Working From Home
What a difference a year makes.
On December 18, 2017, Bitcoin hit an all-time high price of $19,498.63. Just a year later, it’s trading at $3,683, the same price from September of 2017 from where it started its meteoric run. Part of this has had to do with ICOs and the “buzz” around blockchain.
But that’s changing, and fast. Recently, both DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather were hit with fraud charges for promoting ICOs without disclosing that these were paid endorsements — similar to the charges Elon Musk faced for his not-so-harmless 420 tweet manipulating the stock price of Tesla.
Additionally, other projects touting Blockchain have been caught out as fraudulent, such as the Bitcointopia land development project in Elko, Nevada. While expressing a desire to use Bitcoin for land payments and the blockchain for everything from title registration to mesh communication networks, all it allegedly did was act as a vehicle to steal people’s money.
And the charges are eerily similar to those against Arisebank. Jared Rice, CEO of AriseBank promising a decentralized banking platform built on the blockchain, raised $4 millionin an ICO — where he issued unregistered securities. He allegedly misled investors on how much they’d raised,he claimed $600 million,and misused company funds for personal hotels, clothing, food and more.
With all the negative news, it’s time to ask:is “blockchain” just an elaborate hoax?
To answer this question, two independent groups have started their own research.
According to ICOrating.com, out of 800 ICOs completed in 2017, only half raised more than $100,000. In 2018, less than 50 percentof ICOs hit their funding target, and by the end of the year, 76.15 percentof ICO projects had nothing but an idea behind them.
According to MERL, out of 43 advertised blockchain projects they investigated, not a single one has created any financial returns for investors, released a product, or even published peer-reviewed research papers to prove that their blockchain solution is even feasible.
It’s enough to make even the least skeptical among us start to wonder if there is something fishy in the crypto waters.
And that’s the point,but don’t let that intimidate you. Here’s a primer to level-set your blockchain expectations:
Blockchain is a nascent technology,a framework that is looking for a solution. It is currently in what I call the “throw spaghetti at the wall” phase of development. This is the “wild, wild west”, where anything goes. Like it’s spiritual buzzworthy cousin, AI, there’s a lot of promise, and not many results,yet.
But, like Monsanto Director of Digital Partnerships Anju Gupta says of their AI projects, a 99 percentfailure in projects is acceptable because “that 1 percentis going to bring exponential gain.”
Remember those stats I quoted above — that there are more ICOs than ever who are trying to get funded with just an idea, and that more ICOs aren’t reaching funding goals? The flip side of that is that 15 percentof funded projects already had a working business, versus 6 percentthe previous year.
It’s not that people aren’t investing, it’s that people are paying more attention to what they’re investing in. As an example, one of the largest ICOs of 2018 was in Telegram, a popular decentralized messaging platform alternative to WhatsApp and Skype.
Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung and IBM all have Blockchain SDKs (software developer kits) to allow companies to build blockchain solutions, safely, and with scalable technologies.
This allows large corporations and governments to come in and think seriously about how blockchain fits into their business model. As an example, South Korea is developing a blockchain voting system, and the UAE has plans to transfer 51 percentof their governmentpaperwork processes to blockchainsystems by 2021.
When there’s money involved, there’s inevitably going to be fraud — and that’s why regulations are being passed to protect people against it. While we’re still in the early phases, the risk is higher for many.
For some countries, however, cryptocurrency is less volatile than the national currency, which makes it a viable alternate currency.
It’s easy to buy into hype when dealing with something trendy and new. If you keep all these things in mind, you’ll have a level head when thinking about blockchain.
For Modern Fertility’s Afton Vechery, the biggest adjustment to going remote during the coronavirus crisis has been minor but symbolic: “I’ve had to switch from contacts to glasses because of all the screen time and video calls,” she says. Vechery co-founded her home-fertility-test startup, which has $22 million in funding, in 2017. While many now have plenty of time on their hands for, well, fertility, Vechery is busier than ever. Here’s how she stays productive.
The alarm clock buzzes at 6:30 a.m. “A lot of founders have these amazing morning productivity hacks, like meditation,” says Vechery. “For me, the single greatest motivating factor is to just be doing something I love. And so, uh, that translates to emails in bed when I wake up.” After that, Vechery typically bikes to work. During the crisis, she’s swapped her commute for an early-morning ride to the top of San Francisco’s Twin Peaks. It doubles as me time. “It’s really helpful to understand what’s going to bubble up from your subconscious when you’re not being stimulated sitting in front of a computer,” she says.
Vechery’s days in quarantine include more one-on-one meetings than they did before, but that’s the cost of keeping information flowing. Modern Fertility has implemented daily meetings at which employees can check on current and upcoming projects. And the staff has organized optional virtual lunches and happy hours, which Vechery will drop into when she can. Whether at home or in the office, she and co-founder Carly Leahy generally eat dinner while working and wrap up around 9 p.m.–though they encourage staffers to leave earlier.
Vechery relies on an app called Captio, which lets the founder email a note to herself with one click. But you won’t find the Captio icon on her iPhone’s home screen, which is clear of everything but three apps: Calendar, Clock, and Notes. Manually searching for apps lets Vechery ignore distracting notifications. “As a founder, there’s constantly something else you could be doing,” she says. “But when you have space to think through what you’re working on, you’re a better leader.”
When she makes time for a TV show, Vechery starts with the season finale and views the episodes in reverse order. The strange habit helps prevent the urge to binge. “I have an incredibly addictive personality,” she says. “So this is better for everyone.” Vechery also unwinds by playing the trumpet. “It’s a total break from everything else in life,” she says. “It lets you process your thoughts in a really different way.”
Want to keep up to date with all the latest news and events?