There is a quote by Baron Rothschild, which is believed to be originally like this: "Buy when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own". I am a big believer in contrarian investing and that's why the title of this post is inspired from there. Contrarian investing is not only about rebalancing your portfolio, but also about doing your own research and finding gems that are undervalued. This post is about what I have learned since getting into cryptocurrencies over 1 year ago.
I realized that I haven't done a proper #introduceyourself post here, so I think now it is a right time to do so because I want to announce that I have become a part-time developer for Byteball cryptocurrency platform.
Your first reaction would probably be like this: "Wow, what are you doing, haven't you heard that cryptocurrency bubble has burst? Everybody is selling their coins and the price is falling".
Exactly, that's how human minds work and this is the biggest mistake that beginners make - people go all-in when the price is all-time high and people panic sell when the price drops to a year low. Contrarian investing is exactly the opposite and because money is the reward for work that you have done (proof of work), my investment in Byteball will be spending half of my working hours on helping it develop further.
My name is Tarmo, I am a software developer
I got obsessed with computers in the mid-90s, initially because of games, later because of programming (I wanted to make games). I started programming in school, during lunch breaks and after school in semi-occupied computer class. I learned programming from Visual Basic code examples that I downloaded during the lunch breaks at school and later at home tried to get them working on my brand new home computer. When I got the dial-up at home, I spent my savings on it for looking up more code examples from the Internet, usually in the middle of the night because the dial-up cost was calculated by the second and night hours were cheaper. Luckily, the Internet was so slow back then, so Youtube didn't exist, otherwise I would probably have spent even more money on dial-up phone bills.
Around 2005, I started learning web development and got my first real job. I started as a full stack PHP developer, jumped into a testing job without prior experience, then worked as a C# application developer for a year and later worked in digital ad agencies for 5 years. For the last 3 years, I have been working for startups as a freelancer.
Banks make money deliberately complicated
I found out about cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin and Dogecoin) in 2014 and I thought that they were ultimate nonsense because I didn't bother to fully understand them. I now think that probably most people don't bother to understand cryptocurrencies and this might also be what causes these huge price swings. Surprisingly, XRP by Ripple got me into cryptocurrencies in September 2017, it was a first cryptocurrency that actually made sense for me because they were trying to solve an actual problem that was understandable for me. Ripple Ledger and Trustlines were also one of the first things that felt totally different how I understood how banks work. Luckily, the Internet is pretty fast nowadays and Youtube is full of great intellectual content. I believe that the banking and education sector is going to change a lot during the next decade. The banking industry has already been forced to change with PSD2/OpenBanking, but it's yet another third-party layer on top of the broken system.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos has helped me a lot with his videos about Bitcoin. He has many videos on his Youtube channel, which is a lot to take in at once, but if you don't have that much time then his interview on Joe Rogan Experience is also a great place to start. It's 2 hours long and recorded over 2 years ago, but he mentions many important topics like: the craziest money experiment going on right now, social networks like Steem where you are not the product, ongoing infrastructure inversion and how banks will fight back to money that doesn't have intermediates.
Without watching it, you probably think that Bitcoin is the craziest money experiment, but it is not. The craziest money experiment is the enormous money printing that the US has been doing since the last financial crisis in 2008. Mike Maloney has the whole series dedicated to that in which he also explains how money gets created. You may think that it's fake news, but it's not, USD circulation has quadrupled (source) and the intrest rates are very low because central banks are trying to stimulate the economy. There is no way how this would going to end well, especially if we are moving towards another recession.
Bitcoin is fundamentally not compatible with Wall Street
Nope, bitcoin rehypothecation and chain forks do not mix well, and the simple reason is that the two systems are fundamentally not compatible. One is decentralized, the other is centralized. One is natively-digital, owned directly and allocated to individuals. The other is natively-paper, owned indirectly, commingled at inception and then rehypothecated. One has a ledger that prevents multiple people from owning the same asset, the other creates multiple owners for the same asset on a systemic level.
~ Two Things That Don't Mix Well: Bitcoin Rehypothecation And Chain Forks
And that's okay because even if Bitcoin won't change the current broken system, it will provide an alternative for those who will never get access to modern banking system (they will leapfrog to next best thing) and it will provide a safe-haven for those whose government mishandles the currency (funds wars by printing more money, buys out banks with tax-payers money and dilutes the worth of work people have done) that people are forced to use and save for pension. Even if US dollar is not the next currency to collapse under hyperinflation, it will lose value over time and as more and more government-issued currencies fail, more people will switch to more sound money (not gold).
Banks can't use Bitcoin as it is designed to work and there is no point for them to fork Bitcoin either because blockchain won't work for stuff they want to do (Fractional Reserve Banking). If you hear some banker saying something ignorant like "Bitcoin won't work" then it is partially correct, but it's true only for them because they can't imagine why anybody would want a currency that doesn't follow their monetary policy. I don't think any government will be forking Bitcoin any time soon and even if they do - when was the last time that you saw the public sector having better IT solutions than the private sector?
Undervalued gem called Byteball*
Back in September 2017, I didn't know what I was doing for the first 4 months, but I was learning a lot and built different tools for myself. I wasn't working full-time anymore, so half of my time was spent on learning about cryptocurrencies. I still didn't understand Bitcoin, so I was looking for alternatives and that's how I found Byteball. I got little bit Byteball Bytes, but didn't use them at all. After the cryptocurrency prices crashed in January 2018, I joined Byteball community on Slack to learn more about it. I became active in the community - first by translating some bots and wallet app into my native language, then by adding multi-language support to existing bot, after that I built a currency converter tool for wallet app and eventually a web front-end for Sports Betting bot while also learning a lot about NodeJS (I had used it before, but just for small stuff). By now, I have learned that Byteball is more different than I initially thought (no blocks, no block time, no miners, deterministic finality, predictable fees, conditional smart-contracts, user-friendly, KYC-friendly, chain-fork friendly) while still quite same as Bitcoin in other aspects (same cryptographic functions, same deterministic wallets, similar UTXO model, fixed total supply).
As a new developer in Byteball team, my first task is to make Byteball easier to understand for new developers because I have the fresh experience of becoming one.
If you are a developer (having existing NodeJS experience makes it much easier), but don't know how to start building something using Byteball platform then let me know, so we could improve our new documentation for developers.
* Byteball name could change soon because there is rebranding going on.