What To Read

I'm curating some of the most insightful or thought-provoking articles I read on a weekly basis.
2021: May

June 20, 2021

DeFi

This 40 min read is a must-read especially for TradFi founders and investors.

In less than 3-years since the term was initially coined, and four-years since the first product was released, we have $100’s of billions of dollars of capital in the ecosystem, with billions of dollars of value being transferred every day on rails that didn’t exist 5 years ago.
If stablecoins become part of the institutional fabric of financial market infrastructure we will see come combination of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) as well as interoperable bank coins (e.g., JPM coin) which will shift value accrual away from deposits, to value added technology services & API’s that allow developers to build functionality on top of programmable money to fit business use cases.

Investing

Health is the only thing that matters. We all know this. But some people know it more than others. Losing my mother hurt like hell, but I’m grateful for what came of it. It taught me not to take anything in life for granted, especially life itself. Years aren’t promised, so I try to enjoy every day.

AI


May 30, 2021

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

  • When Is a Dollar Not a Dollar?
  • Private Money and Central Bank Money as Payments Go Digital: an Update on CBDCs
  • At this point, it is inevitable. The dollar has to be digitized. The government is incentivized to adopt a digital dollar or risk a new private form of currency that will fragment the payment system in the U.S.
  • A digital dollar will undoubtedly make money more efficient in the United States, but it'll come with its own set of challenges.
  • A digital dollar isn't a direct competitor to alternative currencies like stablecoins. It will be centralized and tied to digital identities.
  • A digital dollar poses a new set of risks for fintech startups. Not enough people are discussing it.

Crypto

The implication is pretty wild: projects that build on top of certain blockchains are actually financially incentivized to support the value of the underlying blockchain in order to secure their project. They don’t pay for AWS or security software; hosting and security is provided by the blockchain.

I don't think crypto is going anywhere. Instead, it may turn out to be something different in the future, but it will be here.

A big problem for crypto is leverage. 100X leverage is never a good thing because everyone would like to participate.

And so Bitfinex ended up using, not a big regular bank, but Crypto Capital as its payment processor. “By 2018,” says the attorney general, “Bitfinex had placed over one billion dollars of co-mingled customer and corporate funds with Crypto Capital.” Also, allegedly, “no contract or similar written agreement was ever entered into between Crypto Capital and Bitfinex or Tether”

I've noticed an increasing amount of people transferring their savings over to stablecoins. The 8% return on stablecoins beats every other high yield savings bank. Hell, compared to the stock market, it may look like a less risky alternative. Do your research. Risk is always there; you have to look harder.

Content Distribution

That means that what would have been best for AT&T’s core business — being the exclusive way to get access to WarnerMedia content, thus giving a reason for customers from Verizon or T-Mobile to switch carriers — would have been value destructive to WarnerMedia, because the cost of producing its differentiated content would have been amortized across fewer customers
The hardest part is creating content people want—again and again. And it turns out when it comes to making more of that content, ownership by a distribution company isn’t really an advantage and may even be a disadvantage, given the conflicting cultures and differing capital needs of distribution and media businesses.

May 23, 2021

This passion economy thing continues to grab my attention since I released that essay on curation.

Whereas previously, the biggest online labor marketplaces flattened the individuality of workers, new platforms allow anyone to monetize unique skills.
But an unseen challenge is this: “Attention” is the powerful currency underpinning the creator economy, but our current market for attention is rudimentary. Attention has a massive power-law problem. It’s typically mispriced. And, as you are increasingly conflated with the thing you create, you actually become the product. Despite drawbacks, it’s clear that the ability to get attention is the rewardable talent of today’s age.
U.S. government now has a weapon to fight economic downturns and the American people are going to be angry if they don’t use it during future downturns

May 15, 2021