"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning” ~Henry Ford
Ten years ago, Bitcoin was little more than a promising protocol for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system being run by a man named Hal. All Hal needed was a 4-digit sur-number, like, oh let’s just say 9000, and this story would read more like an alternative plotline for 2001: Space Odyssey. A thought that brings a smile to my face, as my love is always quick to express his belief that Bitcoin was created by AI, but more on that in later posts.
Still, the genesis of cryptocurrency is only a small piece of what has unfolded since that makes crypto exciting. Today, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are tradeable assets that have created many millionaires and even a few notable billionaires. So how did these p2p protocols turn into the modern day gold rush? What was it that possessed mass groups to agree that these digital assets had any value at all, and where will it lead?
What is Currency?
In order to understand cryptocurrency, it’s important to establish a baseline understanding of currency in general. What is Currency? Frankly put: Currency is, and can be, anything two people are willing to accept as an exchange of value. If you want to trade your neighbor some of your honey for their maple syrup and they accept, your traded goods, in this case, are the currency! If the entire world truly understood this notion, the masses would be able to regain financial independence overnight. As the situation stands, the citizens of the world have been conditioned to use fiat tender as a means of monetary value.
What is Fiat Currency?
The large majority of people just accept that we: 1. Receive compensation with fiat ‘dollars’, 2. Pay bills with fiat ‘dollars’, 3. Purchase commodities with fiat ‘dollars’. Many never stop to consider that these are just fancy pieces of printed paper and embossed coins. Still, the world all but relies on fiat currencies to keep it running.
Fiat Money is a form of currency that is literally created out of thin air by a central bank. It is not backed by any physical asset, such as gold or silver. It can be printed (or typed into existence) on an as-needed basis by its issuing agency, such as the Federal Reserve in the United States. Value is derived from its supply, demand, the relative strength of the governments that are backing it — and, there is never any limit on the number of notes that can be issued. Today, all paper money is a form of fiat currency.
Other than an exchange of value, fiat monies don’t serve any use to us (except for perhaps toilet paper in a bind, or cash-brick forts if you want to get creative). As a species, we have been conditioned to accept fiats as legal tender, despite having witnessed several cycles of inflation and even hyperinflation that have led to disasters like the Great Depression.
Fiat currencies are always destined to fail. At some point, inflation will catch up as more units enter the circulating supply, and the value will drastically decrease.
To summarize that: Central Banks print fiat money, Governments create mandates enforcing its value, and people are left to use a form of currency that does nothing for them except collect tax liabilities and is also subject to inevitable hyperinflation.
Necessity is the mother of all invention, and it was only a matter of time before the masses realized that something was fundamentally wrong with the monetary system that has been handed down to us for generations.
Amidst the frustration of bank bailouts and the increasing wealth gap, a still-unknown entity, or group, by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper, and began the genesis block. The concept was simple: A peer-to-peer digital cash system that solved double spending issues, and eliminated a need for “trusted” third-parties to broker transactions.
This opened the door for internet users to easily send units of value (BTC) directly to an individual anywhere in the world relatively quickly. No more Western Union; no more “3–5 Business Days” for transactions to complete; no need to worry about exchange rate fees. Though the early versions of Bitcoin were not without its issues. It was clunky, some transactions were confirmed within 60 minutes, and sometimes, other transactions could take a few days, and of course, there were very few means to acquire and use BTC.
The answer to these issues? Either Hard Fork the original network or create a new blockchain altogether. Bitcoin software was open source, leaving it wide open for anyone to copy the framework, and improve upon the original protocol, adding more capabilities and features. Which is just what (now 25 yr. old) Russian Legend Vitaly Dmitriyevich “Vitalik” Buterin did when he, alongside co-founders Gavin Wood and Jeffrey Wilcke, created the Ethereum Network and its native token, Ether. This was a huge move that set the tone for future cryptocurrencies, dubbed as “Altcoins” to come. Ethereums biggest move, in my opinion, was the release of their Virtual Machine, which allowed developers to build and run smart contracts, which are trustless, “Turing complete” automated peer-to-peer interactions on the blockchain. Smart contracts and other Ethereum Network capabilities paved the way for outside developers to build one of the blockchain’s most prominent uses, the D’App, or, “decentralized application”. Many of these are a bit like “regular” apps in terms of experience, though they are built on top of the blockchain, and their functions are executed with the use of automated smart contracts.
The State of Cryptocurrency Today
Today, the site CoinMarketCap.com records and provides a database of information on 2,209 different cryptocurrencies and 18,660 recognized marketplaces (exchanges) where crypto can be stored, purchased, and sold. Although it is not advised to store your crypto on exchanges for long periods of time as they can be vulnerable to hacks, where internal breaches of security can lead to the hackers getting away with a USD value of tens of millions in digital assets. Many of the smaller exchanges, simply fold under the weight of the debt and cannot repay users lost assets.
For this reason, when you are trading crypto, it is best to use well established and trusted exchanges such as Binance, who have implemented fail-safes like the #Safu Fund, which can cover significant losses in the event of a hack. When storing your crypto, however, it is best to use what is known as a cold-storage hardware wallet. These are more or less a type of external HD for your crypto, so-to-speak, and they’ve drastically increased crypto HODLer’s ability to store their assets securely.
When it comes to all of the available altcoins on the market, users should be aware that there are two types of cryptocurrencies.
The first type is Coin, which is a digital representation of money that holds a store of value, much like Bitcoin, Dash, and Monero. Unlike fiat currency, coins have a limited supply. All coin transactions are recorded on their blockchain network, creating a transparent ecosystem that reduces the risks of fraud and double-spending. In a nutshell, coins can be used as payment methods for purchasing and selling.
The second type is called a Token. A token is a digital asset that will have a purpose or utility within the ecosystem of the company that created it. It can represent a company’s share, or provide access to content, products or services within its ecosystem. Examples of a token are BAT, BTT, and HOT.
Tokens are much easier to create, as they are built on top of existing blockchains. Ethereum was the first to simplify this, and companies like TRON have taken it a few steps further.
What’s so great about the Tron Network?
One of the blockchain projects that has excited me the most has been the TRONNetwork. Under the direction of CEO Justin Sun, the TRONNetwork has managed to meet several impressive milestones in its brief history. Created in September of 2017 as a content distribution platform for digital entertainment, the Tron Foundation’s native token, TRX, managed to climb its way into the top 15 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization by February of 2018. The TRON foundation Launched it’s Mainnet in June and had a functional Virtual Machine by later July of 2018.
What sets the TRONNetwork apart from predecessors like Ethereum are its incredible transaction rates and next-to-nothing network fees. Ethereum improved on BTC’s sluggish 7tps (transactions-per-second) by upping network speeds to 15tps. Tron, on the other hand, can comfortably handle up to 2000tps. What’s more, is that TRON has built an incredible ecosystem that offers users a limited number of FREE transactions, plus the ability to ‘Freeze’ TRX, which increases your ‘bandwidth’ and gives you a proportionate amount of additional free transactions.
Another great perk of freezing your TRX is that you get a 1:1 share of Voting Power, which allows you to vote for your favorite Super Representative Candidate, many of which pay out rewards to their voters in the form of TRX, and/or the candidate’s native TRC token. This is all part of TRON’s Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) protocol, but I’ll save that for another article. The point is that the Tron Foundation has made every effort to make sure that users of the TRONNetwork are incentivized and rewarded.
Making a Profit on the Blockchain
A misconception that many no-coiners have is that you’ll need to be well educated and versed in market exchange trading in order to make a profit using cryptocurrency. While that will certainly help, the technology of blockchain capabilities is improving and companies are finding ways to support user-profits outside of market exchanges. The next section will highlight two projects in particular who are paving the way for lucrative incomes on the TRONNetwork.
BeatzCoin, powering VibraVid
When it comes to making a profit by posting your original content online, there’s a huge albino elephant in the room. The giants of online-content sharing such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter all have these little clauses in their agreements. When it comes to your content, they possess a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license.”
In layman’s terms, they can use content posted on their sites as they see fit, for a profit, without the need to compensate content creators. Of the platforms that do offer their users the ability to earn profits, they are notorious for taking large cuts and paying creators only a small portion of the revenue actually generated by their content.
The team behind BeatzCoin are going beyond the vision and actually creating a platform, VibraVid, where creators will retain full content ownership rights. Creators will have full control over content monetization by being able to market, license, rent, and sell original content as well as merchandise and event tickets. Content monetization will be powered with VibraVid’s native token, Beatzcoin. This peer-to-peer network will allow creators and users to exchange BeatzCoin for goods, services, content, and promotional prizes.
While record labels and production companies are notorious for keeping the lion’s share of content profit power, the BeatzCoin team, through their platform, are putting it back into the hands of the artists. Whether you’re a content creator or a lover of music and entertainment, you’ll dig what VibraVid is bringing to the world.
TRONbet, a Profit-Sharing model.
Online odds & betting games are TRONbet’s specialty. Their platform is simple, sleek, and incredibly interactive. Users can level up to receive additional site priveledges and bonuses, though the best part is that playing any of the platform games using TRX will mine you a portion of TRONbet’s native token, ANTE.
ANTE is the key to TRONbet’s profit-sharing model. Holders have the option to freeze it on the TB platform (much like freezing TRX). When your ANTE is frozen, it is then eligible for a share of the TRONbet Dividend Pool. Yes, you read that right. These aren’t your typical shareholder's dividend payments, either.
The team behind TRONbet truly rewards its largest supporters in the form of ANTE dividends. Revenue generated by the site is split 60/40, where 40% of TRX profits are retained by the team, and 60% of profits are paid out to holders of staked (frozen) ANTE, proportionately. The more ANTE one holds, the larger their share of the dividend pool will be. How could it possibly get any better, you ask? Dividends are paid out daily. That's every 24 hours, without hitch, as the function is deployed by an automated smart contract.
These daily TRX dividend payouts have enabled many ANTE holders to generate incomes of several hundred USD on a weekly basis. In addition to mining ANTE, it can also be purchased (or sold) on a TRONNetwork ‘decentralized exchange’ (DEX) like TronTrade. This type of liquidity offers ANTE holders the additional value of being able to ‘cash-out’ if they choose to, and it also greatly increases the profit potential for long-term holders. As of writing, the value of ANTE is at 20.70 TRX ($0.71 USD).
These guys have done an incredible job building a solid community of supporters for their project. As holders of ANTE receive a share of the platform revenue, they are directly incentivized to support the future success of the site! In this way, TRONbet has mastered the art of a built-in marketing team. What’s more, is that they have a plan for long-term success. Not only will the team continue to release in-house games, but they are creating an entire ecosystem where 3rd parties can bring additional games to their platform and additional revenue to the very people who power the site: its players. Find out how awesome TRONbet is, and check it out for yourself.
Where Is Crypto Headed Next?
10 years after its conception, the technology behind blockchain and cryptocurrency is still very much in its infancy. While more people and institutions are recognizing its value, there is still a very widespread stigma and, frankly, a lack of knowledge among the masses around its uses and possibilities.
Cryptocurrency also challenges today’s monetary standards by providing transparency and accountability where, before, it was easy to obfuscate financial transactions and responsibilities. This is a direct threat to large institutions like governments and traditional banks who thrive on secrecy and trickery; they will have a vested interest in keeping the status quo, or, controlling the perception, functions, and use of the technology as it unveils. Probably some weird mix of both.
In its purest form, cryptocurrency gives monetary freedom back to the individual. It gives us an alternative to fiat that isn’t predestined to crash and burn with inflation. When we use a dollar, we are giving that dollar a vote of confidence in its value. By using cryptocurrency, We the People are giving our votes of confidence to a new system. A system that will serve us, rather than perpetuate our enslavement. No, thi’ saint just “blockchain”. This is the financial revolution that will redistribute the wealth of the world.
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