Promoting the DYOR (Do Your Own Research) culture for crypto investing

Doing your own research (a.k.a. “DYOR”) is a common mantra that’s used frequently across the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities; and for good reason.

There’s been a serious trend in the crypto world for projects to drive hype due to large partnership announcements, and in some cases, even announcements about upcoming partnership announcements.

The award for the most notable case of the crypto announcement about an announcement goes to Justin Sun, CEO of TRON (TRX), who has been known to use this as a tactic to market his project on Twitter.

announcement announcement justin sun

It’s safe to say that this tactic will likely have diminishing returns in the long-run, and each subsequent announcement will probably be taken less seriously; especially with memes like this floating around.

TRON Partnership Announcement Announcement
TRON Partnership Announcement Announcement

In any case, the announcements often result in serious upticks in the trading price of the corresponding cryptocurrencies.

If you question the validity of these sorts of announcements and hyped partnerships, you can be sure someone will accuse you of “FUDDING” (a.k.a. spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the project). This is where the concept of DYOR (Do Your Own Research) comes in.

Promoting the DYOR culture

People on both ends of the hype for specific crypto projects tend to urge others to DYOR, which is good advice for all us of. The irony is that both sides who urge others to DYOR believe that doing so will lead others to the same corresponding conclusions.

With that said, there can be no harm done in encouraging proper due diligence, and promoting this DYOR culture will only lead to more informed investors and therefore, more value added to the overall community.

Reflecting on “ICO-mania” and the newer partnership announcements trend

As we look back on 2017 and the mania that swept the crypto community with ICO’s for hundreds of new projects within months, we can gain an insight into why 2018 may very well be the year of partnership announcements.

The connection here is that, although ICO’s will undoubtedly continue to launch in 2018 and beyond, these hundreds of young projects will all be vying for investors’ attention. They will be competing for dominance and out-right survival in what may already be characterized as a saturated market for utility tokens.

Smaller projects will use partnership announcements with big partners as one of the most powerful weapons in their battle chests to drive their token prices and gain relevance in the crypto community.

This is a negative phenomenon for two reasons:

  1. It taints the overall crypto market’s reputation, making projects seem untrustworthy and driven mainly by hype.
  2. The project teams promoting hype around their announcements will often lose credibility.

The pressure for constant updates and announcements

As the investor communities for projects wait for the launches of the projects they funded, they are constantly monitoring their investments for updates. If nothing happens for too long, the price of the tokens begins to tank.

This pressure to show constant progress weighs heavy on the shoulders of project teams and it explains why they feel the need to inform investors about anything that furthers the course of their projects. Announcement-worthy updates include things like testnets, alpha versions of platforms and wallets, rebrands, partnerships, and of course announcements.

DYOR is a continuous process for all of us

Whenever you consider investing in a cryptocurrency project, it’s important to thoroughly understand the use case behind it, the technology and execution plan, and other details such as the token economics and background of the development teams.

Furthermore, the monitoring and examination of cryptocurrency projects is not a one-time deal for investors. It’s an on-going process and investors need to stay informed about things like project milestones, changes or additions to development teams, announcements, and external threats from competing projects or changes in the regulatory environment.

Don’t use “DYOR” to defend against skepticism

Although promoting DYOR does no harm, it’s often used as a lazy “out” to the scrutiny of skeptics. I have often seen calls to “DYOR” thrown out on message boards and chat rooms as a response to critics’ questions about why certain projects are good investments. This is not very helpful.

Perhaps these people are trying to avoid giving out what can be considered “investment advice” and save themselves from possible trouble from regulators down the line with the “DYOR” response, but in my opinion that would be both lazy and majorly paranoid.

Do And Share Your Own Research (DASYOR)

If you’re going to invest the time and energy into proper due diligence for cryptocurrency projects, you should take it one step further beyond DYOR and also share your knowledge with others.

In the same way that the open source code and transparency of blockchain technology are strengths for the decentralized cryptocurrency community, so can a movement to more openly sharing our knowledge (both good and bad) about cryptocurrency projects.

Opening up more dialogue and diverse views and opinions will enrich the crypto community and work to the benefit of both investors and project teams.

In conclusion, and as a call to action, always remember to DYOR, but please also keep in mind why you should DASYOR when addressing skeptics and critics.

Hold On for Dear Life

Protect your privacy using coins with untraceable transactions

We live in a world where privacy is undervalued by many and maybe even dead in many ways. Facebook, Google, and the other tech giants know nearly everything about you, and many people have adopted the mentality of “if you don’t have anything to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.”

Consumers continue to adopt technologies that further compromise their privacy and seem to have no issue with it.

Hey Wiretap

However, some people still place a high value on their privacy and take precaution to protect it. There is major demand in the cryptocurrency markets for privacy coins that allow for anonymous and untraceable transactions.

The demand for privacy in the cryptocurrency community

Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency community have long been associated with anarcho-capitalism and free markets, and therefore it would be natural to assume there would also be a strong demand for privacy from the community.

In the past couple years there has been a proliferation of alternative cryptocurrencies to bitcoin, which are designed to better serve specific use cases. Privacy has become one of the hottest niches within the crypto universe over the past couple years.

Bitcoin is not entirely anonymous or private

It has become common knowledge that bitcoin is in fact not an entirely anonymous or private currency. Although your identity is not attached to your transactions, your public address probably is (in one way or another).

This public address is used to send and receive bitcoin transactions. It can also be used to track and link all of your transactions, which are available to be viewed on bitcoin’s public ledger.

Since most purchases of goods and services and even many exchanges require a form of identification, it’s just a matter of getting a couple pieces of information before someone is able to link your transactions from a retailer to cryptocurrency wallets, exchanges, and wherever else you may have sent your bitcoin.

The Top 3 Privacy Coins

Today there are a number of alt-coins addressing the demand for privacy. These coins use a variety of innovative technologies — from cryptography techniques to proxy networks — to make transactions anonymous and untracable.

Below we will cover the top 3 in my opinion, based on the strength of their privacy and security features as well as their relative market cap rankings within the cryptocurrency markets.

1) Monero (XMR) – The King of Privacy Coins

xmr.png

Monero is the most popular privacy coin and has the largest market cap among the group as well, currently the #11 ranked cryptocurrency.

Monero uses the “CryptoNight” consensus algorithm and ring confidential transactions, which are designed to improve privacy and security.

The way the ring transactions work is by bundling the public keys in transactions with other, older transactions. This is done to create a mixer that obfuscates the addresses. This is a very robust process and it’s done to make blockchain analysis pretty much impossible.

For this reason, Monero is regarded as one of the most anonymous cryptocurrencies. Although the bundling of addresses leads to larger transaction sizes, it’s not a big problem because Monero’s block size is adaptive. The project also does hard forks frequently to make optimizations.

In addition to the ring confidential transactions, Monero uses ring signatures and stealth addresses to hide both the sender and the receiver in a transaction.

More anonymity and privacy to come

Further anonymity and privacy features are still in development, such as the Kovri router, which will be implemented to hide the origin node for transactions in I2P.

Note: I2P stands for The Invisible Internet Project, which is an anonymous network layer that allows for censorship-resistant, peer to peer communication.

For those familiar with the TOR network, I2P is similar in that they are both anonymizing proxy networks. For Monero’s purposes, the differences between TOR & I2P are not particularly relevant.

Monero is well-established and dominant among the privacy coins, the dev team continues making improvements, and the currency has found a lot of acceptance in the dark net markets as well (second only to bitcoin in English-speaking dark net markets).

2) Zcash (ZEC) with Zero-Knowledge Proofs

Zcash.png

Zcash uses zero-knowledge proofs to provide anonymity for its users.

For those unfamiliar, zero-knowledge proof is a method by which one party (the prover Peggy) can prove to another party (the verifier Victor) that she knows a value x, without conveying any information apart from the fact that she knows the value x.

Zero-knowledge proof

With Zcash, the zero-knowledge proof is used to encrypt the sender/recipient addresses and transaction amounts. Meanwhile, all transactions are still validated by the blockchain.

To be more specific, Zcash uses ZK-SNARKS which is a variant of zero-knowledge proofs where it’s not necessary for there to be any interaction between “prover Peggy” and “verifier Victor”.

For those curious, yes, ZK-SNARKS is a super-nerd acronym and it stands for Zero Knowledge Succinct Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge.

The Zcash protocol also makes it so that senders can’t generate a specific string unless they own the spending key for that address. The input and output values also need to be equal.

It is important to note that Zcash’s use of ZK-SNARKS doesn’t actually guarantee anonymity. It is still possible for blockchain analysts to link transactions.

To use this privacy feature on Zcash, you will need at least 4GB of RAM which is a serious barrier for Zcash’s mainstream adoption.

Futhermore, user IP addresses aren’t obfuscated unless users themselves use a routing service like I2P or TOR. Personal information linked to public data is not hidden by the Zcash protocol.

Zcash is well-established, has a strong development team and good support from the mining community as well. It’s safe to say that Zcash has some solid staying power as a top 100 cryptocurrency (currently ranked #26).

Verge (XVG) – TOR and IP Obfuscation

verge.png

Verge is using quite a different approach to achieve privacy and anonymity. It doesn’t use cryptography techniques, but instead uses the Tor and I2P networks.
The Verge team chose this route because they believe that an open ledger is something users require to verify and see where their transactions are getting received/used.
Verge also has some other unique features like atomic swaps and super fast transactions.

Verge saw a meteoric rise in price this past year as people began to realize that the technology is technically superior to some other more well-established currencies such as Zcash in terms of anonymity.

When compared to coins with a huge price premium such as Monero, it made more sense for many investors to invest in a much smaller cap coin with huge upside potential.

Verge is now well-established and known in the cryptocurrency world, after its meteoric rise in late 2017.

It’s currently ranked #21 in market cap and Investors have plenty to look forward to, including a (very hyped) mystery partnership and additional features such as the Wraith Protocol.

Conclusion

As you can see from these top 3 examples, There are some solid options for privacy coins in the market that can be used to protect transaction information for users who value privacy, no matter what the reason.

Always keep in mind that even if you’re not doing anything wrong, your transactions are no one else’s business. It can bring you nothing other than an increase your information’s safety and security to embrace privacy technology.

Hold On for Dear Life

Cryptocurrency basics – 3 key characteristics and why they matter

In order to believe in the crypto revolution, it’s important to understand the fundamental aspects of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology that makes it so revolutionary. The 3 key characteristics of cryptocurrencies are that they are trustless, immutable, and decentralized.

Bitcoin: our first and most prominent example

Bitcoin is a cryptographically secure currency that was created to be used universally for payments, similar to cash. It was also created with the vision of Bitcoin replacing of all forms of fiat currency in mind.

As Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency ever created, it is the first to exhibit the 3 key characteristics we will cover later on.

Because the Bitcoin code is open source, people have been creating their own versions of Bitcoin, a.k.a. “Alt-coins” for the past few years. The vision of Bitcoin replacing all fiat currency is becoming less realistic with bitcoin’s current dominance at 45% (less than half) of the total cryptocurrency market. 

As you can see from the trend, there have been some tremendous altcoin rallies that have chopped Bitcoin’s dominance down over time, bringing in a number of other strong projects to the market.

However, bitcoin and altcoins share very similar blockchain technology and the 3 key characteristics also apply across the board (in most cases).

These 3 characteristics we will discuss are the answers to the questions you might often hear from skeptics such as: “what makes cryptocurrencies so special?” and “How are cryptocurrencies any different than fiat currencies?”

1) Trustless

Bitcoin is trustless because it was designed in a way that nobody has to trust anybody else in order for the network to function.

Every form of currency before bitcoin required a central authority that you had to trust in order to use it. In all cases, that central authority becomes the central weakness that leads to the demise of the currency.

With bitcoin, each part of the ecosystem validates what the other parts are telling it without needing to trust anybody. If you broadcast a bitcoin transaction, all nodes receive it and verify that the signatures are valid. If the signatures are not valid, they discard the transaction.

Everyone on the network has a copy of the ledger so we no longer need to trust a single entity/organization/third-party because there is no need to trust when you can just verify against this ledger because you have a copy of it. The decentralized ledger is known as the blockchain.

The incentivization of individual network actors though the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm is one of the most groundbreaking ideas in modern economics.

“The incentive may help encourage nodes to stay honest. If a greedy attacker is able to assemble more CPU proof-of-worker than all the honest nodes, he would have to choose between using it to defraud people by stealing back his payments, or using it to generate new coins.

He ought to find it more profitable to play by the rules, such rules that favor him with more new coins than everyone else combined, than to undermine the system and the validity of his own wealth.”

— Satoshi Nakamoto

Although we are still figuring out exactly how we use cryptocurrencies and and what for, they are here to stay. Aside from the other major benefits of cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech, solving the centralized trust issue alone is a big enough innovation to give crypto staying power.

2) Immutable

“Immutable”, in its simplest sense, means “cannot be undone.”

Immutability in regards to blockchain and cryptocurrency should follow 3 principles:

  • It should be highly improbable or difficult to rewrite history.
  • It should be impossible for anyone but the owner of a private key to move funds.
  • All transactions are recorded on the blockchain. (to guarantee the above 2 principles)

 

When we want to check how money has been spent from our bank accounts, we check our transaction history with the bank. We trust our banks not to fabricate transactions or manipulate our money as we trust them to deliver our transactions to recipients.

If there are fraudulent transactions, the bank also needs to be trusted to change them and fix the situation.

Since the elements of centralization and trust are removed from cryptocurrency, there is no longer a third party for us to trust to do these things. Therefore, transaction records are made public and unchangeable (immutable).

Although it isn’t impossible to change the transaction ledger, cryptographic security makes it extremely difficult. It require you to compromise the entire network of cryptocurrency users.

3) Decentralized

Since “decentralization” is such a relevant buzzword in the crypto community, it’s important to define it well. It can take on different meanings.

“Blockchains are politically decentralized (no one controls them) and architecturally decentralized (no infrastructural central point of failure) but they are logically centralized (there is one commonly agreed state and the system behaves like a single computer).” – Vitalik Buterin

So, why is decentralization useful in the first place?

  • Fault tolerance: decentralized systems are less likely to fail accidentally because they rely on networks of separate components.
  • Attack resistance: decentralized systems are more expensive to attack and destroy or manipulate because they don’t have vulnerable central points that can be attacked at much lower cost than the surrounding system.
  • Collusion resistance : it‘s harder for members of decentralized systems to act in ways that benefit them at the expense of others. On the other hand, corporations and governments collude in ways that benefit themselves but hurt others all the time.

 

With central banks and governments, the supply and creation of money through mints and interest rates are controlled only by the banks. Users of fiat currencies are at the mercy of the central banks’ money-printing whims.

The problem in this world is to avoid concentration of power — we must have a dispersion of power .

— Milton Friedman

If you are not yet outraged by the central banking money-printing scam, it is helpful to think of it as a hidden tax when they print and destroy the wealth you have stored in those fiat currencies.

With cryptocurrency however, no individual or consortium is able to affect the supply of currency or exert significant influence over it without the approval of the majority.

Maximum Supply & Infinite Supply with pre-defined production

Many top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dash have a maximum supply, making them deflationary by nature. Any increase in the demand or adoption of the cryptocurrency will cause a corresponding increase in the price.

Most of the other major cryptocurrencies such as ethereum, monero etc., that have infinite supply have pre-defined rules for how many coins will be produced each year. Therefore they are predictable in nature. If these currencies are successful in the long-term, it’s highly unlikely that the rate of production of more currency will result in any sort of inflation.

The increasing demand, adoption, and destruction of coins in the form of lost private keys will likely offset any moderate increase in supply due to PoW/PoS mining rewards.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the 3 key characteristics that make cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology so revolutionary. Plus the bonus economic characteristic of being deflationary through limited supply.

Next time anyone asks you those pesky questions like “what’s so special about crypto?” or “what makes them any different”, you can take them to school on the 3 key characteristics: trustlessness, immutability, and decentralization.

Hold On for Dear Life

Block the FUD and HODL in a down crypto market

Investing and trading cryptocurrencies is almost entirely speculative as the technology is still quite young and there are no widely accepted and reliable valuation metrics to use for valuing coins as investments.

Therefore it is highly psychological and emotional for some people. For these reasons, the high volatility and fear-greed cycles continue to drive investor decisions to buy & sell in ways which, to put it lightly, are against their best interests.

It’s human nature to listen to FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, and DOUBT (FUD) in order to protect your investments. In fact, it is a protective mechanism for you to pay attention to FUD. For long-term success in the crypto space, you will need to learn to block the FUD and HODL in a down crypto market.

FUD comes in various forms and affects some more than others; both coins and their investors.

Primary Examples of Crypto FUD (Macro-Level):

  • Government regulation and bans on crypto in general
  • Exchange hacks and other “mishaps” on exchanges
  • Negative mainstream media reports

Secondary Examples of Crypto FUD (Specific):

  • Missed Goals/Roadmap targets and deadlines
  • Partnerships falling through
  • False rumors & disinformation
  • Negativity about dev teams and founders
  • Misleading technical analysis

While it’s true that technical analysis is a valuable tool in crypto investing and trading, if there is big negative news, the FUD Factor will kick into effect and trump any T/A indicator traders are looking for and all the price analysis goes out the window for a massive dump.

If you find yourself in one of these situations holding the bag on a coin with a plummeting price, it’s almost always best to hold and wait for the volatility to blow over. Eventually, prices will consolidate and you will have a better opportunity to make a rational decision more in-line with your original plan of investment.

Always Have a Plan and Stick to it

You should always have a plan and goal for your investment portfolio as a whole, and what role each position plays in the overall portfolio.

Your plan does not need to be stringent enough to prevent any flexibility to adapt to new market conditions and capitalize on them, but it should cover the basics as to when you will take profits, whether based on the value or on a time horizon.

Having such a plan will prevent you from making bad short-term decisions when the FUD kicks in. By sticking to your plan, you make only rational decisions and wait patiently for your milestones on the longer time horizon.

We Can HODL Here – A Tip for Short-Term Thinkers

More seasoned investors tend to handle volatility much better than newbies. If you have a problem handling the short-term fluctuations you may need to work on tricking yourself into thinking long-term.

The “We Can HODL Here” Meme

If you use your imagination, how different would you feel if you could skip past countless days of impulsively checking coinmarketcap and blockfolio and find enormous gains without expending any mental or emotional energy deciding whether to panic sell or not?

At the end of the day, HODLing is a decision only made easier by the passing of time. Impatience is what causes people to screw up and give into FUD.

Was Selling Low Part of Your Plan?

I have a personal friend who recently consulted with me about selling off their crypto holdings, or more accurately, all the surplus capital in excess of what they had originally invested.

This person came to me for advice, on the basis of what they believed to be a rational thing to do. Here is an outline of the jist of the dialogue:

hodl: Why do you want to sell?

friend: Well.. I’m not ready to sit through a multi-year bear market

hodl: Now is a very bad time to sell. Do you truly believe we will see a multi-year bear market?

friend: I have no idea, i’ve been hearing [ABC..XYZ FUD] what do you think?

hodl: Absolutely not, there is no chance in my realm of possibilities we will see a multi-year crypto bear market.

friend: Well, what are you going to do?

hodl: I have no intention to “cash out” any of my holdings until 2020. At this point I will take a look at things and make some decisions. Did you have a plan for cashing out?

friend: Not exactly, but you believe in this much more than I do, and I’m just not sure where I see this going.

hodl: The truth is we should have all taken profits in December, but none of us did. We all suffered from recency bias and got caught up in the greed and hype. Was your plan to sell low?

friend: Lol, of course not.

hodl: Then you should ride this out and decide what level of risk and exposure you’re willing to deal with. Wait for this bear cycle to end, and if you still feel over-exposed, which obviously you do now, then take some out.

The Moral of the Story

Always have a plan and a goal to look forward to. During times like these, we really need to be able to “keep our eyes on the prize” and not give in to panic and FUD.

Panic selling, and considerations of panic selling are done so because you are thinking your situation may not improve or advance further. Therefore, you are retreating.

Don’t retreat – the battle is far from over, and crypto will prevail. I encourage anyone reading this to ignore the FUD despite the fear you may be experiencing.

Design available on prints, accessories, and apparel at the hodl art shop

Block the FUD
Block the FUD

Hold OFor Dear Life

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