Meditations on a dirty word

“There is intelligent speculation as there is intelligent investing.”

— The Intelligent Investor (Chapter I), Benjamin Graham

Gambling vs. Speculating

There are two kinds of games in our universe: games where the odds are known and games where they are hidden.

The odds at the casino table are known. They tell you what the rules of the game are. You can figure it out with some simple math.

Playing with chance is not what makes you a gambler.

Gambling is betting when these 3 things are true:

a.) the odds are known,
b.) the odds can’t be influenced in your favor,

A different perspective on cryptocurrencies

Most people think about cryptocurrencies this way:

So, that’s the normal way of looking at things: the point of all that stuff on the left is to make that shiny coin on the right. People in Venezuela, for example, are finding crypto currencies quite useful this way.

But there’s also another way of looking at it:

If you still don’t get what the heck a Smart Contract is…

Ok, you know a bit about Bitcoin (see: Explain Bitcoin Like I’m Five). You’ve been seeing the blockchain on the news.

But what’s this new Ethereum thing? Apparently it’s this crypto-currency you can use to build “smart contracts”. Sounds impressive. So, uh… what are they again? (Spoiler: They’re not that smart. And they’re not really contracts!)

Instead of a one line definition, let’s try to get an intuition. First, we’ll revisit the blockchain and the word “trust”. Then, we’ll talk about the word “contract”. Understanding both words is the secret.

Part I: What we mean by “Trust(less)”

Most of the time, when we think Bitcoin (or Ethereum)…

If you still can’t figure out what the heck a bitcoin is…

We’re sitting on a park bench. It’s a great day.

I have one apple with me. I give it to you.

You now have one apple and I have zero.

That was simple, right?

Let’s look closely at what happened:

My apple was physically put into your hand.

You know it happened. I was there. You were there. You touched it.

We didn’t need a third person there to help us make the transfer. …

Nik Custodio

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