ask.
Encryption proponents may find fault with my interpretation, while diehard naysayers may find them too generous. It does not matter. My goal is not to convince you that crypto is good or bad, that it should be outlawed or celebrated, or that investing in it will make you rich or bankrupt. This is just to demystify a few things a bit. If you want to read further, there is a list of reading suggestions at the end of each chapter.
Encryption will revolutionize
Understanding encryption now — especially if you’re naturally skeptical — is important for several reasons.
First, hidden wealth and ideology will be a transformative force in our society for years to come.
You’ve heard about overnight Dogecoin millionaires and Lamborghinis driving bitcoin bros. But that’s not half the problem. The crypto boom has created massive new wealth in a way we’ve never seen before — the closest comparison might be the discovery of oil in the Middle East — and turned its biggest winner into the richest man in the world, basically On is overnight. If the market crashes, some wealth may disappear, but enough money has been cashed out to ensure that crypto’s influence will last for decades.
Crypto’s crazy, meme-net culture would make it seem frivolous and superficial, no. Cryptocurrencies, even joking currencies, are part of a powerful, well-funded ideological movement that has serious implications for our political and economic future. Born out of the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin was initially popular with libertarians and anti-establishment activists who saw it as the cornerstone of a new, clean monetary system. Other crypto spaces have since set out similarly lofty goals, such as creating a decentralized, largely unregulated Wall Street on the blockchain.
We are already starting to see more and more cryptocurrencies flowing into the US political system. Crypto entrepreneurs are donating millions to candidates and causes, and lobbying firms have spread across the country to win support for pro-crypto legislation. Over the next few years, crypto tycoons will either fund the campaigns of crypto-supporting candidates, or run for office themselves. Some will be peddling influence in familiar ways — forming super PACs, funding think tanks, etc. — while others will try to break free from partisan gridlock altogether. (Crypto millionaires are already buying land in the South Pacific to build their own blockchain utopia.).
With politicians around the world forced to choose sides, crypto is about to soon become one of the few real wedge issues. Some countries, such as El Salvador – whose crypto-loving president Nayib Bukele recently announced that a “Bitcoin City” will be developed at the base of a volcano – will be fully encrypted. Governments in other countries may see crypto as a threat to their sovereignty and crack down, as China did last year when it outlawed cryptocurrency trading. The divide between the crypto-pro and non-crypto regions of the world could end up being at least as big, if not more, than the divide between the Chinese internet and the US internet.
In the US, we’ve seen how encryption can disrupt the usual partisan allegiances. For example, former President Donald J. Trump and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, are skeptical of crypto, while Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Sen. Ron Wy, Democrat of Oregon, are skeptical of crypto. Dennis holds the same optimistic stance. We’ve also seen what happens when the crypto community feels politically threatened, as happened last summer when crypto groups banded together to oppose crypto-related provisions of President Biden’s infrastructure bill.
I guess, what I’m trying to say is that, as silly as it may seem, encryption isn’t just another weird internet phenomenon. It’s an organized tech movement, with powerful tools and a legion of wealthy loyalists, whose goal is nothing less than a full-blown economic and political revolution.
Encryption can be destructive
The second reason to focus on encryption is that understanding it now is the best way to ensure that it doesn’t become a destructive force later.
In the early 2010s, the most common hit with social media apps like Facebook and Twitter was that they couldn’t function as businesses. Experts predict that users will eventually tire of their friends’ vacation photos, advertisers will flee, and the entire social media industry will collapse. The theory isn’t that social media is dangerous or bad, it’s that it’s boring and corny, a hype-driven fad that will quickly disappear as it arrives.
The question no one asked at the time—at least not out loud—was this: What if social media was really, really successful? In a world where Facebook and Twitter are the dominant communication platforms, what kind of regulation needs to exist? How should tech companies with billions of users weigh the trade-offs between free speech and security? What product features prevent online hate and misinformation from cascading into offline violence?
By mid-2015, when it became clear that these were pressing issues, it was too late. Platform mechanics and ad-based business models are so ingrained that skeptics — who might have steered these apps in a better direction if they had taken them more seriously from the start — got caught up in trying to control the damage. predicament.
Are we making the same mistakes with encryption today? this is possible. No one knows yet whether encryption will “work” in the grandest sense. (Anyone who claims to do so is selling something.). But there’s real money and energy in it, and many tech veterans I’ve spoken to tell me that, to them, today’s crypto scene feels like a repeat of 2010 — this time technology upended money, and Not the media.
If they are wrong, they are wrong. But if they’re right — even partially — the best time to start paying attention is now, before the road is set and the problems are hard to solve.
The third reason to study encryption is that it is really fun to learn.
Of course, many of them are stupid, questionable, or self-refuting. But if you can put aside the carnival revellers and decipher the puzzling jargon, you’ll find a mouthful of bottomless pits filled with strange, funny, and thought-provoking items. The crypto agenda is so vast and multidisciplinary — bringing together elements of economics, engineering, philosophy, law, art, energy policy, and more — it provides a lot of footing for beginners. Want to discuss the impact of Austrian economics on the development of Bitcoin? There may be an uncoordinated server to solve this problem. Want to join a DAO investing in NFTs , or play a video game where you pay to win in crypto tokens? Just dive in.
Crypto is a key to succession
Note that I am not saying that the crypto world is demographically diverse. Surveys show that high-income white males are overrepresented among crypto owners, while libertarians who own angled copies of Atlas Shrugged may be overrepresented among crypto millionaires. But it is not an intellectual monolith. There are Bitcoin maximalists on the right who think crypto will free them from the tyranny of the government; there are ethereum supporters on the left who want to overthrow the big banks; and speculators without ideological attachments Just want to profit and get out. These communities are constantly at war with each other, and many have very different ideas about what crypto should be. It’s a fascinating study, especially when there’s a bit of emotional distance.
If you do learn some cryptographic basics, you may find the whole world opens up to you. You’ll see why Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Curry are changing their Twitter avatars to cartoon gorillas, and why Elon Musk , the world’s richest man, spent considerable time on Twitter last year talking about a dog digital currency named after . Unfamiliar words and phrases you come across on the internet — rug pulling (smashing the plate or draining liquidity), big inversions (go-ahead), “gm (good morning)” — will become familiar, Ultimately, headlines like “NFT collectors sell People’s Fursonas for $100k in right-click mentality war” won’t make you wonder if you’re losing grip on reality.
Encryption can also be a kind of master key to succession, perhaps the fastest way to refresh your cultural awareness and decipher the beliefs and actions of today’s youth. Just as a little knowledge of New Age occultism and psychedelics can help one make sense of 1960s youth culture, so knowing a few occult basics can help those confused by new attitudes toward money and power feel more grounded .
Again, I don’t really care if you emerge from these explanations as a true believer, a devoted skeptic, or something in between. Participate or abstain, as you wish! What I’m after is understanding — perhaps, relief from this question that has plagued my social and professional life for the past few years: So, can I ask you a question about passwords?
Let’s start at the beginning: what is encryption?
A decade or two ago, the term was often used as a shorthand for cryptography, but in recent years it has become more closely associated with cryptocurrencies. Today, “crypto” generally refers to the entire technical field involving blockchain — the distributed ledger system that powers digital currencies like Bitcoin, but also the base layer of technologies such as NFTs, Web3 applications, and Defi transaction protocols.
Ah yes, blockchain. Can you remind me what they are without going into too many technical details?
At a very basic level, a blockchain is a shared database that stores and verifies information in a cryptographically secure manner.
You can think of a blockchain as a Google spreadsheet, except instead of being hosted on Google’s servers, the blockchain is maintained by a network of computers around the world. These computers (sometimes called miners or validators) are responsible for storing their own copies of the database, adding and validating new entries, and protecting the database from hackers.
So blockchain is….Like Google Spreadsheets?
Big is big, but there are at least three important conceptual differences.
First , blockchain is decentralized and it doesn’t require a company like Google to oversee it. All of this work is done by computers on the network, using what’s called a consensus mechanism – basically a complex algorithm that allows them to agree on what’s in a database without the need for a neutral referee. Proponents argue that this makes the blockchain more secure than traditional record-keeping systems, as no one person or company can take down the blockchain or change its contents, and anyone trying to hack or change a record in the ledger would need to hack at the same time multiple computers.
The second major feature of blockchains is that they are usually public and open source, which means that unlike a Google spreadsheet, anyone can inspect the code of a public blockchain or view a record of any transaction. (There are private blockchains, but they are not as important as public blockchains.).
Third , blockchains are generally append-only and permanent, meaning that, unlike Google spreadsheets, data added to a blockchain typically cannot be deleted or changed after the fact.
Got it, so blockchains are public, permanent databases that nobody owns?
you will get it!
Remind me now: what does blockchain have to do with cryptocurrencies?
Blockchain didn’t really exist until 2009, when a pseudonymous programmer named Satoshi Nakamoto published technical documentation for Bitcoin, the first-ever cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin’s use of blockchain to track transactions is notable because for the first time it allows people to send and receive money over the internet without the need for a central authority involving a bank or apps like PayPal or Venmo.
According to CoinMarketCap, many blockchains are still performing cryptocurrency transactions, with around 10,000 different cryptocurrencies currently in existence. But many blockchains can also be used to store other types of information, including NFTs, self-executing code known as smart contracts, and full-blown applications — without the need for a central authority.
OK, but can we take a step back? Weren’t techies telling us a few years ago that crypto is an exciting new form of money? However, no one I know uses bitcoin to pay rent or buy groceries. So those people are…? wrong?.
Good question. Granted, almost no one pays for things with cryptocurrencies today. In part, this is because most merchants still do not accept crypto payments, and high transaction fees can make it impractical to spend a small amount of crypto for everyday expenses. This is also because popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether have historically risen in value, making using them for offline shopping a bit risky. (Counter examples are often cited with compassion, such as when he bought two Papa John’s pizzas with bitcoin in 2010, which were worth about $40 at the time, but are worth about $400 million today.)
It is also true that the value of cryptocurrencies has grown substantially since the early days of Bitcoin, even though they are not the everyday spend of most people.
Part of the reason for this growth is speculation — people buying crypto assets in the hope of selling them at a higher price later. Part of the reason is that the blockchains that emerged after Bitcoin, such as Ethereum and Solana, expanded what the technology could do.
Some crypto enthusiasts believe that the price of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin will eventually stabilize, which could make them more useful as a means of payment.
Besides financial speculation, what are the practical uses of crypto?
Currently, many of the successful applications of cryptography are in or adjacent to finance. For example, people are using crypto to send cross-border remittances to family members overseas, as well as Wall Street banks that use blockchain to settle foreign transactions.
The crypto boom has also led to a proliferation of experimentation beyond financial services, with crypto social clubs, crypto video games, crypto restaurants, and even crypto-powered wireless networks.
These non-financial uses are still fairly limited, but crypto fans tend to think that the technology is still young, and it took decades for the internet to mature to where it is today. Investors are pouring billions into crypto startups because they believe blockchain will one day be used for everything: storing medical records, tracking streaming music rights, and even hosting new social media platforms. The crypto ecosystem is attracting a lot of developers – a good sign for any new technology.
I’ve heard people call passwords a pyramid scheme or a Ponzi scheme, what do they mean?
Some critics argue that the cryptocurrency market is fundamentally fraudulent, either because early investors get rich at the expense of later investors (a pyramid scheme), or because crypto projects lure no-brainers by promising safe returns. Wary investors (Ponzi schemes), which collapse (Ponzi schemes) as soon as new money stops flowing in.
Of course, there are many examples of pyramids and Ponzi schemes in Crypto, including OneCoin, a fraudulent crypto-operating company that stole $4 billion from investors from 2014 to 2019; and Virgil Sigma Fund, a The $90 million crypto hedge fund run by a 24-year-old investor who pleaded guilty to securities fraud has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.
But those cases are usually not the subject of discussion by critics. They generally view encryption itself as an exploitative scheme with no real-world value.
Are they right?
Well, let’s try to understand their reasons.
Unlike buying Apple stock, which (at least in theory) reflects a belief in the health of Apple’s underlying business, buying cryptocurrencies is more of a bet on the success of an idea, they said. If people believe in Bitcoin, they will buy it and the price of Bitcoin will go up. If people stop believing in Bitcoin, they will sell and the price of Bitcoin will drop.
Therefore, crypto owners have a rational incentive to convince others to buy. If you don’t think there is value in cryptocurrency technology in and of itself, you might conclude that the whole thing is like a pyramid scheme where you make money mostly by recruiting other people to join.
I feel the “but” is coming.
Even with scams and scams inside crypto, crypto investors sure like to recruit others to buy in, but many investors will tell you they went in with their eyes wide open.
They believe that cryptography has intrinsic value and that the ability to store information and value on a decentralized blockchain will appeal to all kinds of people and businesses in the future. They’ll tell you they’re betting on crypto products, not crypto ideas — in a way that’s not much different from buying Apple stock because you think the next iPhone will be a hit.
Prominent investor Matt Wong (Founder of Paradigm Capital) tweeted : “From the outside, crypto may look like a speculative casino. But that distracts many from the deeper truth: Casinos are a The Trojan horse that hides the new financial system.
You can argue against that and debate how much this “new financial system” is really worth, but crypto investors clearly see value in it.
Is encryption regulated?
Just a little bit, in the US, certain centralized crypto exchanges, like Coinbase, are required to register as money transmitters and comply with laws like the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires them to collect certain information from their customers. Some countries have passed stricter regulations, while others, such as China, have banned cryptocurrency trading altogether.
But compared to the traditional financial system, crypto is very loosely regulated. There are few rules governing crypto assets like “stablecoins” — coins whose value is tied to a government-backed currency — and not even the IRS has clear guidance on how certain crypto investments should be taxed. And some crypto areas, like DEFI (decentralized finance), are almost completely unregulated.
That’s partly because it’s still early days and it will take time to develop new rules. But it is also a property of blockchain technology itself, much of which is designed to be difficult for governments to control.
This question comes from rapper Cardi B (apparently curious about crypto): Will crypto replace the dollar?
Sorry, Cardi. The U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency, and replacing the U.S. dollar would be an expensive undertaking and unlikely to happen any time soon. (Just to give a small example of the enormity of this task: every dollar-denominated financial contract has to be re-denominated in bitcoin, ether, or another cryptocurrency.)
Crypto also needs to overcome some technical hurdles if it is to replace government-issued currencies. Today, the most popular blockchains — Bitcoin and Ethereum — are slow and inefficient compared to traditional payment networks. (For example, the ethereum blockchain can only process about 15 transactions per second, while Visa says it can process thousands of credit card transactions per second.)
Of course, for a cryptocurrency like bitcoin to replace the dollar, you need to convince billions of people to use a currency whose value fluctuates wildly, isn’t backed by governments, and is often irretrievable if stolen.
What kind of people are investing in crypto? Is everything “nerds and nazis” to quote from a recent episode of “Reinstate Your Enthusiasm”?
It’s hard to tell who is investing in crypto, especially since a lot of the activity is being done anonymously or under a pseudonym. But some surveys and studies suggest that crypto is still dominated by wealthy white men.
Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini estimated in a recent report that women make up only 26 percent of crypto investors. The group found that the average age of crypto owners was 38, with an annual income of about $111,000.
But crypto ownership does appear to be diversifying. A 2021 Pew Research Center survey found that Asian, Black and Latino adults are more likely to use encryption than white adults. Encryption adoption is also growing outside the United States, with some studies showing the fastest growth in crypto adoption in countries such as Vietnam, India, and Pakistan.
My colleague Tressie McMillan Cottom argues that encryption is particularly attractive to those from marginalized groups because it relies on permanent, irrefutable records of ownership of digital products and currencies , their property may have been unjustly dispossessed in the past.
“If I were living in a neighborhood where the police absolutely used eminent domain to claim my private property, and there was nothing I could do about it,” she wrote, “this sense of everyday powerlessness would make the prospect of blockchain sound pretty good. “
That said, some recent research has also found that a small group of people owns the vast majority of crypto wealth — so it’s not necessarily an egalitarian paradise.
What about extremists? Did they get into encryption?
Some got in, and since you could buy and sell cryptocurrencies without using your name or having a bank account, crypto was a natural choice for people who had reason to avoid the traditional financial system in the early days. They include criminals, tax evaders and people who buy and sell illegal goods. They also include political dissidents and extremists, some of whom have been kicked out of more mainstream payment services such as PayPal and Patreon.
Some extremists have gotten rich thanks to the opportune time to enter the crypto market. A recent investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that several prominent white supremacists have made hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars by investing in crypto.
Of course, there are millions of crypto owners, the vast majority of whom are not white supremacists. The same anonymity and censorship-resistant properties that make encryption useful to white supremacists may also make it attractive to Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban. Therefore, labelling the entire crypto movement as an extremist group would be overkill. Regardless, it’s safe to say that crypto is already attractive to all kinds of people who are reluctant (or unable to legally) transact with traditional banks.
Another criticism I hear is that encryption is bad for the environment, is this true?
This is a real can of worms – and one of the most common objections to encryption.
Let’s start with what we’ve identified, most cryptographic activity today takes place on blockchains, which require a lot of energy to store and verify transactions. These networks use a “proof-of-work” consensus mechanism — a process likened to a global guessing game, where all computers compete to solve cryptographic puzzles in order to add new information to the database and earn rewards. Solving these puzzles requires powerful computers, which in turn consume a lot of energy.
For example, the Bitcoin blockchain uses an estimated 200 terawatt-hours of energy per year, according to Digiconomist, a website that tracks crypto energy usage. This is comparable to Thailand’s annual energy consumption. Bitcoin’s associated carbon emissions are estimated to be around 100 million tons per year, comparable to the Czech Republic’s carbon footprint.
How do crypto fans justify this environmental impact?
Encryption advocates often quibble with these statistics, arguing that:
- Our existing financial system also consumes a lot of energy, including powering millions of bank branches, ATMs that sit idle most of the day, gold mines and other energy-intensive infrastructure.
- Many crypto mining computers are already powered by renewable energy or energy that would otherwise be wasted.
- Most newer blockchains are built using consensus mechanisms, which require far less energy than proof-of-work. (Etherum, for example, plans to switch to a new consensus mechanism called proof-of-stake sometime in 2022, which could reduce its energy consumption by as much as 99.5%.)
Are these arguments correct?
Part of the reason is that most newer blockchains are designed in such a way that they require far less energy than Bitcoin, and if ether moves to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, if it happens, it will drastically shrink its environmental footprint.
But it’s also a little convenient to divert attention from Bitcoin, which remains the most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. Bitcoin’s energy demand is not expected to drop significantly anytime soon. Even if every bitcoin miner were to run entirely on renewable energy — which obviously isn’t the case — there would still be environmental costs to maintaining the blockchain.
All in all, it’s clear that encryption as we know it today has a significant impact on the environment, but it’s hard to measure exactly how big. Many of the oft-cited statistics come from industry groups, and credible, independent data and analysis can be hard to find.
But few crypto enthusiasts would question how much more energy a blockchain consumes than a traditional centralized database — in the same way that 100 refrigerators consume more energy than a single refrigerator. They just think that over time, the environmental impact of crypto will shrink and the benefits of decentralization will be worth it.
Some crypto proponents will tell you that the greatest benefit of decentralization is the ability to create currencies, applications, and virtual economies that are resistant to censorship and top-down control. (Imagine a version of Facebook where Mark Zuckerberg can’t unilaterally decide to kick people out, they’ll say.)
Others will say that the greatest benefit of decentralization is that it allows artists and creators a way (in the form of NFTs and other crypto assets) to bypass platform gatekeepers like YouTube and Spotify and take more direct control of their own economies Destiny, sell unique digital creations directly to their fans.
Still others will say that crypto is most useful for those who do not live in countries with stable currencies, or for dissident groups living under authoritarian regimes.
There are a million other hypothetical benefits of decentralization and encryption, some of which are real, and some of which may not.
How are you actually using encryption? Is this like sending money via Paypal or Venmo?
this is possible. The quickest way to get started with cryptocurrency is to set up an account on a crypto exchange like Coinbase, which can be linked to your bank account and convert your USD (or other government-issued currency) into cryptocurrency.
But many crypto users prefer to build their own “wallets” — safe places to store cryptographic keys that unlock their digital assets.
Once you have some cryptocurrency in your wallet, the process can be quite simple — just enter the recipient’s crypto wallet address, pay the transaction fee, and wait for the payment to clear.
Other types of crypto transactions, like buying and selling NFTs, can be far more complex, but the basic act of sending money to someone usually only takes a few minutes.
I’m ready to dive into your other explanations, but first, I have one last question about crypto culture: why is it so weird and insular?
This is probably the question I get asked the most about encryption. People see their friends, colleagues, and relatives diving down the crypto rabbit hole, days or weeks later a new obsession, a new netizen, a new bunch of jargon, and can’t seem to talk about anything else. (There’s even a word for this – “encryption”.) People who believe in crypto often really believe in it — so much so that they appear to the outside world more like evangelists of a new religion than fans of a new technology.
I used to be a religious journalist and I don’t think the comparison is completely wrong. (And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: many find meaning, community, and intellectual stimulation in religion.) As Bloomberg reporter Joe Wiesenthal et al have pointed out, crypto has elements similar to emerging religions: a mysterious founder (the still-unnamed Satoshi Nakamoto), a sacred text (the Bitcoin white paper), and signs that mark you It’s rituals and rites of worship, like tweeting “gm” (the password pronounced “good morning”) to your fellow believers, or PS laser eyes on your profile picture.
It’s fun to mock the (often cringe-worthy) ways that crypto fans try to entertain and inspire each other. But focusing too much on their behaviors and habits can mean missing out on the real novelty about the technology itself — whether it’s exciting or dangerous, depending on where you’re sitting. That’s why, when my friends ask me how to talk to their crypto relatives, I suggest they start by trying to understand what got them so excited in the first place.
Learn more about:
1. “Is WTF a blockchain?” In this basic explanation of blockchain technology, MoHit Mamoria explores how blockchains work and the problems they aim to solve.
2. “Introduction to Blockchain and Money” This YouTube video explains the history and technical underpinnings of cryptography and is the first class in a 2018 MIT class by Gary Gensler, who is currently Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (The rest of the course is also available on YouTube, which is fun to watch.)
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/encryption-guide-for-latecomers/
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