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Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi

Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi
Until one understands the basics of this tech, they won’t be able to grasp or appreciate the impact it has on our digital bank, Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/n0euarkifu951/player
This is the second post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
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Our previous post set the stage for this series. We discussed the state of consumer finance and how the success of today’s high-flying fintech unicorns will be short-lived as long as they’re building on legacy finance — a weak foundation that is ripe for massive disruption.
Instead, the future of consumer finance belongs to those who are deeply familiar with blockchain tech & decentralized protocols, build on it as the foundation, and know how to take it to the world. Like Genesis Block.
Today we begin our journey down the crypto rabbit hole. This post will be an important introduction for those still learning about Bitcoin, Ethereum, or DeFi (Decentralized Finance). This post (and the next few) will go into greater detail about how this technology gives Genesis Block an edge, a superpower, and an unfair advantage. Let’s dive in…
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Bitcoin: The First Cryptocurrency

There are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up.
Cryptocurrency is the most popular use-case of blockchain technology today. And Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented.
Bitcoin is the most decentralized of all crypto assets today — no government, company, or third party can control or censor it.
Bitcoin has two primary features (as do most other cryptocurrencies):
  1. Send Value You can send value to anyone, anywhere in the world. Nobody can intercept, delay or stop it — not even governments or financial institutions. Unlike with traditional money transfers or bank wires, there are no layers of middlemen. This results in a process that is much more cost-efficient. Some popular use-cases include remittances and cross-border payments.
  2. Store Value With nothing but a smartphone, you can become your own bank and store your own funds. Nobody can seize your assets. The funds are digital and stored on a blockchain. Your money no longer needs to be stored at a bank, in a vault, or under your mattress. I covered a few inspiring use-cases in a previous post. They include banking the unbanked, protecting assets from government seizure, mitigating the risk of a bank run, and protection against hyperinflation (like what recently happened in Venezuela).
The fact that there are so few things one can do with Bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths.
Its design is simple, elegant, and focused. It has been 10+ years since Satoshi’s white paper and no one has been able to crack or hack the Bitcoin network. With a market cap of $170B, there is plenty of incentive to try.
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Public Awareness

A few negative moments in Bitcoin’s history include the collapse of Mt. Gox — which resulted in hundreds of millions of customer funds being stolen — as well as Bitcoin’s role in dark markets like Silk Road — where Bitcoin arguably found its initial userbase.
However, like most breakthrough technology, Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. People can use it for good or they can use it for evil. Thankfully, it’s being used less and less for illicit activity. Criminals are starting to understand that transactions on a blockchain are public and traceable — it’s exactly the type of system they usually try to avoid. And it’s true, at this point “a lot more” crimes are actually committed with fiat than crypto.
As a result, the perception of bitcoin and cryptocurrency has been changing over the years to a more positive light.
Bitcoin has even started to enter the world of media & entertainment. It’s been mentioned in Hollywood films like Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and in songs from major artists like Eminem. It’s been mentioned in countless TV shows like Billions, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Gray’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and more.
As covid19 has ravaged economies and central banks have been printing money, Bitcoin has caught the attention of many legendary Wall Street investors like Paul Tudor Jones, saying that Bitcoin is a great bet against inflation (reminding him of Gold in the 1970s).
Cash App already lets their 25M users buy Bitcoin. It’s rumored that PayPal and Venmo will soon let their 325M users start buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency and is showing no signs of slowing down. For more than a decade it has delivered on its core use-cases — being able to send or store value.
At this point, Bitcoin has very much entered the zeitgeist of modern pop culture — at least in the West.
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Ethereum: Programmable Money

When Ethereum launched in 2015, it opened up a world of new possibilities and use-cases for crypto. With Ethereum Smart Contracts (i.e. applications), this exciting new digital money (cryptocurrency) became a lot less dumb. Developers could now build applications that go beyond the simple use-cases of “send value” & “store value.” They could program cryptocurrency to have rules, behavior, and logic to respond to different inputs. And always enforced by code. Additional reading on Ethereum from Linda Xie or Vitalik Buterin.
Because these applications are built on blockchain technology (Ethereum), they preserve many of the same characteristics as Bitcoin: no one can stop, censor or shut down these apps because they are decentralized.
One of the first major use-cases on Ethereum was the ability to mint and create your own token, your own cryptocurrency. Many companies used this as a way to fundraise from the public. This led to the 2017 ICO bubble (Initial Coin Offerings). Some tokens — and the apps/networks they powered — were fascinating and innovative. Most tokens were pointless. And many tokens were outright scams. Additional token reading from Fred Ehrsam, Balaji, and Naval.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/b5b1jh9ofu951/player

Digital Gold Rush

Just as tokens grew in popularity in 2017–2018, so did online marketplaces where these tokens could be bought, sold, and traded. This was a fledgling asset class — the merchants selling picks, axes, and shovels were finally starting to emerge.
I had a front-row seat — both as an investor and token creator. This was the Wild West with all the frontier drama & scandal that you’d expect.
Binance — now the world’s largest crypto exchange —was launched during this time. They along with many others (especially from Asia) made it really easy for speculators, traders, and degenerate gamblers to participate in these markets. Similar to other financial markets, the goal was straightforward: buy low and sell high.
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That period left an embarrassing stain on our industry that we’ve still been trying to recover from. It was a period rampant with market manipulation, pump-and-dumps, and scams. To some extent, the crypto industry still suffers from that today, but it’s nothing compared to what it was then.
While the potential of getting filthy rich brought a lot of fly-by-nighters and charlatans into the industry, it also brought a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs, and builders.
The launch and growth of Ethereum has been an incredible technological breakthrough. As with past tech breakthroughs, it has led to a wave of innovation, experimentation, and development. The creativity around tokens, smart contracts, and decentralized applications has been fascinating to witness. Now a few years later, the fruits of those labors are starting to be realized.

DeFi: Decentralized Finance

So as a reminder, tokens are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies can carry value. And value is a lot like money. Because tokens are natively integrated with Ethereum, it’s been natural for developers to build applications related to financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance. In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of developer momentum building in this area of financial protocols. This segment of the industry is known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
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In Q2 of 2020, 97% of all Ethereum activity was DeFi-related. Total DeFi transaction volume has reached $11.5B. The current value locked inside DeFi protocols is approaching $2 Billion (double from a month ago). DeFi’s meteoric growth cannot be ignored.
Most of that growth can be attributed to exciting protocols like Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Balancer, Aave, dYdX, and Uniswap. These DeFi protocols and the financial services they offer are quickly becoming some of the most popular use-cases for blockchain technology today.
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This impressive growth in DeFi certainly hasn’t come without growing pains. Unlike with Bitcoin, there are near-infinite applications one can develop on Ethereum. Sometimes bugs (or typos) can slip through code reviews, testing, and audits — resulting in loss of funds.
Our next post will go much deeper on DeFi.

Wrap Up

I know that for the hardcore crypto people, what we covered today is nothing new. But for those who are still getting up to speed, welcome! I hope this was helpful and that it fuels your interest to learn more.
Until you understand the basics of this technology, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the impact that it has on our new digital bank, Genesis Block. You won’t be able to understand the implications, how it relates, or how it helps.
After today’s post, some of you probably have a lot more questions. What are specific examples or use-cases of DeFi? Why does it need to be on a blockchain? What benefits does it bring to Genesis Block and our users?
In upcoming posts, we answer these questions. Today’s post was just Level 1. It set the foundation for where we’re headed next: even deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.
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Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
We have a lot more content coming. Be sure to follow our channels: https://genesisblock.com/follow/
Have you already downloaded the app? We're Genesis Block, a new digital bank that's powered by crypto & decentralized protocols. The app is live in the App Store (iOS & Android). Get the link to download at https://genesisblock.com/download
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P-REP Proposal; ICON, 20% exposure in top crypto event of 2020, reach 100+ universities/corporate partners (BETTER THAN SLICED BREAD), organized by MouseBelt.

Summary:
Event site: https://www.ri2020.io/
Event date: May 18th, 2020
P-PREP Commitment Date: April 30th, 2020
Telegram: u/markusreisner
We believe we have a strong proposition to market ICON in a meaningful way to some of the largest communities in crypto.
The MouseBelt team has the largest global network of over 100+ universities in 20+ countries. Over the last few months, 10+ university blockchain events we were working with got canceled for obvious reasons.
Due to that fact, and our understanding of our reach we decided to launch a virtual conference. Since April 10th here is what happened:
MouseBelt will invest over $70k+ into this event. We would like to have fellow P-Reps invest $20k (this will go 100% to BlockTV production cost).
The benefit to the ICON community will be:
Background:
MouseBelt is a popular blockchain ecosystem consisting of multiple parts:
MouseBelt as ICON developers:
Our engineering team has implemented token assets on ZenSports (SPORTS), the first STO on the ICON network, and GrowYourBase, the #1 IRC2 application token in market capitalization on the ICON network.
Currently, we are developing the Balanced network in concert with ICX_Station, PARROT9, and Iconosphere. Balanced will bring synthetic assets backed by ICX to the ICON network, as well as tokenized staked ICX. This can assist with both a stable asset for payments, and a base for other DeFi applications
MouseBelt as a P-Rep:
We have been a Main P-Rep most of the time since decentralization of the network and so far had utilized our funds for student education.
Such as the “ICON in a box” workshops and the Milwaukee Blockchain Conference, which we sponsored in a direct ICX payment and the second annual payment for UCLA’s blockchain engineering course.
REIMAGINE2020, Conference details:
Conferences have always been an integral part of the blockchain space to promote projects in the industry.
With recent evolutions around the globe, things have changed. They either got canceled or delayed.
We have created REIMAGINE2020, a virtual conference.
Shared by the ICON Foundation on April 18.
We can effectively and efficiently promote ICON to the world through Reiamgine2020 | BlockTV. The driving force behind the conference is: highest quality of Content matched with the best production quality for Video. The funds will allow MouseBelt to promote ICON logo/branding throughout the conference/programming for straight 72 hr of live streaming. Additionally, we have the opportunity to properly place ICON logo/branding in highly favorable on-screen placements (tickers/commercials/plugs and continuous branding) reaching 5M viewers globally. ICX Station is providing a Keynote to drive global interest.
Confirmed partners
Schedule & Format
Production Status
Audience
In addition to the communities of our confirmed partners and universities we are targeting:
1. Viewers - Tuning into the livestream, attending a workshop, or watching the content post-conference.
2. Participants - Speakers, partners, and sponsors
3. As far as hard data for "attendees" we have two signals:
submitted by patrickMouse to helloicon [link] [comments]

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The American entrepreneur and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has written extensively about Bitcoin and his firm Andreessen Horowitz has invested in numerous blockchain startups. Andreessen ... As Western tech giants like Facebook compete to bring cryptocurrency-enabled financial services to Africa, Binance's new African-run Bundle intends to leap-frog traditional finance altogether. Cryptocurrency investment firm Scalar Capital recently raised money from new, high-profile investors. After raising $8 million in a funding round in January, the company attracted new investments from Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon. The new investments bring Scalar’s total assets to more than $20 million. Andreessen and Dixon are just two of ... Founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the VC firm also raised $300 million in 2018 for its first-ever fund dedicated to cryptocurrency-related companies. It aimed to invest in various niches from early-stage coins and tokens to later-stage networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin: The First Cryptocurrency There are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up. Andreessen Horowitz was one of the earliest venture companies who actually believed in Bitcoin and blockchain technology. In January 2014, its co-founder, Marc Andreessen, who also cofounded ...

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