What is the Lightning Network?

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they did it with expert timing

In short, the lightning network is Bitcoin’s answer to the problem of scalability on the Bitcoin blockchain.  It’s a ‘2nd layer’ solution that creates a network of peer-to-peer payment channels that facilitate and record transactions off chain and then settle or sync back up with the main chain.

The idea is that by creating this second layer the transactions can occur much faster in real-time without having to be processed through the congestion and cost of the main chain.

To make it simple—it’s kind of like running an excel spreadsheet on your computer where random access memory (‘lightning network’) keeps track of the changes you’re making to a file.  This makes your experience faster and more efficient because your computer is using a faster temporary memory space to track the changes.  Then when you’re done making changes you save that file to your hard drive which makes all of the changes permanent by recording/updating the file to your hard drive (the Bitcoin blockchain).

In general scalability is a big problem for blockchain developers to address and there are many approaches to scaling and increasing ‘throughput’ (the number and rate of transactions).

Who’s Kung Fu will be strongest?

Here’s a video that explains the Kung Fu of Lightning in simple terms:

 

Inclusion: How ICOs are making the world a better place for stupid people everywhere.

The ICO boom we’ve witnessed over the past year has created widespread access for retail micro-investors to participate in exclusive early stage capital formation rounds.  This is significant and it’s why ICOs are so popular because everyday morons like me can play in a game that—by law—I’ve been excluded from playing in for years.  It reminds me of my youth.

Remember when you were a kid and you’d line up with a bunch of other kids and the two captains would start picking through eager participants.  One by one they’d choose until some poor kid gets picked by default.  No one wants to be that kid.  

Well capital formation is kinda like that today.  Unfortunately the poor kids don’t even make it to the line.

Here’s some smart rich people talking about this capital formation game (10mins):

Sounds like a great idea doesn’t it?  An egalitarian crypto sandbox where all the kids get a whack at home runs?  What could go wrong?

Turns out plenty.  Here’s the problem if you’re a poor moron you have no idea how to play this game.  It’s kinda like taking the little rascals of the world and shoving them onto a field with NFL players, somebody’s getting rekt and it’s not his guy…

Listen, I love the idea of creating more inclusion in early stage investment and harnessing the power of global crowdfunding to make it easier for the little rascals to build their school projects.  We should definitely figure that out.  In fact it could be one of my favorite things about crypto.  However, in the meantime stuff like this is happening:

A Vietnamese cryptocurrency company Modern Tech launched an ICO for its Pincoin token, raising $660 million from approximately 32,000 people. The company first ran the Pincoin ICO, promising consta…

Source: Exit scammers run off with $660 million in ICO earnings | TechCrunch

Charles Hoskinson | IOHK/Cardano Tax Evasion, Crypto, and the PBOC

Charles Hoskinson is the resident professor here in Wonderland.  I’m linking to a talk he did that covered Cardano’s goals for Africa.  In the Q&A he launches into an interesting moment describing how a state could use blockchain to basically control and monitor just about every detail of your financial life.  In his view that’s exactly the aim of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). I’ve fast linked this video just to highlight the quote but encourage you to listen to his presentation on what Cardano is up to in research and their focus on the developing world.

There’s a trade off here the things you can do to make crypto compliant with income tax over the long arc will also inadvertently build the capabilities that could institute a tyranny

Thomas Lee | Fundstrat @ Upfront Summit 2018

This is a macro look at cryptoeconomics and demographics.  No surprise millennials are leading the charge and the big institutional sharks are smelling blood.

 

Slides:

Fundstratcryptoupfrontpresentationvfinal 180205182758