Crypto Resources — From Bitcoin to Ethereum to ICOs and Beyond
Crypto / blockchain / digital assets sit at the revolutionary intersection of cryptography, economics, finance and technology — this is one of the hardest fields to truly crack.
Thankfully, we can rely on incredible thinkers and investors (Vitalik Buterin, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Balaji S. Srinivasan, Fred Wilson and more) for a strong foundational understanding. First, this post highlights the high level goals of cryptocurrencies, then it dives into the technical details of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other tokens. Finally, it looks at some of the emerging blockchain applications: ICOs, governance, and dApps.
Why Decentralization is Important
In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, we are more aware than ever of the power of our data. Data ownership and security, along with censorship resistance and innovation incentives, are key components in a decentralized world:
“by replicating and storing user data across an open and decentralized network rather than individual applications controlling access to disparate silos of information, we reduce the barriers to entry for new players and create a more vibrant and competitive ecosystem of products and services on top”
— USV’s Fat Protocols
- Vitalik Buterin The Meaning of Decentralization
- Y Combinator Decentralized Future Series
- Chris Dixon Why Decentralization Matters
The Disruption of Money
“Bitcoin represents a fundamental transformation of money. An invention that changes the oldest technology we have in civilization. That changes it radically and disruptively by changing the fundamental architecture into one where every participant is equal. Where transaction has no state or context other than obeying the consensus rules of the network that no one controls. Where your money is yours. You control it absolutely through the application of digital signatures, and no one can censor it, no one can seize it, no one can freeze it. No one can tell you what to do or what not to do with your money. It is a system of money that is simultaneously, absolutely transnational and borderless. We’ve never had a system of money like that.”
- Tim Ferriss’ podcast The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo
- Elad Gil’s Cryptocurrency’s Netscape Moment
Bitcoin & Ethereum
Bitcoin and Ethereum are two of the most successful public blockchains thus far — both in terms of market cap and ecosystem development. Bitcoin, founded in 2009, remains the O.G. blockchain whereas Ethereum was launched in 2015 and has found immense momentum around ERC20 tokens, ICOs and more.
- Bitcoin’s white paper
- Ethereum’s white paper
- Linda Xie Beginner’s guide to Ethereum and Ethereum tokens
- Laura Shin Crypto 101: Everything You Need To Know About Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchains, ICOs, And More
Tokens — Why do they matter? How do they work?
2017 was truly the year of the token. For years, many thought blockchain was a winner takes all arena, but 2017 saw dozens of crypto “unicorns” materialize and Bitcoin’s dominance drop to only 35% of total crypto market cap. These tokens carry a range of code, scalability, security and more. Thus, the conversation has shifted towards multiple tokens designed for specific use cases, making marketplaces, fundraising, and localized incentives possible.
- USV’s deck on Why Tokens Are Fundamental
- Balaji S. Srinivasan Thoughts on Tokens
- Andreessen Horowitz Why Crypto Tokens Matter
- Linda Xie Beginner’s Guide on Cryptoassets
- Andreessen Horowitz Cryptocurrencies, App Coins and Investing in Protocols
- Nick Tomaino Cryptoeconomics 101
- Upfolio’s Token Guides
ICOs — What are they? Why are they so controversial?
According to TokenData, ICOs raised over $5.6bn in 2017, versus ~$300mm raised from 2014–2016 collectively. Many called ICOs the first killer app for blockchains and the biggest disruption to VC in years, while others just labeled it tulip mania. As the market cools and regulation takes form, this market continues to evolve with the likes of Coinlist and Harbor.
- Upfront Ventures — Crypto Bull Market: Fad or Future interviews with Chris Dixon, Balaji Srinivasan, Fred Wilson and more
- Elad Gil’s Cryptocurrency Incentives and Corporate Structures
- Fred Wilson on ICOs and VCs
- Hacker Noon’s 2017: A Year in Review — Initial Coin Offerings
Governance — How do these entities function and evolve? What can we translate to existing markets?
In a decentralized world, how do decisions get made? Is forking a sustainable solution, as seen in both Ethereum and Bitcoin? These are the questions projects are grappling with now, and an increasingly common component of new tokens.
dApps — What are they? How do you create one?
Decentralized Apps — dApps are another potential killer app of blockchain technology and one of the founding pillars of Ethereum. Currently, there is dApp development across a range of use cases including identity, prediction markets and the infamous Cryptokitties (!)
- 1confirmation on A Brief Overview of dApp Development
- Andy Coravos Dapps 101: How do I start developing on Ethereum?
Decentralized Exchanges — What are they? Why are they important?
With the proliferation of tokens and dApps, a new layer of necessary infrastructure has emerged: decentralized exchanges. Historically, centralized exchanges like Binance and Bitfinex have dominated crypto flows, but entrants like 0x and OmiseGo are quickly trying to change that, playing into the ethos of the greater crypto movement.
Newsletters / Podcasts— How can I keep up to date on all of this?
Keeping track of new developments in the distributed ledger technology space
Week in Ethereum News
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