Last week we started the 20 hour crypto challenge – the summer reading/listening/watching list to get up to speed with web3.
This week we’re putting out the next batch of content. We’re not going to take you on a totally linear path though the issues, but instead weave together a set of engaging videos, articles and podcasts that give a particular view on an aspect of the technology, a use case, or the crypto and web3 space more generally. We hope that by the end the pieces will have come together in a way that adds up to a useful overview and compelling story about web3.
So let’s get to it.
In 2016, Anders Brownworth, now at the Federal Bank of Boston, but formerly at Circle and a lecturer at MIT, put out two videos explaining how blockchains works. He builds up the components using a simplified demo. It’s the best thing i’ve seen to help you get your head around how the technology actually works.
There are two parts to the demo, which are both short and worth watching. Helpfully, you can then mess around with the demo yourself on his website.
- 1 - How blockchains work
- 2 - Public and private keys
We’ve talked a lot at Vellir about the ownership economy. It is worth going back to read Jesse Walden’s original piece on this from 2020.
Most people will have heard of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by now. In simple terms:
- Fungible tokens (like Ethereum or Bitcoin) are interchangeable. They can be exchanged because their value defines them rather than their unique properties. For example, ETH or dollars are fungible because 1 ETH / $1 USD is exchangeable for another 1 ETH / $1 USD. The value of each token is the same.
- Non-fungible tokens are defined by their properties i.e. they are unique. Each individual token is completely unique and is not divisible (or fungible…). One NFT has a different value from another as its properties are different.
NFTs have shot into the public consciousness because they are a new way of providing digital scarcity and ownership.
In Ben Yu’s 2021 long read on NFTs, he takes you through his personal journey of understanding NFTs, both the technology and the appeal. If you can make it past the self-aggrandising first couple of paras, then the rest of the article is fascinating.
One interesting application to emerge using blockchain technology is the idea of a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO). Think of these as ways to coordinate people and resources entirely digitally. I’ll let Mario Gabriele at The Generalist take you through it.
Taking a slightly different turn, an interview between Real Vision’s Raoul Pal (former Goldman banker, turned macro strategist, turned crypto evangelist) and the pseudonymous Punk 6529, a well known commentator on crypto issues, and owner of Crypto Punk 6529 (see hour four for details…) It’s a wide ranging discussion on NFTs, art, IP, the metaverse, regulation and much more. It’s well worth a watch (you may have to sign up to real vision, but it's free).
We hope you found this set of materials interesting and thought provoking. Next week we’ll be diving into issues like climate, culture, music and identity.
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