Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ethereum: The Unicorn of All Unicorns?

Photo of Derin Cag (left) and Vitalik Buterin (right) shaking hands.
You may not realize it, but in the next few minutes you are going to learn how Ethereum could become bigger than Twitter, Facebook, Uber & Airbnb combined.
They’re already being tested and have partnerships with some of the biggest and most innovative organisations in the world, including Microsoft.
When it comes to returns on investment, Ether (the crypto-fuel that powers Ethereum) has produced an ROI upwards of 2,000% for crowdsale investors since the official launch on 30th July 2015. It’s a complete shock why mainstream media-outlets are not giving it more attention.
In terms of business ethics; the developing team behind Ethereum are on a good track with transparency and ethical standards, they even post expenses by the Ethereum Foundation on Reddit. And the founders are not fictional characters, unlike Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym used by the creator of Bitcoin).
Richtopians performed months of studies and background checks on Vitalik Buterin, the main founder of Ethereum, prior to meeting him in London – and it could certainly be stated that if he does not live and breathe Ether, he certainly comes close.
Vitalik’s team include experts with post-graduate degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a number of professors, Blockchain experts, and influencers in the field of cryptography.
Here’s what Frances Coppola had to say in her Forbes article ‘Ethereum: Towards A New BitSociety‘:
“Recent developments take us towards new forms of law, new types of democracy, even – perhaps – the redefinition of what we mean by a “nation”. It may sound extreme to say this, but some blockchain aficionados are even talking about complete reordering of society.”
The most attractive points about Ethereum for Richtopians are the philanthropical elements for social entrepreneurs, including:
  • Accelerating the sharing economy
  • Biometric identification
  • Banking the unbanked to put them into the world economy
  • Securing the internet
  • Decentralising websites so that they cannot be blocked by authoritarian regimes
  • Putting an end to middle-men, hence cutting down on extra fees
  • Linking to the physical world through ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and ‘Internet of Everything (IoE) applications
  • Acting as a transparent tool that could be used as a contract for things including property, insurance, law, and voting through smart-contracts due to its incorruptible nature
  • Plus more.
Of-course, it is also high risk like any other technological innovation, here are some downsides:
  • It could fail
  • Unexpected laws and regulations could completely cripple its usage
  • There may be serious negative side-effects of decentralisation due to its peculiar nature
  • It could unintentionally be used to support scams or dark-markets similar to Mt. Gox or Silk Road respectively, gaining a bad reputation like Bitcoin
  • The technology could get into the wrong hands and be used for money-laundering or to fuel terrorism
  • In the distant future, if it is successful and most things become Blockchain-based, a powerful nation could send its submarines to cut-off the internet for strategic reasons, causing a near-complete economic collapse
  • And the list goes on.
Ethereum is the first Blockchain platform with physical implementations outside of finance, such as Slock.it
In addition to Ethereum, there is potential in Slock.it for social entrepreneurs, either through investing in The DAO associated with them, or implementing the Slock.it technology to speed up the shift towards a Sharing Economy, which is described by Investopedia as:
“An economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else.
Think of the future application of Slock.it like Uber or the London Cycle Hire Scheme on a mass-scale viable within any business model including hotel rooms on autopilot where people pay for minutes and not days, internet cafe’s, physical assets like 3D printers, cars, and boats on autopilot.
This is what UK Prime Minister David Cameron said about the Blockchain …
Ethereum is the #6 highest funded crowdfunding project in human history, having raised more than $18m during pre-launch. However, something else they are working on has surpassed that record; the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO), which was on $25m at the time of writing.
The DAO is at the forefront of a technological revolution.
The open-source interactive piece of software enables people that have money and want to make a change in the world to directly connect to people with a plan and the time to make that change a reality. In short, it’s an advanced form of democracy based on the Blockchain.
Here’s what The Economist wrote on Decentralised Autonomous Organisations:
“Imagine a corporation that engages in economic activity without guidance or direction from humans. Programmed with a mission statement—maximize profit for shareholders from the sale of widgets, for example—the corporation could own capital, enter contracts, and employ robots … DACs hold the potential to reduce friction in many markets, allowing for instantaneous, trust-less business transactions across the globe … A DAC also wouldn’t have to employ a board of directors, and a CEO’s hefty pay cheque could be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends.”
The DAO and its proposals are created using Smart Contracts on the Ethereum blockchain that carry out automatically enforced payments for services rendered.
The DAO and organizations like it are building a future that will cut through all the red tape slowing down innovators and impeding major social change. It streamlines normally assumed necessary corporate structures. Imagine replacing all the bureaucracy that is normally required to affect change in this world. The DAO displaces middle management, corporate executives, banks, lawyers, and accountants with immutable computer code.
Ethereum is the first Blockchain platform with a Turing complete programming language and The DAO is the first of many Decentralised Autonomous Organisations that are about to take the world by storm.

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