The New York Times: A Beginner’s Guide to the Crypto Industry for Latecomers

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’s 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” series of NFTs from Applebee inspired by the restaurant chain’s classic dishes?)

For years, encryption seemed like the kind of fleeting tech trend that most people could 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 loyal fans believe it’s saving the world, while skeptics believe it’s a complete hoax — an environmentally damaging speculative bubble orchestrated by fraudsters and sold to greedy fools, when it bursts May lead to 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. Lately, I’ve generally described myself as a crypto moderate, although I admit this 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, my most utopian view of pro-crypto fanatics ( Such as ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s claim that Bitcoin will bring world peace) was indifferent.

But as I experimented more with crypto — including the unexpected sale of an NFT last year for over $500,000 in a charity auction — I came to accept that it wasn’t all a cynical money grab. , but there is 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 encryption. But I’ve found that most beginner’s guides come in the form of tedious podcasts, with a handful of YouTube research videos and blog posts written by 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 couldn’t find a cool, unbiased explanation of encryption and how it works, who it’s for, what’s at stake, where the battle lines are drawn—and what to expect from some of the most frequently asked questions it asks reply.

This guide — really a huge FAQ — is meant to address that. In this post, I’ll try to explain the basic concepts as clearly as possible, and try my best to answer questions a curious but open-minded skeptic might ask.

Crypto proponents may be critical of my interpretation, while diehard opponents 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

It’s important to understand encryption right now, especially if you’re naturally skeptical, for several reasons.

First, the wealth and ideology of crypto will be a transformative force in our society for years to come.

You’ve heard stories of overnight Dogecoin millionaires and investing in Bitcoin to buy Lamborghinis. But this is only a small part. 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 made its biggest winner 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 crypto’s influence can last for decades.

The crazy, meme-net culture of crypto can make it seem frivolous and superficial. No, cryptocurrencies, even joke 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 embraced by libertarians and anti-establishment activists who saw it as the cornerstone of a new, clean monetary system. Other crypto spaces have since set up similarly lofty goals, such as building 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 spread their 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-encryption regions of the world could end up being as big as the divide between the Chinese internet and the US internet, if not worse.

In the U.S., we’ve seen how encryption can disrupt usual partisan loyalties. For example, former President Trump and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, are skeptical about crypto, while Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, take an optimistic stance. We’ve also seen what happens when the crypto community feels politically threatened, as it did last summer when crypto groups banded together to oppose President Biden’s crypto-related provisions in the Infrastructure Act.

As silly as it may seem on the surface, encryption isn’t just another weird internet phenomenon, I suppose. 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 blow to social media apps like Facebook and Twitter was that they didn’t work as long-term 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, but that it’s boring and clichéd, a hype-driven fad that disappears quickly.

No one said it out loud at the time: What if social media was 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 can prevent online hate and misinformation from escalating 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 if those skeptics had taken these apps more seriously from the start, they might have steered these apps in a better direction.

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 this 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 revelers and decipher the puzzling jargon, you’ll find a bottomless pit of weird, funny, and thought-provoking items. The crypto agenda is so vast and multidisciplinary—bringing together economics, engineering, philosophy, law, art, energy policy, and more—that it provides a lot of footing for beginners. Want to discuss the impact of Austrian economics on the development of Bitcoin? There may be a Discord server to address this. Want to join a DAO investing in NFTs, or play a video game where you pay to win in crypto tokens? Just dive in.

Encryption is a generational master key

Note that I am not saying that the population distribution of the crypto world is diverse. Surveys show that high-income white males make up a large percentage of cryptocurrency owners, while libertarians who own a folded copy of Atlas Shrugged may be disproportionately represented among crypto millionaires. Participants in the crypto world are not aligned on their goals. There are right-wing Bitcoin maximalists who believe that crypto will free them from government tyranny; left-wing Ethereum supporters who want to overthrow the big banks; and speculators without ideological leanings, They 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 Steph Curry are changing their Twitter avatars to cartoon gorillas, and why Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, spent considerable time tweeting about a digital currency named after a dog last year. Unfamiliar words and phrases you encounter on the internet—rug pulls (smashing or draining liquidity), flippenings, gm (good morning)—will become familiar, and eventually, something like “NFT Headlines like Collector Sells People’s Fursonas for $100,000 in Right-Click Mindset War” won’t make you wonder if you’re losing your grip on reality.

Encryption can also be a master key across generations, 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 mysticism and psychedelics can help one understand the youth culture of the 1960s, knowing a few basics of crypto can help those confused by new attitudes toward money and power feel better. solid.

Again, I don’t really care if you’ll be influenced by these interpretations and become a true believer, a devoted skeptic, or something in between. Participate or give up, as you wish! What I’m after is understanding – taking a break from this question that has plagued my social and professional life for the past few years: “So, can I ask you a question about encryption?”

Let’s start at the beginning: what is encryption?

A decade or two ago, the word was often used as an acronym 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.

Without going into too many technical details, can you tell me what a blockchain is?

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….complex Google spreadsheets?

Pretty much, 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 judge. Proponents argue that this makes the blockchain more secure than traditional record-keeping systems because no one person or company can control the blockchain or tamper with its contents, and anyone trying to hack or change records in the ledger would need to hack multiple times at the same time. computer.

The second major feature of blockchains is that they are often public and open source, unlike Google spreadsheets, where 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?

Yes.

Tell me now: what does blockchain have to do with cryptocurrencies?

Blockchain didn’t emerge 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 allowed 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 these days uses bitcoin to pay rent or buy groceries. Are those people wrong?

Good question. Granted, almost no one buys stuff 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 such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have historically increased in value, which makes using them for offline shopping a certain risk. (The counter-example is the story often cited with pity, that in 2010, someone bought two Papa John’s pizzas with bitcoins, then worth only $40 in bitcoins, now worth about $400 million.)

Likewise, 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 a means of payment.

Besides financial speculation, what are the practical uses of crypto?

Currently, many of the successful applications of cryptography are in finance or finance-related fields. 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 believe 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 crypto a pyramid scheme or a Ponzi scheme, what does that mean?

Some critics argue that the cryptocurrency market is fundamentally fraudulent, either because early investors get rich at the expense of later investors (pyramid schemes), or because crypto projects lure the unsuspecting by promising safe returns of investors, collapse (Ponzi scheme) as soon as new money stops flowing in.

Of course, there are many examples of pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes in the crypto space, including OneCoin, a fraudulent crypto-operating company that stole $4 billion from investors from 2014 to 2019; and Virgil Sigma Fund, A $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 these cases are usually not discussed 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 in theory reflects a healthy belief in Apple’s underlying business, buying cryptocurrencies is more like 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 you are about to say “but”.

Even with scams and scams inside crypto, crypto investors certainly like to recruit others to buy in, however, many investors will tell you that they got in on the spot.

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 that 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 Huang (Paradigm co-founder) tweeted: “From the outside, crypto may look like a speculative casino. But this distracts many from the deeper truth: This casino is a hidden The Trojan horse of the new financial system.

You can counter this and argue how much this “new financial system” is worth, but clearly, crypto investors see it as worthwhile.

Is encryption regulated?

With less regulation, in the US, certain centralized crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase, are required to register as money transmitters and comply with laws such as the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires them to collect certain information from 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. Cryptoassets like “stablecoins” — whose value is tied to a government-backed currency — have few rules governing their regulation, and not even the Internal Revenue Service provides clear guidance on how certain crypto investments should be taxed. And some areas of cryptocurrencies, like DeFi, are almost completely unregulated.

In part, that’s 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: Will cryptocurrency replace the dollar? Obviously, he is curious about encryption.

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 one small example to illustrate how difficult this task is: every financial contract denominated in USD must be re-denominated in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency)

The crypto industry 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? To quote a recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, is it all “nerds and Nazis”?

It’s hard to tell who is investing in crypto, especially since so much of the activity is being done anonymously or under a pseudonym. But some surveys and studies show that crypto investing 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. Outside the U.S., crypto adoption is also growing. Some studies show that the adoption of encryption technology is growing fastest in countries such as Vietnam, India, and Pakistan.

My colleague Tressie McMillan Cottom argues that encryption is particularly attractive to marginalized groups because it relies on permanent, irrefutable records of ownership of digital goods and currencies, whose property may have been unjustly dispossessed in the past.

“If I were living in a community where the police absolutely used eminent domain to claim my private property, and there was nothing I could do about it,” she wrote, “this everyday sense of powerlessness would make the promise of blockchain sound pretty good.”

Some recent studies have also found that a small group of people owns the vast majority of crypto wealth – so it’s not necessarily an egalitarian haven.

What about extremists? Did they get into encryption?

Some entered, and since you could buy and sell cryptocurrencies without using your name or without a bank account, cryptocurrencies in their early days were a natural fit for those who had a reason to avoid the traditional financial system. They include criminals, tax evaders and people who buy and sell illegal goods. They also include 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 cryptocurrency owners, the vast majority of whom are not white supremacists. And the anonymity and censorship-resistant properties that make cryptocurrency useful to white supremacists may also make it attractive to Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban. Therefore, labelling the entire cryptocurrency movement as an extremist group would be overkill. Regardless, it’s fair to say that cryptocurrencies have gained traction with all kinds of people who are unwilling to deal (or legally) with traditional banks.

Another criticism I hear is that encryption is bad for the environment, is this true?

This is a real nuisance — and one of the most frequent objections to cryptocurrencies.

Let’s start with the definite case, most crypto activities today take place on blockchains, which require a lot of energy to store and verify transactions. These networks use a proof-of-work consensus mechanism (PoW) — 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 annually, according to Digiconomist, a website that tracks cryptocurrency energy usage. This is equivalent to one year of energy consumption in Thailand. 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 proponents justify this environmental impact?

Crypto proponents often quibble with these statistics, arguing that:

1. 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.

2. Many cryptocurrency mining computers are already powered by renewable energy, or energy that would otherwise be wasted.

3. Most newer blockchains are built using consensus mechanisms that require much less energy than proof-of-work. (Ethereum, for example, plans to switch to a new consensus mechanism called Proof-of-Stake PoS sometime in 2022, which could reduce its energy usage by 99.5%).

Are these arguments correct?

part is. Most newer blockchains are designed in a way that requires far less energy than Bitcoin, and Ethereum’s move to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism (PoS) would greatly reduce its environmental impact, should it ever happen.

However, it’s also a bit convenient to turn attention away 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 cryptocurrencies as we know them today have a significant impact on the environment, but it’s hard to gauge just how much. Many of the oft-cited statistics come from industry groups, and it can be hard to find trustworthy independent data and analysis.

But few cryptocurrency fans would question that a blockchain consumes more energy than a traditional centralized database — like a hundred refrigerators consume more energy than a single refrigerator. They simply believe that the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies will shrink over time and that the benefits of decentralization are worth paying for.

Got it, what’s the benefit?

Some cryptocurrency proponents will tell you that the greatest benefit of decentralization is the ability to create currencies, applications, and virtual economies that resist censorship and top-down control. (They’ll say, imagine a version of Facebook where Mark Zuckerberg can’t unilaterally decide to kick people out).

Others will say that the greatest benefit of decentralization is that it allows artists and creators more direct control over their economic destiny, giving them a way (in the form of NFTs and other crypto assets) to bypass platforms like YouTube and Spotify. gatekeepers, selling unique digital creations directly to their fans.

Others say that cryptocurrencies are most useful to those who do not live in countries with stable currencies, or to dissident groups living under dictatorships.

There are also countless hypothetical benefits of decentralization and cryptocurrencies, some of which are real and some of which may not.

How do you actually use cryptocurrencies? Is it like paying via Paypal or Venmo?

It can be so. The quickest way to get started with cryptocurrency is to set up an account on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase, which can link to your bank account and convert your USD (or other government-issued currency) into cryptocurrency.

However, many cryptocurrency users prefer to set up their own “wallets” – safe places to store the cryptographic keys that unlock their digital assets.

Once you have some cryptocurrency in your wallet, the transaction process is very simple – just enter the recipient’s cryptocurrency 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 the rest of your explanation. But first, I have a question about crypto culture: why is it so weird and closed?

This is probably the most question I’ve been asked about encryption. People see their friends, colleagues, and relatives jumping down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole, days or weeks later a new obsession, a new netizen, a bunch of new terms, and can’t seem to talk about anything else. There’s even a word for this – become cryptopilled. People who believe in crypto often really believe in it — so much so that to the outside world they appear more like evangelists of a new religion than fans of a new technology.

I used to be a religious reporter and I don’t think this analogy is completely inappropriate. (And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: many find meaning, community, and intellectual stimulation in religion). As Bloomberg reporter Joe Weisenthal points out, cryptocurrencies have elements that resemble an emerging religion: a mysterious founder (the still-anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto), sacred texts (the Bitcoin white paper), and rituals to mark themselves as believers And ceremonies like tweeting “gm” to your mates (encrypted saying “good morning”), or PS laser eyes on your profile picture.

It’s funny to laugh at the way cryptocurrency fans try to entertain and motivate each other. But focusing too much on their behaviors and habits can mean missing out on the real novelty of the technology itself — and, depending on where you’re at, either exciting or dangerous. That’s why when my friends asked me how to talk to their crypto enthusiast relatives, I suggested they start by trying to understand why they were so excited in the first place.

Learn more about:

1、《What Critics Don’t Understand About NFTs》

This article from The Atlantic, written by Jonathan Zittrain and Will Marks of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, asks the question of what NFT investors are really buying, and deciphers the age-old why we value things. philosophical question.

2、《How NFTs Are Building the Internet of the Future》

This 2021 TED talk by Kayvon Tehranian — the founder of the NFT platform Foundation — presents the cornerstone thesis that NFTs are “an internet where economic control is in the hands of creators, not platforms.”

3、《Why NFTs Are Bad: The Long Version》

This 2021 blog post, written by pseudonymous programmer Antsstyle, is a long story about NFTs, based on the claim that “no system can prove ownership of anything.”

4、《Line Goes Up: The Problem With NFTs》

This YouTube video by Dan Olson, a two-hour deciphering of the flaws of NFTs and cryptocurrencies more broadly, went viral and garnered millions of views.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/the-new-york-times-a-beginners-guide-to-the-crypto-industry-for-latecomers/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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